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Edgeley Park Residents Continue to Hope They Will Not Be Made Homeless

Published on: 15 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 15 Sep, 2022

The entrance to Edgeley Holiday Park Google Street View

By Martin Giles

The future of long-term permanent residents at Edgeley Holiday Park, most of whom are elderly, is still uncertain.

Site owners Haulfryn have sent out follow-up letters reminding residents of their obligation to provide alternative permanent addresses in compliance with their pitch tenancy agreements.

Aerial view showing the location of Edgeley Park Google Maps

But several residents and County Cllr Bob Hughes (Con, Shere), who owns one of the lodges or caravans, have said that up to 50 per cent of the 286 lodges on the site are occupied permanently and that site owner Haulfryn has misled those applying for pitches by intimating that permanent residency was tolerated.

The same residents, some of whom have lived on the site for over a decade, claim that until recently nothing was done to enforce the “recreational use only” condition in Haulfryn’s site licence, issued by Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

The condition relating to recreational use in the site licence issued to Haulfryn in 2004. The exception is for the manager’s lodge.

Asked: “What is the council intending to do?” the leader of Guildford Borough Council, Joss Bigmore, responded:  “We understand how stressful this situation is for residents of the park especially those who are more elderly and vulnerable.

Cllr Joss Bigmore

“We are committed, using the council’s legal powers, to working with those residents and partner agencies such as Surrey Trading Standards to attempt to resolve the situation.”

But Surrey Trading Standards are said to have told residents that they have terminated their enquiry despite initially indicating there was good evidence that offences had occurred.

Cllr Bigmore continued: “We have investigated all of the complaints we have received to date about people living at the site as permanent residents from a planning enforcement and a caravan site license point of view.

See also: ‘Very Concerned’ Council Leader Steps In to Reassure Elderly Edgeley Residents

“If we are given more, new evidence we can then investigate that new evidence according to our enforcement policies and use our legal powers if we identify any breaches.”

Extract of a signed statement by one resident who has lived on the site for over 10 years, explaining that the site manager knew he was selling his home to move to Edgeley Park.

GBC has said repeatedly that they require “new evidence” despite the fact that residents have been living permanently on the site for many years and the corroborated statements made to The Guildford Dragon regarding Haulfryn’s failure to enforce the conditions designed to prevent permanent residency.

It is also understood that with only three planning enforcement officers, GBC has very limited investigative resource available.

But Cllr Bigmore said: “Our action can range from providing informal advice to formal enforcement such as prosecution.

“We cannot offer any resident in any situation personal legal advice as a local authority we are not able to provide this. We can however strongly suggest residents seek their own independent legal advice through well-known agencies such as the Citizen Advice Bureau.

“We are arranging a meeting to include myself, joint chief executive Tom Horwood, some of our councillors and representatives of the residents of Edgeley Park, that will take place in the next few weeks.”

A Haulfryn spokesperson said: We have issued follow-up letters to holiday homeowners who have so far failed to respond to our initial request for satisfactory proof of their main residence. No notice has been issued.

A follow-up letter sent by email from Haulfryn asking for proof of permanent residence at another address away from the site. But most of the permanent Edgeley residents do not have alternative addresses. The letter concluded: “Failure to act upon this letter may leave us with no alternative other than to consider further action, which could include issuing a notice of breach.”

“This request is part of our annual checks and in line with the licence and purchase agreements which are written using templates provided by the NCC [National Caravan Council]. These state that owners are not permitted to use their caravan or holiday home as their primary residence. We continue to encourage our holiday homeowners to get in touch directly with us so we can reach a solution.

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

“Holiday homeowners at Edgeley Holiday Park do not have contracts with Guildford Borough Council. Rather, they have entered into a legally binding agreement with Haulfryn when signing their licence agreement. We are asking them to adhere to the terms and conditions set out in regards to the Holiday Use Obligation, which we are obliged to do in order to comply with our site licence with the council.”

Residents suspect that there is a new management strategy since changes in the senior management of Haulfryn and this could be supported by the concluding paragraph of their statement.

“Following a strategic review of the business to maximise its potential and ensure future success, Haulfryn has been split into two separate companies; Haulfryn Limited and Haulfryn Group Limited.”

 

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