Coventry & Warwickshire

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen vows action on Christmas park complaints

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Media captionLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen apologised on Twitter for his silence over reaction to The Magical Journey, near Sutton Coldfield, saying he had been away

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has vowed to act after the Christmas attraction he helped to create was forced to close because of complaints.

The TV designer apologised on Twitter for his silence over reaction to The Magical Journey, near Sutton Coldfield, saying he had been away.

He said it was "time for sleeves to be rolled up" at the park, which was branded a "rip-off" by some visitors.

But visitors said he should apologise for the "appalling" experience.

Hundreds of messages were posted on the Magical Journey's Facebook page after it opened.

A number of users complained about the price of admission - the top price for a child is £22.50 - and accused the management of misleading the public.

Event director Paul Dolan apologised and said the opening should have been postponed. He said preparation had been "severely hampered" by bad weather.

'Ravishing vision'

The park has now been closed until Wednesday to resolve the problems, following what organisers have described as a "social media backlash".

Image caption Organisers said the park's opening should have been postponed
Image copyright The Magical Journey
Image caption A message advising customers of the closure was earlier posted on the company's website

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr Llewelyn-Bowen said: "We are pleased that the owners of the Magical Journey are making every effort to rectify the high profile and disappointing teething problems.

"Everyone involved is committed to providing a wonderful family Christmas experience.

"Laurence's involvement has been purely creative with nothing to do with production or management of the event and we very much hope that the efforts being made will make the experience much closer to his original ravishing vision."

Refunds are being given to people who visited the attraction on Saturday and to those who had tickets for the days the site is closed.

Mother-of-four Michelle Guarini, from Stourport-on-Severn, said she had paid £150 to visit the attraction with her partner and step-children.

'Demanding Disneyland'

"They made out it was going to be a fantastic, Narnia-like experience and there were workmen wandering around with cigarettes," she said.

"The Christmas market was about six shacks and there were some elves who didn't seem to know what they were doing. The kids were bored. It was appalling."

Ms Guarini said she was still waiting for a refund. The organisers said all refunds would be issued within three days.

However, other visitors said they were happy with the experience.

Gavin Jevons wrote on the attraction's Facebook page: "People need to lighten up.

"We went on Saturday and my little girl loved it. Yes, perhaps a few things could have been done differently but it's what you make of it that counts.

"For £20, it's a bit unrealistic to start demanding Disneyland."

Image copyright Paul Currie Photography Ltd
Image caption Some visitors complained the experience did not resemble the festive vision they were promised

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