HOLIDAYMAKERS have been reportedly turning up ready for a vacation in Watchet only to find their accommodation site has been closed.

Helwell Bay caravan site was sold earlier this year, and has been taken over by Countrywide Park Homes & Lodges, who have closed the site, saying they have purchased the land and the assets, but not the holiday rental business itself.

However confusion has reigned when it comes to the existing bookings handed over from the previous owners, which has seemingly left a number of holiday makers in the lurch.

Countrywide Park Homes & Lodges told Watchet Chamber of Trade that the handover of booking details they received from the previous owners did not cover all the bookings.

Countrywide contacted those they had details for to make them aware of the change of ownership and site closure.

The company has also received numerous calls about deposits and has reportedly refunded these out of their own pockets as a gesture of good will.

However John Richards, chairman of Watchet Chamber of Trade, which runs the Watchet town website, has been fielding calls from disgruntled tourists.

“We have had a number of calls asking what the situation is even though it has nothing to do with us, so I have been trying to get to the bottom of it,” Mr Richards said.

“I know that the Visitor Centre has six or seven calls about it too and some people have come all the way to Watchet only to find they have nowhere to stay.

“It all came to a head about 10 days ago when a group who had book eight caravans planning to run a vintage vehicle rally only found out the site was closed because one of their party tried to phone the site and could not get through.

“They had to go somewhere else, so that is 16 people who did not end up visiting and I worry about the impact for Watchet’s reputation as a tourist destination if this sort of thing continues.”

A spokesman for Countrywide Park Homes said: “Countrywide purchased Helwell Bay caravan park in March.

“We understand there was a number of holiday bookings made prior to this date, that we are no longer able to fulfil and have been cancelled.

“We have contacted all of the holiday makers, who we have received details for and offered them a full refund of their deposit, given to the previous owners.

“Unfortunately it appears some customers have been missed from the list we have received from the previous owners, making it impossible for us to contact everyone.

“If you had a holiday booked at the park, please contact our operations department on 0800 150 3333 who will happily offer you a full refund of your proven deposit.

“We are very concerned that holiday makers will inevitably be let down if they are unaware of the closure of the park.

“The future is currently undecided for the park, we will ensure the local community are the first to be aware of any changes via our website, and the Watchet tourist board.”