Fury at caravan rent like
By Kate MaxwellCARAVAN owners in Southwold are furious about having to pay more money for what they claimed were deteriorating services. At the annual meeting of the Southwold Caravan Owners' Association, members expressed their unhappiness at the “rip-off” rates they alleged Waveney District Council has asked them to pay.
By Kate Maxwell
CARAVAN owners in Southwold are furious about having to pay more money for what they claimed were deteriorating services.
At the annual meeting of the Southwold Caravan Owners' Association, members expressed their unhappiness at the “rip-off” rates they alleged Waveney District Council has asked them to pay.
Newly-elected chairman Douglas Dorrington said: “I've been coming to Southwold for 30 years and there has been absolutely no investment in the site. There are no amenities, yet our rents went up 23.6%.
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“We pay £1,012 a year for seven months' use and get nothing for it apart from a strip of grass to put the caravan on.”
There are no electrical hook-ups at the site. Caravan owners collect water from a standpipe and use shared toilet facilities, which they described as “antiquated”.
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“Rents go up far beyond inflation rates and yet nothing comes back,” claimed Mr Dorrington.
“It all goes into Waveney's coffers and then is used to upgrade Lowestoft. It seems everything in Southwold is hammered by Waveney and nothing comes back.”
But Waveney District Council said it had to run the site on business terms and demand far exceeded supply at the Southwold site, which has a waiting list of 300.
Andy Wilson-Sutter, its outdoor facilities manager, said: “The council has been faced with certain financial difficulties over the last year and the basic truth is we've had to increase the charges to carry on supplying the services we do provide.”
He added some improvements, such as landscaping, had been made to the site and the council was also looking into its future management to see how “better conditions could be supplied in a better way”.
Discussions are about to start between Southwold Town Council and Waveney District Council about the future management of both the harbour and the caravan site.
The town gave up control of the harbour, which includes the caravan site, in 1974 when Waveney District Council was formed.
Harbour Users' Association chairman, Graham Hay Davison, said: “Both the harbour users and the caravan owners have had to pay increased rates vastly in excess of inflation for no discernable benefit and they are all extremely unhappy about it. It seems we are Waveney's cash cow.”
The caravan owners and harbour users hope to see the administration of the harbour area returned to the town council by next year.