Several speakers praised the efforts of the various residents’ associations representatives who had contributed so much in raising awareness of the problems on parks. Mention was made of Brian Doick of NAPHR, Alan Savory of IPHAS, Ron Joyce and Colin Packman of PHRAA, Sonia McColl and her Justice Campaign, Tony Turner, who represents park home residents in Cornwall, and the late Bob Holland who started the Park Homes Congress. Lord Graham also singled out for particular praise Grant Shapps who, as Housing Minister back in 2010 took up the challenge to do something about the problems facing mobile home owners which were coming to the attention of his department.
In his introductory remarks when presenting the Bill for its second reading in the House of Lords, Lord Best also praised Grant Shapps for embarking on the extensive consultation process that really got behind the formulation of this legislation. He added, however, that none of these efforts would have resulted in the current situation were it not for Peter Aldous MP who used his place in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills to sponsor this Mobile Homes Bill. Other accolades were due, he said, to the hardworking civil servants in the DCLG who had carried out sterling work in crafting the Bill.
Lord Best took time to explain to his fellow peers the nature of park home estates which he said could be described, at best, as ‘little paradises’. However, in recent years, many of the original site owners, or their heirs and successors, had sold up and ‘highly undesirable purchasers taken their place’. Under these owners residents had been exposed to exploitation in a number of ways: services were not undertaken, with drains left blocked; pathways were impassable; street lighting was out of action, and so on. Meanwhile, service charges or pitch fees were inexorably increased. Exorbitant fees were added to charges for LPG, for use of a gas meter or for other supplies.
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