Once-booming Pontins resort town is now ‘derelict’ and is set to ‘get worse’

The seaside town that hosts a popular Pontins resort is a shadow of its former self, stark pictures illustrate, with fears a prolonged economic downturn will make things worse. Brean in Somerset once hosted thousands of families each year looking for a coastal escape, but it is now a “ghost town”, according to visitors. Locals have spoken of a steep downturn in the number of tourist visits, and with the Pontins Holiday Park soon to briefly shut its doors, they fear the once-booming town will only sink further.

Speaking to The Sun, Gary Reid, 61, a Brean local and former publican, said the town feels like a “one-horse town where even the horse has left”.

The town caters primarily to sea-seeking holidaymakers, meaning it is nearly empty out of season as the winter hits.

Only a general store and Post Office are open outside the holiday season, leaving other shops like Stardust Amusements, Brean Beach Shop, Giftique, and the Bread and Butter bakery and sandwich shop derelict.

The Pontins resort is Brean’s main moneymaker, and without it, locals foresee a significant dent in the town’s income.


The holiday estate will close its doors for the next few years as construction continues on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The station, which began construction in 2016 but has become subject to significant delays, is due for commission in June 2027.

Pontins will house up to 900 workers building nuclear reactors at the site until 2025, the holiday park firm announced in early 2023.

Mr Reid said he fears the town will decline further as it loses thousands of customers per week.

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Typically, he said, the area is “never very busy” at this time of year, but locals are “fearful for the coming season”.

Pontins’ imminent closure would lose a “weekly turnover of 3,000 people”, and even outsiders have realised what this could do to the town.

Former motorbike stunt rider Dan Dare, 57, said that when he rides into Brean from Weston-super-Mare “The Specials song ‘Ghost Town’ always comes into my head”.

Losing “so many” tourists would have a “massive effect on small shopkeepers in the area”, he warned.

While hundreds of construction workers would take their place, Mr Dare said they “aren’t going to be buying buckets and spades or rubber rings for the beach”.

The deserted town isn’t a source of misery for everyone visiting Brean, with some enjoying the quiet life.

Tony and Jackie Edwards, from nearby Evesham, enjoy their visits to the town during its off period for the peace and quiet.

Ms Edwards, 65, said that, while it lacks atmosphere, Brean is a “special place” where “we can walk our dog Jackie and know we won’t come across many people”.

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