Britannia Hotels has been told to engage with local people over the future of its closed Pontins sites.
Britannia closed the Pontins site in Ainsdale in Southport “with immediate effect” on 3rd January 2024.
No reasons have yet been given for the closure, or any clues as to what might happen with the site.
It marked the third closure of a Pontins facility since September 2023. The other two sites that were closed are located in Prestatyn and Camber Sands. As a result, Pontin’s commercial footprint has been reduced from 30 to only 3 sites.
Government Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer The UK Culture Secretary has said that Britannia Hotels must engage over the futures of closed Pontins camps.
She has written to Britannia Hotels CEO Alex Langsam, saying: “I am concerned by reports that Britannia is failing to engage as would normally be expected.
“My priority is supporting the people who have lost their jobs in these locations and the knock on effects for local tourism businesses that rely on the secondary spend of visitors to Pontins.
“I would like to better understand why Britannia has decided to close these sites, and your future plans for them.”
She said her team would try to arrange a meeting where she could discuss these matters with the company and urged the CEO to engage.
The Minister added that it is “vital” that local MPs and councils are kept informed about the futures of the sites in their areas.
Earlier this month, Southport MP Damien Moore said that the closure of Pontins Southport represents a renewed opportunity for investment and redevelopment across Ainsdale, including the provision of high-quality tourist accommodation, upgrading road and pedestrian infrastructure, and coastal biodiversity protection, benefitting the wider Ainsdale community.
He said: “Whilst the closure of Pontins is clearly concerning for the staff who I’m sure will be shocked, it provides a fantastic opportunity for a high-quality holiday accommodation provider to take over the site.
“Given its excellent location next to Ainsdale beach, and with suitable investment, it could offer a substantial economic boost to Ainsdale and the wider Southport area.”
Sefton Council has offered support to all those who worked at the park to try and find them alternative employment.
A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “Sefton Council has for some considerable time sought to have contact with Britannia Group regarding its assets within the borough, which includes Pontins in Ainsdale.
“Following rumours circulating before Christmas, officers met with consultants representing Britannia about the future of the Pontins site and a further meeting has been sought.
“Obviously this is a worrying time for people employed at the site and we would like to remind them that the council’s Sefton@Work team has made the offer to Britannia to provide advice guidance and help for people seeking alternative employment and wanting to make a career change, and can also be contacted directly by those individuals affected.
“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.
“At this moment in time, Britannia has not shared its immediate or longer term intentions with us, but the Council is committed to looking at the long-term, sustainable growth of the area and the needs of local people, and will continue to press for a meeting with the company soon.”