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Confusion at Holiday Park Where Residents Feel Threatened With Eviction

Published on: 29 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 30 Jul, 2022

Aerial view showing location of Edgeley Park. Google Maps

By Martin Giles

A county councillor has accused the site owner of a recreational holiday home site in Farley Green of breaching its licence and bullying residents.

It is claimed that around 80 of the residents at Edgeley Park regard their lodges, (sometimes described as caravans or mobile homes) which they own, as their full-time, permanent homes. Despite the terms of written agreements, residents say they have been given implicit permission to live on the site permanently. They say moves to enforce their licence conditions have only commenced over the last year.

Under the terms of the licence granted to the site owners by Guildford Borough Council, the homes are “for recreational use only”, occupancy should be temporary and residents should have another primary residence elsewhere. The exception is the manager of the 240-pitch holiday park.

Despite the discrepancy between the residents’ claims that they have been living permanently on the site and the licence conditions, GBC says its investigation in May “showed no breaches of legislation”.

County Cllr Bob Hughes addressing GBC as a private resident

At this week’s full Guildford Borough Council meeting, held on Tuesday, July 26, County Cllr Bob Hughes (Con, Shere), who lived on the site for nearly two years around 2015, tabled a question on behalf of owners and residents of lodges at Edgeley Park.

He later told The Dragon: “Many are elderly and some are vulnerable. One has lived on the site for 30 years. Some 40 of them attended the council meeting on Tuesday.”

He added: “Over a year ago, the site owners, the Haulfryn Group or their shell company Haulfryn Ltd, started to issue more than 100 eviction notices to residents. The letters were very threatening but it later became clear that they have no legal standing.”

Cllr Hughes, who now resides elsewhere but still owns one of the lodges on the site, claimed that the letters had frightened many people into leaving the park and selling up. He said: “Many of them sold after only a few months of ownership and had to sell via Haulfryn, which meant they had to do so at a considerable loss.”

Saying he was disappointed with GBC’s “inaccurate” response, Cllr Hughes added: “Edgeley Park is licensed by the council and there continue to be significant breaches of the licence held by Haulfryn. Apparently, none of these breaches seem to have been visible to those who monitor them. Frankly, that defies belief and is difficult to reconcile with the known facts.

“As their county councillor, I am trying to help lodge owners, many of them living on Edgeley Park, to bring this nastiness to a reasonable conclusion that protects the lodge owners and brings the park within the terms of the licences.

“Since the [council] meeting I have been contacted by the leader of the council, Joss Bigmore [R4GV, Christchurch], and the chief executive, Tom Horwood. I am very grateful that they have recognised that there are deep problems at Edgeley Park. They have undertaken to work with me and the lodge owners to achieve a lasting and decent solution.”

The entrance to Edgeley Holiday Park. Google Street View

A Haulfryn spokesperson said: “All buyers of Haulfryn holiday homes are provided with a contract known as a licence agreement before proceeding with their purchase. This contract is based on model wording provided by trade bodies, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association and the National Caravan Council.

The logo of the family-owned holiday and residential company Haulfryn

“Buyers of a holiday lodge or caravan at any Haulfryn holiday park, Edgeley included, agree to abide by the terms of this contract which states that owners can use their holiday home for holiday and recreational purposes only and not as their only or main permanent residence.”

Cllr Hughes claimed that the site owners even told permanent residents that they would pay council tax on their behalf but Haulfryn denies that council tax is payable: There is no requirement for holiday homeowners to pay council tax on their holiday homes, as they are not residential properties.”

The “threatening letters” referred to by Cllr Hughes are “breach notices” served because some occupants have taken up permanent residency which they believe was permitted.

The Haulfryn spokesperson continued: “Last year Haulfryn issued several breach notices and gave all holiday homeowners affected ample opportunity to remedy any licence agreement terms which were in breach. We continue to liaise with each owner on an individual basis, regarding each of their personal situations.

Haulfryn “Breach Notice”

“We believe that we are acting fairly and in accordance with our licensing and planning agreement with Guildford Borough Council.”

Asked what GBC would do next to sort out the situation, lead councillor for Environment and Regulation James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough) said: “The council met with representatives of the lodge owners in May. We discussed the findings of investigations which showed no breaches of legislation.

Cllr James Steel (centre) responding at Tuesday’s full meeting of Guildford Borough Council

“We answered questions and invited representatives to submit any new evidence for us to review. This offer remains open.

“From the information presented so far, evidence of breaches is not clear. Cllr Hughes mentioned that he has more evidence. We would welcome receiving this.

“We are aware that Surrey County Council’s Trading Standards is also investigating complaints. We are already liaising with them. We would like to convene a meeting with Cllr Hughes, Trading Standards and any other relevant agencies. This would enable us to share and assess the evidence in the round.

“We want to fully understand all the evidence and whether any specific regulatory powers are applicable. We are seeking to find an amicable resolution with all parties. We have already had significant discussions with representatives of the lodge owners and will continue to liaise with them.”

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Responses to Confusion at Holiday Park Where Residents Feel Threatened With Eviction

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 29, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    I am a former certification officer for the NCC [National Caravan Council].

    Caravan holiday homes built to BSEN 1645 are manufactured for holiday (lets) while BS3632 are park homes for permanent residents. According to this report there should be only one BS3632 Park home on the site (for the manager) the remaining being caravan holiday homes built to a lower standard BSEN1645.

    Thus, all the council needs to do is to look for the appropriate badge from the NCC normally the entrance door and anyone in full-time residence of the Caravan Holiday Home is in breach of the licence. If there is more than one BS3632 on the site the site owner is also breaching their licence.

    Sadly, taking the people out of the equation makes it very simple.

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