By Tony Turner
No-one can now argue that government has not understood and taken on board the problems created by the many known and often inter-connected rogues park owners, most of whom have secured their wealth by imposing feudalistic regimes upon their land tenants and used fears of retribution to quell confrontations.
The latest government announcements are welcome moves and although the measures will take time to implement, the clear message to the bullies, the con-merchants and the fraudsters, is that not only is the writing on the wall, it has finally been written in indelible ink. The angels and the devils will always be in the detail and in the funding of what is intended – but so far, there can be better confidence that the arrogance of the rogues will in due course come home to roost.
Most of the thanks should go to Sonia McColl and everyone who supported her campaign, also the the unknown or the unidentified within and outside of government who have campaigned openly or behind closed doors and encouraged what we can now hope is the real beginning of a final solution.
We can all be sceptical – but it is also fair to say that everything we hoped and asked for has been acknowledged. It will inevitably take time for what is intended to put in place – but what has now been committed to are significant steps forward and we must now give government the benefit of any doubt.
Action to tackle unscrupulous site owners – ending unfair charges which could save some residents thousands of pounds Councils will be granted powers to act against owners who make residents’ lives a misery – including bans for those who refuse to clean up their act Working group to look at a range of issues including the sale of mobile homes to ensure residents are not left out of pocket Mobile home residents are to receive greater protection from dishonest site owners seeking to make a profit at their expense, thanks to plans announced today (22 October 2018).
Sonia McColl OBE writes:
Our National Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign
Dear Members and all Peers and MPs who have supported our campaign for an Independent review of the 10% Commission Charge and a change from RPI to CPI on the pitch fee.
Together we brought about a change in the law to stop Sale Blocking and now, together, we have achieved our goal and the future overall outlook for park home residents is far better than expected.
Yesterday, 22nd October 2018, on behalf of our Campaign, I attended the APPG for Park Homes at which the Minister Heather Wheeler MP spoke at length about the Government’s response to the Review of Park Home Legislation (links to enable you to read the complete summary can be found on the Home Page of our web site at www.parkhomeownersjusticecampaign.co.uk
You, the residents, have spent your time, money and effort to change the pitch fee review index from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI.)
The Government have now written that they will “CHANGE THE PITCH FEE REVIEW INFLATIONARY INDEX FROM THE RETAIL PRICE INDEC (RPI) TO THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)”
Park Home Residents again spent their pensions, travelled to rallies and meetings in London and wrote many letters requesting an INDEPENDENT AND TRANSPARENT REVIEW OF THE 10% CHARGE.” I should add at this point that together we asked for the Independent Review with sight of the site owners accounting because the abolition of the charge would have immediately failed. However, the 10% issue was fraught with problems from the outset, pushed under the carpet after being debated by MPs who called for an Independent Review, relegated to a working group, dropped from the official agenda of the Government’s Review of Park Home Legislation and rescued from the brink of disaster on many occasions.
When you asked in 2013 if we could do something about the 10% Commission Charge, I said that “we would try.” Yesterday 22nd October 2018 your efforts were rewarded, and the Government have said they “will therefore undertake research to gather relevant data to enable a detailed assessment of the likely impacts of a change to the 10% commission on residents and site owners.”
At yesterdays meeting of the APPG I asked the Minister if the review would take into account the financial accounting of site owners and for her assurance that the research would include not only those site owners who own one or two parks – but those who own multiple parks. From the Ministers response, I was satisfied that it would. In due course the draft minutes of the meeting will be posted on the JUSTICE Campaign web site at www.parkhomeownersjusticecampaign.co.uk
Due to Brexit and the work involved it is sadly understandable that we cannot expect anything to be done before the spring of 2019 – but thanks must be given to Sir Christopher Chope MP (who not only accompanied our party to Downing Street to deliver your petition – but also tried at length during yesterday’s meeting to speed up the process.)
As supporters, you can all be justifiably proud as our JUSTICE Campaign has again achieved what it set out to do. I will leave the JUSTICE Campaign Web Site up until the research is started in the spring of 2019 because independent researchers will be gathering the opinions of site owners and park home residents. If and when I received information regarding this research, I will post it on the web site and send it to all members of the JUSTICE Campaign as it is of vital importance that you have your say. Following this, our campaign will close and all your personal data will be destroyed as we will have done all that we can and the final outcome will be decided by Government.
However, now that our campaign is over and we have succeeded in all that we set out to do, may I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported us – in particular, the unknown people who have made our Justice Campaign the household name that it is: John (who prefers to remain anonymous) but has built and managed our web site for nine years and thousands of residents from every part of our country who have become valued friends, have made banners, travelled, rallied and spent their pensions to further our campaign.
I have said on many occasions that without allies from within, you can never expect to get through the doors of Parliament. Therefore, on behalf of PHOJC my sincere thanks goes, to Lord Graham of Edmonton, the now retired Dame Annette Brooke OBE, former MP, Natascha Engel, Grant Shapps MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Sir Christopher Chope MP, Lord Best, Steve Brine MP, Robert Buckland MP, Members of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and so very many more who assistance over the years has been greatly appreciated and without whose help we would not have got this far.
We are also indebted to Paul Baker of PB Insurance for his support of our campaign and the road shows that he organised. Tony Turner of the Park Homes Policy Forum for his unstinting support and friendship. The Park Homes Magazine for its coverage – with particular thanks to Alex Melvin and Anne Webb. LEASE, Mr. Alan Savory MBE of IPHAS and Mr. Brian Doick MBE of NAPHR and Sebastian O’Kelly, Martin Boyd and Jim Fitzpatrick MP of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.
Little did we realise when our campaign was born in 2009 that it would grow and succeed to this level. Together we put our heads above the parapet. Sometimes suffered the consequences but that is what it takes and together we have brought about change. THAT IS TRULY THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE.
PHOJC has achieved what it set out to do and is now closed but the Park-HELP-Line that it founded and is supported by Paul Baker remains and its Friendly Volunteer Operators can be contacted on 02038466601
I feel so very privileged and proud to have known and become friends with so many wonderful people and thank you all for your belief in our JUSTICE Campaign, our cause and what you have done. Together we made it happen and many Park Home Residents in the future will benefit because of you.
With Much Love and Best Wishes for the Future
Sonia McColl OBE
Founder of the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign