by Gary Radice
: Added October 2005
The following extract is taken from:

Examination in Public 13 - 23 January 2004
Report of the Panel


3.82 Camelot Theme Park is located close to the M6 within the Green Belt in Chorley Borough. Prime Resorts Ltd state that the theme park is likely to close in the next five years if visitor numbers continue to fall, at which time it would become a brownfield site. Prime Resorts request that the site be recognised as a strategic location for development in Policy 3 and propose the development of 1,000 dwellings and 5ha of leisure/tourism together with local facilities and extensive open space. The existing hotel on the site would remain and no development is proposed on the greenfield parts of the site. About 25 to 30ha of previously developed land would come forward in the event of the park’s closure. Prime Resorts further request that Policy 1 be amended to allow for the development of rural brownfield sites.

3.83 The site is recognised by Chorley B.C. as a “Major Developed Site,” (MDS), in the Green Belt, (see PPG2 Annex C). New tourism and leisure development on the site can therefore come forward within the context of the established use of the site, even though it is within the Green Belt. Prime Resorts indicated that there is currently no commercial interest in creating a new leisure offer on this site. Prime Resorts as owners of the site were willing to invest in new leisure facilities but this would be a major undertaking requiring financial underpinning from a significant new housing development.

3.84 The Prime Resorts case for housing was made in the context of seeking to minimise greenfield development in the Central Lancashire Housing Market Area as a whole. Within this area Prime Resorts points out that significant greenfield development is proposed within Preston City and South Ribble Borough. Prime Resorts described the site as a sustainable location in view of the nearby community facilities in Eccleston and the jobs on and adjacent to the site, public transport access could also be improved.

3.85 NWRA stated that the development of 1,000 dwellings would not qualify as an exception to RPG13 Policy SD8, neither would it contribute to the achievement of RPG13 strategy and added that RPG13 Policy DP1, which places emphasis on the use of previously developed land, must be applied in the context of the overall strategy which seeks to promote urban consolidation and renaissance. The JSPA said that the proposed housing development would be contrary to RPG13 Policy SD3 and Policy 5 of the JLSP. They consider that there is no overriding need for new housing on this site as Chorley Borough’s allocation could be found elsewhere and the site was too remote from the main urban areas including Preston where the need is being generated. They were concerned that it would promote further out migration from the metropolitan area and the use of car borne trips for work and services.

3.86 Chorley B.C. confirmed that housing on this site was not needed, of their total allocation all but 400 units have already been identified and the location is in a rural area well away from urban settlements. While the borough council were opposed to housing on this site they would wish to explore other possibilities for leisure development with the owners.


3.87 The Panel is satisfied that there is no case for housing development on this site within the policy framework of the JLSP and RPG13. It is clear to us that Chorley B.C. can find sufficient sites to meet its requirements under Policy 12, and we agree with the JSPA that the site is self evidently remote from the Preston PUA. We also heard evidence earlier from Preston C.C. to the effect that they hope to meet their requirements from previously developed land rather than using greenfield sites, (see para 3.59). As the site is on the immediate edge of the North West Metropolitan Area we share the concerns expressed that its development for housing in a rural setting with reasonable access to the M6 could well stimulate migration into Lancashire.

3.88 While it is important that maximum use should be made of previously developed land this is not an overriding policy consideration but one which has to be put alongside those concerning the spatial strategies of the JLSP and RPG13.

3.89 The Panel recommends that:

1) No amendment be made to Policy 3 in respect of the Prime Resorts Camelot site;

2) No amendment be made to Policy 1 in respect of the re-use of brownfield sites.

And this snippet of information from a discussion about the park somewhere out there in Googleland in 2005...

"Make the most of Camelot this year, as it's more than likely its final
season, which is a shame, its a great theme park for the 10-15 age group"

(R J  - an ex Camelot ride op)

And then this appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post dated June 5th 2006:

Camelot to close

The ailing Camelot theme park will be closed - and a 1,000-home mini village built on the site.

Park bosses intend to close the Charnock Richard fun park over the next five years with the view to constructing the massive new development, complete with school, shopping centre, pubs, restaurant and village hall, in the following 10 to 15 years.

It hoped the new Park Hall Village would create a mixed community of all ages and social backgrounds.

The project is a joint venture proposed by Persimmon Homes, Miller Homes and Prime Resorts, owners of Camelot.

The 140-room Park Hall Hotel would be expanded and an indoor water park would be also be opened.

The new water park would be opened for 52 weeks a year to bring in extra visitors following the closure of the park, which currently opens for 20 weeks a year.

Roy Page, chief executive of Prime Resorts, said: "We have been working on better utilisation of this site for the last five years.

"Camelot is unable to compete with the bigger theme parks around the country such as the Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers and visitor numbers have been in decline for some time.

"The park will remain open for the next five to seven years.

"In that time we will be carrying out consultations on these new plans with Chorley Borough Council, local residents and local businesses to see what they would like to see on this site."

It is expected the new development would bring in the region of 300 new jobs and Camelot workers have been told their jobs are safe.

Mr Page added: "The plans are still in the early stages and we would need the support of Chorley Borough Council, as well as residents and local firms, who will be kept updated throughout."

No cost has been put on the development.

themagiceye recommends that if you get the chance - 

Forsooth, go forth and just enjoy the park while you can!

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