Company's u-turn

Center Parcs drops plan to evict holidaymakers

Center Parcs
Center Parcs caused fury with its eviction plan

Center Parcs has dropped its plan to turf holidaymakers out of its five sites on the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Families reacted furiously to the plan announced earlier to force them to leave on Monday and return on Tuesday. They were told they had to make alternative arrangements.

However, after a furious backlash in the media, the company performed a u-turn allowing holidaymakers to stay.

The company said it had “reviewed our position regarding the very small number of guests who are not due to depart on Monday and we will be allowing them to stay on our villages rather than having to leave and return on Tuesday.”

However, those due to arrive on Monday for shorter stays are being given the opportunity to begin their breaks a day later.

In an earlier statement the company said it made the decision to close all its parks for the day “as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be part of this historic moment”.

Customers who wanted to cancel their holidays were being offered a full refund, with partial refunds for those whose breaks would be shorter than booked.

But many went public to criticise the company which they accused of showing no respect for its customers.

One wrote: “We were five related families getting together for our annual family holiday – with two small children and two dogs, three hours from home! Sorry, but this is an awful, awful decision that has left us devastated. By all means close the restaurants and activities, but let us stay on the park.”

Another wrote: “Party of six – including one toddler and one adult with special needs. Driving four hours for a Friday to Friday break in (a) four-bedroomed cabin.

“Get kicked out of our accommodation at 10am Monday and can’t return until the same time on Tuesday. What the hell are we supposed to do?”

Another tweeted: “It would appear respect only flows one way, and that respect for your guests is not something that is a priority.” 

Center Parcs’ five UK sites are: Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire; and Whinfell Forest, Cumbria.

Holidays at the villages start on Fridays or Mondays and last three, four or seven nights.

The row follows outrage from football fans after the league authorities in England and Scotland postponed matches at short notice while other sports, such as cricket and rugby league went ahead as normal.

Center Parcs is among a swathe of companies closing on Monday, including the big supermarkets and chain stores. Many click and collect services will be suspended.

A two minutes’ silence will be held at midday next Monday for the Queen’s state funeral and the London Stock Exchange will close. 

Many museums and other tourist attractions will also be shut for the day and the Royal Mail has announced it will not be making deliveries.

The closures will means retailers will not benefit from the usual Bank Holiday rush to the shops, which economists believe will lead to a dip in GDP and possibly tip the UK into recession.

However, pubs and restaurants are expected to remain open.

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