Dinosaurs arrive in Essex in exciting new attraction

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Plans for dinosaurs to visit a popular South Woodham Ferrers attraction have been approved – despite concerns over traffic levels.

The Marsh Farm attraction is expected to feature some of the most iconic dinosaurs, including the Stegosaurus and Velociraptor.

The program is marketed in part as a useful tool for schools and children’s learning.

Read more: Latest from South Woodham Ferrers

Marsh Farm owner James Sinclair and his company Partyman, who took over the 50-acre site in 2013, say the dinosaur-based attraction will be part of the children’s educational experience at Marsh Farm, offering the both “recreational and educational opportunities in a thematic environment”. .

He also said the attraction would help Milestone 1 and 2 schools encourage learning to include fossil hunts, dinosaur puzzles, and bone puzzles.

But there were concerns that the new attraction – which will feature 15 dinosaur replicas and a theater hall – could disrupt traffic along the city’s main arteries.

Figures on its website indicate that the number of visitors is around 250,000 per year. Before Covid, more than 4,000 elementary school students visited the site each year as part of school trips.

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South Woodham Ferrers City Council had opposed the plans due to traffic problems given the likely increase in visitors and an additional 40,000 vehicles per year.

In his official statement to the plans, he said: “This change-of-use application is designed according to the applicant’s own figures to attract an additional 40,000 vehicles per year and thereby increase disruption to local residents. Counselors are already receiving complaints about difficulty driving. off the roads on Inchbonnie Road between Marsh Farm Road and Ferrers Road.

“The noise generated by the site will increase.

“We do not think that the purpose of the change in use is educational but to increase traffic and therefore additional business for other companies on the site.”

Chelmsford City Councilor Malcolm Sismey (Cons. South Woodham – Chetwood and Collingwood) told the planning committee on January 11: “Since James Sinclair took over the operation of this site, the council has received a large number of planning requests – many of them retrospective.

“The effect of these apps is that the nature of the business has changed from an educational open farm to a large scale retail and leisure operation.

“The problem is that the site is not suited to the nature and scale of the business that is currently being conducted.”

However, Councilor Eleanor Sampson (Lib Dem, Waterhouse Farm), a member of the planning committee, said: “Since this is a part of the site that already exists and the agents are happy with the part. parking lot and highways, I just don’t see any reason why we would deny this.

“People seem to be talking about increasing the numbers and dealing with a business which is probably definitely the goal. And as long as it can be done with the parking and traffic restrictions, overall it’s a positive development for the region. “

Mr. Sinclair told the committee, “The application for a dinosaur-based attraction allows us to go back to the educational roots of Marsh Farm by supporting the national education program that dinosaurs are a part of.

“The educational dinosaur attraction is not a stand-alone attraction but an integral part of Marsh Farm.

“There will be no change in the overall use or character of the site as an agricultural attraction. “

The plans were approved by 10 votes to 1 with two abstentions.

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