Pleasure Beach still has pulling power
STEPHEN PULLINGER It may be considered by some as a fading symbol of Yarmouth's glory days in the 1960s and 1970s. However, a new survey by the English Tourist Board website proves that the resort's beloved Pleasure Beach still has enduring pulling power.
It may be considered by some as a fading symbol of Yarmouth's glory days in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, a new survey by the English Tourist Board website - www.enjoyengland.com - proves that the resort's beloved Pleasure Beach still has enduring pulling power.
A list of England's top paid-for attractions places the traditional amusement park ahead of such entertainment centres as Windsor's Legoland, Cornwall's Eden Project and even London Zoo.
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In terms of annual visitor numbers, the Pleasure Beach's 1.4 million puts it fourth in the list of attractions responding to the survey, behind only the London Eye, Tower of London and Southport's Pleasureland Theme Park.
Despite one or two notable omissions from the list, including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers, Yarmouth Pleasure Beach managing director Albert Jones said the results showed the enduring appeal of his park and of the resort as a whole.
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And Nicola Gibson, marketing manager for Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, said they were proud to have the Pleasure Beach as an attraction in the town. She described the survey performance, published in the Daily Telegraph, as a "fantastic achievement".
Mr Jones said: "People still like the special atmosphere of an amusement park. Somewhere like Disneyland Paris has a totally different feel.
"Families come back year after year because they want their children and grandchildren to experience the same thrills they had as children."
He said the appeal of nostalgia was shown by the fact that modern versions of old rides, such as the waltzer, were being built.
Mr Jones, whose grandfather Albert Botton bought the lease of the seafront park in the mid-1960s, admitted that period was undoubtedly their heyday "when people stayed in England for their holidays and there was no Sunday opening for shops and fewer competing attractions".
However, he said: "There are still days when we are packed out, and we have just enjoyed a good Easter with figures up on last year."
To ensure a rosy long-term future, Mr Jones is preparing an £8m invest-ment with development company Henry Boot in an eight-screen multiplex cinema, bowling alley and restaurants alongside the park.
He said: "We are very close to signing a contract with a cinema operator and are looking to submit plans by the end of the year."
Beyond that, Mr Jones still has plans for a major casino, government legislation permitting.