The Director of the Lyons Wikups Holiday Park in Towyn defended introducing a “£1,000 increase” in fees, saying that the whole situation has been “misconstrued.”
Caravan residents are concerned after seeing their fees increase from around £4,400 to just under £5,500 this year.
One caravan owner said that he is now strongly considering relocation but noted that he’d be charged hundreds of pounds to leave.
He said: “We’re going to have to pay £5,200 a year, but we’re struggling. We’re trying to find another site. A lot of sites won’t take new caravans. We might have to buy a caravan on-site and part exchange ours there. It might be worth it.”
He added: “We’re based in Towyn, and we use local shops. We’re here for weekends, we go shopping in Llandudno, we go to Snowdonia, we go all over Anglesey and to South Wales.
“We love this country. Yorkshire is a lovely place, but we prefer Wales. There’s lots more to do.”
One of the company directors at Lyons Winkups Holiday Park, Joseph Lyons Mound, has given a lengthy statement about the fee increase.
He said: “We genuinely feel this situation has been misconstrued, and we appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.”
“Site fees have only increased in line with inflation by 8.3% since 2020. That’s over two years.”
“At the end of the day, we are a family-run business, and people are at the heart of what we do, which is why we offered a substantial part-credit to owners who were affected by the lockdown of 2020. And it’s this goodwill gesture – the fact that site fees in 2021 were actually lower than 2020 – that seems to be causing the confusion.
“Our decision to offer the goodwill gesture, of up to £808 in some cases, was our way of showing that we really care about our owners.
“We understood the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on many families, and while this goodwill gesture wasn’t mandatory, we felt it was the right thing to do given the unprecedented situation.
“To our knowledge, no other holiday park in the area offered this package. While we’re glad we offered this, we now feel like the situation has backfired as it’s because of this goodwill gesture offered in 2021 that 2022’s figures appear to have increased when in fact, they are only in line with what they should be.”
He added: “Annually increasing site fees is common in the holiday park industry and comes as no surprise to the vast majority of owners at any park across the country. Lyons Winkups’ site fees happen to be among the lowest in Towyn.”
Mr. Mound said he understood “situations change” along with family life and that owning a holiday home for some isn’t always ‘for life.’
“This is why we like to make it as easy to leave our parks as it is to join,” he said.
“The figures we charge for disconnection and re-siting are not for profit – it does simply cost £600 to execute this process which involves gas and electric disconnection, contractors, drivers, and in some cases, storage.
“We have heavily invested in our park’s facilities over the past few years, which includes a state-of-the-art complex, show bar, and cabaret club, as well as the Splash Zone, play park, and well-known amusement arcades in recent years.”
Mr. Mound said that it was saddening to hear “a very small minority of owners felt like they had ‘no warning’ about this increase.”
“As ever, we issued the site fee letters in September, allowing over three months’ notice,” Mr. Mound said.
“There’s also an additional £300 off site fees as an ‘early bird’ option, as well as plenty of payment plan options and support to help take care of site fees in the form of our Lyons sublet service.
“This service is an invaluable way for owners to add credit to their account, but more importantly, helps promote domestic tourism and keep the beautiful region of North Wales on the map.
“We always welcome open discussions with owners and have taken the time to explain this situation to many of our loyal customers who can now see where the confusion lay.”