Seacote Caravan Park

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Seacote Caravan Park's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Seacote Caravan Park is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Directors Richard and
A holiday caravan overlooks
St. Bees Headland
Seacote Park in St Bees, West Cumbria, was acquired by Tom
Milburn in 1977. He had begun his business life in 1962 in
the construction industry with personal savings of £1,800.
Neighbouring, complementary tourism businesses were added in
the 1980s, including a smaller caravan park, a hotel, a beach shop
and a café. More recently, the business expanded to include two
more West Cumbrian holiday parks: Seven Acres in Holmrook and
Tarnside in Braystones. Led by directors Tom and his son Richard,
the company employs 60 staff, managing a total of 600 static
caravans across the four holiday parks, as well as the Seacote
Hotel, which now has 70 rooms and a large function room.
We’re very fortunate that Seacote Park is located on one of the most picturesque
and iconic stretches of coastline in the north of England – in the beautiful village of
St Bees. All our holiday parks sit on the western fringe of the Lake District, and we
aim to capitalise on this by inviting our guests to escape the bustle of the “central”
areas while enjoying easy access to all the lakes on offer.
Attractions immediately on our doorstep include the Cumbrian coastal path; the
RSPB bird reserve, which sits on the imposing clifftops of St Bees Head; and the
starting point of Wainwright’s famous coast-to-coast walk. We have always aspired
to give everyone, whatever their budget, the opportunity to enjoy a traditional
British seaside holiday. For this reason, we continue to offer everything from
great-value camping holidays – a family with three children can enjoy a week’s
holiday for £126 – through to the opportunity to purchase a luxury holiday caravan
»Directors: Thomas and Richard
»Founded in 1977
»Located in St Bees, West
»Services: Tourism and leisure
»No. of employees: 60
»Run by father and son
Seacote Caravan Park
Highlighting best practice
We often say the secret to our success
is never remaining complacent. We
oversee a continual process of caravan
replacement, property refurbishment,
improvement and investment. We
operate the hotel and caravan park
in harmony with each other, allowing
us to offer guests multiple options for
enjoying our facilities. For example,
large groups and events such as
weddings and club rallies have our
function room and hotel catering
at their disposal, while using both
the hotel and the holiday park as
Locality and industry
One of our biggest challenges is our
proximity to the Sellafield nuclear
plant, which has often suffered a poor
public image. Being frank, this has
put some visitors off and led to some
interesting customer complaints over
the years. At the same time, though,
it also greatly benefits us. Many of
those who consider buying a caravan
holiday home with us are employed in
the nuclear industry. We also benefit
during the quieter tourist months,
with nuclear contract workers hiring
our holiday caravans. The situation
requires us to maintain a delicate
balance between the tourism part of
the business and our desire to cater to
an important market in our locality.
Another challenge is that the majority
of our holiday visitors travel via the M6
and A66, requiring them to drive past
the honeypot locations in the centre
of the Lake District. We need skilful
marketing to highlight just why they
should come to Seacote Park.
Furthermore, there is the additional
difficulty of a lack of funding and
development for the transport
network around us. Road congestion,
associated with Sellafield in particular,
and irregular rail services hamper
easy access to West Cumbria. We are
in regular contact with the relevant
agencies regarding road improvements,
which will become absolutely essential
if the mooted Moorside nuclear
development goesahead.
A stunning location
between mountains and
We have
always aspired
to give
whatever their
budget, the
opportunity to
enjoy a
British seaside
Customer loyalty
One enjoyable aspect of our business
is that many of our guests are repeat
visitors, often becoming friends, such as
the lady who was overheard to remark
she was enjoying her 19th stay with us.
We work very hard to create a culture
that makes guests feel like they are
part of the family. Having good staff
retention is invaluable in this regard, as
it means our guests are often welcomed
and assisted by familiar faces. This is not
purely sentimental on our part; repeat
holidaymakers are highly prized. These
bookings require little or no additional
marketing, and these guests are already
familiar with the park and all its facilities.
Many also go on to become caravan
owners, with several members of
the same family sometimes owning
caravans on the park. All of our
holiday-hire caravans are replaced
every five years, and we strive to make
sure our customers feel valued by
accommodating their special needs
and listening to their feedback. We
maintain good relationships with our
local parish and wider councils to make
sure our voice is heard – such as, for
example, when lobbying to ensure
facilities on our adjoining beach are
maintained and improved in the best
interests of our holidaymakers.
A proud past and a hopeful
During our 40 years of moving the
business forward, we have seen many
changes, and the pace of change
increases as technology advances.
Our original local authority site licence
required a public telephone on the park,
which has long since become a purely
decorative item. Advances in caravan
design and construction, such as central
heating and double glazing, mean they
can now be used throughout the year.
We have also adapted to become more
flexible, with booking requests for any-
day arrivals and differing lengths of stay.
We continue to work with Hoseasons,
who market some holiday caravans,
and we have recently launched our
new website. While tourism is our main
business focus, we continue to carry out
property development. A derelict former
school building has been converted into
flats for let, and 15 houses in St Bees
are currently being developed for sale.
Our renovations, improvements and
investments continue apace, including
extensive refurbishment of the hotel
and the installation of wifi throughout
Seacote Park in 2019. It therefore
almost goes without saying: we are
optimistic about the future.
We work very
hard to create
a culture that
makes guests
feel like they
are part of the
Our holiday home
owners take great pride
in their caravans

This article was sponsored by Seacote Caravan Park. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster