A Somerset holiday camp is to expand its staff accommodation, with more than 200 extra temporary beds being provided.
Butlin’s Holiday Resort in Minehead has applied to create a new temporary “staff accommodation village” at the south-eastern corner of the complex, not far from the West Somerset Railway line and the River Avill. The accommodation will allow staff to remain on site who cannot find more permanent accommodation in or around Minehead, as well as freeing up space for existing staff quarters to be refurbished.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is expected to make a decision in the late spring. The new staff village will have sufficient space for 216 members of staff, spread across 88 “snoozepods” (two bedrooms and a kitchen unit) and 40 “bunkabins” (one bedroom only) with four canteens.
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Much of the new accommodation will be sited on land near the existing staff car park and football pitch, which was previously used for temporary accommodation between July 2019 and June 2020. The existing access from Warren Road will be maintained, with staff accommodation being kept separate from all tourist housing at all times.
A spokesman for Walsingham Planning said: “The temporary development is required due to the refurbishment of both guest and team accommodation, and in consideration of an increase in demand. Butlin’s is recruiting more staff to provide support across the resort to offer a great guest experience .
“The resort has struggled to fill all vacancies locally, which means they need to increase their team accommodation to cater for people they recruit from outside the local area. Butlin’s approached a number of bed-and-breakfasts and hotels in the area to see if they could rent accommodation, but could not secure enough rooms due to other bookings already secured for the summer by these businesses.
“Butlin’s is looking into long-term options onsite and at how they can encourage their staff to take housing in the local community; however, in the meantime, this proposed temporary approach is required.” The Minehead resort has recently begun operating day passes again, following in the footsteps of the other Butlin’s resorts in Bognor Regis and Skegness.
The three sites are currently up for sale, with its parent company Blackstone – which also operates the Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels brands – seeking to generate £700M from the three camps. The spokesman added: “The resort makes a significant contribution to the local economy through the employment of local people and linked spending outside of the resort within Minehead and the district.
“The proposed temporary development will provide residential accommodation for a proportion of their employees who chose to live on a seasonal basis away from home while major refurbishment of existing staff accommodation takes place.” The council is expected to make a decision on the plans before the summer.