By Maggie Gell
ANGRY owners of static caravans at a Knaresborough caravan park have spoken out after being told they have two months to pack up and move off the site.
A number of owners of caravans that are more than 15 years old sited at The Lido Caravan Park have, in the last two weeks, received a letter from the park’s owner telling them their plot will no longer be available from December 31.
Gill Wheildon, from Bradford, has had a caravan at The Lido for nine years.
“I’ve been told my licence will not be renewed this year, as my caravan is more than 15 years old,” said Mrs Wheildon. “Work is going on at the site to develop it further and about 30 of us are having to move off one area of the park so work can start next year.
“Although people with younger vehicles have been offered another pitch, this is not the case for me. I could sell the van but I don’t want to lose my holiday home.”
Another owner of a static caravan, 79-year-old Mrs Irene Roebuck, from Bradford, has received the same letter.
“I’ve been coming to the Lido for about 20 years now, mostly at weekends. My family bring me on a rota basis and since my husband died eight years ago, it’s kept me going.
“When I opened the letter I thought it would be about my annual site fees. To be told I had two months’ notice to move off the site was a shock. It isn’t long enough notice.
“We were told that other nearby caravan sites would be happy to take us so I went to look at one at Scotton but it’s not on a bus route and I can’t get into Knaresborough. It’s also going to be very expensive to move. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.
She added: “I know that it’s only the people with caravans over 15 years old that are affected by this. Everyone has sympathy with squatters and travellers. It seems they have rights and we don’t. It annoys me that big business people can treat other people in this way.”
Mrs Roebuck’s son, Andy, said that there had always been an unwritten agreement at the site that as long as caravans more than 15 years old were in a good state of repair and well looked after, then the owners could keep them there.
Executive managing director of the Lido, Ian Mitchell, sympathised with those affected but explained that redevelopment plans at the site meant some caravans would have to be moved.
“We issue a licence to owners annually to cover the following season but this year we have decided in keeping with current regulations that we must apply the 15-year rule as do many other caravan sites across the country.
“What this means is those with caravans 15 years or older are asked to move from the site. We have sent out information about this in our regular newsletter to all owners.
“We are introducing the scheme gradually and those affected are on the first part of the site which is due to be redeveloped with new facilities next year.
“Those with caravans over 15 years old have been offered relocation at nearby parks and some are taking that offer up. Newer caravans can remain at the site and we are paying to move and relocate them.
“The board of directors have made the decision reluctantly and we understand some people will be upset but we have offered help with selling older caravans, storage of the caravans and our door is always open to those wanting advice.”