Real Life Stories - Slingsby makes a splash at Center Parcs

Real Life Stories

Slingsby Makes a Splash at Center Parcs

The summer of 2015 saw Center Parcs open its latest holiday Village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire as the company seeks to entice visitors from London and the South East who want an exciting, action packed short break that the Great British weather can’t spoil.

Center Parcs is firmly established as the UK’s number one short break provider and Woburn Forest is the first new holiday village the company has opened for 20 years. As you might expect, the figures that surround it are truly staggering.

It employs 1,500 permanent staff, is set in 362 acres of woodland, offers accommodation for thousands of guests in 625 holiday lodges and a 75 bedroom hotel, there are more than 100 activities on offer as well as 10 restaurants for guests to choose from and it’s home to the company’s largest ever Subtropical Swimming Paradise. In addition, it was 10 years between Center Parcs spotting the opportunity and the Village opening - and it cost a cool £250 million!

With such massive scale it’s no wonder that the Woburn Forest site faced multiple storage problems and so the solution came in the form of nearly 3 miles of shelving from Slingsby.

Managing the process from layout design through product selection, bespoke production and installation, Slingsby were involved all the way.

Mike Henderson, Woburn Implementation Manager from Center Parcs explains: “In this business the way things run behind the scenes is crucial to the way the whole Village operates. Woburn Forest is a vast operation and requires a huge number of clearly defined systems to keep it running smoothly. Our shelving and racking is key to this and covers approximately 70 separate rooms and storage areas. It houses almost everything that we rely on in our day-to-day operations across all areas of the business including accommodation, catering, retail, maintenance and activities.”

“We initially gave Slingsby the plans and requirements for the storage areas and outlined several areas where we had additional requirements. These included some secure storage requirements and a number of high-risk areas. Slingsby overlaid a design for each individual storage zone and suggested a number of products for each area. Some areas required additional security built around the shelving bays to store high value items, such as tools and alcohol, and mesh shelves instead of chipboard in certain areas to improve sprinkler fall through and so reduce the risk of fire damage.” Mike continues: “We eventually opted for three main products that now feature across all our storage areas. These consist of a heavy duty long span shelving system, a galvanised system that is available in a 300mm depth for areas with limited space as well as a Metro system that is easy to clean and features ‘rapid shelf adjustment’ which is ideal for food and beverage preparation areas.”

“Each of the three systems is easy to adjust and modify, as and when required, and limiting the number of systems we use also gives us the flexibility to keep spare sections in order to expand certain areas or add extra shelves if we need to.”

Finally Mike says: “Because these systems are so critical to our operations, in many areas the racking was the first installation to take place after our construction contractors handed over the buildings and in some areas we had to carry out parts of the installation while construction was still underway. This often meant the installation team were working in a live building site which obviously brings its own challenges but all the work was completed by Slingsby within the deadlines set.

They also provided us with a wide range of other items including trucks, trolleys and general storage items which kept us on target for our June opening.”

For further information on Center Parcs and Woburn Forest visit