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Tunbridge Wells to host £2.5m Father Christmas World welcoming 60,000 visitors and creating 200 jobs, with life-sized polar bears

By Chris Price

A £2.5m Disney-style Christmas attraction will draw people to a Kent town during the festive season.

Father Christmas World will be the biggest seasonal activity ever to happen in Tunbridge Wells, welcoming 60,000 visitors and creating 200 jobs.

The three-and-a-half hour experience will feature life-sized animatronic polar bears, elves, a walk-in snow globe, a giant upside-down Christmas tree, tinsel train and forest walk.

Tickets went on sale earlier this month ahead of the attraction receiving planning permission

Based at Salomons Estate it is hoped the site will contribute £5m to the local economy, promoting traders and retailers from the Pantiles, the High Street, Camden Road and Royal Victoria Place.

The initiative is being led by Sevenoaks-based Markerstudy Leisure, part of the Markerstudy Group, which employs more than 3,000 staff across the UK, of which 1,300 are in Kent.

It funded the popular Santa Express in 2013.

“Father Christmas World will put Tunbridge Wells on the tourist map and deliver a legacy which the town will benefit from for years to come...” - Markerstudy Leisure’s Nick Moore

Markerstudy Leisure’s commercial director Nick Moore said: “We want to unite the town and work together for an enhanced Christmas for everyone – residents and businesses alike.

“Father Christmas World will put Tunbridge Wells on the tourist map and deliver a legacy which the town will benefit from for years to come.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council cabinet member Jane March said: “This is a tremendous project which could increase visitors to the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells with the consequential boost to the economy and complementing the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council ice rink in Calverley Grounds.

“We are happy to give it our full support but we are also mindful that because of the size of the project it will have to go through the planning approval process.

“We have yet to receive a planning application but when an application is presented members of the public will have the opportunity to express their views.”

A planning application for the project is set to be submitted soon. Planning consultancy Kember Loudon Williams are advising on the final details.

Partner Roger Nightingale said: “We will be working with a team of specialists to ensure that the various issues raised by this proposal are properly and sensitively addressed.”

Father Christmas World will open to the public daily between 10am to 6pm from November 29 to December 31.

Tickets will be available to buy from May onwards at www.fatherchristmasworld.com.

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