A THREE-week long public inquiry into whether a huge water park resort should be built in a village near Bicester has come to a close.

The multi-million pound proposal put forward by US firm Great Wolf Resorts (GWR) includes a 498-room hotel and would sit on an 18.6-hectare site in Chesterton.

ALSO READ: Residents question water park resort's drainage plan

Experts were cross examined about different elements of the plan at the appeal hearing which was live-streamed on YouTube, such as design, transport, ecology and the impact on Bicester Golf Club.

Oxford Mail: The Great Wolf Lodge planning appeal hearing started on Tuesday and is live streamed on YouTube at 10am.

Cherwell District Council says it could be a few months before planning inspector George Baird comes to a decision.

Here are some of the things that were said:

Details under scrutiny

Under cross examination, many details emerged about GWR's proposed resort.

For example, because many of the rooms in the proposed hotel have six and eight beds, its true capacity would be more than 3,000 guests a night rather than the 2,250 that GWR claimed.

Richard Waddell, under cross examination by Sasha White QC who represented the parishes against GWR, agreed that the size of the building and car parking would have a negative impact on landscape character.

However in Mr. Waddell’s view, additional planting on the site would be sufficient to mitigate this impact.

Ecologist Dominic Woodfield gave his analysis of GWR’s proposals to offset the impact the resort will have on biodiversity and described them as 'fanciful'.

Parking and shuttle bus plan

It also emerged that GWR had applied for much less parking space than the complex would require as according to traffic expert Rupert Lyons it would need 1,400 spaces, not the 900 planned.

Mr Lyons also described GWR's shuttle bus service as 'really vague' and said it was unlikely people would travel by train and bus to the resort.

Villagers have their say

Residents, including 12-year-old Jack Martin, told the Inspector why they opposed the plan in a session which was watched by more than 2,000 people.

People had major concerns about the impact it would have on the environment.

Oxford Mail:

Residents who were worried about how the resort would effect flooding problems in Chesterton and neighbouring villages quizzed a drainage expert about the project.

Chartered engineer Richard Bettridge said he was 'confident' with the drainage system.

Closing speech

In his closing speech last Friday Mr White accused GWR of being 'tone deaf to the real and understandable concerns of the local population’ and criticised the company for adopting a 'dismissive attitude', and for being ‘patronising’ to local residents.

James Strachan QC, who represented GWR, told the inspector in his closing speech: "If the Bicester area, Cherwell and the country are going to recover and thrive, it's precisely this sort of sustainable investment in the area in the right location we say would deliver huge opportunities."

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