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Pleasure Beach owner says losing the ‘entire summer’ could be diastrous for seaside businesses

PUBLISHED: 15:59 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:43 15 April 2020

Albert Jones, Managing Director at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Albert Jones, Managing Director at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

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The owner of one of Norfolk’s most popular tourist destinations has warned coronavirus uncertainty could be “absolutely disastrous” if attractions are forced to remain closed over July and August.

Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach amusement park is spread across nine acres of the seafront. In 2017 alone, more than one million people visited the park. Picture: JAIME-LEA TAYLORGreat Yarmouth Pleasure Beach amusement park is spread across nine acres of the seafront. In 2017 alone, more than one million people visited the park. Picture: JAIME-LEA TAYLOR

Albert Jones, managing director of the Golden Mile’s Pleasure Beach, says that unlike a customary Easter weekend in Great Yarmouth, this year it was “non-existent”.

He said: “I’ve been furloughed and right now I’m sitting at home wondering what will happen to the business.

“I should think if we lose the whole summer it’d be absolutely disastrous for us - not just the Pleasure Beach but the whole borough.

“In truth, we had no contingency plans in place because we could have never expected something like this to happen.

Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. Picture:  JAIME-LEA TAYLORGreat Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. Picture: JAIME-LEA TAYLOR

“We have applied to several funding sources for money to keep the business going and now it’s just a waiting game.

“Some of the other businesses we own have successfully received funding from the government, but we won’t be getting our own furlough pay for at least a few more weeks.

“It’s awful because we just don’t know how long this is going to last.

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“At the moment we’re really holding out for July and August as a way of keeping us afloat.”

On the topic of the future, Mr Jones admitted that he “doesn’t know what it holds” - but stressed that public health is his number one priority.

He said: “We have a responsibility to help protect public health, and not just our business and staff.

“The feeling in Great Yarmouth right now is that people are certainly paying attention to lockdown rules.

“Our cameras showed that there was absolutely nobody on the seafront over Easter weekend save for a few lone dog walkers.”

He added: “People are definitely listening to what the government is saying - and we, as a business, will continue to follow the same guidance until told to do otherwise.

“We wouldn’t want to be putting any one at risk.”

Mr Jones’ concern for the coming months has been echoed by businesses across the county who heavily rely on tourism over the late spring and summer period.

At the weekend, deserted scenes from Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton and Cromer showed empty beaches and amusement parks which would otherwise be full.


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