Great Wolf Lodge – Plans to build an indoor water park resort in Chesterton, near Bicester, are approved by the Planning Inspectorate after appeal process.

Plans to develop Great Wolf Lodge – a world-class indoor water park in Chesterton (near Bicester), were approved by the planning inspector after an appeal process. The widespread economic benefits of the scheme, including the direct provision of up to 600 jobs to run the park, and the contribution of £23m GVA per annum to the local economy, were cited as factors in the decision-making process. Similarly, the social benefits of a leisure facility appealing to young families were judged important and not to be underestimated. Specifically, the inspector mentioned the ‘acknowledged benefits of the development, particularly the economic and social benefits that would accrue in the local area’ in reaching the decision in favour of the application.

Volterra, on behalf of Great Wolf Resort (GWR), provided an economic benefits statement along with a socio-economic chapter that formed part of the EIA submission. The water park will represent an investment of £200m in the area, which is expected to permeate through to local businesses and residents in the local community. This economic boost is particularly important at a time when the damaging economic effects of the pandemic are still felt across the tourism and hospitality industries.

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Alex O’Byrne, Associate at Volterra, is an experienced economic consultant specialising in economic, health and social impact, economic strategy, project appraisal and socio-economic planning matters.

Alex has led the socio-economic and health assessments of some of the most high profile developments across the UK, including Battersea Power Station, Olympia London, London Resort, MSG Sphere and Westfield. He has significant experience inputting to EIAs and s106 discussions as well as drafting economic statements, employment and skills strategies and affordable workspace strategies.

Alex is also experienced at economic appraisal for infrastructure. He was project manager of the economic appraisal for the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail in Auckland. He also led the economic and financial appraisals of the third tranche of the Transport Access Program for Transport for New South Wales, in which Alex developed and employed innovative methodological approaches to better capture benefits for individuals with reduced mobility.

He is interested in the limitations of current appraisal methodologies and ways of improving economic and health analysis to ensure it is accessible to as many people as possible. To this end, Alex recognises the importance of transparent and simple to understand analysis and ensuring all work is supported by a robust narrative.

Alex holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the University of Manchester and he was a member of the first cohort of the Mayor’s Infrastructure Young Professionals Panel.


Senior Partner

t: +44 020 8878 6333

Ellie is a partner at Volterra, specialising in the economic impact of developments and proposals, and manages many of the company’s projects on economic impact, regeneration, transport and development.

With thirteen years experience at Volterra delivering high quality projects to clients across the public and private sector, Ellie has expertise in developing methods of estimating economic impact where complex issues exist with regards to deadweight, displacement and additionality.

Ellie has significant experience in estimating the economic impact across all types of property development including residential, leisure, office and mixed use schemes.

Project management of recent high profile schemes include the luxury hotel London Peninsula, Battersea Power Station and the Nova scheme at London Victoria. Ellie has also led studies across the country estimating the economic and regeneration impact of proposed transport investments, including studies on HS2 and Crossrail.

Ellie holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Cambridge.