From a rapidly expanding diverse brand to a company in need of direction, Richardson’s is now prospering after a £10m revamp.
After growing from its boating roots in the Norfolk Broads, to a national empire including pubs, restaurants, boat hire and holiday parks, the diverse company was struggling to cope.
A wide-ranging divestment followed, scaling the company back to its East Anglian heartland. Now, under new management, the business has just completed a £10m renovation of its flagship site in Hemsby – a sign of confidence both in the village and the company.
Chief executive Greg Munford said the growing market for short breaks had driven the redevelopment. “Since we first considered this investment the short break has become part of people’s holiday portfolio and it is now more valuable than the week for us,” he said.
“If people are staying for a week they will spend a higher percentage of their money off-site. On a short break people stay on site and make the most of it. The great thing is that it keeps people in Hemsby.”
Funded with cash from divested assets, the renovation began with 34 static caravans on a greenfield site owned by Richardson’s adjacent to its holiday park in 2016, with 20 more installed in 2017. A new entertainment complex with a restaurant, indoor play area and 400-seat show bar was also built.
After a mass clearance of the old chalets and “beach huts”, the only accommodation left standing on the Seacroft site were 19 “gold” bungalows, which were refurbished in 2016 to become self-catering units. Its 20-odd holiday apartments have also been refurbished.
In line with current trends Richardson’s has also installed five luxury lodges – each with its own hot tub – at a cost of around £60,000 each. Mr Munford believes there is room for another 30 such lodges, which have proven wildly popular with guests this summer.
In total the 50-acre park, now all under the banner of Hemsby Beach Holiday Park, has 400 letting units.
As well as its entertainment complex, the park also has a leisure complex. Its partnership with Lowestoft holiday group Hoseasons as a Go Active resort sees it provide a wide range of sports facilities, including a swimming pool, fitness room, a traversal wall for free climbing, and indoor and outdoor multi-use games areas.