New plan for Eden of the East

When Pontin's closed its gates in Hemsby for the last time, traders in the small coastal village near Great Yarmouth could easily have seen it as the final death knell for tourism and metaphorically hoisted the white flag.

When Pontin's closed its gates in Hemsby for the last time, traders in the small coastal village near Great Yarmouth could easily have seen it as the final death knell for tourism and metaphorically hoisted the white flag.

However, showing fighting spirit fitting their recently discovered Viking heritage, they are now promoting an ambitious scheme to transform the derelict site into the 'Eden of the East'.

The vision of a multi-million pound domes development, which would provide a sub-tropical climate for all-year camping, has come from Norwich-based brand strategy guru Simon Middleton, who has helped the village reinvent itself as the Vikings historical landing place, with a Scandinavian festival planned for next summer.


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Mr Middleton, who has already taken his eco-tourism proposal to entrepreneurs, including Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragon Dens fame, said: 'I know through my involvement with the Broads Authority that sustainable tourism is not only good for the planet, it is also the way forward for tourism.

'The site currently looks tired and sad and I know its owners (Northern Trust) have several other sites left undeveloped for years and that would be a tragedy for Hemsby.

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'My job is to be a catalyst. This scheme is just a starting point and the aim is to get people talking about it and thinking about it.'

While a recent public exhibition showcased plans to turn the land into a housing development, Mr Middleton insisted it should remain as a prime tourism site.

His vision is for an 800 person holiday centre based around two carbon-neutral sub-tropical domes, one for camping and one for recreational activities.

The Evening News has been urging people to make the most of the county as part of its Do Different Do Norfolk campaign.

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