Pontins Pakefield set to house 500 Sizewell C workers

A holiday park is set to be transformed as part of a “legacy” impact for the area as a nuclear power plant is built.

The Pontins Pakefield Holiday Village in Lowestoft is set to provide accommodation for “about 500 workers” who will be constructing a nuclear power station nearby.

It comes after Sizewell C reached an agreement with Pontins Pakefield this week that will see a “considerable refurbishment” of the site with “a long-term legacy for the area” being delivered.

The firm said that no staff at the Pontins venue would lose their jobs with “additional employment opportunities” being possibly available at the site.

Sizewell C, which is partly funded by the French energy company EDF, is set to be built on land between Aldeburgh and Southwold – with construction costs earmarked about £20bn to £35 billion.

With the Pontins site, on London Road, Lowestoft dating back to the mid 1950s it has attracted generations of families over the years and provided numerous jobs for locals.

Up to 1,200 guests could be accommodated at the holiday park in Pakefield during peak periods, as the popular family venue catered for holidays, themed breaks and short stays aplenty.

Now, it looks set for a new lease of life.

While it remains unclear as to whether Pontins Pakefield will close to the public from next year, it will house 500 Sizewell C construction workers from January 2025 as part of the rental agreement.

A Sizewell C spokesman said: “Sizewell C is working with Pontins Pakefield regarding accommodation for about 500 workers from the power station from next year.

“The agreement will see considerable refurbishment of the site delivering a long-term legacy for the area, local jobs will be saved and additional employment opportunities made possible.

“Workers will be transported by bus to the construction site.” 

Around 550 people people are currently working at the Sizewell C construction site, with the workforce expected to increase to around 1,500 by the end of 2024.

For the 500 workers living at Pontins they would be transported by bus from the park to the east Suffolk power plant from January – a 21-mile (34 km) journey.

The company spokesman added: “At peak construction Sizewell C will require a workforce of 7,900 people with at least a third coming from the local area.

“Those workers living away from home can expect to use the accommodation campus on the Sizewell C site – which will house 2,400 workers – and Pontins, with the remainder using existing local accommodation in order to deliver local economic benefits.”

As building permission for Sizewell C was granted in July 2022, construction of the power plant is estimated to last almost a decade.

Supportive

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he was “supportive” of the proposals.

“Sizewell C is an enormous construction project and in terms of the numbers of people needed – many who will have to move to the area temporarily – a variety of options have been looked at,” he said.

“You could build something temporarily on sites closer to Sizewell, but with the Pontins site there is the alternative here to carry out improvements, to upgrade facilities and invest in the Pakefield site.

“An issue I am looking at is the transport arrangements via the buses, in that with the bus stop on the other side of the A12 I would hope a new bus interchange is constructed on the Pakefield site.”

Heyday

Pontins has been a much-loved British family holiday staple for almost 80 years – ever since Sir Fred Pontin opened the first site in 1946.

In its heyday, the holiday giant offered 30 destinations across the UK.

After being acquired by Britannia Hotels in 2011, just two holiday parks in the UK remain – at Pakefield, and Sand Bay Holiday Village in Somerset.

Last year EDF took over 900 chalets at Pontins Brean Sands in Somerset to house construction workers building Hinkley Point C.

Pontins Pakefield historically was always a family centre until it became an exclusively adult-only resort in 2020.

Britannia Hotels/Pontins has been approached for comment.

‘Another significant blow’

The Stop Sizewell C campaign group said: “For years, Sizewell C rejected appeals to develop a sustainable housing solution, with split site accommodation in urban settings that could have provided a genuine long-term legacy.

“Local councils are already concerned about pressure on the local rental market, and there are ‘only’ 500 workers on site, but taking over Pontins strikes another significant blow for the visitor economy in East Suffolk.

“Workers clearly do not spend like tourists do, and so many small and medium sized enterprises depend on the vibrancy of the summer months to sustain their businesses throughout the year.”

Sourced by: eadt.co.uk

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