Holiday parks seek permission for all-year opening to boost trade
- Credit: MATT BUNN
Owners of two seaside holiday parks have asked council planners if they can extend the season this year to help bring extra tourists when permitted.
However, much will depend on how long Suffolk stays in Tier 4 with holidays currently not allowed, and people only able to use caravans and camps-sites if it is their main residence.
Felixstowe Beach Holiday Park in Walton Avenue, and Suffolk Sands, Carr Road, Felixstowe, have to close for a period each year as part of their planning permission.
Park Holidays, which runs the sites, has asked East Suffolk Council if it can extend the season from February 15 to February 28 this year - making it a complete year - following a statement by a government minister.
Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick said the pandemic had had a significant impact on the financial viability of more than 2,200 caravan and holiday parks that employ around 46,000 staff.
He said: "These parks are a mainstay of their local economies, providing employment and supporting local services and businesses.
"Extending their operation beyond the usual summer season will be invaluable to parks as the sector begins to recover. We are aware that current planning conditions may limit their open season. The temporary relaxation of these planning restrictions can play a vital role in helping local businesses to get up and running again.
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"(Local planning authorities) should consider the benefits of longer opening season times to the local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19."
Rural and Urban Planning, consultants for Park Holidays, said: "The value of holiday parks to the local economy, in terms of both revenue contributions and job creation should not be underestimated.
"Moreover, their spinoff benefits are also considerable; particularly to the wide range of other shops and service businesses that rely on holiday visitors for their success.
"It is hoped that the local authority will appreciate the unusual circumstances brought about by COVID-19 that necessitate this application and will approve permission in the interests of supporting and sustaining this important local business asset."