Holiday park gears up for Lancs tourism boost

Neil Darby (above)

Neil Darby (above) says extra visitors to Moss Wood will have a positive impact on Lancashire’s rural economy

Predictions that UK tourism will benefit from the Brexit vote have been welcomed by a top-rated Lancaster holiday park which has just announced new expansion plans.

Moss Wood Caravan Park in the village of Cockerham is set to start work this summer on a new development of luxury holiday homes in its grounds.

It has also created a new marketing post to help promote Lancashire as a tourist destination, and stepping into the role this month is Neil Darby from Ingol in Preston.

Neil will also assist in implementing the business’s expansion plans, including the creation of 25 new caravan holiday pitches adjacent to the park’s fishing pond

Family-run Moss Wood, established by the Wild family over 40 years ago, already provides around 200 pitches for holiday homes, touring caravans and motorhomes.

Morecambe beach is just a short drive from Moss Wood

Morecambe beach is just a short drive from Moss Wood

Neil, aged 28, joins Moss Wood from his previous position as constituency communications manager at the Burnley offices of Lib Dem politician Gordon Birtwistle.

Neil – who gained a BA in politics and parliamentary studies at Leeds University – worked alongside Mr Birtwistle for the five years he represented Burnley as its MP until 2015.

Swapping politics for the parks industry, said Neil, has provided him with precisely the new type of challenge and career contrast which he was seeking:

“Despite the many uncertainties following the recent referendum, domestic tourism stands out as the one area almost certain to receive a business boost,” he said.

“The weaker pound against the euro and the threat of higher air fares are making overseas holidays look much less attractive than previously.

“Currently, advance pitch bookings are up on last year’s figures, as are enquiries about owning a caravan holiday home at Moss Wood.

“This is clearly good news for us, but also for other small businesses as visitors to the park spend around one-and-a-half million pounds each year in the local economy.

Inland, the Ribble Valley is a popular destination

Inland, the Ribble Valley is a popular visitor destination

“There has never been a better time for Lancashire to shout loudly about what a fantastic region it is for all types of holidays, and that’s just what we intend to do,” added Neil.

Parks like Moss Wood, he suggests, have a very special appeal to visitors as they offer tranquil, natural surroundings where people can instantly disengage from their everyday lives and cares.

But although Neil’s day job has now distanced him from politics, he is still very much involved with local government and community affairs outside working hours.

Neil has been a Preston City councillor representing Ingol and Tanterton since being elected in 2014, and has also chaired the ward’s Neighbourhood Council since winning his seat in a by-election earlier this year.

There is more information about Moss Wood Caravan Park at www.mosswood.co.uk

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