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By Kevin Unitt Wednesday 28 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 11:02
THE multi-million pound masterplan to turn Stoneleigh Park into a science and rural centre of excellence has passed a major final hurdle and work could begin early in the new year.
The project by LaSalle Investment Management – which could eventually cost up to £50 million in total - would create 1,500 new jobs over the next 15 years.
Planning permission was given the green light by Warwick District Council back in September, subject only to the approval of the highways authority, which has this week confirmed its support.
Development on the 250-acre site will see more than 60,000 square feet of redundant buildings demolished to make way for a new visitors' centre, expanded cafe, new modern offices and a new equine zone which transforms the park's facilities for horses and riders.
Overall the floor space across the park would rise by nearly a quarter as the park incorporates a new UK headquarters for dairy equipment specialist GEA Farm Technologies, a new headquarters building for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, and a new horse therapy centre.
Showground events would continue under the plan, as well as historic links with farming and education groups.
Colin Hooper, Stoneleigh Park Estates director, said: “We have spent a great deal of time in devising this masterplan to bring the sort of development we believe Stoneleigh warrants.
“It has so many things in its favour – location, expertise, tradition, but it has needed investment to make it realise that potential.
“We are looking forward to starting the work in the New Year.
“This decision really does mark the beginning of a new era for Stoneleigh Park.”
Improvements to the site access will be one of the first priorities with work starting on the North Gate entrance in the spring. This will involve the widening of the bridge over the River Avon and new junction work.
When that is completed work will start on the B4113 Stoneleigh to Leamington Road, where a new roundabout at the main entrance to the park will be installed. Both schemes are designed to improve access to the site and safety on the local road network.
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