THE planning appeal hearing for a water park resort which was refused by Cherwell District Council last year will be live streamed on YouTube next month.

The multi-million pound project put forward by US firm Great Wolf Resorts includes a 498-room hotel and would sit on an18.6-hectare site in Chesterton near Bicester.

ALSO READ: Video of what massive US water park, Great Wolf Lodge could look like

Its appeal hearing on February 9 will be held online and is scheduled to last four weeks, including a break on the third week, due to unavailability of some of the participants.

A final decision is expected two or three months after the inquiry ends.

Campaign group Stop the Wolf has not only gained new supporters, but managed to raise nearly £80,000 to fight against the resort plans.

Oxford Mail:

Huge fundraising efforts from villagers, crowdfunding, group donations and numerous local events have helped the group reach the figure.

Fundraisers included a popular local raffle, a 200 club, Christmas wreaths and an online auction – which were all organised in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

David Pheasey, head of fundraising for Stop the Wolf, said: "A huge number of people have really dug deep to raise these funds at a very trying time when many have real financial anxieties due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ALSO READ: Chesterton residents say Great Wolf Lodge will 'decimate' village

"People from a wide range of backgrounds and ages have all been incredibly generous, which just shows how important this issue is for so many local people."

The money raised will fund legal representation led by planning QC Sasha White and other consultants at the appeal hearing.

A petition that was set up has now attracted more than 2,150 signatures and 34 parishes have joined Parishes Against the Wolf (PAW), an alliance of parishes formed to present a united front against the proposals.

Diane Bohm, chair of Weston-on-the-Green parish council and PAW, said: "Villages in the area have been overwhelmingly supportive of the objection to the Great Wolf Appeal. By grouping together in this collaborative way we found a voice that is stronger than if each village stood alone.

"Perhaps we have found a way to be heard."

The campaign is supported by Friends of the Earth and countryside charity CPRE, which is also providing funds and expertise.

ALSO READ: MP backs campaigners' fight against Great Wolf Lodge resort plan appeal

The length of the inquiry and the number of witnesses now being called means that costs have risen, leaving campaigners with further funds to raise.

Caroline Twiddy chair of Stop the Wolf said: "What we have achieved together in such a short amount of time is an incredible testimony to local spirit - everyone has pulled together to raise money, put up banners and posters and write letters despite all the challenges of coronavirus and lockdown.

"It’s been both humbling and inspiring how many people have come together to fight this proposal."

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