Lapland UK is keen to make a number of changes to how it operates in the coming years – but the proposals have left some people feeling less than celebratory.
The main seasonal destination – which attracts visitors from across the UK during the Christmas season – wants to change its current building permit agreement with the Bracknell Forest Council.
This includes changing the permitted hours of operation and the length of time the attraction occupies the Crown Forest Estate site, known as Whitmoor Bog on Swinley Road in Ascot.
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The event currently takes place annually for three months, between November 15 and January 15 (with a Christmas break in the middle).
The proposed changes, including moving the dates from November 1 to January 15 inclusive, although a report to council indicated that it was “unlikely” that the site would be ready by November 10 at the earliest and that the date the oldest was for “administrative simplicity”.
Lapland UK is also keen to have the option to start settling at the site a week earlier and dismantle a week later than currently.
This would change the new dates from October 1 and January 31 to September 23 and February 8.
By getting site access rights earlier, Lapland UK hopes to prepare the site for construction crews to arrive a week later to start building the village.
This would include building âtemporary structuresâ earlier.
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Why does UK Lapland want to make the changes?
Lapland UK says experience during the coronavirus pandemic has shown the need for “flexibility” and to adapt to changes in public demand.
The attraction wants to reduce set-up challenges, which include recruiting and training staff before the site is ready.
A report submitted to the Bracknell Forest Council also mentions the problems organizers face with inclement weather conditions and want to reduce the need to work late at night.
He says: “This was particularly evident in January 2020 when, in order to meet the current restrictions, more heavy machinery had to be used, which resulted in the need for more reclamation work.
âA little extra time should, subject to the most extreme weather conditions, ensure that the site can be set up, dismantled and rehabilitated with minimal soil disturbance. It would also reduce the need to work late at night.
“LUK is requesting access rights for only a week earlier and a week later than what is currently allowed.
“There is no certainty that either option would be exercised. If LUK were to enter the site a week earlier, it would be in order to prepare the site for the construction crews to arrive a week. later to start building the village. “
In addition, UK Lapland offers to change its authorized opening hours and to “relax” certain authorized activities outside of opening hours.
Currently, visiting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The site opens 30 minutes before the first visit and closes at 11 p.m.
However, they want the tours to start at 8 a.m. and the last visit of the day to start at 7 p.m.
While activity at the site is not normally permitted until 8 a.m., British Lapland wants it to be allowed from 6 a.m. for “security, replenishment or basic maintenance of routine ‘- which excludes construction work.
The report adds: âThe proposal would allow essential overnight maintenance as well as security. customers.
“Some of the essential maintenance, including restocking inventory, can only be undertaken after the site is closed to the public.”
Lapland UK says its experience with the Covid-19 pandemic has shown it can operate the site without any negative impact on the surroundings.
No! Ho! Ho! – Objections raised by some residents nearby
Concerns were raised by some people living in the area, and a number of objections were filed.
A total of 17 letters of representation were received from people expressing concerns about the environment, noise and safety.
Those who have written to the council are concerned about the long-term impact on forests and wildlife, as well as “excessive noise and disturbance” resulting from the erection and dismantling of structures.
Further concerns were raised regarding road safety and unwanted disruption from traffic and large vehicles entering the site.
Although the land is in the domain of the Crown, objections were also raised regarding the restriction of public access to the forest during the event.
Lapland UK’s application will be discussed at the Bracknell Forest Council Planning Advisory Committee due to the number of objections received – with planning officers recommending approval of the project.
The meeting will take place on Thursday August 19 at 6.30 p.m.
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