Councillors have approved major redevelopment plans at LEGOLAND Windsor, despite reports of an “intrusive” impact on the environment, this from the BBC….

The Berkshire theme park had submitted a hybrid application, including a large holiday village and three new rides.

The plans – some on green belt land – had been recommended for refusal, but councillors on Thursday decided there were “exceptional circumstances”.

A LEGOLAND spokeswoman said the resort was “delighted” with the decision.

The theme park submitted eight different applications including a 43ft (13m) high indoor ride, two new “fairground-style” rides and a 450-unit expansion of its holiday accommodation – including lodges and rustic barrel-shaped rooms.

A planning report by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead recommended that councillors refuse the application, citing the visitor accommodation plan on green belt land was “inappropriate” and would “result in a significant visual intrusion”.

Twenty-six letters objecting to the application primarily highlighted concerns over extra traffic and noise pollution.

Councillors on the Borough Wide Development Management panel spent two hours debating the application, concluding that the resort’s contribution to the local economy and tourism outweighed any harm to the green belt.

The decision was approved but is subject to conditions that have been delegated to the head of planning at the council.

It is also standard to refer any decision to build on green belt land to the secretary of state for communities for final consent.

A LEGOLAND spokeswoman said: “We want to thank all the residents, staff and local businesses who have supported us on this journey over the past two years.

“With their input and those of councillors last night we can deliver a tourism legacy for Windsor which we can all be proud of.”

The development is expected to cost £95m, and Legoland estimate the new holiday village will create an additional visitor spend of £27.3m per year.