Pontins holiday camp at Ainsdale in Southport

The company which runs Pontins holiday camp and two major hotels in Southport has been told in Parliament that it must improve its “truly appalling record”. 

Britannia Hotels runs Pontins in Ainsdale as well as The Scarisbrick Hotel and The Prince Of Wales Hotel, both on Lord Street in Southport town centre. 

Britannia was named Britain’s worst hotel chain for the eighth year running by Which? Magazine earlier this month.

Southport MP Damien Moore asked for urgent improvements to be made when he raised the issue in Parliament with Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden yesterday. 

He said: “Britannia Hotels has been voted, for the eighth year in a row, the UK’s worst hotel chain.

“This is doing untold damage to resort constituencies like mine in Southport.

“What does my Right Honourable Friend have to say about this truly appalling record?”

Oliver Dowden MP said the issue is something he is taking “a close interest in”.

He said: “Well my Right Honourable Friend is absolutely right to raise concerns about the management and cleanliness practices of sites owned by Britannia Hotels and he has also raised it with me in private.

“I know that in November my Right Honourable Friend the Minister for Sport, Heritage and Tourism met with them, he has again been in contact with them yesterday to raise these concerns.

“Of course local authorities have the appropriate powers to deal with this but this is something I am taking a very close interest in.”

Mr Moore is also among six MPs representing areas where Pontins are located who are pressing for change.

The MPs have held a meeting with the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston to discuss a range of issues at the sites and possible solutions.

Pontins provides half-board and self-catering holidays, featuring entertainment at its holiday parks which are located in: Southport (Merseyside), Prestatyn (Denbighshire), Camber (East Sussex), Pakefield (Suffolk) and Burnham on Sea and Weston Super-Mare (Somerset).

Founded in 1946 by Fred Pontin, they were once very popular with families wishing to holiday in the UK.

In a joint statement following the meeting, Moore MP (Southport), Sally-Ann Hart MP (Camber Sands, East Sussex) and Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) said: “We have all received a huge number of complaints about these sites, not only from visitors, but also the communities in which they are located.

“These complaints are compounded by stories of the poor treatment of staff.

“A great number of families have been forced to cut their holidays short because of the poor state of both the accommodation and facilities at these holiday parks.

“These holiday parks were once an asset to the areas we represent, but are now increasingly a burden and are tarnishing the reputation of some of the best holiday resorts in the UK.

“There has been very little investment in these holiday parks for years and we are concerned that the owners are simply running them into the ground.

“We have all tried to engage with the owners to discuss the issues and a way forward, but to no avail.

“It is our view that if the owners are unable or unwilling to invest in the holiday parks to bring them up to an acceptable standard, and rectify all of the issues we have received complaints about, then they should consider selling them to a company which can and will.”

Do you have any stories for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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