Lake District holiday parks firm looks for expansion

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

HOLIDAY park and inland marina operator Lakeland Leisure Estates has embarked on an ambitious development and acquisition strategy.

The expansion includes a £3million project to build 11 new luxury lodges, which is currently under way in the Yorkshire Dales.

As part of the strategy, the Windermere-based company has switched its full business banking to HSBC.

Work on the lodge development at Long Ashes Park, near Skipton, began earlier this month and the first two units are due to be completed by July.

HSBC’s Manchester Commercial Centre is supporting the project. Lakeland Leisure Estates was formed by Phill and Carol Morgan, who have over 30 years’ experience in the sector.

The husband and wife team sold their previous 2,500 pitch holiday park business in 2007 but decided to return to the sector to build a business along with the support of their children.

Long Ashes Park, which extends to 124 acres, was acquired by the company in 2010. Lakeland Leisure Estates also operates Camping La Bella Vista in Manilva, Spain, and three inland marinas - Tattenhall in Cheshire, Saul Junction in Gloucestershire and Great Haywood in Staffordshire.

Another inland marina development is planned on land the company owns in Hungerford.

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Lakeland Leisure Estates’ current portfolio boasts 125 holiday caravan pitches, 130 park home pitches, eight lodges, 150 camping pitches at La Bella Vista and 800 marina berths.

The company says it anticipates further expansion and development through acquisitions with the support of HSBC and is targeting sites in the North West, Midlands and South.

Mr Morgan said: “We are looking at opportunities to expand the business through acquisition and have a number of sites we are considering.

“Carol and I have 30 years’ experience in this sector and we specialise in the redevelopment of sites to meet the high expectations of discerning clients as represented by our existing portfolio which has been upgraded to a superior standard.

“We are also diversifying through the development of the lodges at Long Ashes. These are being developed to a high-end specification and offer exceptional views across the Yorkshire Dales. HSBC’s involvement has been most welcome and encouraging, with the bank demonstrating a willingness to support our business and David Edwards having great knowledge of the holiday parks sector.”

Jason Trigg, HSBC’s Manchester area commercial director, said: “The lure of the holiday park sector was too strong for Phill and Carol, who made a great success of their previous business and had semi-retired.

“They have the knowledge to develop successful parks and marinas and we look forward to working with the business as it grows.”

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