Multi-million pound holiday park plan could revitalise Hayling Island tourism

The new beachomber lounges at Mill Rythe Holiday Village
The new beachomber lounges at Mill Rythe Holiday Village

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A MULTI-MILLION pound plan to upgrade a holiday village could spark a new tourism boom on Hayling Island.

The owners of Mill Rythe holiday park aim to transform it from a four-star to a five-star attraction.

Carl Castledine, CEO of Away Resorts, says upgrading the accommodation is an important element.

He said: ‘The park itself is not increasing in land size, the plans are to demolish some old and rundown units and replace them with modern, comfortable accomodation, with luxury touches.’

After the demolition of 6,111sq m of redundant chalets, the land would house 204 new holiday caravans, five of which would be for staff.

Refurbishment would be carried out on the existing chalets and other buildings.

A pedestrian concourse with terraces, play areas, multi-games court, adventure golf course and an outdoor theatre would also be built.

Mr Castledine added: ‘We’ve wanted to do this for several years. There won’t be a dramatic increase in the number of guests we have as the project is more focused on renovation rather than increasing overall capacity.’

Andy Lenaghan, who represents Hayling West on Havant Borough Council, said: ‘The development could revitalise the island as a popular tourist destination and it would be good for the local economy.

‘It’s outdated to say those visiting the village don’t go outside of it to spend money – they do.

‘Provided we can overcome the planning application concerns realistically, it would be a wonderful change.’

Joanne Thomas, a councillor for Hayling West, added: ‘I’m pleased the tourism offering on Hayling is increasing. It’s nice to see a business upgrading instead of selling off its land for housing developments.’

But with economic benefits aside, concerns have been raised over a number of other issues. Two residents have objected to the plans because of worries about congestion, noise and light pollution and garden privacy.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has objected on the grounds that insufficient information has been provided to assess the development’s impact on nearby protected land. The trust voiced the same concerns as ecologists from Hampshire County Council. Grassland, vegetation, reptiles and birds could be affected.

Southern Water has requested that if planning is approved, construction should not start until a drainage strategy has been produced. It is seeking the company to enter into an agreement to provide the necessary sewerage infrastructure required to service the development.

The Local Lead Flood Authority has also requested further information, and an archaeologist has asked the company to implement a programme of archaeological assessment, as ‘it is possible that as yet unrecorded archaeological features and/or deposits exist within the site.’