THE news that Clent Hills campsite is to close for this season due to staff shortages has upset campers who had been looking forward to a summer break in the picturesque Worcestershire countryside.

The Camping and Caravanning Club said it was with "deep regret" that it would be temporarily closing a number of sites, including Clent, from Friday July 23, and the company said it was "truly sorry" for the impact on those who have had their holidays cancelled as a result.

Camper David Wisdom said he was devastated by the news which comes as Covid restrictions have been lifted in England.

He told the News: "There's hundreds of people here and management have told us this beautiful caravan site will be closed from Friday.

"The government are telling us to come out and they're shutting us down."

He said it was unfair to close the site as the summer holiday season kicks in at a time when people have been looking forward more than ever to getting away in the sunshine.

He said holidaymakers were being deprived of their chance to enjoy a post-Covid lockdown break in the great outdoors and he said: "People are enraged by it. People deserve better."

Holidaymaker Heather Stokes told how she and her husband Mark and their 15-year-old daughter Autumn were only informed of the closure on the day they were due to start their holiday, last Friday.

The family had booked nine days at the site but were told they could only stay for seven as it was closing.

She said: "It’s very disappointing.

"They gave us a full refund but it was very mixed messaging on the email and it's not just us affected."

She said others at the site, season ticket holders who stay for longer periods of time, had been given just a week's notice to leave the site and make alternative living arrangements for the coming months and she added: "It’s caused a lot of upset. It’s going to be the local community that suffers - local pubs an shops which are used by the people on the site."

The Camping and Caravanning Club’s director general, Sabina Voysey, said: “It is with deep regret that we have had to temporarily close a small number of our campsites on our club site network. Just like many other hospitality and tourist providers, we too are experiencing staff shortages at a time when demand for camping holidays is exceptionally high.

“We are committed to providing the best possible experience for our campers, and even as restrictions start to lift, our teams will still be working with additional measures and enhanced cleaning in place. This, coupled with the exceptional demand, means that across our network we simply don't have enough staff, and it's important that we only open where we can operate safely and ensure we can deliver our usual high standards.

“It's a very small number (less than one per cent of bookings) that we’re having to cancel but having to cancel one stay at a club site is one too many. We know this will have an impact on those who have booked trips with us on the affected campsites, for which we are truly sorry. We have done all we can to avoid this situation.

“We are always striving to achieve the best possible customer service and so we have created a dedicated team of staff at our head office to help campers who have been affected. Everyone has automatically received a full refund and we’re working hard to rebook the camping trips of those affected as well as providing a significant discount on their rebooked stays by way of an apology.”

Clent Hills is not the only site affected.

The Camping and Caravanning Club’s sites in Bala, Hertford, Kelvedon Hatch, Lauder, Sheriff Hutton, Slindon, Speyside, and Theobalds Park will also be closing temporarily from July 23.

It's not clear how long the sites will remain shut for but the company has said it aims to actively look to recruit and train more campsite staff to enable the facilities to reopen.