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Run by IAAPA committee member Gary Smart, Harbour Park has invested £750,000 (€1.1 million) on new additions this season.
Based in Littlehampton, on the south coast of England, the park has, over the last few years, forged close links with the Littlehampton Town Council on a number of marketing and advertising campaigns. This came about from recognition that the council and park were promoting the same location, so it made good business sense to join forces and get the best out of their combined marketing budgets.
“Harbour Park is a mature business, and is always looking to improve its position in the market place,” notes Smart. “We feel the latest improvements have continued to show that Harbour Park is a lively vibrant attraction, and a fun place to visit.”
One of the new attractions for 2007 is a log flume (pictured), and a compact one at that. Supplier DPV Rides of Italy had to develop a water ride that would feature a 6.5 metre drop, inside a 34 x 14 metre footprint. The chief concern was that there would be enough of a run out to do this and still create the desired splash effect. The splash panels at the base of ride had to be raised to prevent onlookers from getting too soaked, and retain the water. The wave created also had to be softened, so as not to allow the boat in front being waterlogged. The ride is fitted with an inverter, which offers far greater savings on electricity use, and the channels are fully galvanised. In total the flume has four boats, each taking a maximum of four passengers, and has thus far proved to be extremely popular with Harbour Park visitors.
The park’s ever-popular Dodgems have got a new set of ‘Alma’ bumper cars this season courtesy of Reverchon International Design. A smaller attraction, which arrived at the end of May, was a new shooting gallery from China.
There have also been major changes made to in-park catering outlets, as catering manager Jack Rudnic tweaks the offer to reflect modern tastes and lifestyles. So it’s out with the burger bar style kiosks and in with the contemporary coffee bars and a revamp of the English Tea Room. A refurbished pub and a panoramic café will also open this season on Littlehampton seafront, conveniently located on the Eastern Green overlooking the park.
Changes in the arcade areas needed as a result of the new Gaming Law has yet to be assessed. The arcade will also be affected by the new no-smoking law, which was due to come into force across England on July 1.
Environmental issues are high on the agenda, in a number of ways. Harbour Park already uses low energy light bulbs and recycles the cardboard, paper and plastics used in packaging from its suppliers. Now it is investigating ways to take customers’ recyclable rubbish within the park. Maybe then it will keep coming back as often as the guests.
Alongside Gary Smart and his wife Kathy Smart, who overseas the administration team supported by Lin Wilson, Harbour Park is kept fresh and exciting under the watchful eye of park director Kevin Roeber and operations manager Robert Gilbert.