BOSSES behind the National Forest have outlined investment plans which will bring in a cash and job injection to Burton and South Derbyshire.
Chief revealed that they will undertake a four-pronged approach to attract more people to the area over the next six years.
This comes after the Mail revealed that 2,000 jobs were expected to be created before 2020 as a direct result of the 200 sq miles forest.
The plans will see work to promote and develop opportunities for visitors, stimulate the woodfuel and biomass markets, support small and medium-sized businesses in the National Forest and provide training and work readiness programmes based in the forest.
This comes after South Derbyshire District Council’s chief executive Frank McArdle revealed the central role the National Forest could play in developing South Derbyshire as a viable tourist destination.
He said: “Through marketing the district as part of the wider National Forest and beyond, the area is able to appeal to a diverse range of visitors with a mix of attractions and accommodation that can cater for longer stays throughout the year.”
A 2013 study from the national tourism board Visit England predicted the nation’s tourism sector to outperform its economy in the coming years.
Mr McArdle added that, if true, this would pay dividends for the South Derbyshire economy.
He said: “In South Derbyshire, the development of the visitor economy is of particular value given its ability to create employment in rural communities, attracting visitors and so helping to sustain services such as village shops and pubs.”
The woodlands also provide a setting for leisure and recreation businesses.
One of those is Ashby Woulds ‘luxury lodge’ complex, in Spring Cottage Road, Overseal, owned by Tom Hartley.
He said: “This will offer people a unique five-star holiday experience in the middle of South Derbyshire.”
He added how being ‘right in the middle of the National Forest’ was a major selling point to visitors to the lodge complex.