Longleat’s plans to build a new 240 room hotel, with water park and business conference facilities on the edge of its Estate near Warminster have been approved by Wiltshire Council, subject to views of Highways England on the impact of the proposal to the strategic road network.
The approval provides a green light for the development that, it is anticipated, will further boost the local economy and create 300 new jobs, while providing much-needed additional family orientated hotel accommodation in the area.
Bob Montgomery, the CEO of Longleat Enterprises Limited which manages the commercial development of the Estate assets, said: “The decision to approve our application is a huge boost to Longleat’s long term future, for Wiltshire and our local town and village communities.
“We’ve still a little way to go and are working to secure Highway England’s final view on the impact of our proposals to the strategic road network in the area, but are confident this will be concluded soon.
“We believe the hotel will enable Longleat to develop and grow over the coming years and will provide a new tourism hub for the area which will create many more jobs and attract new investment,” he added.
With over 40% of its one million annual visitors driving for more than two hours to see its attractions, including the world-famous Safari Park, the management at Longleat, headed by Viscount Weymouth, believe the new hotel will secure the sustainability of the Estate with its Grade 1 listed Elizabethan house, Capability Brown and Humphry Repton Heritage Parkland.
Located on a 135-acre site to the south and south east of Tascroft Court, and close to Warminster and the A36, the proposed hotel will also incorporate a unique and intimate animal experience for its guests and much needed business conference facilities for up to 200 delegates.
Speaking at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting, Mandy Paterson of Inspire, who represent the Chambers of Commerce across Wiltshire, said: “We have over 3,000 business clients from small businesses to large corporates.
“Feedback from these Clients, particularly those larger businesses, are that the county has a dearth of appropriate business conference facilities, or hotels able to offer delegates accommodation for more than 120 delegates.”
“Businesses currently have no option but to go outside of the county for appropriate hotel and conference facilities for larger meetings. This application therefore carries the unreserved support of Inspire and our member businesses,” she added.
Longleat, which is already a major employer with 766 FTE (full time equivalent) jobs accounted as being either directly or influenced by the Estate and a further 1,700 FTE jobs being attributed to the Estate being present in Wiltshire, estimates the new hotel and related facilities will bring another 300 FTE jobs to the region when it opens and a considerable number of additional jobs during the two-year build.