Caravan owners are locked in a court battle with East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) to vote on a decision for a planned price hike next week. The hike is believed to only discourage people from visiting Mablethorpe Park (United Kingdom).
On Wednesday next week, the authority’s executive board will be asked to vote in favor of a 5.8% increase in pitching fees. Owners said the hike represents approximately 50% of the latest Retail Price Index (RPI) figures, according to a report.
In a report, officers said the increase would “meet some of the increased costs the council has and continues to experience, to protect the council’s financial position.”
“The recommendations in this report represent a reasonable, justified, and proportionate approach to Kingfisher Caravan Park pitch fee increases and associated discounts and late payment fees for 2023,” they said.
Stuart Allen, one of the owners against the hike and the ELDC’s strict new policies on the age limits of caravans, said many members were “surprised” by the move.
“The site is still only occupied around 50%, with a significant number of the vans on site being directly owned and operated by the council,” he said. “Increasing the ground rent will further encourage people to leave and discourage people to buy onto the site.
Allen said that for many years, the council refrained from applying any increase in site rent and since the pandemic and the loss of vans on the site, they have had “inflationary increases every year.”
“The council knows that the country is facing difficult times financially… but still they feel the need to agree an increase – why?” he said.
Allen said those like him, who refuse to sign new contracts and the ones involved in the ongoing court dispute, had been excluded from the early discount.
He also questioned why an audit report on the Kingfisher Caravan Park, which was due to appear on July 6, wasn’t on the agenda.
The group is gathering more than 80 witness statements covering over 100 caravans to take to court. Then, the council will be asked to submit their defense or agree on a settlement before a court date is finalized.
“The council seems focused on attacking the group members by forcing them to jump for more and more hoops eating into their own personal finances while the council continues to burn public funds,” said Allen. “The group are ashamed at what the once wonderful Kingfisher Caravan Park has become.”
“The site is a shadow of its former self, and the council should be ashamed,” he said, calling for the council to return to working with the group.
“The impact of inflation is inescapable for every business, every individual, and the council,” A spokesperson for East Lindsey District Council said.
“However, the council fully appreciates the impact on everyone, and that is why the executive will be considering a recommendation to limit any increase to the pitch fee at the park to half of the latest rate of RPI published by the Office for National Statistics.”
The spokesperson said the council again makes it clear that in 2021 a claim was launched by owners against the council and not the other way round.
“Even more surprisingly, after the elapse of eight months from the date of issue, the owners have still not submitted their Particulars of Claim to the High Court.”
“The owners have requested and been granted three deadline extensions but have provided no date for compliance.”
“Notwithstanding communication with solicitors acting for the owners, the owners have provided no date for compliance with the procedural timetable it asked for.”
“This is hugely disappointing to the council. Continued negative media around the park is not being fueled by the council but by others, including some of the owners bringing the claim.”
The sale of caravans and holidays on the site is led by the authority’s arms-length company Invest East Lindsey Limited.
This article originally appeared on Lincolnshire World.