Water park, leisure centre, and holiday camp among ideas put forward for Pontins site
- Credit: Northern Trust
An MP has said he is not convinced enough effort was made to interest holiday park operators in the derelict Pontins site in Hemsby.
As new - mainly residential - plans for the seaside site are back on the table Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has asked the owners if tourism-use bids were made.Their response has revealed some 128 enquiries were received during two years of “active marketing” with ten of those leading to site visits.
The letter from Alexis Pol, managing director of chartered town planners De Pol, said a consultant’s report concluded the site “had a number of weaknesses” and had been operating at a loss making it economically un-viable to re-open.
This view, he says was born out when the site was marketed by Savills who circulated the sale particulars to 710 applicants.
Some interest was expressed in a retirement village, some from a Norfolk-based holiday village operator who was interested in the northern part of the site, and some from a property investor looking at a leisure centre.
A local businessman proposed developing a water park and there were detailed discussions.
Ultimately none of the ideas progressed and funding was always a hurdle, the letter states.
It adds: “Ultimately Savills concluded there was not a purchaser in the market able to put forward a credible bid to deliver a leisure and tourism-based use of the whole or part of the site.”
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However Mr Lewis said he was un-convinced that a tourism use was seriously explored.
He added: “We all know that local people have found the situation in the old Pontins site extremely frustrating and that there remains a strong desire by local people to retain a tourism provision within the site.
“I hope that this will manifest itself during the borough council’s consultation process, which I suspect will reveal a different picture.
“I remain of the view that as much of the site as possible should be retained for tourism and am not convinced that in recent years this has always been seriously explored.
“I look forward to reading the application in detail and will be making comments, and would encourage every interested resident to also do so.”