CARAVAN owners at Hoburne Holiday Parks across Dorset and nationally have been angered by the lack of compensation during lockdown and the poor maintenance of the parks when they reopened on Saturday July 4.

Owners from Hoburne Park in Christchurch, Hoburne Naish in New Milton and Hoburne Bashley in the New Forest have also been made to feel aggrieved by the lack of communication and reflexive native of the caravan’s sites decisions.

As owners were not able to access the sites until last month, Hoburne management offered proprietors a choice of a 50 per cent reduction of site fees for 103 days or an extension of one extra year on the site, which was not well received very badly.

Over 600 owners from parks across the country have put their names to a letter to Hoburne asking for a combination of the two offers, which has since been dismissed.

One owner at Hoburne Park said: “What has upset most of the owners on the park, is Hoburne were constantly telling us they were maintaining the park ready for when we return.

“We were assured that the management were looking into compensating us for the time we were not allowed to enter the site.

“We pay over £5000 a year to keep our caravans on the park and expected to be treated more fairly. They claim to be a family run company, but they don't show it in the way we are being treated.”

Hoburne Holiday Parks made the difficult decision of furloughing 90 per cent of their staff during lockdown, with the remaining staff left to tend to the maintenance of the parks, as well as managing owner and holidaymaker enquiries, overseeing health and safety, and providing overnight security.

Consequently, owners of the parks have reported overgrown weeds, unkept lawns and numerous potholes when they returned to their sites on July 4.

Many private owners are being forced to sell up as they cannot afford to stay at the caravan sites from having lost a whole summer of rental income whilst still being charged for pitch fees.

Another owner who has been based at Hoburne Bashley for the last 21 years said: “We understand the restrictions are government guidelines, but they have not given us owners any incentive to carry on being here.

“We were also hoping to be allowed back for a couple of weeks before rentals came back, but obviously the company were only interested in getting as much money as they can, without thought for us.

“In such difficult times the Hoburne group should have been looking after their owners, but seem to be doing the opposite, and alienating the owners, many of whom are now boycotting their facilities and not spending money in the club house, cafe or bar.”

Hoburne Holiday Parks have said that, under the circumstances they found themselves in, the core team of employees did a “very good job” with multiple challenges attributable to lockdown.

In response to their pitch fees, the company pointed towards The National Association of Caravan Owners (‘NACO’) who referred to a 50 per cent pitch fee refund made by another operator as “an amazing gesture” on its website.

A spokesperson for Hoburne said: “As a result of closing the park, there was no business, everyone was asked to not travel and stay at home. With support from the government, all our non-essential workers were furloughed, but we retained a versatile core team who were willing to keep working and could live on the park.

“We are projected to make a substantial loss this year and overall levels of profitability are likely to be impacted well into the future. The legal advice we have received stipulates that we have no legal obligation to compensate our holiday homeowners for the enforced period of closure, however, we wanted to recognise their loyalty and forbearance with a gesture of goodwill.

“Whilst we are sorry that some of our owners feel that we could have offered more, we believe that the majority are appreciative of our efforts during lockdown. We also believe our gesture to be both fair and reasonable.”