Entrepreneur and former Catweazle lookalike, Richard Branson, has announced what is being called by many his latest and most ambitious business venture to date. An extraordinary scheme to first discover then develop the lost city of Atlantis into the world’s premier visitor attraction.

A spokesman for Virgin said: ‘Now Richard’s sewn up space tourism with Virgin Galactic, he’s setting his sights on the mythical lost city and plans a new visitor experience once he’s redeveloped it for the modern age.’

It’s understood the prank-pulling Tubular Bells-backer intends to rebuild heavily water damaged areas by extensively reinstating damp courses then carrying out a major reconstruction of the legendary sub-aquatic metropolis in time to receive tourists by Summer 2022.

Planning documents show provision for the world’s first underwater Premier Inn and sites are already earmarked for Starbucks and McDonald’s, with strong rumours circulating that Spud-U-Like has bagged a key pitch just inside the city gates for a high-end dining restaurant .

Branson himself has dismissed the possibility that he may struggle to fund the projects in light of the precarious position of Virgin Atlantic. Speaking to reporters he said: ‘It won’t be a problem as I have been speaking to Rishi Sunak who is currently considering my application for a handout to cover 90% of costs.’