Rank Organisation is a huge holiday and leisure multi-national. It owns Mecca bingo halls, Odeon Cinemas, Butlins and the Hard Rock Cafe chain, Top Rank, Shearings, Warners and Haven Holidays. Oasis Villages is the branch intending to purchase West Wood from the Forestry Commission for approximatley £13 million.
Rank intends the Oasis Village brand to tap into a new market for 'eco-tours', providing a safe and sanitized woodland X-perience. They hope to out-do Centreparcs, and in their haste for profit are targeting entire forests such as West Wood, rather than Centreparcs' prefered method of reforesting previously barren areas.
This year, the Low Pay Unit described conditions for staff at Butlins (a sister company) to be among the meanest they had ever heard of, with pay as low as £63 / week. We can only expect the same low standard for jobs offered at the West Wood development. There is also evidence that Rank have supressed trade union membership among staff at Mecca bingo.
Financially, Rank are in trouble. Takeover plans have been circulating among city speculators. They have sold off many of their assets and split from Xerox. Although share prices have now stabilised, they have had a terrible year, and profits from the other existing Oasis developments have yet to be confirmed. Andrew Teare, the CEO brought in to sort out the company's problems last year, has barely managed to cling on to his job. In this state, Rank are very vulnerable to consumer pressure through boycotts, bad publicity and embarassing actions, such as the office occupation earlier this summer.
NEWS FLASH: The latest news regarding Oasis Villages' Cumbrian branch is that profits are well below what was expected. For commercial success, Oasis need their holiday homes to be full most of the year, and it seems this has not been happening. Good news for Lyminge forest, however, as it makes West Wood all the less appetising to Rank.
If you are unhappy with Rank, why not email them (form letter below) or write to their chairman, Sir Denys Henderson (who lives at Tree Tops, Eghams Close, Forty Green Road, Beaconsfield, Bucks, HP9) or CEO, Andrew Teare (Little Manor, Manor Road, West Adderbury, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 3EL).
Send a message to Rank [form letter]
(After an exhaustive search we can't find Rank Organisation Plc on the Internet. It seems they're a little behind the times. We'll put up their snail mail address and fax number in the next few days as the webmaster doesn't have them to hand.)
I object to your plans to 'develop' West Wood. It is wrong to destroy this valuable wildlife habitat, wrong to enclose public land and wrong to damage a site of such archaeological interest. Please think again.