Decision due on Robin Hood visitor attraction

Sherwood Forest visitors centre.
Sherwood Forest visitors centre.

THE long-awaited transformation of Sherwood Forest will move a step closer on Wednesday (17th) with confirmation of the successful bidder for the project.

Nottinghamshire County Council has been considering two proposals for a new visitor attraction at the world-famous Robin Hood site and will seek approval from the policy committee on its preferred choice.

Both bidders are anonymous at this stage and no plans will be made public until the 10--day formal procurement process has been completed.

The new operator will design, fund, build and manage a new visitor centre attraction, which hopes to boost tourism by up to 150,000 visitors a year.

As previously reported in Chad, plans for a tree-themed design fell through after the project failed to win support from the Big Lottery Fund.

Last year, the county council decided to shelve the development until 2014 due to funding cuts.

The brief for the project is to create ‘a new visitor attraction which promotes and enhances the reputation of Sherwood Forest, the legend of Robin Hood and the broader history and heritage of Nottinghamshire’.

It will also create new jobs , boost local businesses and the wider local economy.

Coun John Cottee, chairman of the county council’s culture committee said: “Many months have already been spent on these proposals to reach this point which we hope will not only help us open a new attraction to captivate and enthuse visitors, but also to help preserve the natural ecology of Sherwood Forest and be a major boost for tourism and job creation locally.”

Members of the policy committee will be asked to approve the council’s recommendation at County Hall tomorrow.

Confirmation of the successful bidder means the council will then enter into legal agreements for them to manage the new development.

Coun Cottee added: “I know that there are a lot of people who are waiting to find out what will be happening at Sherwood and I’d like to reassure people that as soon as we have some information to share - we will.

“It’s worth adding that whatever the successful bidder designs, it will be subject to the usual consultation and planning processes.”

Celia Brooks, chairman of Edwinstowe Parish Council, thinks moving the centre closer to the village will benefit local businesses.

She said: “We need the right sort of attraction. We don’t want Disneyland.

“We are not worried about it being closer to the village as it may improve business.

“Improvements on the access road will need to be made.”