AMBITIOUS plans for the world’s first Chinese cultural theme park at Rother Valley has reached a huge milestone.
Rotherham Council has completed the sale agreement and head lease for the Visions of China project to leisure organisation China Vision Ltd and regeneration specialist MCD Developments.
Council chief executive Martin Kimber made the decision about the £100 million scheme under delegated powers.
A spokesman for Rotherham Council confirmed that the authority has entered into agreements with MCD - the preferred bidder for the Visions of China project - on the remainder land adjacent to the Pithouse West site.
The spokesman added: “The agreements for leasing the 153 acres of land formalise arrangements between the authority and MCD, meaning that the company can now move ahead with their plans for this exciting and innovative project.”
“The final details will be considered by members of the council’s cabinet.”
MCD Developments needed the agreement to be signed to allow it to access funding for the project.
The council said deferring the decision to the next cabinet meeting would have too long and risked the developers losing funding for the project.
The decision notice added: “The scheme represents a capital investment of over £100 million, with significant benefits to the local economy and supply chain.”
“In addition there will be significant tourism and leisure benefits for the region and beyond.”
The chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board has agreed making the decision was urgent and could not reasonably be deferred.
Visions of China was first announced in August 2011 and it set to create 200 jobs during its construction period and then 380 permanent jobs.
Developers are led by Peter Moore, who helped establish Centre Parcs, and Stephen Byrne, chief executive of Birmingham-based MCD Developments.
They predict up to one and a half million visitors could visit the park each year.
The site, located to the north of Rother Valley Country Park, was originally earmarked for the £350 million YES! Project, but was put up for sale by the council after a lack of progress by developers Oak Holdings.
Attractions are set to include rollercoaster rides, Oriental lakes and gardens, a China Town retail street, temple and cultural centre, theatre, children’s fantasy land, restaurants, oriental spa and giant pagoda.
A date has not yet been set for when construction will begin and a full planning application must be submitted. When the project was announced developers predicted it could happen in relatively short space of time because the site already has outline planning permission for a big leisure scheme.