Letter sparks fresh caravan site anger

By David LennardCARAVAN owners have reacted angrily to a letter from telling them to remove their mobile homes from a town's site by the end of the month.

By David Lennard

CARAVAN owners have reacted angrily to a letter from telling them to remove their mobile homes from a town's site by the end of the month.

The atmosphere between the Southwold caravan owners and Waveney District Council has been fraught since councillors announced a plan to transfer the running of the town's harbour caravan site to a private company on a long lease as part of a cost-saving operation.

Members of Southwold Caravan Owners Association fear sweeping changes could see the new owners preventing them from using the site in the future.

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A series of meetings between the caravan owners and the council has done little to lessen the anxieties - and now a letter from the local authority has inflamed the situation.

Association chairman, Doug Donnington, said he was “angry and disappointed” at the letter telling owners to remove their caravans.

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“We have asked the council for more time than usual to remove our caravans for the winter, but it does not look like this is happening,” he added.

“Normally we are asked to remove the caravans by the end of October, but are granted six weeks from that date to have all the caravans removed, but this year the council are insisting that the site is empty by November 30.”

Many caravan owners felt the letter confirmed their fears major changes were about to take place at the caravan park.

“I feel there is something of a threat in the letter because the council is insisting that the site is empty by November 30,” said Mr Donnington.

“It is an impossible deadline to achieve because only one caravan at a time can be removed on the back of low-loader lorries and there are 162 caravans on the site.”

The letter to the caravan owners was sent the council's leisure development and support manager, Graham Osborne.

In the letter, Mr Osborne said “as a gesture of goodwill” caravan owners had until November 30 to remove their vehicles from the site.

“This is strictly on the condition that we receive assurances that owners have made the necessary arrangements to remove caravans and will do so by that date,” he added.

“We also reserve the right to remove any caravans remaining after 30 November 2003 without further notice to caravan owners and we cannot be held liable for any damage caused to any caravan which is removed by us.”

The letter also made it clear the caravans could not be occupied during the “extended” period.

A council spokesman said yesterday the letter was not at all threatening, but was worded in the correct legal framework to make the situation as clear as possible for caravan owners.

“Obviously with so many caravans to move the owners need to know the situation as early as possible so that they can make the appropriate arrangements,” he added.


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