A NEW £1million glamping and leisure complex is on track to be completed by spring.

The three-acre site, near the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering, will offer nine glamping units, housed in converted railway freight wagons and guards’ vans.

Developed by Paula and Alex O’Donnell, the aptly named Engine Shed will give people the chance to experience the steam engines up close on the railway which attracts more than 350,000 visitors a year.

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

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

“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.”

To get the project off the ground, the couple considered investment from Mark Tudor at Tudor Financial, who introduced them to Reward Finance Group.

Dave Jones, the joint managing director at Reward Finance Group, visited the site and bought into the potential of the glamping project.

“We were impressed that the £800,000 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,” said Paula.

Dave Jones 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.

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