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Butlin’s looks ahead in town

BUTLIN’S is committed to Bognor Regis until at least 2050, its resort director in the town has said.


Jeremy Pardey said the imminent opening of the £40m swimming complex on the holiday company’s resort showed it was looking to its future.


“This is all about getting the best long-term strategy for the next 30 years here. We are bringing the site into the 21st century,” he said.


“The things we have done in the last ten years have surprised a lot of people.


“We have been determined to make this pool the best in Europe. Who would have thought that £40m would be spent on a swimming pool in Bognor Regis?


“The things we have done in the last ten years have surprised a lot of people. The pool is in keeping with the Wave, the Shoreline and the Ocean hotels.


“Butlin’s is a really important brand to our owners, Bourne Leisure, and Bognor Regis is really important to Butlin’s.”


Mr Pardey said the swimming pool was due to open on March 22.


Sited on the eastern side of the resort, it will replace the existing pool on the seafront at the opposite end of the site.


This still remains in use but Mr Pardey said excitement about the modern pool was building among visitors as the countdown to its opening entered its final weeks.


“There are 48,000 tiles in the fountain area alone and that’s about a tenth of the overall size and the large slide is 12m high and 600m long. There’s also a lido, a wave pool and a helter-skelter.


“It’s designed to be in keeping with the British seaside but to bring it indoors,” he said.


The changing area is more than 800sqm and has 700-plus lockers.


Mr Pardey said Bourne Leisure decided to invest so heavily in the pool after surveys of its customers showed the top reason they visited Bognor Regis was for its location as a seaside resort on the south coast of England followed by the need for a good quality swimming pool.


This meant a lot of emphasis had gone on implementing a high level of customer care in the pool. This would see an extra 20 lifeguards being employed to take the number om duty at any time to 36.


“The new pool building looks beautiful but it is what is inside that matters – and that is good customer service,” Mr Pardey said.


That emphasis has seen the number of employees at the site rise to 1,320.


Half of them are permanent members of staff to begin to replace the previous emphasis on seasonal workers.


Having more employees made it easier to achieve higher standards of customer care.


The pool is among the reasons why business is booming at the Bognor Regis site. More and more holidaymakers are heading to the resort.


Bookings are up 10 per cent year on year to some 260,000 staying guests this year. That number is expected to rise to 300,000 in 2020.


“What is good for Butlin’s is good for Bognor Regis,” he added.


The current pool will be knocked down after the new one opens.


Discussions are underway about the plans for the redevelopment of its site close to the Gloucester Road car parks.

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