Fresh hopes for Pakefield Pontin’s holiday camp

There are fresh hopes last night for Suffolk's popular Pontin's holiday camp after it emerged that potential buyers had put firm offers on the table.

Administrators at KPMG have received 10 bids for the company, which has a site at Pakefield, near Lowestoft in Suffolk and said they were confident of securing a sale in the coming weeks.

Pontin's called in administrators in November - putting 850 local jobs at risk. KPMG has now revealed that the majority of bidders are interested in keeping the business going and retaining the Pontin's brand as well as the staff.

The Pakefield site is temporarily being run by Bridge Leisure while a buyer is found. No staff have been made redundant and administrators say all wages and pension contributions remain up to date.

Welcoming the news Councillor Wendy Mawer, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for prosperous and vibrant economy and learning and skills, said: 'Pontins is an iconic holiday name and Lowestoft is proud to have boasted one of its five nationwide sites.

'This news highlights not only the goodwill towards the company but also its future viability and we will be keeping our fingers crossed both for the site and the holiday makers who have enjoyed Pontins holidays year after year.'

Rob Croxen, joint administrator of Pontin's and restructuring director at KPMG, said employees and holiday-makers had 'rallied throughout' the difficult process.

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'Clearly this is a tough time for all concerned, but the level of support really reflects the goodwill the brand has earned over its long history,' he said.

'We have received a great deal of interest in the business and should be in a position to make an announcement on the sale of the business in the coming weeks.'

In a blow to unsecured creditors, however, administrators said they were unlikely to receive enough money from the sale to pay the �3.6 million owed to them.

The company's slide into administration came as a shock with more people taking holidays in the UK rather than abroad due to the economic downturn and weak pound.

Last year Waveney District Council approved a �10 million plan for a dramatic expansion at Pakefield which they hoped would see visitor numbers rise from 60,000 to 125,000 a year and create 160 new jobs.

The proposal - now on hold following the shock collapse of the company - included 400 new holiday apartments, major refurbishment of the existing ballroom, extra shops, a new pitch and putt course and an outdoor children's activity centre.