Following the submission of the planning application back in June 2022, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort‘s proposals to add an Adventure Golf attraction have been unanimously approved by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM).
The attraction, codenamed ‘Project Birdie’, is planned to be located to the west of the theme park, on the site of the existing priority car park (Car Park A), near to the theme park’s main entrance and the location of the future Holiday Village. The application consists of a new 1,400 sq m building and the associated works, with this building housing four individually themed golf courses which will be available to both day visitors and those staying overnight at the Resort. The exterior of the building will be finished in grey steel flat panels. The main entrance to the building will be on the south elevation, and the exterior theming will be limited primarily to the main entrance elevation, with a bright blue steelwork frame and randomly placed steni colour cladding panels cut to LEGO brick sizes.
The plans were unanimously approved at this evening’s meeting of the Windsor and Ascot Development Management Committee, in line with the recommendation made by the council’s planning officer. In addition to being subject to standard types planning conditions, permission is also contingent on the Resort entering a Section 106 agreement that will require them to pay carbon offset contributions to RBWM, since it is not possible for the development itself to be carbon neutral in its design. It is noted that the preparation of this agreement is already underway, with the Resort having provided calculations of anticipated carbon emissions.
With it taking more than 6 months for RBWM to reach a decision, this has been the result of further information and clarification needed in respect of some aspects of the development. Following comments from RBWM’s Lead Local Flood Authority, the drainage strategy was revised in order to add permeable surfaces and drainage channels. Furthermore, the Resort were required to submit a Written Scheme of Investigation due to the development being in an area of archaeological significance, with one of the planning conditions requiring a ‘Watching Brief’ to monitor and record anything identified during construction. Further documents were also submitted showing various views of the proposed building from outside of the Resort and how the visual impact is minimal, along with the design of the fencing and railing to be used internally and externally. Revised elevation plans were also submitted, showing the addition of bat and bird boxes to the exterior of the building, as well as some slight changes to the front elevation to add an additional ventilation panel and reduce the height of the glazed doorway (in order to facilitate the ventilation panels being larger).
An addendum to the Transport Statement submitted as part of the original application was also prepared to provide assurances to RBWM that the loss of 131 car parking spaces arising from the development will not result in an overflow of parking or queuing back onto the public highway. This notes that, post-COVID, the Resort has targeted achieving 14,500 guests on peak days, reduced from the 20,000 that was historically expected. The Resort has also looked to manage guest numbers over the year by employing flexible ticket pricing and providing new indoor attractions that can still operate in the traditional off-season.
Helen Bull, Divisional Director for LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, also wrote to RBWM in respect of the concerns around visitor numbers. She reiterated the points made in the Transport Statement addendum, as well as highlighting that the Resort have also increased the number of open days (i.e. 22 more days in 2022 vs 2019) as part of their strategy to smooth out visitation. She also noted that, on peak days, the Adventure Golf attraction will only be used by visitors with park tickets or where bundled as part of a hotel stay, so this will not add to the visitors coming to the Resort on those dates. Nonetheless, it is stated that during off-peak / mid-weekdays out of the main season, the Resort may also look to open up the attraction to local residents and/or Merlin Annual Passholders. On these dates, these guests will need to pre-book a timeslot, allowing the Resort to manage the Adventure Golf’s expected capacity of 240 people per hour.
The original planning application indicated that the Adventure Golf attraction was intended to open in 2023, and, whilst in attendance at this evening’s meeting, Helen Bull confirmed that the aim was still to open the attraction in the early part of the 2023 season. It is unsurprising that the time needed for construction is relatively short, given that the existing site is currently an area of hardstanding and the building is relatively simple in nature. It would be assumed that all of the theming elements that will make up the courses will be manufactured off-site and then transported to the Resort for installation. Potential themes for the four courses appear to include pirates, dragon & princess, and space adventures.
This decision follows RBWM’s confirmation in November that the Resort’s plans to add a pair of duelling family shuttle coasters on the site of the former Raft Racers attraction constituted permitted development. The area has already started to be cleared, with a 2024 opening thought to be being targeted for the attraction. In line with speculation, it does appear that the ride is set to be manufactured by Zierer, with the manufacturer’s 2022 product catalogue showing a concept for a ride with a similar layout and a LEGO theme. The Resort are also progressing with the first phase of their Holiday Village development, with all the conditions that the Resort submitted information regarding, to enable them to commence on-site construction, now discharged. During her appearance before the committee, Helen Bull also noted that construction of the Holiday Village is due to commence on-site in the coming weeks, to enable it to open during the 2024 season.
Do you hope to be putting your way around the LEGO Adventure Golf courses later this year? Are you excited to follow this and the Resort’s other upcoming developments? Let us know your thoughts via the Attraction Source social media channels.