Call for government action as more caravan owners given notice to quit (update 2)

Caravan owners at St Helens Holiday Park say ‘it’s Rookley all over again’, as they are given less than four months notice to leave the park. The park owner says it’s “fully supporting park residents at St Helens”.

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Owners of static holiday homes at St Helens Holiday Park on the Isle of Wight have been given notice to leave the park by the end of this year.

A letter – seen by OnTheWight – sent on behalf of Island View Holidays explains that as part of ‘improvement plans’ the pitches need to be ‘reclaimed’ and all licences will expire on 31 December and not be renewed.

Owners are given three options:

  1. Upgrade their holiday home through a part-exchange programme and move to Rookley Park with the offer of a 20-year lease
  2. Accept what’s being called a ‘transitional package’ of £1,500 to move holiday homes to another park
  3. Discuss options to sell their holiday homes to traders

Rookley ‘all over again’
One St Helens Park holiday home owner got in touch with OnTheWight saying, ‘it’s Rookley all over again’.

He told us that when they bought their home two years ago, there was no length of lease mentioned.

“We all knew something was going to happen eventually, but at most, we believed we would have around another four years, as they haven’t finished Rookley and they were supposed to be getting Priory Bay done.

“There are not many caravans on site under ten years old, meaning probably over half will have to be left to be broken up, for those using the caravans the correct way.”

Government action needed
Owners of holiday homes at the park are calling for the Government to take action to ensure this doesn’t happen elsewhere.

He went on to say,

“It’s appalling that Aria Resorts are behaving this way, especially after all the ruckus it caused last time.

“I’m not looking for sympathy, but just want the government to stop this happening to others. Colwell Bay may be next.”

Aria: “Fully supporting residents at St Helens”
Les Robertson, Head of Commercial Operations, Aria Resorts, commented:

“We are committed to fully supporting residents at St. Helens and ensuring that we create one of the most modern and responsible holiday operations on the Isle of Wight.

“We are focused on improving facilities across the Island so that it becomes an even more attractive destination for holidaymakers wanting to enjoy the beauty of the region.”

In response to questions posed, a spokesperson for Aria resorts told OnTheWight,

“The Rookley Park upgrade programme is a two-year development plan which started at the end of last year.

“At Colwell Bay Park, no changes planned as they are holiday homes only on the site. They are being sold on leases of 999 years which gives owners ultimate certainty.”

They went on to say,

“Not sure what government action is being called for – Aria Resorts are putting in place responsible ownership leases across the parks, which were not there before as residents had no certainty or quality of facilities. Aria Resorts are substantially upgrading the quality of facilities on the Isle of Wight, quality which was not there before.”

Lowthion: ‘Does our MP care?
Vix Lowthion, IW Green Party spokesperson and parliamentary candidate, told OnTheWight,

“This is a dreadful situation for these caravan owners, to lose their homes so close to Christmas. Yet another example of talk and no words from our MP Robert Seely and his government have failed to protect our caravan owners in Rookley earlier this year, and now the same threats are happening in St Helens! Do our MP and Conservative government really care?”

Background
Last year Island View Holidays gave notice to holiday home owners at Rookley Country Park. It was reported that static home owners at the park were set to lose £1.5m.

In December, Aria Resorts, the company behind the purchase of Priory Bay Hotel and Island View Holidays, announced they would invest £30m in the Isle of Wight hospitality industry over the next four years, creating up to 150 new jobs.

Article edit
11.58: Further comment on behalf of Aria Resorts added
12.25: Comment from Vix Lowthion added

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Sunday, 16th September, 2018 11:23am

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Filed under: Business, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, St Helens, Top story, Tourism

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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4 Comments on "Call for government action as more caravan owners given notice to quit (update 2)"

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terri
Although I have sympathy for those owners that will lose out financially, I feel that we must be careful with claims of “people losing their homes”. St.Helens is a holiday park, not a residential site. So anyone looking for sympathy for losing their home is putting themselves in a very dodgy legal position as that would mean they were in breach of their terms and conditions. I… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Maybe, but affordable housing for some people I’ve met (and briefly housed) means permitted residency on such sites for most of the year with a t&c need to move out for two weeks or more.

iansladden
As an owner at St Helens I am going to lose a massive amount of money due to this. When I brought my van less than two years ago the sales representative told me the lease was renewed indefinitely every year… This was quite clearly a lie. As an owner that had a sublet agreement with them also they were in breach of their own sublet agreement,… Read more »
haylorraine
I would like to point out that it is not only your camp site that is doing this. I am on a camp site called Away Resorts and they took over the park just over 2 years ago. All the people that did not have a contract with Away Resorts and was with the previous owners, as soon as their Pitch licence was due for renewal Away… Read more »