Backing and issues for leisure scheme

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PLANS for a £50million leisure complex at Widdrington have been given the thumbs-up at a consultation event.

Active Leisure Resorts hopes to build a holiday village and adventure park on the former Steadsburn opencast site, which could create around 700 jobs.

An exhibition of the plans was held at Widdrington WI Hall and feedback forms have shown the majority of visitors were in favour.

Of 105 forms returned, 63 supported the proposal, 35 respondents were unsure about it and seven were against.

Active Leisure Chief Executive Chris Davies said: “It was really good to come to Widdrington. We were relieved at the outcome because there was a lot of support. The burning question was how soon can we start it.

“Of the maybes, the main issue of concern was the highways and access routes so we are addressing it. We have a big pre-planning meeting coming up and this issue will be discussed.”

Widdrington Village Parish Council Chairman Valerie Seddon agreed that there are concerns about access and she has been contacted by villagers worried about environmental impact. She also felt there was insufficient information available.

“There was so little information there that there was basically nothing we haven’t already seen,” she said.

“I think it would be good if Active Leisure was to come back with more boards, a plan, a timescale and other information as to how this is going to be developed.”

Mr Davies said aerial photographs will be taken this week to create computer images and a further exhibition is possible when more details are settled. A website will also be developed.