Major plan for new showground in Skegness

Russ Sparkes has applied to East Lindsey District Council to turn a 16-acre site off Burgh Road in Skegness into a showground. ANL-181123-132314001
Russ Sparkes has applied to East Lindsey District Council to turn a 16-acre site off Burgh Road in Skegness into a showground. ANL-181123-132314001

A major plan to deliver high profile events at a new showground in Skegness during the summer season has been announced, following the success of this year’s kite festival.

Russ Sparkes, of the Grosvenor House Hotel - who brought the annual British Kite Sports Association Championships back to the resort in May after 10 years - has applied to East Lindsey District Council for change of use of 16-acres of land he has acquired off Burgh Road for the venture.

Mr Sparkes hopes his experience as a former organiser of the East Kent County Show, attracting more than 60,000 people, will get planners behind the project.

“There is a shortage of open land for big events in Skegness,” he said. “This site is not too far out of town, has good access and there’s a bus stop nearby. It’s the perfect location.

“The intention is to eventually hold big events at the showground every weekend during the summer to the end of September - and to also extend the season.”

Subject to planning permission, Mr Sparkes is already in talks with the Legends Live Tour to launch the programme at Easter. The concert in a marquee to be placed on site holding 3,500 people.

A re-enactment weekend featuring cowboys to the civil war period is also on the cards - including a wigwam village, cavalry tents, horseback demonstrations and open cooking.

Other weekends could include concerts with headline artists, county show type events, dog shows and gymkhanas.

Next to the showground, there are also plans for a two-and-a-half acre campsite to support the events, with car parking for more than 850 vehicles.

The showground is part of Mr Sparkes’ continued investment in the coast. In April he announced a £1million plan to turn a controversial two-mile stretch of Ingoldmells beach that he owns into a world class resort.

In addition, Mr Sparkes has begun talks with Kitesurfing Armada UK and the Lincolnshire Coastal BID, who helped fund and supported him with this year’s BKSA Championships in Skegness, to bring kitesurfing’s biggest event to the beach next summer.

This year’s East Coast Beach and Watersports kite festival is also a finalist in the Best New Event category at the Skegness Business Awards at the Southview Park Hotel on Friday.