Holiday lodge operator with a park in Ely collapses into administration
PUBLISHED: 15:23 19 January 2019
A holiday lodge operator which looks after eight holiday parks - including one in Ely - has left investors millions of pounds out of pocket despite promising investors a "guaranteed return".
The Dream Lodge Group, which operated Lazy Otter Meadows in Ely, Blosson Hill Park in Devon, The Sanctuary in Berkshire and Woodlands Park in East Sussex, has gone into administration.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, investors were attracted to The Dream Lodge Group – which is owned by Norfolk Park Homes - by promises of personal use of the holiday parks, as well as either fixed rental income or a guaranteed profit after three years.
Investor fears were raised in October, when “guaranteed return” payments failed to arrive and the company missed a deadline.
A member of staff at Norfolk Park said: “We are not taking any new bookings anymore”, and confirmed that the site there has around 200 plots, but that some of those are empty.
He referred enquiries on to the administrators, Deloitte.
According to a statement from restructuring partners at Deloitte, Richard Hawes and Rob Harding, The Dream Lodge Group was impacted by a “period of financial pressure”.
It added: “Given the immediate funding constraints and seasonality of the business, it has been necessary to make 80 out of the 121 employees redundant with immediate effect.”
The lodges came in a variety of styles, but at the top tier, The Signature Collection is described in marketing material as “five star Lodges perfect for the family who wants to splash out on something that bit special”, with plush features including wine coolers, hot tubs, rainforest showers, jacuzzi baths, and large walk-in wardrobes.
At its luxury holiday park in Bury St Edmunds, Fornham Park, 27 lodges are set in parkland with lakes and woodland, which was once part of the Duke of Norfolk’s estate and has a Grade II listed church tower onsite.
In Essex, Elm Farm Country Park is set in 22 acres of parkland on Frinton Rd, Thorpe-le-Soken.
And in North Walsham, its Norfolk Park Homes site is close to the Norfolk Broads and boasts a heated outdoor swimming pool as well as an on-site gym, spa and bike hire.