Full planning consent has been approved for a £270m regional leisure destination in Swindon. Phase 1 of the North Star Village, by SevenCapital, received the go ahead less than 17 months after the leading UK developer took the reins of this much-anticipated project.
Set to have a game-changing effect on Swindon and the surrounding area, the North Star Village complex will feature circa 500,000 sq ft of retail, dining and leisure, including one of the UK’s largest ski and snow centres, with two real snow indoor ski slopes. It will also house a 13-screen cinema, including Europe’s largest IMAX screen, along with a 19-lane bowling alley and circa 27,000 sq ft of trampolining.
Once operational, the development is expected to attract an annual footfall of 3.3m people, with a projected catchment area of 10m people reaching into Wales, the South-East and South-West of the country.
Paying testament to the demand and confidence for the project, SevenCapital has already cemented an agreement with a major funder and secured 50% pre-lets ahead of planning consent. Confirmed operators for the North Star Village include The Snow Centre, Empire Cinemas, Hollywood Bowl and top mountain sports retailer Ellis Brigham.
Ian Brown, Managing Director for The Snow Centre, one of the first operators to agree a pre-let with North Star Village, said: “We are delighted to be able to open a second real snow indoor slope and look forward to building on the success we’ve seen at our existing centre in Hemel Hempstead. A few opportunities for new ski facilities have presented themselves over the last few years, but for various reasons have not progressed beyond ideas. Swindon is a great location and we are thrilled that SevenCapital have been able to make this a reality.”
Adding to Ian’s comments, 2x Olympic Snowboarder Jamie Nicholls, who was present in support of the development at this evening’s planning meeting added: “This is an amazing opportunity for even more people to get into snow sports. It will give those living in the South West of England; Swindon, Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and beyond the chance to try skiing or snowboarding. I can’t wait to hit the slopes in Swindon with the next generation of snow sports talent.”
John Watkins, director at SevenCapital said: “We’re thrilled with the decision to grant full planning approval for the North Star Village. Since taking on the project in July 2017 the team has worked tirelessly to deliver on our promises to submit plans for an exciting regional leisure and retail destination that Swindon and the wider UK will benefit from significantly.
“We have delivered on all our planning promises and are now looking forward to getting on site and bringing those plans to life.”
Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, said: “This ski slope has been a vision for Swindon for over six years and we are now in the home straight. There has been a tremendous amount of effort going on behind the scenes to resolve the outstanding problems and we are now in a strong position to move forward.
“Last week, SevenCapital announced they had secured the money needed to build the North Star leisure complex and the Planning Committee was the final hurdle.
“Every resident will be praying that SevenCapital start construction as soon as possible because the pressure is now really on to deliver visible progress.”
With funding in place, SevenCapital hopes to be on site in May 2019 and expects the build to take a little under two years.