Published: 14:32, 06 November 2019
| Updated: 16:07, 06 November 2019
One of Sheppey's holiday sites has a new owner.
Islander Henry Cooper has bought the 18-acre Elmhurst Caravan Park at Eastchurch in a multi-million pound deal.
The 39-year-old father-of-three said: "This is a dream come true for me. I had been looking for a site on the Island for ages.
"I have great plans for the place. I want to bring it into the 21st century but at the same time ensure it remains safe, affordable and family-friendly. Existing caravan owners are just as important to us as new ones."
Mr Cooper, who signed the papers on Friday,wants to convert the manor house into a fine-dining restaurant with swimming pool, spa and barbecue and to extend the clubhouse.
He said: "I don't think the park has had much spent on it over the past 20 years. We have put together a £1.5 million investment programme to upgrade it over the next two years.
"The views from the manor house are unreal. It will make a superb restaurant with sea views. Ialso want to upgrade facilities for kids and add football pitches."
Mr Cooper, who was brought up on the Island, said: "I have always loved Sheppey. I love every bit of it. I have spent years working with holiday camps as a trader all over the country but while some bookings are static, sales on Sheppey are up by 25%. The uncertainty of Brexit is actually helping.
"People are wary of going abroad. The staycation is the new vacation and Sheppey is on the up. Queenborough is tipped to be the new Whitstable.
"I would like to return to the days when people flocked here. I want to take away the stigma of Sheppey and bring back good old family holidays but with a modern twist."
Elmhurst has 216 caravans on 18 acres but is licensed for 301. It has been sold by Stephen Cressey who is retiring after 16 years at the park.
Managers Mandy Corpse and Mark Dabbs are staying on. They have been at the site 21 years. The new owners are planning to ramp up the entertainment but stress bingo will stay.