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Plans to transform Santa’s grotto at Center Parcs Elveden Forest holiday village, near Brandon, Thetford and Mildenhall

Christmas may be 10 months away, but plans are already afoot for the festive season at a holiday village in Elveden, near Thetford, Brandon and Mildenhall.

Center Parcs has submitted plans which would see its Santa’s grotto extended and a new Christmas shop/rangers’ hut built, alongside proposals for a buggy store, singing reindeer shelter, temporary food and beverage kiosk, temporary outdoor seating teepee area and storage building.

West Suffolk Council planners are considering the proposals.

Plans have been submitted for the Santa's grotto at Center Parcs. Picture: Google Streetview
Plans have been submitted for the Santa's grotto at Center Parcs. Picture: Google Streetview

Documents show the new grotto would include a waiting area, meet and greet area, five rooms for Santas, a dressing area, photo collection area, staff room and facilities and gift storage area.

A design and access statement submitted to West Suffolk Council said the existing buildings were no longer fit for purpose and the grotto required a ‘brand uplift’ to align with grottos at other Center Parcs at Sherwood and Longford Forest.

The statement said: “The grotto will be used to house Santa during the festive period, where he will meet children from holidaying families. The rangers’ hut will provide a Christmas shop during the festive period, which will then be converted to a rangers’ hut for the remainder of the year, housing craft activities for guests.”

Center Parcs, at Elveden. Picture: Submitted
Center Parcs, at Elveden. Picture: Submitted

The overall layout is based on a similar project at Sherwood Center Parcs, creating a ‘meandering toadstool walk pathway into the experience’, said the design and access statement.

It added: “All facilities are located to minimise the effect on the proposals on trees and to allow visibility of each facility from entry into the central area. This is important for wayfinding, atmosphere during the festive season and feeling of enclosure within the ‘experience’. An existing path to the east will be adapted to lead towards an extended light trail, with guests passing a singing reindeer shelter experience along the way

“The proposal will enhance the quality of guest experience, particularly during the important festive period, and will contribute to assisting Center Parcs in maintaining its position in the leisure market.”

The proposals include three temporary buildings – the teepee, kiosk and storage hut – which would only be in place between November and February each year.

Tres lost through the project would be compensated on site.