£50m holiday village plans near Lancaster aim to support new business, get kids back to nature and drive biodiversity

A planning decision on a new eco-friendly holiday destination just south of Lancaster is now just months away.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 16th April 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:16 am
An artist's impression of how Ellel Holiday Village might look.
An artist's impression of how Ellel Holiday Village might look.

As the country is set to embark on a summer of UK holidays, detailed plans have been unveiled for a brand new eco-friendly holiday destination.

Set to be one of the most eco-friendly holiday parks ever built in the UK, the £50m Ellel Holiday Village, proposed to open in 2023, would include a 90-bedroom hotel designed to sit within the landscape, complete with a grass roof and 450 lodges set within both mature and new woodland, alongside canals and wetland walkways.

It would also include a combination of unique visitor attractions ranging from an artisan marketplace to an immersive wildlife centre where woodland walks would combine with 21st Century technology to deliver a state-of-the-art visitor centre.

The artisan marketplace would see artisans encouraged to set up shop and trade their wares. The scheme would scrap traditional rents, and instead allow artisans to pay a percentage of their turnover instead of rent, in an attempt to encourage entrepreneurship in this innovative project.

The bold new initiative is the brainchild of Lancaster-based M Capital Properties Limited and Susie Charles, former Lancaster city councillor and a direct descendent of the Sandeman port dynasty.

The land was once part of the famous Ellel Grange estate, the former home of the Sandeman family.

A commitment to plant more than 30,000 trees and the achievement of a 15 per cent biodiversity net gain is a massive step forward in moving the area to a carbon neutral area, and potentially a national first, as to date this has never been achieved in a local planning application.

Rather than destroying the landscape the local company behind the project is committed to building new micro communities and forming new habitats in which wildlife can be encouraged to thrive.

These habitats are resilient in the face of climate change as well as combating climate change by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away in the soil.

Once complete, Ellel Holiday Village, complete with both retained and restored woodland as well as wetlands and grasslands, would have the potential to absorb and store a staggering amount of atmospheric carbon each year.

Visitors would move around the site on electric buggies and bikes, in a further aim to reduce carbon emissions.

According to experts Hatch Regeneris, the proposed site wiould generate around £28m of additional revenue for the local area and create 670 jobs, making it one of the most important developments and job creation initiatives the area has seen in a long time.

Project director Andrew Stanyon said: “We have set about to fulfil a dream, a dream to build an eco-friendly legacy we can be proud of for generations to come.”

“Everyone is aware we are facing a climate emergency, and unless we take action now we will ultimately destroy our wonderful planet.

"It’s no longer enough for new developments just to reduce carbon emissions, we also need to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Nature is our greatest ally in locking carbon away and protecting our climate.

"‘Rewilding’, planting woodlands, wetlands and encouraging wildlife, can help nature recover on a massive scale. Done right it can help significantly reduce our carbon footprint, and help shape a better future for people.”

“The vision of Ellel Holiday Village has nature conservation at its heart. Guests will be guided through walkways, and wetlands, they will experience birds, mammals, butterflies , beetles, reptiles, plants and fungi in a setting that not only feels natural, but wild and dynamic.”

“Our team of experts have been working on this dream for the last five years. This development not only has the ability to create jobs, and prosperity for the area, it also the opportunity to become a game changer, in terms of biodiversification, and how we holiday.

"This is a chance for Lancaster to put itself on the global map, to become leaders in showing the World how working with nature we can deliver economic growth, and job creation, whilst enhancing the area, and the lives of the people who work and play within it.”

A decision on the planning permission is expected in August.