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Center Parcs refused fifth site

06 July 2006

Leisure resort operator Center Parcs has failed in its bid to build a fifth UK site in Warren Wood, Bedfordshire.

The company's planning application, already delayed, was refused by the Mid Bedfordshire District Council Development Control Committee last night (5 July).

Centre Parcs had submitted a plan to build a £160m, 700 chalet holiday village on a site in Warren Wood, near Woburn, which is part of the Duke of Bedford's estate.

Although the viability report into the project concluded it would be beneficial to the local economy, it also concluded the proposals did not go far enough to mitigate damage to the local environment.

Councillors were also concerned the project could breach both national and local planning policy.

In the end, the committee's chairman Dennis Gale had to cast the deciding vote to end the deadlock amongst the committee's members.

Center Parcs is now expected to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, in the hope of getting the decision overturned.

American investment group Blackstone is due to complete its £265m takeover of Center Parcs next week.

Center Parcs chief executive officer, Martin Dalby, said: "We are obviously very disappointed with tonight's decision, particularly as the councillors were split 50/50 and the chairman voted again and against us. We will now have to consider our options. However we want to thank the numerous supporters and well wishers who want Center Parcs to come to Mid Bedfordshire."

Center Parcs leaves London Stock Exchange as part of turnover >>

Blackstone buys Center Parcs' UK properties >>

Center Parcs agrees to Blackstone bid >>

By Alix Young

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