New business opportunities at Brockholes

Businesses are offered an opportunity to become partners in a North West tourism and wildlife success story.

Brockholes nature reserve is entering the second phase of development which will provide commercial opportunities for other businesses and boost local employment.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust attraction attracted 185,000 people to its nature reserve and the first ever floating visitor village in the UK, last year. It is looking to top that visitor figure this year.

Just off the M6 at Preston and easily accessible from anywhere in the UK, Brockholes has received more than 30 regional and national awards despite only opening in 2011. Visitors continue to pour in despite the reserve being surrounded by the attractions of Manchester, Blackpool and Liverpool.

The business has shown year-on-year growth and, as a result, is seeking commercial partners for the next phase of development.

Anne Selby, chief executive of the Wildlife Trust, said: “Brockholes has performed incredibly well despite being launched in a recession. We have steered the business through the stormy weather and achieved fantastic results.

“We are now looking to move into the next phase of development. As a conservation charity, we want to ensure our focus remains on the nature conservation of the reserve, whilst ensuring the commercial income supports this work. We are looking for expressions of interest at this stage and asking businesses to be creative with their proposals.”

The Visitor Village has a restaurant, shops, conference centre, welcome centre and education centre. Major companies have made use of the conference centre including RBS and Aldi. The surrounding nature reserve is continuing to grow, with an increasing population of resident creatures and rare visitors like red kite, bittern and otter.

Anne continued: “Brockholes received funding for the initial start up and development phases but it was always designed to be a self-sustaining model. By making the most of the commercial opportunities and keeping these balanced carefully with the needs of nature, we believe we can continue to success of Brockholes into the future and achieve even more fantastic results for wildlife, our wide range of visitors and the tourism economy." Opportunities include retail, water facilities, indoor play provision, events partners and mobile food concessions. However, the Trust is open to hear if any investors would wish to develop sympathetic commercial facilities on the site.