December 7 2013 Latest news:
By Anthony Carroll
Friday, January 6, 2012
A PETITION is to be sent to the owners of the Pontin’s site at Pakefield after guests complained about the quality of the food, entertainment and accommodation on offer during its Christmas season.
Jason Brace, 41, has collected the names of more than 50 other couples or groups who stayed at the holiday park after claiming he and his family had endured the worst Christmas of their lives.
But Britannia Hotels, which now owns the site, said the company had not received a single complaint from guests over the festive period – and many had declared an interest in returning next year.
Mr Brace, from Harlow, Essex, who stayed at Pakefield with his wife Eleanor and six children, says he is unhappy that his family were not given a proper Christmas meal, that other meals were not cooked properly, his children became bored at a lack of entertainment and the chalet they stayed in was in a poor state.
After speaking to other guests, Mr Brace set up his petition and collected nearly 60 other names of people who said they were upset with their stay. He plans to send it to Britannia Hotels and send a copy to Suffolk Trading Standards.
Mr and Mrs Brace had opted to stay at the holiday park for the first time as they wanted to give their children a special Christmas because of the “hard year” some of them had endured, coping with a serious bowel condition.
The family’s other gripe surrounds their main Christmas meal. They claim they ended up having chilli con carne and chicken legs because they could not afford the extra cost for a traditional festive lunch.
Mr Brace said: “This has been the worst Christmas we have ever had. It has been ruined. The children are blaming me for what has happened – but I believe it is Pontin’s fault, not mine.”
One of the others to sign the petition was a 40-year-old woman from Bury St Edmunds who went to the park with five other people. The woman, who did not want to be named, said that because they were so unhappy about the quality of food on offer, they bought Pot Noodles to feed themselves. She added: “It spoiled our Christmas.”
Britannia Hotels bought Pontin’s 12 months ago after the firm had appointed administrators.
The new owners have pledged to improve facilities at the Pakefield site, which has so far seen 182 chalets refurbished.
In response to the petition and Mr Brace’s complaints, Britannia Hotels spokesman Eileen Downey said all guests, including the Brace family, had been told about the extra fee for the traditional Christmas lunch, and this was made very clear when people booked.
She stressed the company had not received one complaint from the Christmas period and 28pc of guests had expressed an interest in coming back for the next festive season.
She added: “The entertainment we booked was excellent and we have had no complaints at all.”
In support of Pontin’s, Tracy Hudson, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, who went to the park with a family group of 11, said: “We have been coming here since 1996 and we had no faults whatsover with this Christmas.”