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Thread: Minehead/Butlins Gossip

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  1. #1
    barryislandfan Guest

    Default Minehead/Butlins Gossip

    Well as I said I was lucky enough to get a chat with one of the resort managers at Minehead NOT the top resort manager of course but one of his deputies. It all came about after I asked for access to the Beachcomber and Sunsplash, he came out to explain why I couldnt and I then told him I was a writer, doing an article on Butlins (thats not really a lie, I write about Butlins all the time ) and he said we could have a chat, he was really nice but I did say I wouldnt name him as its not fair, although he obviously didnt say anything against Butlins. I asked him a couple of questions and then we just chatted for a bit in general about Butlins past, present and future.

    First off, although Butlins is of course owned by Bourne Leisure, Bourne as a company have nothing to do with the day to day running of Butlins. That goes to Butlins Skyline Ltd. Its a bit like Woolworths, Comet, MVC, Superdrug etc they are all owned by one group but have different management teams etc and are run independantly from each other. Butlins is not linked financially to Haven or Warners and its unlikely Butlins ever will be. Haven Holidays and Warners are also run as 2 seperate companies. Of course all the money Butlins make is money for Bourne but its Butlins management not Bourne who make all the big decisions about the business. Saying that Haven/British Holidays do cross over to Butlins for training etc.

    I was told there are no plans to close Butlins or change them over to Haven. He said that Butlins is the strongest of their brands and the most popular. I asked if it was likely Ayr or Pwhelli would become Butlins again and he said that he didnt know but it was very, very unlikely as they were too different now than the way they were under Butlins. He says that had Rank sold out to Bourne before they closed Ayr & Phwelli he thinks they would still be open as Butlins today. He told me that Skegness is the most popular, followed by Minehead, however it was an unfair comparrison because Bognor has a small capacity and is often sold out because of it. Mineheads capacity has also been reduced partly down to falling numbers, although he said the numbers were picking up again. I asked if they planned to open any disused chalets and he honestly answered that he didnt know.

    This took me on to a hotel for Minehead. He says that there have been talks but nothing is for sure. He said Bognor will be the key, it will take 3 - 5 years to see the popularity of the Bognor hotel and he cant see any money being invested elsewhere until the Bognor hotel is a success. He said the possible site for a hotel at Minehead is at the main entrance over the old Go-Kart track, medical room and reception area. A new guest services would be in the hotel. I cant see that happening myself!

    Noddyland is set to go. He told me that its no secret (which is very true, everyone seemed to know) and that its been on the cards for sometime. He was a bit vague over timescales but said Noddy will probably be gone in time for summer 2005. Bob The Builder will replace Noddyland. I did notice that Treasures are selling off all the Noddy stuff at half price so I guessed Noddy was on his way out. Its partly down to Noddy's owners wanting more money and partly down to Butlins wanting to do something new. Personally I think Bob The Builder is the wrong character to replace Noddy, too "boyish" but I could be wrong.

    Jaks at Minehead is very likely to be moved to The Crazy Horse Saloon at some point over the next 12 months. I told him I found Jaks too small and cramped. He said when it was opened Butlins were moving into Family Holidays, he said that now they get a lot more adults in Jaks is inadequate and they were hoping for a move to The Crazy Horse. The new Jaks would still be used for bingo . He said the current Jaks may become a restaurant but he admitted he wasnt too sure about that.

    The Beachcomber will remain closed. He told me the capacity on the resort meant it didnt need to be opened as it wouldnt be used. He did also admit money would need to be spent on the building. Good news though there are no plans to demolish it, so fingers crossed one day it may be used again. I wasnt allowed in to view it on Health & Safety grounds!!

    Sunsplash, again no plans at the moment. A spa at Minehead is unlikely, I added my suggestion of opening it up as a serious swimmers pool and he said it was "noted". He told me it is used for staff training sometimes and as we already no has water for the sprinkler system. Again I couldnt go in on health & safety grounds.

    The main complaints at Butlins as a whole are about accomodation, he told me that thats true of almost all holiday companies in the UK, as people tend to expect more than they actually get. He said people who are new to Butlins tend to complain most about accomodation. He did say that you can count complaints easily enough as people write with complaints, but very few write to you if they've had a great time.

    Minehead is to become an outdoor sports centre, they are already building high ropes course, and hope to offer quad biking and even build a skate park! They are launching The Exmoor Experience which gives you the chance to go hill walking, horse riding, scuba diving, biking and more from ?15 per person! Although I dont think you'll get much for ?15.

    Before we finished I asked him why so little was free these days and he told me that staff want more money these days and overheads were higher than they were a few years ago . I said I thought ?6.00 to hire a family sized pedalo was disgusting as is ?6.99 for 30 minutes on a bike and he told me to do what many other people do and write to head office and complain. He agreed that the bike was very expensive! Also he knew nothing about the iron situation

    He probably told me a bit more but when your typing it up you forget, but I think ive covered the main stuff. He was a nice guy who didnt have to talk to me and of course he did give me the "bourne" speak but I think he was genuine enough.

  2. #2
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Also just to say that some of the seating in Centre Stage has finally been replaced. All the chairs at the front in the non smoking area have been replaced with metal framed green comfy chairs. The older ones have been put at the sides and the back, with some others put near the toilets in the Skyline.

  3. #3
    nattyjane Guest

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    Shame Noddy's going, my son has really began to associate him with Butlins, Wont be the same being turned into Bob the builderland, i'm guessing they'll keep the rides and just change the decor and signd e.t.c.

    When i first went back to Butlins in 1999 after the skyline was put up I can remember saying things like i thought the pool was upstairs, etc and thought nothing more of it, until reading about the sunsplash on here, and it amazes me that it is still there and most people don't even know!!!

  4. #4
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by nattyjane
    Shame Noddy's going, my son has really began to associate him with Butlins, Wont be the same being turned into Bob the builderland, i'm guessing they'll keep the rides and just change the decor and signd e.t.c.

    When i first went back to Butlins in 1999 after the skyline was put up I can remember saying things like i thought the pool was upstairs, etc and thought nothing more of it, until reading about the sunsplash on here, and it amazes me that it is still there and most people don't even know!!!
    Yeah the rides will stay and probably just get a re-spray. I still dont know why they've picked Bob The Builder, probably done some kind of deal I guess. Its a shame as I will miss PC Plod & Martha Monkey shaking my hand at check in!!!

  5. #5
    Anonymous Guest

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    Although I had left Butlins by the time of the relaunch I had friends there still, in pretty high places. Jaks was originally planned for the old Beachcomber, which had until the relaunch been the home of Hurricaine Harrys. However Rank who stil owned Butlins at this time wanted all the main venues to be linked in some way to the skyline, as this was impossible for Reds they wanted to make sure Jaks was.

    I agree that Jaks is too small but as has already been said it was built at a time when Rank didnt want to encourage young adults to the camps and they wanted them to be families only, which is why its so small. Im not surprised they now want to move it to the Crazy Horse though.

    Just one thing on the Beachcomber, one of its problems is that its not linked to the "all conquering" Skyline Pavillion. To use the beachcomber as Jaks would mean, if the skyline WAS to be locked up, everyone would have to take the same route back to their chalets, via the East Car Park and Lagoon Bay, rather than going off in different directions. A problem you would have less of if moved to the Crazy Horse.

  6. #6
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by I worked at Minehead
    Although I had left Butlins by the time of the relaunch I had friends there still, in pretty high places. Jaks was originally planned for the old Beachcomber, which had until the relaunch been the home of Hurricaine Harrys. However Rank who stil owned Butlins at this time wanted all the main venues to be linked in some way to the skyline, as this was impossible for Reds they wanted to make sure Jaks was.

    I agree that Jaks is too small but as has already been said it was built at a time when Rank didnt want to encourage young adults to the camps and they wanted them to be families only, which is why its so small. Im not surprised they now want to move it to the Crazy Horse though.

    Just one thing on the Beachcomber, one of its problems is that its not linked to the "all conquering" Skyline Pavillion. To use the beachcomber as Jaks would mean, if the skyline WAS to be locked up, everyone would have to take the same route back to their chalets, via the East Car Park and Lagoon Bay, rather than going off in different directions. A problem you would have less of if moved to the Crazy Horse.
    Although as an fan of "old" Butlins I liked the Beachcomber I really didnt think its its beachcomber form it made a very good night club. As it was half its original size I found Hurricaine Harrys to be pretty small too and it was freezing cold in there. Keep the Beachcomber as it is - but OPEN. I think moving Jaks to the virtually disused Crazy Horse is a good idea and one im all for.

  7. #7
    Jintygirl Guest

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    Thanks BIF, for asking all those questions and posting the answers. I had already heard from another regular by PM that Noddy was indeed going and being replaced with Bob the Builder, so that rumour was true, but they couldn't post it in case they were caught as the whistle-blower! If that's common knowledge now - no problem - though I'm gutted too, from a purely personal perspective - my son also very much associates Butlin's with Noddy - and he absolutely adores him. I've no idea why, but I can't remember being two months short of 2.

    I'm annoyed they used the H&S excuse for no access to Beachcomber and Splash though - it's not like you were going to go swimming or try to set off the volcano! Oh well!

    Very interesting post. Ta muchly!

    (BTW If you think I'm going to bite on the subject of irons, you're sadly mistaken...)

  8. #8
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jintygirl
    Thanks BIF, for asking all those questions and posting the answers. I had already heard from another regular by PM that Noddy was indeed going and being replaced with Bob the Builder, so that rumour was true, but they couldn't post it in case they were caught as the whistle-blower! If that's common knowledge now - no problem - though I'm gutted too, from a purely personal perspective - my son also very much associates Butlin's with Noddy - and he absolutely adores him. I've no idea why, but I can't remember being two months short of 2.

    I'm annoyed they used the H&S excuse for no access to Beachcomber and Splash though - it's not like you were going to go swimming or try to set off the volcano! Oh well!

    Very interesting post. Ta muchly!

    (BTW If you think I'm going to bite on the subject of irons, you're sadly mistaken...)
    I agree with you over Noddy, I dont have kids but can see how important he is to the kids that go to Butlins. Bob the Builder is to be honest very boyish. Hope that doesnt sound sexist but I see Noddy as being universal and the sort of character the whole family loves, I dont think Bob does that.

    Yeah the old H & S excuse, as I thought it would be. I know for a fact the Beachcomber is used during Spring Harvest & for confrences as I was told, so why it was suddenly "dangerous" for me to enter I have no idea!

    LOL irons, no lets leave it

  9. #9
    Anonymous Guest

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    What happened to the Noddy Chalets? Are these now the Gold Chalets at the resorts?

    presumably the Noddy ones werent popular?

  10. #10
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    What happened to the Noddy Chalets? Are these now the Gold Chalets at the resorts?

    presumably the Noddy ones werent popular?
    I was thinking exactly the same thing while I was there 2 weeks ago. My girlfriend didnt believe me that they had Noddy Chalets. I'll have to find out!

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