ALTON Towers looks set to grow in size even further in the coming years after it applied for planning permission to build 85 holiday lodges — just the first phase of the proposed development.
The resort near Uttoxeter has submitted plans to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and is seeking permission to build a two-phase lodge development to the north of its existing hotels.
It is planned to open the first 85 lodges in 2014.
It is thought the lodges will be built on meadow land next to the Alton Towers Hotel which has been previously used for scare mazes during the popular Scarefest event and for overflow car parking.
Alton Towers’ development director Mark Kerrigan said that further development of accommodation at the resort was highlighted in its Long Term Plan consultation exercise in July 2009.
He said: “We know from our research that approximately 30 per cent of our visitors currently stay overnight, 26 per cent stay with us and 50 per cent use local bed and breakfasts or guest houses.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past 20 years with Staffordshire County Tourism to grow the appeal of Staffordshire as a holiday location and we’ve seen an increase in the overnight stay market volumes of 20 per cent in just the last four years.
“We firmly believe therefore that given the overall increase in this wider short breaks market there is ample opportunity for both the resort and the local area to benefit from our even more aggressive positioning as a 2/3 day destination.
“Indeed on the back of our world-first new rollercoaster set to open next year, we’re anticipating a 31 per cent overall growth in the accommodation market, both in house and locally, so this will be huge boon to the whole area.”
Mr Kerrigan added that the new lodges will each have a different theme and offer a different sort of accommodation to what is currently available in the area.
He said: “Our new lodges will be positioned to appeal to a different market both from our two existing hotels and the local bed and breakfast or guest house providers who each offer a unique atmosphere, experience and quality of accommodation.
“They will be individually themed and will reflect the style that people expect from Alton Towers Resort.”
Alton Towers confirmed the plans have been submitted although they had yet to go live on the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council planning website as the Advertiser went to print.