Boost for Pembrokeshire and South Wales economy as Bluestone gets planning green light to invest £15m in new lodges
Bluestone National Park Resort has this week secured unanimous positive decisions from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committees which, once the planning permissions have been issued, will enable the building of 80 new superior lodges at the resort, at an investment of £15m.
The Pembrokeshire holiday resort employs more than 700 people and welcomed almost 155,000 visitors in 2019, with an average year-round occupancy of 97% in its 344 lodges, studios, and cottages. The company works with and supports a wide range of suppliers across Wales with 65% of its £7.8m expenditure being retained within its home county.
The impact of coronavirus over the last 12 months has been incredibly challenging for hospitality businesses throughout Wales and the UK, including Bluestone. The company’s hospitality sales have fallen by over £17.5m over the last year as a direct result of the pandemic. This has been partially offset by a £6m commercial partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board for the use and restoration of Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las. This includes work by teams across Bluestone – including HR, Health and Safety, IT, Security, and operational staff.
The company has worked hard over the last year to protect jobs and continue to support its significant local supply chain and invaluable community partners. Bluestone is determined to invest further, to expand its offering, increase local jobs and support the regional and West Wales economy – and ensure that it keeps delivering high-quality breaks in an unparalleled, environmentally-conscious setting.
The proposed development, set within Bluestone’s 500-acre site, will build on the existing success of the resort. The development will provide an additional 80 superior, environmentally sensitive, self-catered lodges. Bluestone will be investing £15m into the development, which will create and support over 250 jobs in the construction phase as well as nearly 90 operational jobs on-site following the completion of the works, promoting local skills and employment. The new lodges will increase spending by Bluestone in the surrounding area by up to £1.5m per year and up to a further £1m by visitors who explore the County while staying at the resort.
Sustainable design principles are a key priority for the project. New lodges will be connected to Bluestone’s biomass energy centre and plans outline the sensitive treatment of the site and proposed buildings, as well as support for the site-wide environmental management and community initiatives. Sustainability – and the promotion of health and wellbeing – has always formed an integral part of Bluestone’s business operations and over 330,000 trees and shrubs have been planted across the resort since opening. Schemes are also in place to encourage sustainable practice among guests and over 99% of the park’s waste is diverted from landfill.
Speaking about the plans, Liz Weedon, Head of Projects, said: “We are really pleased to have the resolutions approved and we are very excited about the lodge development – which cements Bluestone’s firm commitment to further investment, job creation, and supporting the wider regional economy. It has been a very challenging year for everyone in the industry; we are proud and privileged to be based in Pembrokeshire and see real potential for the county to benefit significantly from staycation demand in the future.”“We are looking forward to taking forward our proposals on which will be a very significant investment in tourism for Pembrokeshire, Wales and the UK”
William McNamara, Chief Executive of Bluestone, added: “We are proud to have worked with Hywel Dda University Health Board and Pembrokeshire County Council to establish and maintain Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las. The field hospital – which was a superb facility – was created at the previously unimaginable speed at a time of unquestionable uncertainty. It remains an exemplary demonstration of what can be achieved by successfully working together. We sincerely thank teams across Bluestone – including HR, Health and Safety, IT, Security and operational staff – as well as excellent Hywel Dda teams for all their hard work and commitment.”
“These planning decisions are a big step forward for the business. After a very challenging period, it is positive for everyone connected with Bluestone – our staff, local suppliers, and community partners – to have these state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive lodges on the horizon."