March 8 2014 Latest news:
By DAVID BALE
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The new boss at a holiday park in north Norfolk has plenty of ideas to drive the family-run business forward, including more on-site facilities.
Woodland Holiday Park in Trimingham, near Cromer, has been run by the same family for about 40 years.
The new chief executive, Andrew Hird, has been tasked with driving it forward – and since his arrival two months ago, wi-fi and big screens have been introduced to the park.
Mr Hird, whose background is in tourism, said the job was too good an opportunity to pass up.
He said: “To be able to work with an existing operation with excellent family support, both financially and the fact that they’re on site, was too good to turn down.”
Mr Hird was previously regional director for Take One Media in Wymondham, which took over Leisure Target.
He added: “That was supply tourism, while this is working with the general public. From the park’s perspective, I’ve got lots of plans for it going forward. We want to develop a new hire fleet section and have more lodge cabin development.
“And though it’s early days, we want more on-site facilities, such as gyms, although we don’t yet have planning permission for that.”
The holiday park has previously been promoted as Norfolk’s best kept secret, but he said he now wanted it to become better known.
He added: “We want to develop the park on the existing theme, and don’t want to change it radically.
“But we want more people to know about us. The old strapline used to be ‘Norfolk’s best kept secret’, but I had never heard of the park before in about 16 years. It’s about time people started to hear about us.”
The history of the park goes back to 1971 when the land, which housed a disused poultry unit, was bought from the Buxton estate.
As it was not suitable for agricultural purposes, Edward and Jill Harrison, who head a local farming family, came up with the idea of providing a grassy area within the wooded parkland for touring caravans.
They converted the original building into a facility block, with most of the development work being carried out by farming staff, and the holiday park was formed.
From those humble beginnings, the site of 50 tourist pitches has grown to now support a clubhouse, restaurant, swimming pool facilities, caravans, lodges and cabins for hire as well as more than 250 static units.
The Harrison family continues to be actively involved in the day-to-day running of the park and are often seen around the site.
A “shoo-before-shooting” policy to control pigeons has been described by a leading Norfolk farmer as “completely bonkers”.