MULTI-MILLION pound plans for a world-first fantasy theme park in the North-East are on the brink of collapse.

Last month, developer Orcestrator announced groundbreaking plans to create a mythical dark age world theme park, featuring sieges, feasts and battles, at Houghall College, Durham City.

But the firm is now threatening to pull out of the deal – unless college bosses drop demands for a £250,000 deposit.

The company is believed to have offered a much lower five-figure sum, which was rejected by the college’s board.

Orcestrator managing director Bruce Murray said the company had already invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the Houghall scheme, but said he had been forced to start looking at other potential sites.

He said: “If there is no real movement on their side, we may well have to pull out. It would be a crying shame.

“We have got a product – a concept – to deliver, which brings jobs and economic development.”

The theme park would offer thrill-seekers the chance to live as a mythical character, moving through a world of medieval feasts, unhuman beings and Viking longhouses.

It would cover 250 acres, create 220 jobs, boost the region’s economy by millions of pounds and, studies suggest, attract 63,000 visitors a year.

However, the first public exhibitions of the scheme, planned for last week, were cancelled at short notice.

Ian Prescott, principal of East Durham College, which owns Houghall, said Orcestrator had always known a deposit would be required and that the college was asking a fair price.

He said: “We are a public body and the Government requires a deposit. We would like to go with Orcestrator because we think it is a fantastic development, but I cannot say we do not need a deposit.”

A planned £30m rebuild of Houghall College is linked to the Orcestrator project, but Mr Prescott said there were no problems with that scheme and that he was still committed to building a new college.

Orcestrator’s board is expected to meet early next year to discuss options.