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Piperdam owner reveals colossal lockdown closure cost

Piperdam resort.
Piperdam resort.

The owner of Piperdam has revealed the staggering amount it lost each month the Tayside resort was closed during lockdown.

Coppergreen Developments has owned the golf and leisure facility on the outskirts of Dundee since 2016.

Newly filed annual accounts lay bare the financial impact on the group, which has a portfolio of four resorts.

Workers furloughed as costs mounted

Director Donna Copley stated: “On March 23 the group closed all the parks and furloughed 90% of the staff.

Some of the chalets at the Piperdam Resort.

“Staff not furloughed were employed to answer the phones to customers, ensure security on the parks and deal with on-going maintenance tasks.

“At the time there was no indication of how long the closure would last.

“As a result many bookings were cancelled and refunds given. There was no trading income during the three months the parks were closed.

“Running costs during this period averaged £270,000 a month.”

£2.5m overdraft to secure business

In addition to Piperdam, Coppergreen operates Kenwick Park Estate, Woodland Lakes Lodges in Thirsk and Clumber Park Lodges in Nottinghamshire.

As the Covid-19 crisis hit, the firm was able to secure a £2.5 million overdraft facility.

Ms Copley said trading was better than anticipated when Piperdam reopened in mid-July.

Donna Copley.

“As a group lodge booking have over-achieved the original 2020 budget for July, August and September.

“Other income streams are still restricted and there is no indication of how or when there will be a recovery to normal trading conditions.

“There has been a major impact on weddings and the play barn, and this continues.”

Covie-19 crisis followed successful 2019

The challenging trading conditions last year follow a very successful 2019 for Piperdam and the wider Coppergreen Developments group.

The accounts for Piperdam show turnover increased to £7.5m for the year ending December 31 2019, from £6.8m in 2018.


This was partly due to lodge occupancy increasing from 80% to 83%. The average nightly tariff also rose from £177 to £181.

Pre-tax profits improved from £1.4m in 2018 to £1.6m in 2019.

Overall Coppergreen had revenues of £15m in 2019, a rise from £10.8m in 2018.

At the year end Piperdam employed 159 staff.

Rise in occupancy in 2019

Ms Copley said: “A 13% increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was achieved in 2019. There are still 26 undeveloped plots, which can be built on at a future date.

“The park entered into the Landal brand of Hoseasons during the second half of 2018. The full benefit of this was seen in 2019.

“Lodge occupancy and tariff both rose in 2019 from the prior year, leading to a 15% increase in revenue.

“The park continued to develop and add activities, including a crazy golf course overlooking the lake, which is a major addition.

David Copley, chief executive of Coppergreen Developments

“Food and beverage was the only area in 2019 to show a revenue decline, which was replicated across the industry.

“Refurbishment of the older stock of lodges continued in 2019 which increased repair and maintenance costs.

“This programme continued into 2020, in order to further increase the quality of lodges on site.”

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