From Our Leisure Industry Correspondent Ayre Beeandbee
Industry insiders have hinted that the collective sigh of relief exhaled by senior management and staff at the McPontins-Butlin Group [the wholly Threadbone Corporation owned economy leisure park holiday provider] may have been somewhat premature, as news emerged of trouble at their much-vaunted Canford Cliffs Lido Complex.
Scheduled to re-open in time for the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend after an “extensive makeover and quite expensive refit”, the state-of-the-art facility was said by those involved in the public road-test, to be in a less than satisfactory state.
Originally built in 1926 as part of the group’s flagship “Ordinary Man’s Recreational Revolution”, the once popular and comparatively ”plush” Lido [“Too common for the discerning and too discerning for the common”] had fallen into a sad state of disrepair, finally closing its doors in 1974. Abandoned and partly demolished since then, it has stood empty and joyless for nearly 50 years. However a post-pandemic rethink led land owners [Threadbone Brownfield Sites Ltd] to open negotiations with the McPontins-Butlin Group with a view to “making a splash all over again” - largely by capitalising on the semi-dormant leisure-base aspirations of the still traumatised stay-at-home wealth-challenged holiday maker.
All appeared to be going well as the site was reoccupied and work commenced on the modernisation of what was left of the facilities. Only a month ago, a spokesperson for the McPontins-Butlin Group - Lido Project Manager Myna Workz - was notably upbeat about the restoration telling the local Chamber of Commerce that anyone visiting the Lido would be amazed by the transformation which “whilst fully respecting the original design and preserving everything we could”, had taken the concept of authenticity to ”another level”. However, photographs supplied to professorthrupiece.com suggest that all is far from well at the Canford Cliffs Lido and that anyone who has pre-booked tickets for the opening weekend may be in for something of a disappointment. “Far from being finished it is, to the expert eye largely unfinished and therefore, ironically, completely finished”, opined recreation expert Holly-Day Inne. “I doubt that it will survive the fiasco of a premature opening or that it will ever recover from the certainty of its premature closing”, she added.
No-one at the McPontins-Butlin Group was available for comment - “it’s literally all hands to the pump” an anonymous source said, “they are either getting the water out, getting it in or trying to get it to stay more or less where it’s supposed to be".
Our own enquiries, directed at the Refunds Office were met with a recorded message to the effect that, following Government advice all staff were working from home and would therefore be unavailable to help any time soon. "Anyone wishing to cancel their booking is advised to try later. Good luck with that.", the message concluded.