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Astbury Hall holiday venue plans could bring 330 jobs

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | Business | Published:

The redevelopment of a golf course near Bridgnorth as a "world class" leisure venue, could create as many as 330 jobs in the surrounding area according to experts.

How the holiday lodges would look under the plans

Consultants asked to assess the economic effect of plans to redevelop the Astbury Estate have argued that the knock-on impact of the proposal could lead to hundreds of new jobs.

The plans for the redevelopment of the site have been submitted to Shropshire Council by FCFM, which bought the estate earlier this year.

The estate, which includes a top class 18-hole golf course, was owned by former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing, but was put up for sale last year after four of his businesses went into administration.

KK Downing at Astbury Hall

An economic assessment prepared as part of the planning application by consultants Bidwells argues that the development will lead to more than £15 million additional investment in the the area.

The report states: "During construction, the proposed development is anticipated to result in investment worth approximately £8.5m, supporting approximately 185 full time equivalent jobs in the county.

"During operation, the proposed development is anticipated to support jobs in the county through three mechanisms: 56 full time equivalent jobs through direct employment, which equates to £2.4m in annual investment; £9.8m through visitor expenditure, which could support approximately 210 full time equivalent jobs; £3m though expenditure of supplies and services, which could support approximately 65 full time equivalent jobs.

The planned main complex entrance at Astbury Hall

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"Overall therefore the proposed development will generate the equivalent of £15.2m of net additional annual investment, supporting approximately 331 net additional full time equivalent jobs."

It is estimated that the development will also create 120 jobs, directly at the estate.

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As part of the plans, FCFM also wants to offer minibus transport for key workers to local villages in an effort to increase the local employment opportunities.

Last week Bridgnorth's Chamber of Commerce offered its support to the scheme.

In a letter to Shropshire Council Steve Robbins, the group's chairman, said the estimated £3.5million income generated by the estate would help the area.

The Astbury Hall estate

He said: "Having had a meeting with the developers regarding the above planning applications, and subsequently having discussed this proposed development at a meeting of the executive, Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce would like to advise Shropshire Council it supports the application.

"The development will have a positive effect on tourism generally in the area, and the chamber believes this will be beneficial to its members and other businesses in Bridgnorth, providing a much needed boost to the local economy. The developers advise they believe £3.5 million per annum will be added to the economy in the area, the chamber considers this will have a substantial impact."

The plans for the site will see 275 lodges built, along with a leisure and spa building, two swimming pools, a farm shop, a function room, restaurant and spa, an outdoor lido pool, tennis courts, bowling greens, a new nine-hole golf course, and an 18-hole putting green.

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