Alton Towers founder John Broome eyes 'six-star resort' in Cornwall

Broome hopes to “upgrade” Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park to make it 'part of a 300-acre world-class resort'

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The Independent Online

The man who made Alton Towers Britain’s biggest theme park and tried to turn Battersea Power Station into a mini-Las Vegas has confirmed he plans to transform a Cornish adventure park into “the UK’s first six-star resort”.

John Broome hopes to “upgrade” Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park – billed as “Cornwall’s biggest day out” with roller-coaster and two meerkats in its “meerkat magic” section – to make it “part of a 300-acre world-class resort”.

As well as the adventure park at Tredinnick, Mr Broome has bought 200 acres of neighbouring farmland, where he plans to build up to 236 villas, log cabins and tree houses, plus a 1.5-acre heated “sub-tropical zone” with vegetation and a larger-than-Olympic-sized swimming pool.

He hopes his development will create 950 full-time jobs, in a county rated the UK’s poorest region by the EU last year. Mr Broome told the Cornish Guardian: “Cornwall is just crying out for this kind of operation.” His representative John Williams said: “We are trying to develop something not yet available in the UK.”

Mr Williams told The Independent that the complex will become known as the Camel Creek resort, with “all the aspects of a really luxurious resort”.

He added: “It’s going to be a British six-star, rather than something like Dubai. It won’t be about ostentation.  It’s going to be done beautifully. The theme park will be a tiny, tiny part of it.  There will be no new rides, but it will be upgraded to include more covered walkways.”

The acquisition of the adventure park, believed to have been finalised last month, suggests that Mr Broome, 72, still has an appetite for ambitious projects.

When he began his involvement in Alton Towers in 1973, it was the relatively staid former seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury, with gardens and an unremarkable funfair.

Mr Broome began installing a major ride every year. One of the first, the Corkscrew, opened in 1980 as the first British roller-coaster to take riders upside down twice, and helped to double attendance at the Staffordshire attraction from 500,000 in 1979 to more than 1 million a year later.

Mr Broome’s record of turning Alton Towers into one of Europe’s biggest theme parks led many to expect similar success at London’s Battersea Power Station, which he acquired for £1.5m in 1987 after a contest run by the Thatcher government.

Mr Broome wanted to turn the disused power station into a Las Vegas-style “palace of entertainment”.

At one stage, the plans included roller-coasters, waterfall, ice rink and an oceanarium big enough to be explored by mini-submarines.

The anticipated opening time was 21 May 1990 at 2.30pm. Mr Broome advised: “Don’t come at 2.35pm or you’ll miss it.” Instead he discovered the disused power station riddled with asbestos and close to falling down. Costs spiralled from £34m to £240m before Mr Broome could sell the site in February 1993.

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