Now that it's closing or closed, what happens if Ventureworld cant find any buyers to take over the land? They are still paying the lease as it's a 100 year lease. If they dont find a buyer, will they have to declare themselves bankrupt and have the park repossessed by the council?
That would probably be beneficial as it could be used as a further extention of the country park again.
That is a good question, one no doubt nagging away at the directors of Ventureworld at the moment as the rent is approx £1/4 million per year. Back in the old holiday park application they indicated that they would seek other ways to cover the rent in the event of the park closing. Going bankrupt may be an option, but not one to be taken lightly.
Their options may be limited, as I believe that the land is zoned for 'leisure' use, not necessarily a theme park, but I believe the lease excludes retail use other than that connected directly to the park activities. This would rule out development of a retail based attraction with small craft shops or factory outlets, unless the lease can be re-negotiated and/or planning permission sought for change of use.
Another option would be to exploit the lake for water sports, sailing, fishing etc. I think that would be covered by existing permissions as it has been used for that in the past. They could even be cheeky and apply to build a holiday park within the existing theme park boundary, although without the theme park there it would be an odd choice.
However, just to throw a spanner in the works, in the last week I have discovered evidence that there may have been an attempt by Ventureworld to buy the site during the summer. I stumbled across this document
which contains the following wording:
"A declaration of a personal interest was made by Councillor B C Lucas in Agenda Item 8(b), Proposed Sale of Land, Shipley Country Park, as a Member of the Ventureworld Liaison Group" on page 1, and
"Proposed sale of land at Shipley Country Park – Strategic Director, Corporate Resources (contains information relating to the business affairs of a particular person(s)" on page 9.
It is not hard evidence, but if a councillor on a liaison group with Ventureworld cannot take part in a discussion about sale of land at Shipley Country Park, who must they have considered selling it to? Unfortunately the discussion that took place was behind closed doors so the document does not indicate if the sale was approved or not. If Ventureworld had bought the land, it would make the park a great deal more saleable......