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Casino plans in Yarmouth still in limbo - but could the site reopen as a caravan park?

PUBLISHED: 09:25 22 July 2016 | UPDATED: 09:25 22 July 2016

View of the South Denes area of Great Yarmouth from the Outer Harbour.

Picture: James Bass

View of the South Denes area of Great Yarmouth from the Outer Harbour. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

Hopes have been raised that Great Yarmouth’s South Denes Caravan Park could be a thing of the future as well as the past.

GREAT YARMOUTH
SOUTH DENES AND PLEASURE BEACH
PHOTO TAKEN FROM NELSON'S MONUMENT
DATED JUNE 1955
PLATE P4564 GREAT YARMOUTH SOUTH DENES AND PLEASURE BEACH PHOTO TAKEN FROM NELSON'S MONUMENT DATED JUNE 1955 PLATE P4564

Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones said this week he wouldn’t rule anything out on the now neglected strip of land, part of which is earmarked for a £35m casino and leisure complex.

Even if the ambitious plans first mooted ten years ago did come to fruition there could still be available space, he said.

But he admitted that while negotiations to hook operators were continuing behind the scenes he was close to drawing a line under the saga.

A member of the Facebook group South Denes Caravan Park which wants to see holiday units back at the spot where thousands of families fondly remember spending their summers said he had been in touch with Mr Jones and received a positive response.

FAVOURITE SPOT: a 1977 advertisement for the South Denes Caravan Camp in Yarmouth where Peggotty correspondent Gerry Crossman spent family holidays as a lad.
Picture: SUBMITTED FAVOURITE SPOT: a 1977 advertisement for the South Denes Caravan Camp in Yarmouth where Peggotty correspondent Gerry Crossman spent family holidays as a lad. Picture: SUBMITTED

Mr Jones said: “They have spoken to me. We have lots of things in the pipeline and if there were spare land available we would consider it.

“There is also land on the other side that we do not own which belongs to the council that is not being used by the port at block C and block D.

“It is very difficult at this stage. We are still trying to get The Edge off the ground and we are progressing behind the scenes but at some point we will have to draw a line under it. If we have not heard anything by the end of the year we will look at other things. We are looking at several operators but we need one to kick start the others.”

The Edge was set to revitalise the seaside wasteland on South Denes between the Pleasure Beach and the outer harbour site.

Details of the plans, including a 180-room hotel, as well as a 10-screen cinema, a 22-lane bowling alley, and a combination of restaurants and bars, were revealed in 2007 as the Labour government gave the go-ahead for eight large casinos including Yarmouth’s, and eight smaller ones, as a way of bringing regeneration benefits to their communities.

Plans for the largest, a super casino in Manchester, were dropped in 2007 following a public backlash.

The South Denes Caravan Park group share memories and pictures of staying at the popular site fronting the beach.

Members of the closed group have a huge affection for the camp and say that bringing it back with modern facilities will be a major boost for the resort.

The page was set up by Darren Hibbert of Northamptonshire who has been bowled over by the level of interest and the enthusiasm for bringing it back.

“It used to be such a massive caravan site,” he said. “It is just horrible and so sad and we are really unhappy about it. I think it would be very popular. It is an idea that we want to push just to see if we can do something rather than leave it as it is.”

Posting on the page one member said: “The idea of being able to holiday at South Denes again makes life worth living. My folks took me there nearly every year in the 70s and early 80s and I loved it. I know it would work if it was reopened.”

The caravan park was closed to make way for the outer harbour, but when it materialised the land was not needed.

Permissions for Yarmouth’s casino run out in May 2017.

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