A NEW £1m glamping and leisure complex in North Yorkshire is on track to be completed in Spring.

Paula and Alex O’Donnell are developing a three-acre site next to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering to offer nine quirky glamping units in converted railway freight wagons and guards’ vans.

The aptly-named Engine Shed complex aims to appeal to many of the 350,000-plus visitors who flock to enjoy the popular preserved heritage steam railway, which runs through the North York Moors National Park, each year.

There will also be a central reception building on site, containing a restaurant, café, shop, exhibition and meeting space, toilets and showers, and a three-bedroom manager’s apartment.

The husband and wife due are forging ahead with the project, with funding from Reward Finance Group.

Paula said: “The site formed part of the family’s fish farming business, but the lake was filled in a number of years ago.

“We turned part of the land into a car park for the station but there was still a significant amount of land which was not being used.

“We identified an excellent opportunity to make the most of such a strategic location by creating a unique and exciting leisure destination which would appeal not only to rail enthusiasts but families too.

“However, to create such an innovative scheme requires a huge investment and we are grateful to Mark Tudor at Tudor Financial for introducing us to the team at Reward Finance Group.

“Dave Jones, of Reward, visited the site, saw the potential and quickly bought into our vision.

“We were impressed that the £800k funding facility was set up quickly, without having to jump through hoops, so we could progress the project to ensure we were open for the forthcoming season.”

Dave Jones, joint managing director of Reward Finance Group, added: “Paula and Alex have developed a number of successful businesses but, like many other entrepreneurs, they have a significant amount of money tied up in fixed assets.

“I am confident the glamping and leisure venue will prove to be a big success.

“It is going to be a top-quality scheme, in a superb location which already attracts an enormous amount of people throughout the year.

“Paula and Alex are 100 per cent committed to making a success of the Engine Shed and it was an easy decision for Reward to buy into their vision and to provide financial support to make the project happen.”