Pontins holiday park in Ainsdale in Southport

Britannia Hotels has the Pontins site in Southport on a 130 year lease, it has been revealed. 

The company shut the holiday park in Ainsdale “with immediate effect” on 3rd January, leaving scores of staff without jobs and growing uncertainty about the future of the area. 

Sefton Council says that “significant enquiries” have been made by investors within a range of different sectors keen to take on and redevelop the site. 

But with Britannia holding the lease for such a long period of time, the firm will have a significant say in what happens next – and when. 

Britannia also owns three hotels in Southport town centre; the Prince of Wales and The Scarisbrick on Lord Street along with the Royal Clifton on the Promenade. 

Britannia released a statement on 3rd January, saying: “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.” 

The firm has not subsequently released any statement about the future of the park. 

New Sefton Council Leader Cllr Marion Atkinson said that council officers have been trying hard to “secure meaningful contact with Pontins / Britannia and to remain open to parties who retain an interest in this site (of which there have been many)”, but without any success so far.
She added: “The Council has been pursuing engagement at a senior level with Pontins / Britannia and/or their representatives, for many years. 

“Since Britannia announced the immediate closure of Pontins on 3rd January 2024, Council officers have made contact to seek clarity on the position and as an immediate priority, offered to provide support to help their staff find alternative employment. 

“We have offered to meet with Britannia and their representatives to discuss next steps. 

“We have requested details of the appropriate contact to signpost other interested parties seeking to take on the site. 

“We have also fielded a number of significant enquiries from other investors within a range of different sectors who have indicated their interest in the site. 

“Pace of progress is very much dependent upon the aspirations, intentions and approaches adopted by Britannia. 

“There has been no meeting with Pontins / Britannia since the closure was announced, however the Council will continue to seek and remains keen on active discussions.”

Although it does hold a 130 year lease on the site, the local authority does have some control over what happens next to the land. 

A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “The freehold of the Pontins site is held by Sefton Council, and is subject to a long lease, which includes a number of provisions incumbent upon the operator.

“This means that if Pontins, Britannia or any other party want to change the nature of the operations on site and or redevelop it for the same, similar or alternative purposes, the Council would need to be satisfied that they meet the requirements of the lease. Any further planning permissions and other licenses necessary would also be required.” 


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