confirmed today it will start construction on its fifth village at Woburn
in Bedfordshire after its owner, Blackstone, committed to invest around £100 million of new cash equity into the business and lending was secured from RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group. The holiday
company said the investment would create 1500 new jobs and an “exemplary sustainable tourism
“The new village is going to be designed to the highest energy efficiency
and sustainability standards,” Chris Brooks, Center Parcs sustainability manager toldGreenWise
. “Woburn Forest will be an exemplary sustainable tourism
destination. We are investing in energy efficiency and renewable
technologies to achieve our aim of consuming 25 per cent less energy than the average existing village.”
Woburn Forest, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2014, will comprise of 625 low carbon forest lodges and a 75-bed hotel and spa. Other facilities will include indoor and outdoor sports facilities, restaurants, retail units, a lake and swimming pool.
Energy efficiency and renewable technologies will play a big part in the development and will include a biomass-powered district heating system and solar panels, Brooks said.
Construction on the new village is due to commence within the next few months, providing work for 1200 contractors.
“I am delighted to be moving ahead with the construction of our new site at Woburn, which will bring significant benefits for both our guests and the wider economy,” Martin Dalby, chief executive of Center Parcs, said. “This is our 25th year of operation and Center Parcs is trading strongly, with occupancy rates of around 97 per cent throughout 2011 and positive forward booking trends for 2012, as guests continue to respond positively to the high quality holiday experience we offer.”
Carbon reduction targets
Center Parcs, which welcomed 1.6 million visitors to its four existing villages last year, has committed to a carbon reduction target of 20 per cent by 2020 from a 2009-10 baseline. Last year, it achieved a 1.9 per cent reduction and this year it is aiming for a four per cent cut.
The holiday park group was ranked joint number one in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Performance League Table
, published for the first time last year. The league table ranks companies and organisations on their efforts to improve energy efficiency.