Yorkshire theme park sold to new operator after ‘considerable interest’

Lightwater Valley
Lightwater Valley
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ONE of Yorkshire’s biggest tourist attractions has a new owner.

Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, was sold by Ball Investments to Livingstone Leisure, owned by Harrogate-born Ian Cunningham, for an undisclosed sum.

Livingstone Leisure also owns Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall and Birdland Park and Gardens in the Cotswolds.

Lightwater Valley features over 40 rides and attractions for all ages, including the signature 1.5 mile Ultimate rollercoaster – the longest coaster in Europe.

There is also a shopping village and falconry centre. It has planning permission for a 106 log cabin holiday village.

GVA marketed the theme park on behalf of Jersey-based Ball Investments. The firm acquired the park in 2001 and under its ownership it was managed by Heritage Great Britain.

Richard Baldwin, director, retail, hotels and leisure at GVA, said: “After considerable interest in Lightwater Valley, we are delighted to have completed this sale.

“The conclusion of this transaction is a clear illustration of the positive sentiment towards the alternative leisure markets as healthy investment propositions.”

Lightwater Valley Started life as a pig farm. The park was originally owned by Robert Staveley and progressed to become a fresh fruit picking farm in 1969.

The park as it is known today was born after the purchase and creation of the Rat Rollercoaster in 1987, which at the time became the world’s first and only subterranean rollercoaster.

In 1996, Robert Staveley decided to hand the park to his children, Amanda and James. They managed the park until 1997 when Queensborough Holdings purchased the site for £5.6m.