Plans for major new coastal holiday park go on display

Ambitious plans to convert a former farmhouse and popular coastal retreat into a luxury new seafront holiday park will provide a welcome boost to tourism in Waveney.

That was the view of Waveney MP Peter Aldous as plans for the proposed multi-million pound park at Kessingland, near Lowestoft, went on display for the first time.

Norfolk and Suffolk based holiday park owners, The Beeston Group, are looking to transform the vacant 28.5 acres of land with 'the biggest' campsite in their portfolio of eight sites along the coast,

And as they aim to be open next summer, and fully operational within the next 10 years, a special consultation and presentation for the proposed clifftop site at The Hollies in London Road was held with the community at the Kessingland parish council offices on Saturday.

The Beeston Group, together with consultants from Landmark Associates and the Landscape Partnership, organised the open day to showcase their plans to the public ahead of submitting their application to Waveney District Council.

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And buoyed by the responses received, the Beeston group managing director Timothy Hay said: 'The great thing is we have had very, very positive responses from the local people attending. This is a big investment - a ten-year investment - and in a recession it is a big commitment for us.

'But it will be open to local people, who can use the facilities, and will be great for the area.'

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If approved, the Kessingland site will offer bell tents, yurts, luxury log cabin style holiday homes and glamping tents complete with cast iron beds and luxury camping essentials to house glamorous staycationers, who are increasingly holidaying in East Anglia.

With around 100 single unit timber lodges and 40 twin unit timber lodges on three of the site's eight meadows, there will also be seasonal touring caravans, camping facilities, glamping-yurts, tepees and wigwams along with a visitor centre, recreation area and potential for a cliff top picnic location among the plans for the site.

The group also aims to improve access to the 'stunning' beach and re-instate the old footpath, which has been lost to cliff erosion. And in a further boost to the people of Kessingland and surrounding areas, if approved, locals will be able to enjoy the facilities on site, including a swimming pool, tennis courts and a five-a-side football area.

Adding that the application is likely to be submitted to planners within the next 'couple of months' Mr Hay said: 'It has always had a camping use on the site and what we aim to do is develop it out over the next ten years. 'The aim is to build it up year-on-year so in ten years time it should become the biggest of our East Anglian parks.'

Beeston Group director Steve Johnson added: 'Kessingland needs to be put more on the map with more jobs and investment, as it has a stunning beach which is a real plus point.'

The Hollies site comprises a detached former farmhouse dating back to the early 1900s, which was most recently used by a London Children's camp as a popular coastal retreat, a number of outbuildings together with amenity and agricultural land. The proposed development, which was bought by The Beeston Group for �650,000, extends to about 28.33 acres (11.47 hectares),

Its hoped that at least 25 jobs will be created, and impressed by the plans, Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: 'It is excellent that they are having a consultation like this, before the plans are set in stone, to get the views of Kessingland residents. It still has to go through the whole planning process, but I am pleased we are looking to attract this type of tourism to the area. 'It is vital to get more jobs into this area,' Mr Aldous added.

Liam Martin, chairman of Kessingland Parish Council, said the consultation with the community had been organised following a meeting with the parish council, and ahead of the planning application to the district council.

'They will still have work to do, and as a parish council we will make a decision as and when we receive the planning application,' Mr Martin said.

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