DEVELOPERS behind a major leisure complex in Ellesmere have revealed they could be seeking planning permission by the beginning of next year.
Planning consultant Nigel Thorns told members of the town council on Monday night that he hopes his company, Nigel Thorns Planning Consultancy, can submit their application once Shropshire Council’s Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) plan is signed off.
The extensive complex at Ellesmere Wharf would include a 120-bedroom hotel, featuring a restaurant, lounge and bar areas, plus a 200-berth boating marina, leisure spa with a swimming pool, fitness suite, indoor sports courts and bowling green, and a garden centre.
Mr Thorns also hopes the development will assist with Ellesmere’s lack of housing space.
He said: “The brakes were put on the planning application and emphasis put on SAMDev.
“However, our current plan was submitted [as part of SAMDev] a fortnight ago.
“We think it is deliverable; there is one owner [of the land] and they want to develop the land for that purpose.
“And if we are promoted as the preferred site in Ellesmere, the final plans with go through in early 2014.”
Mr Thorns added: “We feel that this is the right decision for the growth of Ellesmere and has benefits for the people too.”
Mayor of Ellesmere, Councillor Alan Clarke, said the town council were in support of the plans for several reasons, including the proposed housing development.
He commented: “There have been concerns about other sites in the town and rather than upset the balance with the lay of the land, I personally think that it would make sense that 220 houses are consolidated into one area because obviously the infrastructure is concentrated and the amenities are concentrated.
“I cannot think of a single negative reason for this not going through.
“For many, many years we have wanted people to visit, not for the day but for the week and the fortnight and with this going on here it’s guaranteed that that would happen,” he added.
But despite the support from the council as a whole, one member, Ian Ward, voiced his objection to the plans due to over-development of the wharf, the negative impact on local businesses and the damage it may have on the “character” of the town.
Despite being in favour of the additional housing, a statement read out on Cllr Ward’s behalf, warned that the scheme was a “dé jà vu moment” after the landowner put forward a similar development for the land several years ago, adding: “The final development turned out very different and they are now trying to seduce the community with grand plans.”