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Clampdown on 'rogue' mobile home park owners in Bournemouth
6:00pm Thursday 8th March 2012 in News
ROGUE owners of mobile home parks have subjected residents to “amazing” acts of harassment, it has been claimed.
The allegations came in evidence to a parliamentary committee hearing held at Bournemouth Town Hall.
MPs are considering whether more legal powers are needed to regulate park owners.
It has been claimed that some park owners have disrupted residents’ plans to sell their homes, leaving residents with little choice but to sell to the park owners.
Ken Ayres, chairman of Bournemouth’s borough-wide Park Home Residents’ Association, told the committee: “In my time in the park, I’ve witnessed to my amazement blocked sales, water pipes ruptured and pushed up through the floor to flood the home so it couldn’t be sold, large bonfires lit to choke residents with breathing difficulties, and one home burned to the ground.”
He said councils, who license park homes, should have the power to revoke licences.
Park home resident Wendy Stephens said an owner had argued with the potential buyer she found for her late mother’s park home.
“At the end of the day, I lost the buyer,” she told the communities and local government select committee.
“We agreed to sell to the park owner, which was £10,000 less than what we had from the original buyer.”
Park home resident David Buckle said he had been sold his home by an estate agent who said residents had to be over 55 with no pets.
He said: “Then the park owners changed and now we have 25-year-olds, 30-year-olds, cats, dogs.
“I think there are more dogs on our park than there are people.”
Bournemouth councillor Roger West, who has been campaigning on the issue, said that there should be more clarity in the agreements between park owners and their residents.
“Most homes to my knowledge change hands with no legal advice and therefore it is essential that the agreement is crystal clear,” he said.
The home also heard from three representatives of park owners, who all said they were concerned at the activities of some other operators.
Paul Tarr, a director of Berkeleyparks, said the activities of rogue operators were “tarring us all with the same brush”.
“We’ve been going since 1955 and hopefully we’re doing most of it right most of the time,” he added.
Richard Grigg, owner of the Stour Park home site, said what he had heard at the meeting was “extraordinary”.
He said he always urged prospective residents to walk around the park and speak to people before buying.
He suggested fines of up to £250,000 for rogue owners.
“Make it really big. It’s a simple way of dealing with it because it hits their pocket,” he added.