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Derbyshire-based construction group Bowmer & Kirkland has won a £93m contract from Center Parcs to build the leisure buildings and facilities at the new Bedfordshire site.

The appointment follows the Nottinghamshire-based holiday park operator filing a £47.9m pre-tax loss for 2011/12 as it restructured its debt to raise money for the project.

Bowmer & Kirkland's £93m contract includes construction of the buildings for the 'Subtropical Swimming Paradise', restaurants, spa, 75-bedroom hotel, sports hall, conference spaces, supermarket and other associated buildings in Woburn Forest – Center Parc's fifth UK village.

Work has started on the project and is expected to take 72 weeks – with completion set for spring 2014. The build will provide employment for 1,200 construction workers, as well as an additional 1,500 jobs to be created at the park.

Bowmer & Kirkland, which is headquartered in Belper with a turnover of more than £700m, has completed works for Center Parcs in the past, including a number of refurbishments at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

"This latest award by Center Parcs for a fifth UK village is fantastic news for us. We are proud to be associated with Center Parcs and this will enhance our already impressive record in the leisure sector," said Paul Lomas Bowmer & Kirkland construction director.

Don Camilleri, Center Parcs Woburn construction director, added; "Center Parcs Woburn Forest will feature a number of important firsts for us. We hope these firsts will enhance the guest experience and make sure that we are continuing to have a positive impact on the local environment.

"We're delighted to have Bowmer & Kirkland on board and look forward to working with them to get Woburn Forest built in time for opening in spring 2014."

In the year to 26 April 2012, Center Parcs recorded revenue of £291.7m, compared with £290.5m in the previous 12 months.

However, the group fell to a pre-tax loss of £47.9m, down from a profit of £15m in 2010/11, as the group restructured its debt as part of its fundraising for the new leisure park.

It incurred exceptional costs of £66.1m in relation to a winding up of an interest rate swap. Other finance expenses of £82.2m pushed the company into the red.

Operating profit in the period was £97.7m.

In March, Center Parcs announced it was to start work on its fifth site with £250m backing from four banks and investment company Blackstone, which owns the holiday operator.

It said Blackstone would support the project with £100m of new cash equity injected into the business. Four banks – Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group – also committed to a construction loan of £150m.

Center Parcs has four existing sites at Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk and Longleat Forest in Wiltshire.


Article by
Edward Devlin

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