Entrepreneur hails the appeal of the `staycation’

Timothy Hay, the Beeston Group

Timothy Hay, the Beeston Group - Credit: Archant

Regional expansion for Suffolk-based holiday group

Holiday park entrepreneur Timothy Hay hailed the significance of A11 dualling as he announced further investment in Yaxham Waters, a lodge development near Dereham.

It is the latest step in major expansion by the Suffolk-based holiday park specialists.

The Dunwich-based Beeston Group, run by Mr Hay in partnership with Steve Johnson, has secured planning permission from Breckland council for six additional lodges on the site.

The £250,000 investment in the holiday homes, which will be ready for sale or rent by the end of the year, comes on top of a similar investment in tripling the size of the Dereham Road park’s popular farm cafe.

The former garden centre site was bought by the Beeston Group in 2010 and initially developed with 30 lodges; an extra five acres was bought a year ago for the new development.

Describing planning approval as a “vote of confidence and major boost for the business”, Mr Hay said: “I am delighted with the progress we are making. “With low interest rates, the opening of A11 dualling and the new pension laws coming in, this is a great time to invest in Norfolk.”

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He said the road improvements were particularly important as it meant Norfolk was now in reach of Londoners seeking a short break with a two-and-a-half hour travelling time.

His view reinforces the general optimism of the recently published annual Larking Gowen tourism business survey in which six out of 10 businesses predicted a rise in profits this year and 44% noticed a loosening of visitors’ purse strings last year in terms of secondary spend.

The Beeston Group, launched nearly 20 years ago, has grown to include nine holiday parks across the region, employing nearly 100 people.

The entrepreneurs are also working on the further development of The Hollies, a park in Kessingland near Lowestoft which they opened in June 2013, while before Christmas, Mr Hay announced the purchase of Mundesley Holiday Village.

Mr Hay said there was strong evidence people were rediscovering the appeal of a staycation.

“People now realise that a weekend in Britain is good value and appeals to many families. A £12 per night camping stay at the Hollies is affordable to most family budgets,” he said.

“People like the idea of a weekend break near the seaside. Kids love it and we are drawn to the seaside. Mundesley for example has a wonderful beach and very pretty surroundings.

“Britain has many great strengths and we are good hosts to our visitors. We can improve on this but our welcome is warm and sincere. East Anglia is a gem we need to polish and advertise to the world.”