In September of 2016, Chessington World of Adventures Resort submitted their vision of the park’s future to the Royal Kingston Borough Planning office. The plan, which includes several visuals, provides us with a rough outline of what we could expect to see over the next few years.
Below, we summarise what we could be seeing:
- Safari Themed Resort Lodges
- Medium-Sized Family Roller Coaster
- Potentially A Second Roller Coaster / Water Ride Attraction
- Major Enhancements to Explorer Car Park
- Possible Relocation of The Zoo
- Enhancements to Back of House Facilities and Relocation of Base Camp
- Resort Entertainment Centre
- Possible Camp Ground
Whilst these plans are a rough guide, many of the plans look set to see the removal of older attractions. Rides such as Peeking Heights, Toadie’s Crazy Cars and the Carousel are all located in areas marked for redevelopment. These attractions could therefore be removed, relocated or even just rethemed alongside other projects.
Seen as one of the biggest parts of the development plan, Chessington is keen to install a new form of accommodation. The Safari Lodge project would see the installation of up to forty-five highly themed lodges. Made up of 11 ‘Premium Lodges’ and up to ’34 Standard Lodges’. Plans also show a large, themed restaurant and bar, known as the ‘Watering Hole’
The plans detail that a lot of heavy landscaping, thematic planting and animal interactions are seen as the key draw for guests. Offering up a unique form of accommodation at Chessington, with only Alton Towers offering a similar format with it’s Enchanted Village. The plans also outline the possibility of having a giraffe feeding platform for hotel guests.
Nestled in the backs of the Zufari landscape, the lodges would appear to have direct access to the Safari Hotel terrace, and their own reception down a small woodland path.
Two potential concepts for the rollercoasters are currently on display. The first being a straight forward jungle themed family launch coaster experience. Whilst the second shows a possible Sea Monster style theme, similar to that of ‘Krake!’ at Merlin owned Heide Park. This second roller coaster ride could potentially be a water coaster type attraction.
The large unused picnic field adjacent to the Black Buccaneer is currently earmarked as a key site for a rollercoaster development. With plans also indicating that ‘Toadie’s Crazy Cars’ and other areas of Africa could host the second large attraction. However, at the time of publishing, this has changed, with The Rainforest development now taking up this area.
Lastly, an area around the Lodge Gate Entrance Lawns and the site of the Christmas Grottos has been highlighted as a final area for a possible large feature. The installation of at least one rollercoaster is highlighted as a vital move within the plan.
A large portion of the development plan centres on enhancements to the South Car Park. Despite the area being on strict green-belt land, the park is looking into maybe gravelling, or even installing a geogrid style system to the area, to allow for safer driving. Construction of an overflow car park on newly purchased land behind Explorer Glamping is also being considered.
Secondly, in order to ease traffic leading up to the park on the A243 [Leatherhead Road], the plans consider repurposing the Explorer Car Park exit on Fairoak Lane into a second entrance. Diverting traffic from the A3 away from Leatherhead Road, easing congestion around the newly installed traffic light junction. The resort has conducted a full survey into the usage of its car parks as part of this plan.
Relocation of Zoo
Despite only recently remodelling the Trail of the Kings, the long-term development plan states the resort is looking to relocate this area of the Zoo to outside of the current park boundaries. This move would form part of a plan to revitalise the resort’s infrastructure by moving the Staff HQ [named ‘Base Camp’] to the former Trail of the Kings site, improving access around that area, and more importantly, freeing up room in the existing Base Camp.
- The installation of either a soft play centre or a 3D cinema for resort guests is being considered for this building currently.
The demolished Zoo enclosures would be relocated behind Land of the Tiger and Explorer Glamping on some newly purchased land. This would also be adjacent to the possible overflow car park. The plans also infer that a Camping site separate from Explorer Glamping could be set up here.
The Planning Stages
The resort has outlined several phases through which this plan will go through before ground is broken. Each phase taking place over the coming months. Currently, the resort is in a consultation phase, which will then provide feedback from local residents. This is used to make amendments to the plans. Final plans are expected to be submitted to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council in late July. Individual applications for each attraction will begin submission from the start of November 2016. Therefore, none of these developments is expected to open until at least 2017.
The plan outlined here is currently only in its draft stages and is yet to be finalised. Do not take all that is written to be set in stone.