My "new thing I've learnt today" is that Center Parcs have approval for their 5th resort, to be located in Bedfordshire (map).
We first heard about this idea about 3 years ago when we moved to the Mid Beds area, but everything was still at the planning stage. But on our way home today from New Year visits we spotted road signs for Center Parcs as we came off the M1 at junction 13. Massive excitement all round, so we had to google as soon as we got home.
If you are interested in viewing the site plans, all drawings and planning permission paperwork is available from the Central Bedfordshire planning portal, and the reference is CB/10/03096. You have to click the copyright agreement first before viewing, hence why I'm not pasting a direct link.
Thanks to Ian for this link to the project manager's page, which has a nice artist's impression, and here's a link to the structural engineer's page.
You might wonder why we're excited about this development. For the local area, it is great for the economy and employment opportunities (I am already planning my job application!). For family, we have visited Center Parcs several times in the past 3 years. The holidays have always been excellent, with lots of activities for us all to do. In particular, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is a haven in cold (and warm!) weather, the children love the slides and the wave pool, and the fact it is warm means they don't complain about being cold, we can stay all day. But, holidays are expensive. The opportunity to be able to go for the day, for a fraction of the price, and still enjoy the facilities, is just fantastic. 2013 cannot come soon enough.