The first glimpse of how the fifth Center Parcs holiday resort is set to look was revealed this week.
This newspaper was taken around 350-acre site at Millbrook called Woburn Forest on Monday to see how work is progressing, just months after construction began.
The holiday resort company’s fifth, and most likely, final leisure complex is set to boast 625 self-catering lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel, a unique World Of Spa, sports plaza, watersports, a sub-tropical swimming paradise, biking area, and various shops and restaurants.
Chief executive Martin Dalby said: “We are in week 30 of a 97-week programme, which is on schedule, if not a little bit ahead, so it is all really exciting.
“We first located this site back in early 2005, so it has been an eight-year journey to get to this stage, and in 18 months we will be open to the public.
“At the moment we have 300 construction workers on site, but in the peak of summer next year there will be about 1,200 local construction workers. And once the park is open we will have 1,500 jobs for local people, which will be great for the community and the economy.”
He added: “I think this park will be superb for Bedfordshire, It will be an iconic tourism destination. It will create a destination for people to come through Bedfordshire.
It will be great for tourism, great for the area and the whole region.”
The first stop on our site tour was the spa, which is set to include 22 treatment rooms and an outside infinity pool to offer a thermal experience to holiday makers.
Director of the Woburn Forest development Don Camilleri said: “The World Of Spa is something we have in all of our resorts, it’s not just your everyday spa it is very unique. It’s going to be a 3,000-sq m spa
“This project has been in the planning stages for eight years now, so it’s really exiting going round the site and seeing it start to take shape. If you look at the map you can see all the outer shapes starting to form.
“During the planning permission stage there was a point where we did actually start to wonder if it was going to go ahead at all. It was quite a worrying time for us all because there was a lot of money that had gone into it at that point.”
Mr Camilleri, who has led all five Center Parcs holiday resorts in the UK, added that one of the firm’s main aims was to find a location in the London zone.
We were then shown to the sports plaza, which is set to include a sandy beach that will accommodate up to 100 people, a kiosk where people can hire out sports equipment, a pancake house, and two outdoor activity zones for trekking and biking,
Don added: “This whole area will be really exciting, it’s going to be fantastic for people, there is going to be a lovely picnic area.”
And we were then shown to what will be the sub-tropical swiming paradise and the village square.
The resort is set to open in April 2014.