THE OWNERS of Warwick Castle are pushing forward with a bid to build lodges and tree houses at the historic attraction.
Merlin Entertainment Ltd has appealed against Warwick District Council’s rejection of the plans at the end of last year.
A Public Inquiry, at a date to be set, will hear the appeal over the proposals to build a total of 20 semi-detached lodges and five tree houses, together with associated works, on the Foxes Study area across the river from the castle.
The particular area already plays host to ‘glamping’ after permission was granted for 41 luxury camping tents to be sited there from May until the end of September for the next three summers. Merlin is also now appealing to be allowed to run glamping permanently during the summer months..
The plans have not gone down well with residents living next to the 1,000-year-old castle who have accused castle bosses
of turning it into a ‘theme park’.
A resident in Stuart Close said: “This is not Alton Towers, an old house in land to be exploited. It’s not Legoland. It is England’s premier medieval castle.
“Granting permission for glamping was the first step in turning this historic heritage site into a theme park.”
And the Warwick Society has also hit out at the plans.
Society chairman James Mackay said: “Foxes Study is an integral part of the Castle Park and grounds, no less significant than every other element of the buildings and landscape of national significance.”
Merlin have claimed the plans would provide a major boost for the town’s economy.
The medieval-themed glamping experience cost £200 per tent per night, and Merlin hope to attract some 14,000 overnight visitors during the three year licence, which bosses predict could generate as much as £50 million for the local economy.