£7m holiday park near Maldon to create dozens of jobs

A £7million plan to create an activity holiday destination between Chelmsford and Maldon is expected to create dozens of full time jobs.

The Warren Estate proposes to build a new and unique short break holiday and leisure destination at its home in Woodham Walter, boosting the local economy to the tune of £4million a year.

The estate’s two golf clubs, a lodge park, wedding venue and health club welcomes over 200,000 visits every year.

But it now plans to expand its existing agreement with Hoseasons to become part of Hoseasons’ Go Active portfolio, that offers a range of outdoor activities.

Key elements of the development, with a cost to build investment of £7million, include two completely new lodge parks with a total of 70 lodges.

For families, a 50-lodge holiday park – the Warren Lodges north park – will provide an experience focused on participation and enjoyment of a wide selection of predominately outdoor activities and pursuits.

These lodges will be built under the Hoseasons Go Active brand. They are marketed as providing guests with quality accommodation, with contemporary styled interiors and outdoor hot tubs.

For adults, a smaller and secluded 20-lodge holiday park for guests seeking a restful weekend or short break in the Essex countryside, is planned.

The application says Wayside Retreat will be a 20 luxury lodge development aimed at adults only. This site is naturally screened by the existing woodland.

The application says the lodges would be unique to the Maldon area and would significantly enhance the existing accommodation supply within the district.

Full refurbishment of the existing BunsayGolf Club clubhouse will create an extended bar and grill and indoor activities hall for the use of holiday guests.

A purpose-built golf academy is being designed to help participation in the sport.

The intention is to maintain a full membership and daily play offer at the club, with improved clubhouse facilities and 9, 12, or 18-hole options available to play. The 18-hole golf course at The Warren is unaffected by this proposed development.

A new building will be home to a new golf academy facility including specialist teaching and custom fit bays, classroom, putting studio, waiting area and six additional teaching practice bays.

The plans, which have been submitted to Maldon District Council, have already been given a blessing by Essex County Council.

The council’s tourism chief, Lisa Bone, said: “Our countywide tourism strategy clearly identifies the support of and encouragement of product development in order to grow the value of the industry to the local economy.

“I believe a large scale development such as this is much needed in the county and would be a great asset to both Maldon and the whole of Essex.”

She added: “There is a real gap in the market in Essex for a rural, experiential holiday village like this. Other counties with similar holiday parks/resorts do extremely well and there is no reason why one in Essex would not thrive given our easy access and drier/ warmer climate. Furthermore it would offer a great facility to the local population and could provide great educational experiences.”

A statement as part of the development application said: “This scheme represents a ‘cost to build’ investment of £7 million into local tourism and leisure facilities, and a potential net annual economic benefit to Maldon district and wider region of £3.9 million alongside the creation of 97 new FTE (full time equivalent) jobs.

“We trust this offers an exciting vision for Maldon, presenting a new and timely opportunity for the district to become home to a holiday and leisure destination to rival any in Essex and the South-East.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter