BOSSES at Warwick Castle are celebrating after winning their fight to build lodges in the grounds of the historic attraction.
Warwick District Council planning committee gave the green light for the building of 16 permanent semi-detached wooden lodges on the Foxes Study area – which already hosts ‘glamping’ after permission was given for 41 luxury camping tents to be sited there from May until the end of September for the next three summers.
Castle general manager Geoff Spooner said: “We are delighted that the Warwick District Council planning committee supported our significantly reduced and revised application for 16 accommodation lodges in the grounds of Warwick Castle.”
“The committee has recognised the considerable effort that the Castle has undertaken to address concerns related to the previous scheme, whilst acknowledging the beneficial economic impact that the estimated 20,000 additional visitors to the town will generate, over and above the Castle’s significant existing contribution to tourism in the area.”
“We look forward to opening our new lodges in 2016 and to welcoming more overnight guests to Warwick.
“We thank the many individuals, businesses and organisations that have supported us throughout our application process.”
The proposal put forward by Merlin Entertainments – which has run the castle on a long lease since 2007 – faced strong opposition, particularly from the Warwick Society.
Society chairman James Mackay said: “The planning committee was asked to make a judgement between the conservation of a historic landscape of national significance and the financial benefit, to Merlin, to the town’s businesses, and to the council itself, of adding a holiday encampment to the castle theme park.
“We don’t think that, under the influence of a very effective campaign by Merlin, it struck the right balance. We greatly regret that Warwick District Council has not lived up to its national responsibility.”
The society argued the site was one of only 142 such landscapes in England with the same status and protection as Grade 1 listed buildings, and should be treated as such.
Mr Spooner previously told The Observer the lodges were entirely removable and would cause no long term damage.
He also highlighted the economic benefit for the local economy from people staying overnight at the 1,000 year-old castle – something Warwick Chamber of Trade and Historic England agreed with, but which the Warwick Society disputed.
This summer glamping attracted 14,500 guests.