Tony Turner of the JBS Residents’ Action Alliance, explained that the organisation was formed about a year ago and now includes many residents’ associations on sites across several counties. He said that collectively they have succeeded in harnessing the support of local authorities, their protective agencies, trading standards teams and all of their respective constituency MPs. ‘Our alliance is an example which establishes that linking together can and does bring focus upon the activities of the rogues and criminals,’ he said. ‘Other associations in other parts of the country have already followed, or are now following, our lead and have grouped together to form their own alliances.’
Ignoring fact sheets
Mr Turner referred to the number of ‘rogue traders’ who cause havoc to the lives of residents and continue to demand monies without accounting for them and revert to reprisals when those actions are questioned. He cited the case of one owner of a number of parks who recently informed a district judge that, so far as he was concerned, the guidance in the DCLG fact sheets that are used by residents and the courts in determining judgements were nothing more than pieces of paper stapled together and that because he didn’t agree with the contents he ignored them. ‘That site owner should not be permitted to operate in this or any other housing sector and least of all one that is responsible for the well being of the elderly and often frail’, Mr Turner declared.
He praised the good park owners and thanked them for running their businesses ethically and for providing the services that residents pay for. He went on to say that his Alliance empathises with those good park owners in circumstances where they are now unjustly but inevitably being tarred with the same brush. ‘They support our drive,’ he added, ‘and the industry itself is now beginning to recognise that if they do not clean up its own back yards the industry will have no future.’
While Mr Turner welcomed the proposed new legislation, he feared that rogue and criminal traders who currently do not abide by one set of rules are more than likely not to abide by another set. ‘The only solution is to drive them out,’ he said, ’and this will only be achieved by the victims who are willing to report fraud, deception, breaches of contracts and licences, intimidation and threats to the appropriate authorities. In short, if the park home sector is to become what it should always have been, the cancer needs to be removed before the healing can begin.’
Unfortunately, Annette Brooke (MP for mid Dorset and Poole) was unable to be present but her message of support was read out by Sonia McColl (founder of the Justice Campaign and one of Annette Brooke’s constituents). In that letter she said that it was very pleasing that ‘we are on the point of achieving important legislation which will help protect park home owners against the bad practices and, indeed, criminal activities which we know are widespread.’ She assured those present that the Government has been persuaded to take action and that she and her parliamentary colleagues now have to support the private member’s bill from Peter Aldous and make that legislation as effective as possible.
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