"No control, contacts or ability" - what it was really like at Dorset's "Crapland"

The agency responsible for supplying staff for the disgraced Lapland New Forest attraction has spoken out about the fiasco.


Richards Events Services provided car park attendants, elves, stewards and staff to operate the snow machines for the Dorset-based theme park.

"When it opened to the public on the Friday it was obvious there was no control, the ice rink wasn't working and it was lacking in entertainment staff," said managing director Sue Holzherr.

The organisers assured Holzherr that the next day would be different, but when staff arrived on the Saturday it was "mayhem".

"There were two-hour-long queues to see Santa, the gingerbread cabin ran out of supplies, and visitors were taking their frustrations out on our staff, one of whom was slapped."

On the Sunday little had changed. "It was very busy and the gingerbread house ran out of supplies yet again. The ice rink had been fixed but visitors had to pay extra to use it."

By this stage it was clear the organisers were unable to cope with the pressure. "On the Sunday evening we sat down for a crisis meeting with them to discuss whether we would be returning the following day."

Holzherr suggested bringing in more staff to entertain visitors but felt her ideas were falling on deaf ears. "We gave them the opportunity to turn it around, but they didn't have the contacts or the ability to pull it off."

In the end Holzherr decided to not to go back. "There was a lack of confidence in the event and we didn't want to put our staff at risk," she said.

Luckily, as the Lapland New Forest was a newly formed company, Holzherr had requested two weeks payment up-front so didn't lose out financially from the debacle, but was left feeling "disappointed".

"In my opinion I don't think they ever intended to rip anyone off, they just completely underestimated the task ahead of them."

Richards Events Services is now in the process of securing alternative work for its staff.

"I'm pretty confident it won't affect our business," said Holzherr, "but you don't know what damage bad publicity can do."

The park wasn't the only one to fail this winter, with a West Midlands attraction suffering a similar fate.

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