Minister in £5m tourist attraction backing
21 Jan 2020
A major tourist attraction in Northumberland has moved a step closer with £5 million Government funding, the Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has announced.
Minister Berry confirmed work at the Lilidorei Play Village at Alnwick Garden is close to being underway, with construction due to start later this year following significant progress since the Borderlands Growth Deal was signed in July.
The funding, which is dependent on the Lilidorei Project raising private investment, will support the creation of the year-round visitor attraction which will include one of the world’s largest play structures.
The project is expected to attract 169,000 new tourists a year once complete, boosting the local economy and creating 57 new full-time jobs.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “Our £5 million investment in the Lilidorei Play Village demonstrates this Government’s commitment to levelling up every part of the country so everyone has their fair share of the UK’s future prosperity.
“This funding will make the renowned Alnwick Garden a multi-day tourist destination, create vital new jobs in the area and boost economic growth across the region.
“I’m delighted to see first-hand the progress the project team have made to turn these local proposals into a reality for people in the North East and look forward to construction getting underway later this year.”
The Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the project during a visit to Alnwick Garden where he met with local leaders and the Director of the Alnwick Garden Trust Mark Brassell.
He was given a tour of the project site and shown the charity’s detailed plans to convert several acres of the existing gardens into the Lilidorei Play Village.
The Play Village will include a settlement of 30 small, wooden houses in a clearing, together with a 19m high aerial play structure set around three towers, unique to the UK and potentially the biggest in the world. It will also include tunnel slides, play areas, a medieval-style long-hall (capacity of 600) as well as other smaller buildings.
The funding forms part of the Borderlands Growth Deal which was signed by the Northern Powerhouse Minister and the former Secretary of State for Scotland in July 2019, and will be the first of the Borderlands projects to start delivery.
The deal will result in up to £394.5 million being invested into the 5 local authority areas on both sides of the border that make up the Borderlands, accelerating the region’s economic development, creating jobs and encouraging future investment in the area.