Around 50 caravan owners in Ingoldmells are set to get five more years respite as East Lindsey District Council looks to claw back “greater than anticipated losses” a controversial policy change has caused.
The authority originally told owners of caravans on their site (Kingfisher Caravan Site) that they had to pack up any holiday homes older than 20 years (15 years plus five additional one year licence extensions) in a bid to modernise the campsite.
However, next Wednesday leaders will vote to make it 10 one year extensions instead – bringing the age limit to a total of 25 years.
It was recently estimated the site faced a £2.5 million loss of income over the next two years after an £842,000 deficit in its 2019/20 budget. However, bosses said that once the work is completed they will be in a better position in the future and that income levels would return to previous levels by 2022/23.
Owners of caravans on the site have previously hit back at the changes and are currently looking to take the council to court. More than 350 caravan owners have already left the site but 100 or so remaining owners are still fighting on.
A report before councillors next week said: “The Executive is fully aware of the current occupancy position at the park and of the ongoing threat of litigation from the Kingfisher Owners Group; it is also aware that plans to repopulate the Park are being developed by Invest East Lindsey Limited and through the exploration of a potential joint venture with another local organisation.
“Notwithstanding this, the change in the occupancy rate over the past 18 months has been greater than originally anticipated; whilst this will in part be due to those licence changes, COVID-19 has had major impacts on our customers and has contributed to the situation that prevails.”
It is estimated that the measures will “limit the future impact” and could prevent 50 caravans from having to be removed – though 18 caravans over the 25 year age limit will still have to go.
More than 100 people plan to take East Lindsey District Council to court over the changes to contracts, announced in October 2019.
Opponents to the plans have said the move has lost people’s futures and targets the working class people on site. They fear the authority will set a precedent for other caravan sites in the area to follow suit.
Stuart Allen, one of the campaigners previously said of the new changes: “The people on the site have been asked their opinion this time, but the majority can see that this guarantees nothing for them.”
He said people were now “leaving through fear of the future” and that the “council will continue to lose valuable income”.
During a recent meeting of the authority’s scrutiny committee, Councillor Colin Davie said: “The aerial pictures of the site are very depressing, it looks terrible. People that have caravans spend money in the local area but that’s not going through the local economy either.”
He said the loss of income was “substantial”.
Councillors later voted to bring the matter back for further investigations.