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Big success for Poole Park Home Roadshow

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A capacity audience of 150 park home residents attended Towergate Bakers’ September Park Home Roadshow in Poole, Dorset, to hear about the latest developments to reform park home legislation.

Chaired by Bakers’ Park Home Account Director, Paul Baker, the Debate played host to the MP for mid Dorset and North Poole, Annette Brooke. Who had instigated the December 2010 Parliamentary Park Homes debate; local Councillor Roger West, a champion of park home residents’ champion; founder of the Park Home Owners’ Justice Campaign and park home resident Sonia McColl; and park home legal expert Graham Watts.

Sonia McColl updated delegates from 40 parks on how the Justice Campaign continues to gain momentum.  Over the past six months, thousands of questionnaires have been distributed to park home residents across the UK in order to learn more about the problems they face. 

Findings suggest more than 20,000 park home residents could be living under the regime of unscrupulous park home site owners, many of whom are reported to be violent, abusive, aggressive and dishonest, and bad practices appear to occurring in almost half of the country’s parks. These include bullying, not recognising residents associations, failure to carry out general maintenance tasks and sale blocking.

This is the first time national statistics have been compiled and on October 12 they will be presented to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, Annette Brooke and Lord Graham of Edmonton (a fervent supporter of park home owners).

The results will also be sent to every Westminster MP, the Police, Local Authorities and the media.  In addition, MPs are being lobbied to hold a one and a half hour debate to stop park home owners blocking park home sales, introduce a ‘fit and proper’ person test, overhaul the 1983 Mobile Homes Act and better protect park home owners.

Graham Watts discussed the newly-launched Residential Property Tribunals (RPTs), how they work and their application process.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Roger West outlined how he was helping park home residents in Bournemouth and cited recent examples, such as tackling flooding with Wessex Water, getting a park’s electricity supply upgraded, reversing decisions on porch door removal and adopting new site licence conditions to improve a park’s general environment.

Annette Brooke MP praised the roadshows for giving residents a platform to be heard and the opportunity to exchange views, and applauded the Justice Campaign for what it had achieved so far.  She explained how the General Election last year put a halt to legislation introducing a ‘fit and proper’ person test and, though RPTs were now in place, the time was right to push for legislative change when the new Parliamentary Year starts in October.

A reminder was given about the Government-funded Consumer Direct organisation setting up a park owner database and contact details were shared. Delegates were also urged to share any problems they were experiencing with their local councillors, via surgeries, or by writing to their local MP.

Paul Baker said the day had been a resounding success. “There is a clear need for debates like this to be held across the country, particularly as people from Kent and Warwickshire travelled to Dorset to find out more,” he added. “Park home residents must have their voices heard and be treated more fairly by the owners of parks they live on.”

• For futher details of the Justice Campaign, visit www.parkhomeownersjusticecampaign.co.uk  or phone 01929 553110. Consumer Direct can be contacted on www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or 08454 040506. For insurance advice and news on future events tel: 0844 346 0423, web: www.towergateinsurance.co.uk or www.parkhomeownersclub.co.uk.

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