Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Fantasy theme park plans unveiled

Trench created at Houghall College
The college's land includes the so-called Grand Canyon of Durham

Plans to create a £10m fantasy theme park on the outskirts of Durham have been unveiled.

Newcastle company Orcestrator wants to organise mock battles and adventures on land owned by East Durham College at Houghall.

Visitors to the park would spend several days "in character", according to managing director Bruce Murray.

A public consultation is about to get under way with a planning application due to be submitted in the New Year.

Mr Murray said: "You'll be given an exceptionally good quality costume of your choice, and you will then be sent away on a scenario, a story, which will unfold for you with a group of similar people.

"You'll come across encounters, puzzles to be solved - effectively a mission with a goal.

"You'll meet other people along the way who'll give you bits of information, who'll send you the wrong way or the right way depending on how you manage it."

The plans are part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the Houghall campus of East Durham College.

The theme park would cover 250 acres, including the so-called "Grand Canyon of Durham" - a massive trench created in July by floodwaters.

College principal Ian Prescott said: "It will bring in a lot of tourists but will also increase student numbers and student visitors, so I'm absolutely delighted. It's a marriage made in paradise."



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