Two main issues
He explained that although his primary role is to represent his constituency, when he came fifth in the Private Member’s Bill ballot that position gave him a real opportunity to bring forward proposals which stand a good chance of getting onto the statute book. ‘This Government Bill was one I wanted to adopt,’ he said. ‘It gives me an opportunity to reform an area of law which urgently needs reform.’ Stressing that not all park owners are bad, and that many are mindful of the needs of their residents and maintain their sites to a high standard, he had concluded that those sites quickly deteriorate when they are run by ‘unsuitable people’.
He also noted the growing problem of unscrupulous park operators only concerned with making huge profits, without any consideration for residents. The Select Committee Inquiry into park homes highlighted the misery that such people are inflicting on elderly and vulnerable residents.
Turning again to his Bill, Mr Aldous explained that Private Member’s Bills are expected to be short and he thought it would be impossible to include all the park home matters currently of concern. However, he intended to concentrate on two major issues: the reform of the local authority licensing system and the prevention of sale blocking.
He explained that the site licensing system for parks has been unchanged since 1960 and was unsuited to modern parks. ‘Local authorities neither have sufficient resources nor the manpower to ensure that standards are improved and sites maintained,’ he said. ‘They must have the power and resources to carry out their licensing functions and they should be able to charge fees for licences.’ He also said that the person who benefits from that licence should have to pay for it, i.e. the site owner. Currently the system is funded by council tax payers.
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