Center Parcs
Center Parcs is revisiting plans for a sixth holiday village in the UK [Credit: Center Parcs]

Center Parcs revisits plans for sixth UK holiday village

UK: Holiday village chain Center Parcs has revealed it is revisiting plans to operate a sixth site in the UK, despite the company’s ongoing sale process.

It comes less than six months after the chain scrapped plans to build a new 900-lodge holiday village near Crawley in West Sussex as the location was deemed to not be “suitable” for the development, due to not being able to meet biodiversity targets. The site would have included lodges as well as indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, a subtropical swimming paradise, restaurants and shops, and an Aqua Sana Spa.

However, Center Parcs, which currently owns and manages sites at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Whinfell Forest in the Lake District, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire [the most recent site to open in the UK in 2014], has said that an alternative site is being sought elsewhere in South East England.

Last week, the company, which was founded in the Netherlands in 1968, reported a record year of trading for the 12 months leading up to 20 April this year, with revenue surging by 18 per cent.

In May, Center Parcs was put up for sale by Canadian private equity group Brookfield for a figure between £4 billion and £5 billion, more than double the £2.4 billion it paid for the chain eight years ago.

While a number of firms expressed an interest in entering the bidding for Center Parcs before a 20 June offer deadline, including specialist real estate investment firm Aermont, infrastructure fund Antin, CVC Capital Partners [which already owns Away Resorts after a £250 million acquisition two years ago], Blackstone, and specialist real estate investment firm Aermont, which owns the Pinewood film studios empire, the majority are said to have left the process, though private equity firm KSL Capital Partners [which acquired the parent company of the Pigs Hotels Group last year] is still said to be in the running.

In an update to investors, Center Parcs said that its hunt for a new base had been “broadened” and was “very well progressed”.

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