Kent

Father Christmas World plans rejected

Christmas decoration Image copyright PA
Image caption The firm behind the plans said anyone who had bought tickets in advance would get a refund

Plans for a Christmas tourist attraction in a Kent town have been turned down by the local authority.

Tunbridge Wells councillors unanimously rejected the proposals for Father Christmas World in Southborough, which would have created about 200 jobs.

They cited traffic congestion and a lack of convincing economic benefits.

Markerstudy Leisure, the firm behind the plans, said anyone who had bought tickets in advance would get a refund.

The attraction, which would have included life-sized animatronic polar bears and elves, a walk-in snow globe, a giant upside-down Christmas tree, shops, a Santa Express train and Christmas lights from Southborough to The Pantiles, was planned for the grounds of the Salomons Estate.

Those in favour of the scheme said it would bring about economic benefits and be a "fun and festive social occasion".

'Under review'

Opponents said the only way to get there was by car, which would have a negative effect on the area.

Planning committee chairman Julia Soyke said: "All of us feel for Markerstudy, we would very much like them to continue thinking how they could put together an application which would help them to get permission.

"I would very much welcome that."

A spokesman from Markerstudy Leisure said: "The whole situation is under review and further announcements will be made in due course."

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