September 21 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The new manager of a Sidmouth holiday park is taking a no-nonsense approach to get the site back in the black as it receives a £3.5million boost.
Stoneleigh is undergoing a massive refurbishment that will restore its clubhouse, bar and leisure facilities and introduce an Italian-Asian themed restaurant.
It was hit hard by the recession, but new bosses at Loca Ventures, which owns the resort, are keen to get the business on track.
General manager Bill Hayman said: “We are completely renovating the site to get it up and running and we’re working hard to get it ready in time for the season.”
Many of the on-site facilities closed with the economic downturn and Bill said there were multiple, costly plans to renovate them but nothing materialised.
He suggested taking a more straightforward approach, and after the owners cleared the site’s debts and injected a seven-figure sum, it should be operational in a matter of months.
The move is predicted to create 20 full and part-time jobs.
After a spell in the military, Bill’s career was spent in implementation management for massive multinationals, but when he was made redundant his brother David asked him to run Branscombe Airfield.
He is now leading the way at Stoneleigh, where there are currently 58 properties and approved plans to build another 17. Loca Ventures is also offering to buy back the bungalows on the site from the tenants and is refurbishing them to four and five-star standard.
“It’s a learning curve and we’re learning from our mistakes as we go along,” said Blackpool-born Bill.
“We’re working with the Stoneleigh Tenants’ Association to ensure we are all doing what’s best for the site.”
He plans to offer fishing and sailing, and is looking to tap into the lucrative shooting market with bespoke holidays.
A wet winter put the works behind schedule, but there are now more construction staff pitching in and it is hoped the site will be ready by June.