Olive branch on offer to leisure scheme firm

An Active Lifestyle Resort is being built on an 800-acre reclaimed former surface mine site near Widdrington' Sketch of the proposed snowpark.
An Active Lifestyle Resort is being built on an 800-acre reclaimed former surface mine site near Widdrington' Sketch of the proposed snowpark.
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Critics of a business that has adopted local villagers’ major tourism plans as its own are holding out an olive branch.

Widdrington Regeneration Partnership felt snubbed when Active Leisure launched the project last month without the people who had come up with the idea of a huge recreation and woodland complex on reclaimed opencast land.

Local parish councils were doubly disappointed when the company backed Peel Energy’s plan for wind turbines on the site, which they opposed.

But on Monday, East Chevington parish councillors decided to invite Active Leisure to a meeting so villagers can work with the company that is building their dream.

Chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said the partnership had worked hard for more than 10 years on the concept of the leisure and tourism centre in a forest, but now members were being cast aside.

Coun Fred Thurgood said Active Leisure did not even reply to correspondence from the partnership. “They went to the Press and said they had been working on it for seven years and totally ignored the work WRP had done for 11 years.”

County councillor Glen Sanderson said companies had to be careful to take local people with them, and perhaps Active Leisure had more work to do on that.