A YOUNG entrepreneur has bought Marsh Farm Country Park, in South Woodham Ferriers, and plans to give the attraction a £3million revamp.
James “Jimbo” Sinclair, 27, who began his career as a children’s entertainer, intends to spend £1million on the attraction in his first year.
He opened his first business, the Partyman World of Play, in Repton Close, Basildon, when he was 21 and has built up his business, now employing 300 people.
He plans to turn the working farm into a conservation centre with a larger range of rare animals, including meerkats, wallabes and reindeer and open a 350-seater restaurant in one of the disused buildings on the site.
James, who is now living at Marsh Farm, said: “I want Marsh Farm to be the new HQ for Partyman World. We will run everything from here.
“I want to revamp the farm and part of our plans are to increase the number of animals and build the biggest willow maze in Essex.
“Over the next five years we will spend £3million and that includes the new theatre which was built in the last year.
“In peak season we will put on free entertainment for children and we will also be putting in an adventure golf course and a high ropes course.”
A children’s nursery is also planned for the 50-acre site which will help create 50 new jobs.
James added: “We have been running a consultation at the site for the past year. Essex County Council asked us to come in and see if we could help the farm to stop losing money.
“It has been unsustainable for a long time and we came in to see if we could turn things around. After a successful year we won the lease for 25 years.
“We have a reputation of turning around sites which were not necessarily doing very well and making them successful.
“This site is a dream for me because I used to come here all the time as a child and I just love the whole place.
“At the moment, we only use about ten acres out of the 50. This expansion will really use the space we have to our advantage and I hope we start to attract lots more visitors.”