Leisure scheme firm insists bid will be lodged

The company behind plans for a £50million leisure complex at Widdrington is adamant that the project is still on track.

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

It was initially aiming to submit a planning application in March for the scheme, but discussions with the landlords and county council departments have taken longer than first anticipated.

The Herald was then informed by a Widdrington resident that a ‘first notification of strike-off action’ had been published in the London Gazette on April 10 by the Registrar.

This can be in response to a company applying to dissolve, however it can also be issued if annual returns and accounts are not filed on time.

And it has recently been revealed that Companies House received a notice later in April which said the striking-off action has been discontinued.

Active Leisure Chief Executive Chris Davies said any suggestions that the company is seeking to pass on the project to another firm are false.

He added: “We’re having a meeting with the landlords next Wednesday to discuss legal agreements and there will be further discussions with the relevant departments at Northumberland County Council.

“The process has taken a little longer than we would have liked, but hopefully we will be able to submit the planning application in the coming weeks.”

The scheme includes creating the UK’s first artificial adventure slope for climbing, caving and gorge walking, an artificial ski slope with luge track and jumps, 50-acre lake, off-road driving courses and the biggest tree house adventure playground in the country.

There would also be a leisure hub with a swimming pool, equestrian facilities, a retail centre, 400 eco holiday homes and 100 camping pods.

It would cover almost 800 acres of the 2,500 acres at Steadsburn, Maidens Hall and Stobswood opencast sites identified by the Widdrington Regeneration Partnership for leisure re-development. A Peel Energy windfarm was approved as the first phase of regeneration, with the Active Leisure element forming Phase 2.

An exhibition of the plans was held at Widdrington WI Hall earlier in the year and the majority of the people who filled in the feedback forms were in favour.

However, concerns were raised about highways and access routes and Widdrington Village Parish Council has been contacted by villagers worried about the scheme’s environmental impact.