‘Lux­ury’ hol­i­day any­thing but, claim fam­ily

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

ADISABLED mother was shocked to find ant-rid­den beds, dirty ac­com­mo­da­tion, drug use and fight­ing dur­ing a stay at Pon­tins Southp port.

Claire Ash­ton, 37, visi ited the hol­i­day camp f for a fam­ily break over h half-term and vowed never to re­turn.

The fam­ily booked in Jan­uary to visit Pon­tins from their home in Sh­effield, but had to al­ter their plans when Claire needed spinal surgery af­ter suffering p pro­lapsed discs.

Claire, who trav­elled w with hus­band Matthew, 33, son Joe, 13, moth­erin-law Sharon, 63, and n neph­ews Luke and Ben, 9 and 6, was happy when she rang Pon­tins and ad­vised she could up­grade to a ‘lux­ury bun­ga­low’ which was neces sar y as she would now be us­ing a wheel­chair.

That change, com­bined with up­grad­ing to half-board, boosted the cost of the hol­i­day from £269 to more than £750.

But they were left shocked by what they found when they ar­rived at Pon­tins, owned by Bri­tan­nia Ho­tels - which also owns the Scaris­brick and Prince of Wales ho­tels in South­port.

She said: “It was rid­den with ants, noth­ing was work­ing, the cup­boards were bro­ken, the blinds wouldn’t open, noth­ing had been cleaned.

“There were ants in our bed. I can’t even be­gin to tell you how hor­rific it was.”

On top of this, Claire said, the toi­let wouldn’t flush when they ar­rived and, later in their stay, a glass shelf fell from above the sink while the chil­dren were brush­ing the teeth un­der­neath it.

“We spoke to the man­ager about how dis­gust­ing it was. He went in and mopped it him­self and said the cleaner couldn’t go in be­cause she was scared of dogs and we had our chi­huahua with us.”

Things got worse when they went for their evening meal and, de­spite only be­ing al­lowed a half-hour slot to eat, couldn’t find any suit­able space to fit Claire’s wheel­chair in. This prob­lem con­tin­ued each day, with the fam­ily of­ten de­cid­ing it was better to eat else­where, push­ing their to­tal spend to well over £1,000.

Af­ter com­plain­ing to the man­ager, the fam­ily was given a £20 drinks voucher.

“We could have gone abroad for that much money. We were sold some­thing by the man on the phone that was noth­ing like the ac­tual place.

“They didn’t cater at all for me and it was cer­tainly not a lux­ury bun­ga­low in any shape or form.”

Ac­cord­ing to Claire, it was not un­com­mon to see and smell peo­ple smok­ing drugs from as early as 9am.

“I have to say se­cu­rity were very good and quick to get rid of any­one caus­ing trou­ble,” she added.

“But I’ve never seen peo­ple fight­ing, tak­ing drugs in a fam­ily re­sort. Our chil­dren were phys­i­cally scared. For peo­ple to be phys­i­cally fight­ing in front of you is not on.

“For £779 we ex­pected some­thing, es­pe­cially bear­ing in mind we’d up­graded and ex­plained my dis­abil­i­ties.

“It’s called Pon­tins South­port and it gives South­port a bad name. It’s beau­ti­ful there, but they need to shut that place down and build it again.”

But Claire said they all had a fan­tas­tic time in the town and were keen to re­turn.

Pon­tins was ap­proached for com­ment but did not re­spond at the time of pub­lish­ing.

The Ash­ton fam­ily were shocked by their lux­ury bun­ga­low at Pon­tins South­port Pic­tured: Ben, Luke, Sharon, Claire and Joe on South­port Pier with (inset) ex­am­ples of what they found

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