Flamingo Land profits dip ahead of expansion plans

Profits at Yorkshire's biggest theme park more than halved last year following investment in new rides and its holiday village.

Flamingo Land's turnover and profit were down last year ahead of new plans to expand the business.

Flamingo Land made a pre-tax profit of £1m in the year to the end of March 2016, down from £2.3m the year before, according to accounts recently filed at Companies House. Turnover also fell by 2.5 per cent to £24.8m.

In recent months, the theme park operator has revealed plans to open up new sites across the UK with an indoor theme park in Scarborough and a holiday resort in Scotland.

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The directors’ report accompanying the firm’s latest accounts said the fall in turnover was attributable to ‘a number of factors’.

“The year ended March 31 2015 had in fact seen an exceptional rise in turnover of 12.69 per cent and therefore a slight realignment in turnover was always a possibility due to the fact that the business can be affected by the vagaries of the unpredictable British climate,” it said.

The operator, which is based in Malton, North Yorkshire, spent £4.4m on new rides and attractions during the period, compared to £2.8m the previous year.

The park includes a zoo, holiday village and theme park. According to the report, the main focus of investment in the year was on the holiday village which saw an investment of £1.9m, excluding £1.3m spent on additions to the hire fleet. It spent £610,000 on developments within the holiday village complex, £170,000 on developing the new Umbrella Bar and £1m on the caravan hire fleet.

In addition, repair and upkeep costs were £2.4m, down from £3.3m the previous year. “Repair costs continue to be a very significant expense due to the continual need to ensure that all of the facilities at this vast location are kept in good condition and comply with all relevant health and safety standards,” the report said.

Other significant cost increases included wages and salaries, which went up from £5.9m to £6.4m and advertising, which increased to £2.5m from £2m.

Last week, Flamingo Land was named one of the UK’s top paid-for attractions according to figures from Visit England. The list also included the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Botanical Gardens, London Zoo, Chester Zoo and Stonehenge.

The theme park operator’s accounts were revealed as Flamingo Land prepares to redevelop the site of Futurist Theatre in Scarborough into a £20m indoor theme park.

Members of Scarborough Borough Council approved the expected £4m cost of bulldozing the landmark last week, despite a campaign to save the venue, which closed two years ago. The decision has paved the way for Flamingo Land to move in.

The 2,000-seater theatre, which opened on Scarborough’s South Bay in 1921 and has hosted stars such as the Beatles, the Who and the Kinks, has been vacant since its closure in January 2014, with many critics branding the building an eyesore.

However, the council’s decision prompted an angry response from campaigners who have staged a hard-fought campaign to save the theatre.

Following the decision, Gordon Gibb, the chief executive of Flamingo Land, said: “We completely respect those who have an alternative opinion of what should be done with the Futurist site.

“Now that a decision has been made it is our hope that anyone with Scarborough’s best interests at heart embrace this fantastic opportunity for the town.”

Flamingo Land revealed its plans for the site last year. The new indoor attraction will be called Flamingo Land Coast and will include a rollercoaster, zipwire and a space-rocket-themed thrill ride.

Meanwhile, the operator has been named the preferred developer of a site on the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland. It has drawn up proposals which include lodges, a boutique hotel, “glamping pods” and restaurants.