LKP would like to express much gratitude to all those who contributed to the appeal for Sonia McColl OBE, the park home campaigner whose mobile home was stolen in mysterious circumstances before Christmas.
Sonia, who has dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to others, is now homeless, and the Devon police have got nowhere with what appears to have been an indolent and tokenistic investigation.
The appeal for Sonia has raised £13,000, which has been transferred to Sonia.
LKP has put her in touch with solicitor Mari Knowles, who is exploring the insurance options – if any exist – of the haulage firm from whose yard the mobile home was stolen.
We also invited Sonia to address the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold on December 6.
APPG, December 6: Park home banditry; Law Commission; Planners barring leasehold houses; London deputy mayor; gargantuan Grenfell bills for leaseholders
The issues of leasehold and park home ownership are similar, except the bullying in the former is usually confined to white collar nastiness.
With park homes physical violence and intimidation – even bulldozing the properties – have taken place.
Sonia believes the theft of her park home was motivated, and it followed middle of the night visits to her home, shouted threats and abuse, menacing phone calls and the rest.
There is an All Party Parliamentary Group on park homes, but its secretariat is the trade body the British Holiday & Home Parks Association representing the site owners.
It is astonishing that Christopher Chope MP, the chair, accepts this.
Sonia sent the following message to LKP:
“I am battling on but things are a little uncertain.
“Sadly the people that I am staying with fear retribution for having me there and I am currently in XXX for the week endeavouring to find some form of social housing as I cannot let them live under this fear …
“The police have written a letter saying that I am at risk and recommending that I do not go back into a park home but am re-located …
“Although I met all the criteria for emergency housing, the money that I have left from the sale of my home precludes me for registering for social housing. It appears that only sheltered accommodation might be available in certain areas and I will follow that course on Thursday and hope for more luck. Other than that, I have no option but to rent privately until my money has gone and then re-apply to the local authority when completely destitute.
“I realise now that you are aware of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association as secretariat of the APPG.
“It was the Justice Campaign that fought this and many residents copied the standard letter supplied to them and wrote to their MPs requesting that this should not be the case. Sadly, it was upheld that they should continue as the secretariat.
“There seems to be much wrong with the current APPG for park homes.”
Although LKP is very stretched in time and resources, we are prepared to act as secretariat to this APPG, and ensure it does its proper job defending park home residents.
The following comments were left to Sonia by those who made donations:
All the best to you Sonia. Malcolm
Dear Sonia, What devastating news, I know how much you were looking forward to moving in to your new home, lets hope there is some good news in 2018, lets hope too that the despicable people who did this are brought to JUSTICE, best wishes, Paul
A small gesture from my wife and I for the work and recent risk that you have had to endure. We hope that it is not long before you can live happily and free of the threats. I hope that many thousands of donations help you towards you goal.
Good luck Sonia. Give them hell!!
A small thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for those of us living in park homes.
Very sad that this has happened. Coincidence or planned?
We love you and feel for you. Mo and Ron xxx
The roof over your head is sacred. My donation is small but I hope that it will let you know that you have my support – Mike
Sonia, I’m shocked at what has happened. I hope you’ll be in a new home soon (or better get your old one back). Thanks for all the brave work you’ve done on behalf of park home owners. This really shows the need for a change in the law.
Dear Sonia I do hope this small donation will help to build your funds towards what ever you feel is needed to rehouse yourself. Thank you for the tremendous effort in the fight against the wicked park owners. Regards. L
Hope u get your new home soon. We live on a residential park in Chertsey.
This is only a small donation but every little helps. Thank you to you all for giving us hope. Stephanie
Dear Sonia Mccoll i hope my donation goes a long way to securing you a new home .Regards Roy
I intend this small donation to go towards helping Sonia reach an amount to purchase another park home for herself. I know it is not eligible for Gift Aid but I hope it will go some small way to recompensing her for the misery she has suffered.
Sonia should explore recourse through the courts.
In a similar situation I left belongings in a storage facility. The website claimed the items were stored securely in dry conditions. The company stated I should have my own insurance. However, when the my property was returned they had suffered water ingress and damp damage, other items missing or swapped for inferior items! As if I wouldn’t notice!
I took the company to court for compensation. The judge ruled that the terms of their business were not sturdy enough to protect them over this type of claim and my claim supported the fact that the service was not secure or dry conditions.
I am assuming Sonia stored the mobile home for safety and security. I would start looking at a claim on these grounds. against the haulage company.
Just get a decent legal person, many solicitors will spend your money like its going out of fashion, you lose but they still get paid. This is why terms like “it depends” “cant be sure” are flouted about in the legal industry to save them from shoddy work.