[Credit: Pontins]

Pontins closes third holiday park in a month

UK: British holiday park operator Pontins has shut its site close to Southport in Merseyside – its third park closure in the space of a month.

The site held a New Year’s Eve party over the weekend but it was later closed due to flooding caused by Storm Henk. Pontins confirmed to the BBC that the park will now be permanently closed.

In a statement displayed on the company’s website, Pontins wrote: “It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Pontins Southport Holiday Park. After assessing the future viability of the park, we have come to the difficult decision to close our doors.

“Unfortunately, this means that Pontins Southport Holiday Park will be closing from Wednesday 3rd January 2024. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” it added.

According to the BBC, staff at the Southport site were informed shortly before lunchtime on 3 January that the site would be “closing for good”.

Meanwhile, Sefton Council, which owns the land, said that it had not been informed beforehand of the park’s closure.

Last month, Pontins shut two of its parks, in Prestatyn, Denbighshire in North Wales, and Camber Sands in East Sussex, “with immediate effect”.

Founded in 1946 by Fred Pontin, Pontins was brought out of administration in 2011 by Britannia Hotels, which acquired the chain for £20million and saved 850 jobs. At the height of its success, Pontins owned 30 seaside resort destinations across the UK but it now owns only three sites: Pakefield Holiday Village in Suffolk; Sand Bay Holiday Village in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset; and Brean Sands in Burnham on Sea, Somerset, which is closed to guests until November 2025 to accommodate workers constructing the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

In 2022, Pontins was the lowest ranked British holiday park chain out of 19 businesses in a report published by consumer group Which?.

Reports previously suggested that the Home Office was considering housing asylum seekers in a Pontins holiday park in North West England, and that the Southport park might be used to accommodate them while they had their claims assessed, as a cheaper alternative to using local hotels. The Home Office refuted the rumours and clarified that the closed parks would not be used to accommodate asylum seekers, amid media speculation on the matter.

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