Residents on Fylde coast chalet park fear they could lose their homes

Worried residents who live on a Fylde chalet park fear they could lose their homes and be turfed off the land where they hoped to see out their retirement.

By Richard Hunt
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:25 pm
Dorothy Remers and other residents at Riverside Chalet Park  are concerned about plans which may force them off the park which has been home for years.
Dorothy Remers and other residents at Riverside Chalet Park are concerned about plans which may force them off the park which has been home for years.

They are the occupants of around 30 homes on the Riverside Chalet Park in Little Singleton who had been enjoying a quiet life on the park where they have paid rent for many years.

But the residents, who have bought their chalets and in many cases spent thousands of pounds upgrading them, say their lives have been turned upside down because of a change of ownership of the site.

Some 18 months ago the site, which appears to be covered by a 1930s licence, was acquired by its new owner Bernard Saunders.

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The residents said Mr Saunders told them he plans to establish a caravan site on the land and their homes will be demolished.

An application for a caravan site there was lodged with Fylde Council but the proposals were withdrawn.

However legal representatives for the owner said a new application will be made tomorrow. When contacted by The Gazette, neither the site owner nor the legal team offered any further comment.

The residents said they were offered the chance to sell their chalets to Mr Saunders, but claimed the sums offered ranged from £3,000 to £15,000, far below the market value of £80,000 and above.

The residents said they were also told that small print means they don’t own their homes – despite paying thousands for them and upgrading them.

The residents accused Mr Saunders of applying increasing pressure on them to sell to him and leave the site for good, with the offer of moving to some of the caravans on several sites he is involved with.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said he was supporting the residents, who are anxious but determined to try and stay put, and he said police officers have been called out several times amidst rising tensions.

One resident, Dorothy Remers, 79, who has lived on the site for 23 years, said: “It has been a nightmare.

“This was such a lovely place to live but now we have this hanging over us. Why should we sell up and for such small sums of money?”

Another resident, Eileen Hancock, 67, who has lived on the site with her partner Tim for five years, added: “We had have a lot to put up with over the last year.

“Things have changed for the worse since the new owner bought the site.

“Some of the people here are in their eighties and it isn’t right the way they are being treated. It is awful.”

Mr Menzies, left, said: “I have been helping the residents of Riverside for some considerable time now.

“They are in an incredibly difficult situation at present.

“The site licence dates back to the 1930s and needs updating but there is no new licence which would cover the site in its present form.

“I met residents and heard their concerns about the situation and the fractious relationship with the new owner, and arranged a meeting at Fylde Council.

“I’ve also written to ministers and met with ministers to raise the issues these residents face – and how we can fix them.

“Due to many of the allegations at the site, I have also contacted police to make them aware of the multiple issues and asked that they investigate further.

“I’m grateful they have attended the site on several occasions. I will continue to keep fighting for the rights of these residents,

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “The council shares the concerns of some of the residents about the apparent actions of the site owner.

“We’ve written to the owner, through his solicitors, asking for information about a number of matters, and await a reply.

“While the council has a range of enforcement powers, and will not hesitate to use them if needed, some issues between residents and the site owner are matters of private law.”