Lakeside exodus as couples forced out

C140991-2 Lakeside Village  phot Kate SUS-140311-185623001
C140991-2 Lakeside Village phot Kate SUS-140311-185623001

AROUND 30 people have now left their mobile homes after allegedly being ‘forced out’ of Lakeside Caravan Park.

In November, the Observer ran a story on the plight of the residents who were given just three months to vacate the Chichester site by Christmas.

They have now left, but some remaining residents have said they feel ‘bullied’ and ‘threatened’ by staff.

Our previous story featured Garry and Julie Pollard, who were forced to leave after 12 years there.

Like others, their ten-year lease had expired, but after being allowed to renew it for two years, they were told that would no longer be possible and they left in December.

The couple have been renting nearby.

They say they had agreed to buy another caravan on the site through an estate agent but it was blocked by the park owners.

Julie said: “We were all ready to move back after agreeing a private sale for a caravan with an eight-year lease for £10,000.

“When I rang the Lakeside manager to check the site fees, his response was ‘blimey that’s cheap, that’s not going to happen’.

“So they’ve blocked it and will no doubt offer the seller a derisory offer. I’d be surprised if he gets more than £1,000 for it from them.”

Julie, whose husband is recovering from cancer, says she has heard similar stories from others.

She described the situation as ‘horrible’.

The Observer has also received an anonymous letter from a resident expressing other concerns.

It said residents were planning to have a meeting to discuss conditions at the park, but were ‘threatened’ from doing so and claimed people didn’t even want to talk now.

Under park rules, residents are allowed to stay at Lakeside for 50 of the 52 weeks a year, but must have another permanent address.

A Park Holidays spokesman, said: “Owners of caravan holiday homes have the right to sell to whomsoever they choose.

“Owners can, if they wish, invite Park Holidays UK to make an offer for their holiday home – and the company will do so in some circumstances.

“But making this request is entirely at the discretion of the owner, and the owner is not in any way obliged to accept any offer made.

“Pre-owned caravan holiday homes bought from owners by Park Holidays UK are often then removed from the park and replaced with a new model.

“Any suggestion that the company is coercing owners in any way is completely untrue, and we have 
no record of any 
complaints of such from these owners.

“Park Holidays UK enjoys a positive and friendly relationship with hundreds of its holiday home-owning customers across all the 24 holiday parks we operate. Significantly, many of these customers are repeat purchasers – or buying for the first time as a result of a recommendation.”