Caravan owners at Coldingham Bay Leisure Park told upgrade or leave!

Caravan owners at Coldingham Bay Leisure Park are facing eviction over claims their holiday homes are not up to the owners’ ‘standards’.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 6:00 am
aravan owners at Coldingham Bay Leisure Park face eviction. Inset: Sandra Holmes and (right) the caravan that owners Verdant Leisure claim is not up to scratch.

Bosses at Verdant Leisure issued letters to the 27 shocked owners on October 24 telling them to get out by the end of the year.

The letter states: “We reserve the right to give three months’ notice for the holiday home to be removed from the park if the condition or appearance of the holiday home is considered inappropriate.”

General manager Duncan Bamber adds: “Unfortunately, we feel your caravan no longer meets the standard required to remain on the park and are currently unable to offer you a pitch licence for the 2021 season.

“Regrettably, please take this letter as the requisite notice to arrange its removal.”

Coldingham Bay Leisure Park was previously a small, family-run business called Crosslaw Caravan Park, before being taken over by Lancashire-based company Verdant Leisure.

Many of the people who have been told they have to either buy a pre-owned or new caravan or leave the site are pensioners, one is believed to be 94 years old.

One owner has terminal cancer and uses her caravan for respite.

Another 83-year-old grandfather who has a holiday home at the site has been there for almost 20 years.

Sandra Holmes, 62, from Gorebridge, has had her static caravan for 15 years.

She has spent thousands of pounds renovating it and says that it is beautiful and well maintained.

And despite repeated questions to Verdant about what standards she is breaching, she is still to receive an answer.

She said: “I asked what the reason was and was just told that the pitch is ‘not up to our standards’.

“I said, ‘well tell me what they are and I’ll bring it up to whatever standard you want’.

“They just said the look of the van is not up to their standards but that I can stay on the pitch – if I buy another caravan from them.

“I’m absolutely devastated: I cried for two days when I got that letter. It’s been a terrible year as it is what with the pandemic.

“The whole thing has made me incredibly ill, I’m not sleeping at night. I’m disabled and the distress has left me in terrible pain.

“We’re just small minows in the sea compared to them.

“My caravan is 20 years old, I’ve spent £10,000 renovating it, my pitch is very well kept and my caravan is beautiful.”

Sandra continued: “The idea that static caravans only have a 12-13 year shelf life and then have to be replaced is nonsense.

“It’s just a way for companies to make mega money by demanding people buy a new one.

“In my contract (signed with the original owner of the caravan park Alastair Fish) it doesn’t say I bought my caravan on a certain date and I only have a 10/20 year license, it just says as long as you keep your caravan in good condition you won’t be asked to leave.

“Why are there no government regulations against something like this? I’ve done nothing wrong, I pay for my pitch.

She added:“Static caravanners are another breed, really. We’re a proper community.

“We are all obsessed and we love our caravan, you go away to your caravan, it’s a refuge for people who are maybe a bit older.”

A spokesman for Verdant Leisure said: “In line with industry standards, and as indicated in holiday home owners’ pitch licence agreements, Verdant Leisure ensures the holiday homes on its parks are of a suitable quality and appearance, in the best interests of the parks and the customers that spend time on them.

“Each year we invest millions of pounds to enhance our parks and their facilities, for the enjoyment of all our customers.”