Fears raised for future of former Pontins site Hemsby

Published: Published:
10:16 AM March 30, 2022

Updated: Updated:
10:27 AM March 30, 2022

A major housing development on the site of a former Pontins holiday park has been put up for sale after the company behind it collapsed.

The Pines, in Hemsby, is being marketed after Ben Stanyon and Ned Ailyan of specialist business advisory firm FRP were appointed as joint administrators to Pine Developments saying it had “failed to meet its financial obligations”.

Under the plans the 22-acre site was set to host 276 homes, including 88 holiday units a convenience store, three small shop units, a public pool, and leisure center.

The project is described as being “in the early stages of development” and the site has been secured.

Mr Stanyon, partner at FRP, said: “This is a prime development site near the Norfolk coast with planning permission and significant potential.

“We’re encouraging interested parties to come forward.”

Meanwhile, contractors and suppliers working on the site have been left out of pocket, it has emerged.

Neighbours noted a lack of activity and a security van outside the former Pontins holiday camp which is being redeveloped.
–Credit: Liz Coates

One contractor, who asked not to be named, revealed the scale of the financial turmoil and said he was owed over £ 100,000.

Pine Developments working to remodel the former Pontins at Hemsbyhas gone into administration

A letter dated March 28 sent to suppliers from Pine Developments which has collapsed into administration.
–Credit: supplied

He shared a letter sent to those who were owed money which outlined the “very regrettable” situation which had come as “a complete surprise” but added they were confident the site would be redeveloped according to planning permission granted last year.

The company’s most recent accounts show it owes £ 10.58m to creditors.

Graham Avery

Graham Avery, the Suffolk businessman behind the development of the Pontins site at Hemsby, has shared his frustration at how things have turned out.
–Credit: Submitted

The local contractor said he was one of several suppliers in Norfolk owed money.

He said everything had been going well until the end of last year and that he pulled his workers off site after they were not paid for a third week in February.

Until just before Christmas invoices were always paid “on the dot”, he said.

A detailed plan for a new mixed use proposal for the former Pontins site at Hemsby, renamed The Pine

A detailed plan for a new mixed use proposal for the former Pontins site at Hemsby, renamed The Pines Picture: Paul Robinson Partnership
–Credit: Archant

He said he understood some people had paid “early-bird” deposits and he was aware of others who were waiting to move in and currently living in rented accommodation.

James Bensly, borough and county councillor for Hemsby, expressed his disappointment at the turn of events and concern for companies that had been left out of pocket, just as costs were rising.

Fire-fighters damping down after a large fire at the old Pontins holiday park in Hemsby. Picture: Ja

People in Hemsby fear a return to scenes like this while all work ceases at the former Pontins holiday camp where a redevelopment scheme is well-advanced.
–Credit: Archant

He said the main worry for the village was what happened next after years of frustration with the site and finally, they had hoped, finding a solution in The Pines.

“The plans were just what Hemsby needed and we hope a buyer can be found to take this exciting project on,” he said.

“We just really hope it wont go back to how it was.”

James Bensley has welcomed the Hemsby Cup scheme

Borough and county councillor James Bensly has voiced his disappointment and concern for local firms owed money following the collapse of Pine Developments which had made good progress with its project to transform the former Pontins site in Beach Road.
–Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

He added: “We need new homes, and affordable homes, to provide a step on the ladder.”

Iceni Roofing, based in Watton, Thetford, confirmed it had an invoice outstanding but said there had been no problems up until then.

East Coast Scaffolding in Beccles said it was owed close to £ 10,000 and still had materials on site it could not access.

Graham Avery, the owner and director of Pine Developments which had reportedly borrowed around £ 10m to redevelop the site previously told this newspaper he was “incredibly frustrated”.

Mr Avery said the issue revolved around the collapse of a lender it had borrowed money from.

People noticed a lack of activity at the site at the end of last week, reporting a security van with dogs stationed outside.

An investigation by this newspaper in August last year revealed Pine Developments purchased the former Pontins site on February 19, 2019, for £ 4,000,000.

A month ago Mr Avery said work was progressing well and that they were looking forward to welcoming the first homeowners on site.

The park closed in 2008 and is being remodeled in a way that re-uses the chalets and cuts the carbon footprint.

A two-bed homes already completed on the site is being advertised as sold for £ 255,000 with Great Yarmouth estate agent Bycroft who were appointed sole agents for sales.

The property particulars hail The Pines redevelopment as bringing “beautifully designed apartment and holiday homes to this already stunning coastal setting” although no other homes are currently being advertised.

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