Councillors advise caravan residents

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CARAVAN residents seeking year round site occupancy have been warned of the challenges they are likely to face in achieving their goal.

Many of Skegness’s Beacon Park Holiday Village residents recently formed a committee to campaign against current regulations forcing them off site for seven weeks a year, which they claim is unjust.

The committee invited councillors Sid Dennis and Mark Smith to help guide them in their aspiration at a meeting last Wednesday.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Dennis expressed his willingness to continue imparting guidance and advice, but felt the caravan residents had a number of significant hurdles to overcome.

He said: “Their big problem is going to be getting the site owners to come on board, which I don’t see happening, then they’ve got the flood risk issues, national planning policies and the fact that the caravans are not designed for living in all-year-round.”

Coun Smith also felt that flood risks identified by the Environment Agency, which inform its policy not to support applications for extended site opening times along the east coast, would be the group’s most pressing challenge.

Group secretary Kath Rowson has also recognised the magnitude of these obstacles, however she cannot understand why certain coastal caravan parks were permitted year-round residency, while others were not.

Having researched 12 month licensed sites across the UK, she claims to have found several which the Environment Agency’s own website identified as being at a higher flood risk than Skegness, leaving her perplexed as to what has coloured the agency’s judgement differently in these cases.

Coun Dennis has since sympathised with the caravan residents’ plight in this respect as he is aware that even a number of local sites seem to be admitting guests all-year-round.

But despite recognising the economic benefits to extending Skegness’s visitor season, he has expressed personal reservations about this being achieved through permanent caravan site residency.

“I’m very much of the opinion that caravan sites should be for holidaymakers rather than permanent residents,” he said.

A number of caravan residents at the meeting shared that belief and were concerned that extending the license would increase their rental costs, which they did not want to see happen.