Great Horkesley: Tourism experts react to park plans refusal

Kate Bunting and her cousin Tom Bunting, both junior partners at Bunting and Sons

Kate Bunting and her cousin Tom Bunting, both junior partners at Bunting and Sons - Credit: Archant

IN the week Visit Essex announced plans to promote the county as a destination for rural short breaks, what constitutes a tourism attraction was at the centre of the debate about the Horkesley Park proposals.

Supporting the plans, Keith Brown, chief executive of Visit East Anglia, said the proposed centre chimed with consumers’ “increasing interest and desire for a greater understanding of the natural world, local communities and food production”.

He said: “The visitor centre has been designed by world-class architects and is of extremely high quality.

“We think the business plan is robust and achievable and that the quality of the product certainly meets the current demands of the discerning visitor.”

However, Nigel Chapman, chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB Joint Advisory Committee, said he would rather see tourism projects that were “smaller and more sustainable”.

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He said: “The Dedham Vale is the fourth-smallest AONB is the country and a development of the scale of Horkesley Park would have too much impact.”

“We have supported a company that hires bikes out and have encouraged bed and breakfasts in the area. That’s the scale we think works.”

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