The new long term plan, which sets out proposals for the next 5-10 years at the Resort, details a range of key projects which aim to help not only maintain and increase visitor numbers, but also refresh and diversify what is on offer by investing in a number of key areas, including rides and attractions, accommodation, and infrastructure such as car parks and back of house facilities.
One of the most interesting proposals to be revealed as part of the public consultation into the new long term plan detail plans for a new headline attraction for the resort which will help enhance the resort’s reputation and enable it to remain competitive in the leisure market. Currently proposed for land in front of the current Land of the Dragons and to the side of Transylvania, the resort proposes to add a medium family sized coaster which will target their core family market (families with children aged 5-12). The attraction is currently suggested to be either a ‘Wild Jungle Ride’ or a ‘Water Coaster’, with concept art suggesting themes from an adventure through the jungle, to a pirate theme. The masterplan also indicates a second possible new attraction on the site of the current Toadie’s Crazy Cars, however it is not currently known what could be proposed for this location.
Also detailed within the masterplan are proposals to add lodge style accommodation which will increase and diversify the offering for guests who wish to visit the resort for a short break. Proposed to be situated behind the Wanyama Reserve, the village style accommodation will feature up to 45 safari themed lodges, as well as incorporate a feeding platform which will enable the resort to offer additional experiences to guests staying in the new area. These lodges will add to the already large range of overnight accommodation at Chessington, with the resort already having two hotels – Safari and Azteca – and Explorer Glamping which is due to open in May 2016.
There are also details of a number of smaller developments within the masterplan, including a possible attraction linked to the Safari Hotel which will re-use existing buildings and could possibly create either a soft play area, indoor trampolines, or a 3D cinema. Improvements are also planned to the southern car parks, which are currently used for overflow parking at peak times, to add more durable surfaces and also improve access.
This latest masterplan from Chessington World of Adventures Resort is being developed in consultation with the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, and aims to take into account the current planning policy and guidance which supports development that creates jobs and investment, but is also respectful of the environment. The Resort has set out its key vision and objectives for its long term plans which state:
“Our vision for CWoAR is to continue investing in the Resort, to ensure it remains the destination of choice within the region both in terms of the day visitor and guests wanting a short break.
To achieve this vision, we have identified the following key objectives:
1. Diversify and increase overnight accommodation.
2. Maintain visitor numbers by refreshing the existing Resort and investing in new rides and attractions.
3. Retain visitors on the site for longer by providing variety and multi-day attractions.
4. Continue to focus on families with children (5 to 12 years as the core age group), with the animal collection central to future plans.”
Chessington have already started to implement some of these key objectives with the soon to open Explorer Glamping offering a new form of accommodation for guests to enjoy, and the new Go Ape High Ropes attraction, due to open later this summer, offering an additional facility to encourage guests to stay on site for longer. The Resort brings in £92.77 million of spending to the local area, and both the Resort and Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames are keen to maintain this.
Consultations on the proposed masterplan will continue until 9th May 2016. Once complete, discussions will continue with the Royal Borough with a draft being submitted mid-June. If all goes to plan, the final version will be submitted for approval at the end of July with it expected to be endorsed by local authorities by the end of September. This would then pave the way for the preparation of individual applications for the various projects from November onwards.