Suffolk: Warner’s latest upgrades at Corton Coastal Village and Gunton Hall help create new jobs

SEASIDE RETREAT: The new beach hut-style lodges built by Warner Leisure Hotels at Gunton Coastal Vil

SEASIDE RETREAT: The new beach hut-style lodges built by Warner Leisure Hotels at Gunton Coastal Village. General anager Petrina Simmons, ????, says they have been built to meet demand. Below/right/, inside one of the at new lakeside suites at Corton Coastal Village. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

MULTI-million pound investment at two east coast holiday parks has been hailed as a vote of confidence in the area by a Waveney tourism chief.

Warner Leisure Hotels has invested £4million in new accommodation and upgrading existing facilities at its Gunton Hall and Corton coastal villages.

The improvements, which were officially unveiled last week, have led to the creation of up to 29 jobs at the two sites over the last two years.

The decision to invest at Corton was made after plans to protect the crumbling cliff face from further damage were announced as part of the government’s Waveney Pathfinder Project.

The total investment reflects the company’s confidence in the UK and east coast holiday market, with plans already approved to build a £20m, 180-bed hotel at Gunton, leading to the creation of a further 20 roles.

Bernard Reader, chairman of Waveney Tourism Forum and owner of Heathland Beach Caravan Park in Kessingland, said: “It is extremely positive for the east coast.

“I have seen their brand new lodges and they are magnificent and a great credit to them. They will attract people to the whole area. People who go to Gunton and Corton will visit attractions in the area and go to restaurants and bars.

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Bourne Leisure, which owns Warner Leisure hotels, has spent almost £2m building 20 eco-friendly, luxury lakeside suites and refurbishing the existing facilities in Gunton.

It hopes to build a further 50 lodges at the 55-acre site in the future and has already had plans approved to demolish later additions to the Grade II-listed Gunton Hall in order to build a 180-bedroom hotel.

Petrina Simmons, general manager at Gunton Hall Coastal Village, said: “The occupancy rate for our hotels is 95%, so what we have got to do is make extra rooms.

“More people are choosing to holiday at home and quite a bit of the year we could almost fill up twice – especially during our peak weeks from April to November.”

At Corton Coastal Village, £2.3m has been spent on 18 beach hut-style, seaside lodges.

The company also spent £1.2m refurbishing communal areas and existing accommodation last year and plans to build additional seaside lodges if they prove successful.

The Waveney Pathfinder Project was completed last month and covered more than half a mile of cliff top.

Daniel Maude, holiday sales manager at Corton Coastal Village, said: “We are really proud of being able to provide jobs for local people.

“Everybody enjoys good success on the east coast in the summer season, but we are a 365 day a year business providing work all year round.

“A company spending this amount of money is great for the east coast.”