Leisure park announces expansion plans

L-R Jonathan Moses, director of Blue Anchor Leisure Ltd and Blue Anchor Leisure MD Peter Holmes with Yorkshire Bank's Jonathan Russell
L-R Jonathan Moses, director of Blue Anchor Leisure Ltd and Blue Anchor Leisure MD Peter Holmes with Yorkshire Bank's Jonathan Russell

The east coast’s largest privately-owned leisure park business is set for a period of growth and the opening of a new development following fresh support from Yorkshire Bank.

Chapel St Leonards based Blue Anchor Leisure is developing a new park for 140 high quality static caravans.

Holmes Mere will feature as an extension to Blue Anchor’s flagship Golden Palm Resort and will be set in 12 acres of landscaped countryside.

Blue Anchor Leisure operates 14 parks on the east coast, as well as a lodge park near Doncaster. In total they operate around 4,400 static caravan pitches including a number for short-term holiday letting.

The new investment will see Golden Palm Resort increase its static pitch numbers by 10 per cent to around 1,100 caravans.

The company expects to create around 10 new jobs as a result of the development and continued investment in their other parks.

This is on top of 20 jobs created last year. The company employs, on average, 150 staff allowing for seasonal peaks. At the height of the season its staff numbers reach 300.

Yorkshire Bank has provided Blue Anchor, a customer for 20 years, with a new funding arrangement to support the development of Holmes Mere but also invest in other facilities including a new family room and the establishment of a kid’s club for the 2015 season. The kid’s club is a first for Blue Anchor, but an investment the management team see as crucial to meeting the demands of modern family holidays.

Part of the funding has also been used for the purchase of a further park incorporating a new showground for new and used caravans for sale.

The new funding was arranged by Jonathan Russell, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank in Leeds.

Blue Anchor Leisure was established by local businessman John Woodward in 1973 operating two main streams of business – a caravan park and a caravan manufacturing line. Manufacturing ceased in 1984 and focus was placed on the leisure park element.

Mr Woodward built the business up to be one of the largest independently-owned in the UK and included the popular Fantasy Island resort which was sold in 2006.

Current managing director Peter Holmes joined the business in 1975 and took over the running of the company in 2010 when John Woodward sadly passed away. Peter is joined in the management team by Jonathan Moses who is the brother of John’s wife Sally.

Following a busy Easter period, Peter Holmes and his team are gearing up for an even busier summer with future reservations up 15 per cent compared to the same period last year as a result of the continued investment in park facilities.

Mr Holmes said: “Our strategy has always been to reinvest profits back in to the business to improve facilities and the atmosphere on our parks. We’ve worked hard to retain our very loyal customer base, some of who have been staying with us since we first opened the gates.

“Creating the right environment for families to come back year after year is a challenge, so it’s important to ensure we listen to our customers and provide them with what they are looking for.

“We were able to benefit from the recession as more people decided to stay in the UK for their holidays, but we have retained a large part of those customers due to the high quality and variety of facilities we are able to offer.

“As well as our own investment, the continued support from Yorkshire Bank has allowed us to take advantage of growth opportunities such as Holmes Mere, which is allowing us to attract new customers. Jonathan and the team at Yorkshire Bank have taken time to understand our business and structure their support to suit our needs.”

Mr Russell said: “Blue Anchor Leisure has a strong and focused management team which is continually looking to invest and improve the quality of facilities for its growing customer base.

“The business caters for a wide variety of customers up and down the east coast, from families looking for entertainment to retirees looking for a quieter holiday. Across the business is an attention to innovation, quality and customer service.”