Camelot boss hopeful for leisure success

Poulton-based Roy Page at the attraction in happier days.
Poulton-based Roy Page at the attraction in happier days.
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BLACKPOOL’S tourism industry will always continue to prove more resilient to changing conditions than any individual attraction ever could.

That is the view of Fylde amusements boss Roy Page, whose Lancashire theme park Camelot has closed down.

Mr Page, managing director of Knights Leisure, has leased the park from Carlisle-based Story group since its previous owners went into administration in 2008.

The park, at Charnock Richard, near Chorley, re-opened on a season-to-season basis in May 2009, but Mr Page stressed today that Camelot’s final closure was in no way a “winding up” in financial terms.

He said: “All our creditors will be paid. We are simply closing the business down because the hard fact is we needed £500,000 to get through the winter just to open for 115 days next year. My job over the next six months is to dispose of the assets and to find new homes for some very attractive rides.

“We leased the park from the land owners, with who we have had a good relationship, just as we have had with Chorley Council. I understand the whole site will now be looked at from the point of view of a mixed use redevelopment.

“As well as atrocious weather, our business was hit by the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and while we started off fine during the Olympics, once Team GB was winning youngsters were more interested in following swimmers and cyclists on TV than getting out for the day.”

He added: “Weather is always going to be an issue with UK tourism but Blackpool’s appeal to the day trip and short trip market is the sheer amount of open air and undercover attractions. A park like Camelot could never afford the same level of investment as Blackpool, which is a great town with great venues – and I wish them all well.”

Mr Page said he would still be involved in leisure, as a non-executive chairman of a small bar and restaurant business with outlets in Liverpool and Newcastle, among other cities. Once rumoured to be keen in turning Poulton police station into a bar, Mr Page said: “I’ve worked in leisure for 46 years and would like to think I’ve still got much to offer. But the police station was just a dream. I live in Poulton and love the place but we need more creative thinking from Wyre Council if it is going to flourish like Lytham.”

Click here to read how The Gazette broke the story of Camelot closing: