The first Center Parcs holiday village in the United Kingdom was opened in July 1987 and named Sherwood Forest. It is located near Ollerton and Boughton in Nottinghamshire. Two years later a second village was added, at Elveden Forest, near Brandon, Suffolk.
In 1994, Center Parcs opened its third UK village, called Longleat Forest near Warminster in Wiltshire. The village has fewer lodges than Elveden Forest and Sherwood Forest due to the steep topography of the site.
In 2001, Center Parcs took over a holiday park with a similar set-up near Penrith in Cumbria which had originally opened in 1997 under the name Oasis Lakeland Holiday Village. It was rebranded as Center Parcs Oasis Whinfell Forest but in 2006 the 'Oasis' was dropped from the name and it is now called Whinfell Forest. The set up at Whinfell is slightly different in that the style of accommodation is more akin to Scandinavian-style lodges, the main centre of the village is under cover, and there is no country club like at Elveden Forest and Sherwood Forest.
In April 2002, the central plaza and sports centre at Elveden Forest was destroyed by fire. One member of staff was treated for smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries. In the summer of 2003, after extensive re-building which saw the plaza replaced with a new open village square, Elveden Forest reopened. Whilst it was closed, the rest of the village was also improved including the refurbishment of the country club and the addition of a spa and new three- and four-bedroom lodges.
In December 2004, Center Parcs announced that it had identified a location for its fifth site, at Warren Wood in Bedfordshire. Despite the land being designated as greenbelt, the company sought planning permission and had already completed the signing of a lease on the land from its owner, the Duke of Bedford. The project was expected to cost approximately £160 million, including the construction of accommodation, indoor and outdoor facilities, the swimming complex, restaurants and a spa. It was anticipated that, given planning permission, the project would take between three and four years to complete.
In July 2006, Bedfordshire District Council turned down Center Parcs' application for planning approval, leading the company to lodge an appeal against the decision later that year. In September 2007 the council's decision was overturned by the government, and outline planning permission for the site was granted. In November 2010 Center Parcs gained full approval for the plans of the village including designs of facilities, restaurants, shops and accommodation and in 2012 secured £250 million of investment to built the new resort, to be known as Woburn Forest. It will be the smallest UK Center Parcs village and is due to open in spring 2014.
Center Parcs Woburn Forest is the fifth Center Parcs Village in the UK. The new Village is set within 362 acres of forest in Bedfordshire and builds on 27 years of experience and commitment to providing great family breaks. It is home to Center Parcs’ largest Subtropical Swimming Paradise, along with a state-of-the-art Aqua Sana spa, 625 lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel, six Spa Suites and a host of restaurants, shops and more than 100 activities to suit all interests and ages.
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