Council tells operator of Sunset Drive mobile homes park, Havering-atte-Bower: make improvements or face legal action

Havering-atte-Bower mobile home residents are hoping to see much-needed improvements to their surroundings after Havering Council threatened their site owner with legal action.

Tenants and homeowners say the Sunset Drive mobile homes park, sold by the council to Kent firm Sawyer Park Homes in 2004, has been neglected since it passed into private ownership. The Recorder reported in April that they had formed a residents’ association to push for a better standard of maintenance.

At the time, the company’s owner George Sawyer said he would be making improvements over the coming weeks, and disputed many of the residents’ complaints.

But after a lack of progress the residents’ association asked the council to visit the site for themselves.

“We asked them to come up here because nothing has changed,” said chairman Phil Wright. “The holes have got deeper – some of them are down to five or six inches.

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“There’s a problem with drainage here, although 50 per cent of it is to do with conditions outside the site. As soon as they’d left we had a bit of a downpour and the rivers overflowed.

“We had floods all the way round the entrance and going into someone’s garden. We called the fire engines and they were literally pumping it out of ditches to the other side of the site. If we had decent drains they should really cope with all this.”

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A council spokesman said, following the site visit, Havering Council had written to Sawyer Park Homes with new conditions for owning Sunset Drive.

Crucially, the new contract enables the council to withdraw the site license if conditions at Sunset Drive remain below a certain standard.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, Havering Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “I visited Sunset Drive and was given a tour by residents. I am in full agreement that improvements need to be made by the owners.

“We will be inspecting the site again in the autumn and will consider further enforcement, including legal action, if they do not meet the licensing conditions.”

Mr Sawyer said he had made changes to the site since April, and that the residents’ claims were incorrect.

But Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton) said the council had got involved because the repairs had been inadequate. “He’s shovelled a few bits of soil into the holes,” he said, “but with the rain it’s already washed away. It’s a terrible job.”

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