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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Story Group's 1,000 homes plan for Camelot theme park site

Carlisle-based Story Group is ready to push ahead with a major development in Lancashire.

The company acquired the Camelot Theme Park at Charnock Richard, near Chorley, from receivers in 2009 with a view to building up to 1,000 homes there.

Camelot re-opened in 2010 under the management of Knights Leisure. But Story always made it clear this was a temporary reprieve for the theme park.

Knights Leisure has now announced that Camelot, which is closed for the winter, will not re-open in 2013.

And Story Group chief executive Fred Story told the News & Star that plans to redevelop the 140-acre site were progressing.

He said: “We want a sustainable future for the site and the theme park isn’t sustainable.

“We are talking to Chorley Borough Council and are looking to submit a planning application next year when we understand what the council’s needs are.

“Whether it is mixed use or [solely] residential is something we will explore with the council.”

Camelot employed 150 staff during the summer and has been in operation since 1983.

Roy Page, managing director of Knights Leisure, said the decision to close for good followed a long-term decline in visitor numbers and a “particularly challenging” season in 2012.

He added: “We have become used to inclement summer weather in the UK.

“But a combination of the wettest summer for 100 years, the Queen’s jubilee celebrations, followed by the Olympics during our busiest months had a major impact on visitors to Camelot.”

Story is bucking the trend among housebuilders who are generally reluctant to commit to large projects.

The company started work in August on a 850-home development at Crindledyke, to the north of Carlisle.

It also has a planning application in the pipeline for 300 homes at Blackwell, to the south city, and recently tabled proposals for between 100 and 150 homes on the site of Walton’s market garden in Dalston.

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