Park home site residents brand new improvements work to site a 'money making scheme'

A row has broken out between residents of a Penwortham residential park and its owner over multi-million improvements works to the over-55s site

By James Holt
Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 12:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 12:32 pm

Residents say plans to expand Penwortham residential park will result in land "bulldozed and ruined" and swatches of their green space vanishing.

But millionaire businessman and site owner Alfie Best and his company Wyldecrest Parks, who are the largest holiday home operator in the UK say they are "making improvements to the park and adding value to the homes" after ploughing more than £1 million into the site.

Since they took over the Penwortham estate two years ago, owner Alfie Best has said they have been "upgrading the park for the first time in years" by adding a handful of new park homes to the site, along with a range of improvements such as resurfacing the road and fixing faulty water pipes.

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Residents are unhappy with the state that the park has been left in following recent 'improvements' work

Yet those living on the site have formed together to make a residents association in a bid to combat issues they claim have not been resolved, such as drainage and flooding issues.

The Post previously reported on the £1.2 million investment made into the park by Wyldecrest in 2019, which saw residents on-site worry about local wildlife and whether the company had the correct development permission.

Former Penwortham Mayor Melvyn Gardner, who lives on Park Way with wife Dorothy, said: "From our point of view, we don't think they care about us residents. They frequently make changes without consulting us and they don't respond when we try and contact them about our concerns.

"They have ripped up our green in the centre of the park and put homes on there and they have dug into embankments for more land which has meant trees have now started coming down and falling into the park.

Wyldecrest Parks have put more than £1.2 million into park developments since they took over in 2018

"It's never-ending. There isn't any more space on the park to expand into because he has taken up the green which was of benefit to all the residents. Now, people are looking out their windows onto other caravans.

"People are wanting to move away now because they are so unhappy. They have just seen this park as a way to make money and not think about how this is affecting people who have lived here happily for years. Wyldecrest is trying to cram as many homes on as they can and make as much as they can and that's the bottom line. We are a money-making scheme."

"It is starting to look like a warzone and has now started putting psychological pressure on elderly people who had moved here to enjoy their retirement and now feel like they want to move house again."

The embankment that was previously being excavated for more plots on the site in 2019 also collapsed, causing trees to fall into the site - but there was no evidence that this was due to the developments.

Residents claim that works have been left in a 'dangerous' state

In the most recent concerns, residents claim they were "without water for up to two days" last month following a burst main pipe and also say that the park has been left in a dangerous condition following recent works.

Local architect Neil Anyon, from Stricklands Lane, said: "I have grown up around the area and know people who have lived at the park for years and all of a sudden they have more homes within meters of where they live.

"The site is disgraceful at the moment. It is completely exposed and there are lots of holes dug down to drains that have been left completely open, which is a danger to elderly people who are short-sighted.

"It is a hazardous site and has been left in a terrible state. Imagine living there for 20 years only to have a load of workmen on the park and then new homes put right in front of your window or on the green that you've always enjoyed sitting on."

Recent flooding issues occurred at the Penwortham park

Alfie Best, chairman and founder of Wyldecrest Parks has hit back at the claims after pumping over £1 million into new developments to the Lancashire site.

He said: "We are still doing work on Penwortham and have been completely upgrading it since we took over to make it much better for the residents living on the site.

"Any hazardous work being done is an issue that we are dealing with by only employing diligent contractors. The work is all to improve the park as we are upgrading and resurfacing the roads, putting in new water pipes and have put on 10 brand new, safer park homes of the highest classification.

"As a company, we have chosen not to pass the cost of any of these works on to the residents and have acted in a charitable way - by doing so we are also increasing the value of their homes.

"Many of these residents have lived here for 20 or 30 years without any improvements at all so they have gotten used to the many issues on the site. We have found that most of the residents love the improvements we are doing, but you just can't please everybody.

"We have a legal obligation to fix water pipes and other services on communal points of the park and just like everywhere else, things perish and break and we have done our best to repair them in a timely fashion.

"I understand that when people are living on a site, building works can be an annoyance and we are sympathetic to that, but everything we are doing is to upgrade the park, all of which is governed by a site licence so the council check what we are doing.

"My residents are important to me because they are the life and soul of the business. I believe we are making their lives better by investing some money back into the park and keeping on top of repair work at no cost to them, but there are always going to be people that don't like change."