Attractions industry news

22 Sep 2023

Therme appoints UK CEO as £250m Therme Manchester gets planning approval

Therme Group has received planning permission to build the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester, after a four-year journey.

Planning approval has been granted for the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester, in Trafford in northern England.

A project by Therme Group, the £250m (US$317.8m, €291.4m) resort’s design was recently updated to include a pavilion-style concept enveloped by a natural landscape.

Construction is set to commence later this year, with an estimated duration of 24 months for completion.

Trafford Council’s decision coincides with the appointment of professor David Russell as the first UK-based CEO of Therme UK and demonstrates a shift in Therme’s focus from design and planning to delivery.

With 30 years of experience in delivering large-scale projects, Russell has been involved in major ventures around the world including the London 2012 Summer Olympics, The Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019 and the US$8 billion (€7.5 billion, £6.5 billion) Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Russell takes up the role after a three-year tenure as CEO of a joint venture between Russell Partnership Collection – established UK-based food nutrition and technology consultancy – and Therme Group.

When asked to comment on the approval of the planning permission, Russell said: “Our ambition is to make a positive difference in millions of people’s lives while creating a new wave in urban living.”

People on the move
Russell will be supported by Richard Land, chief development officer of Therme UK, who has spearheaded the planning process, and James Mark who has been a leading part of Therme UK’s senior team since the project began.

Mark now takes up the role of chief strategy officer for Therme UK, with a focus on developing further city-based wellbeing resorts across the UK.

Wellness facilities
Attractions will include large family and adults-only zones with swimming pools, slides, warm water lagoons and multi-sensorial saunas.

Alongside this, elements including water-based fitness classes, evidence-based wellness therapies, botanical gardens, immersive art, urban farms and educational activities have been chosen to create an integrated wellbeing concept for all ages.

The resort is forecast to contribute over £4.5 billion to the UK economy, according to an independent PwC study, with most of the positive impact in the Greater Manchester area.

Cllr Tom Ross, leader of Trafford Council, said: “This wellbeing resort is a huge leisure development which is the first of its kind in the country and we’re delighted it is being built here in Trafford.

“The resort will attract millions of visitors each year and will add significantly to the local economy during construction and once operational. It will also create more than 1,500 person-years of construction jobs and 600 permanent full-time jobs.

“The development sits a short walk from the latest Metrolink extension and supports several of our key commitments by improving health and wellbeing, providing connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians, creating a new public realm and regenerating a vacant brownfield site in a sustainable location.”

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