Pleasure Island: More than 270 1950s-style holiday lodges to be built at former Pleasure Island theme park site

More brand names have been linked to the proposed £65.9m Pleasure Island development.
The former Pleasure Island siteThe former Pleasure Island site
The former Pleasure Island site

Home Bargains, Greene King, Marston’s and restaurant chain Mitchells and Butlers have all expressed interest in signing up the development. It is even detailed in an application document that “terms are currently under discussion” with Home Bargains to join.

This comes as the planning application to turn the disused Cleethorpes theme park into a mixed-use site including hotels, 272 1950s-style lodges, a Lidl supermarket, Costa drive-thru and more, is now online for the public to comment on. The Lidl-led consortium making the proposal filed the application, which cost £45,000, just before Christmas.

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Major planning applications can take longer to be processed, though the Pleasure Island redevelopment has taken over a month to be validated. Some documents, including how each of the five suggested holiday lodge types will look, were filed in January.

Artist's impression of the Pleasure Island redevelopment, as seen from near the larger of the two hotels.Artist's impression of the Pleasure Island redevelopment, as seen from near the larger of the two hotels.
Artist's impression of the Pleasure Island redevelopment, as seen from near the larger of the two hotels.

The extensive application, spread across over 80 separate files, spells out the suggested make-up and layout of the site. It also explains why leisure use-only replacement for Pleasure Island is not proposed.

The theme park’s final day open was in 2016. A marketing update to Lidl in November by chartered surveyors ReesDenton reveals the lack of business interest in a purely leisure use site.

Adventure Golf, Merlin (Bear Grylls adventure concept), Paulton’s, Drayton Manor, Gullivers and Blackpool Leisure Beach have all been approached since Pleasure Island shut down. None had a requirement for space in Cleethorpes, with theme park operators more interested in larger, wealthier areas. The wider economy and increased public safety concerns after recent theme park accidents have also produced uncertainty in this business sector.

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Large gym, bowling alley and bingo operators have also all been approached since the Pleasure Island development idea began. But feedback from these reflected “very little interest”, with many pointing out existing nearby sites like Meridian Point.

A bowling alley and indoor wave unit showed interest from mid-November. But these have been rejected by the developers as these were “only fit-out opportunities rather than viable development propositions”.

On the basis of this lack of interest, Lichfields consultancy argue on behalf of the developers “it is unlikely that the scheme would be commercially deliverable” without a mixed retail and leisure use.

There has been interest in its use from retail, and hotels, and in the site’s planned two food and drink units. Two five-storey hotels are proposed, the smaller at 74 rooms and the larger including a casino and a conference centre, as well as 148 rooms.

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Budget operators as well as four star hotel runners have expressed interest. Some of the higher end potential occupiers have a requirement for a casino, open to residents and visitors.

As for food and drinks outlets, engagement has been shown at different points in time. ReesDenton says it expects the level of interest to become clearer when planning permission is granted.

Lidl are the owners of the site, as confirmed in the documents filed. Church Lane Humberston Ltd, Seaside Getaways Ltd and YPG Fab 2 Ltd are the other companies behind the development.

All of these have Adrian Smith as at least a part owner. He was behind the redevelopment of Freshney House in Newland Terrace, Grimsby, renamed Swan House when transformed in 2021.

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If approved, the site will broadly split into three different sections. A “Lakeside Area” will include the larger hotel, traditional restaurant and bar, and a foodhall. The “Holiday Park Area” includes the 272 lodges and a two-storey cycle hire facility next to a reception. The 74-bedroom hotel, Costa Coffee, Lidl foodstore, a two-storey leisure unit and another retail unit complete with garden centre form the retail and leisure area.

The results of the developers’ second brief public consultation held in November are also part of the applications. Of the 270 respondents, 93 per cent, or 250, agreed there was a need for Pleasure Island to be regenerated. There was also a high level of support for the proposed mix of hotels, leisure and retail with 73 per cent, or 195 respondents, in favour.

The development’s impact on existing local economy has also been assessed. It is predicted to raise £16.9m more visitor expenditure per year to the area, but a three per cent impact on existing retail floorspace in Cleethorpes is forecast. It is argued this will not have a significantly adverse impact on the viability of the town centre.

It is also concluded by the developers that their plans will not directly compete with the Freshney Place leisure scheme, where a five-screen cinema, bowling alley and other elements are planned in a makeover of the western end of Grimsby’s prime shopping centre. Freshney Place will cater to Grimsby residents, while the Pleasure Island redevelopment will focus on Cleethorpes residents and visitors.

The public can have their say on the Pleasure Island development application until February 20. The developers hope for planning permission in Spring and to start construction this year.