Romford residents who paid more than £200,000 for their mobile homes demand money back after they were built illegally
PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 December 2018
Residents who paid more than £200,000 for mobile homes are demanding their money back after the planning inspectorate found their homes had been illegally built.
Owners in Lakeview Park, Noak Hill found out last week their homes had been built outside the current caravan park licence, and the site lies within the green belt.
The council is supporting them and said it is “shocked and appalled” at the way Wyldecrest Homes has “targeted and exploited unsuspecting residents who bought these mobile homes in good faith”.
The residents have now been given 12 months by the planning inspectorate to find new places to live.
Wyldecrest has said it is disappointed by the decision and stands strong that it hasn’t breached planning controls, and the owners will be lodging a further appeal.
Keith and Marie Stevens, both 59, bought their home a year and a half ago.
Marie said: “What are we going to do, where are we going to go?
“We paid more than £200,000 for this place, we want our money back. I don’t know how they could have let us even buy it in the first place if they knew it was illegal.
“We moved here for a quiet and peaceful retirement, but it has been anything but that.”
Ann Hughes, 63, is in the same situation and her daughter Michelle Wain said she feels helpless.
The stress of the situation has led to Ann having breakdowns and she said: “I can’t go through this anymore. I just want to be safe where I live, I can’t believe this has happened, this was going to be my last home and I just don’t know what to do.”
Michelle said: “I would have taken my mum and dad in but we just don’t have space at our house, and I’m worried about what is going to happen now.”
In the decision, inspector Katie Peerless said she sympathised with the residents and noted how long the appeal had taken and the “undue amount of stress” it has caused them.
She said residents found themselves caught unwittingly in the middle of the dispute between the owners and the council and that her remit is limited to “considering the lawful use of the site and the planning implications of the development”.
A Wyldecrest spokesman said: “Despite this decision, both our residents and ourselves maintain that we have not breached planning controls and will be working with our legal team and the local council to lodge a further appeal as a matter of urgency.
“The welfare of Wyldecrest’s residents is and remains our number one priority.”
But council leader Councillor Damian White said: “The owners of the site flagrantly flouted planning laws by extending their current site onto green belt land then selling mobile homes without planning permission or without thought to the welfare of residents investing their hard earned money. We can’t sit back and let rogue businesses encroach on our green belt.
“We are on the side of our residents and we will be on hand to offer housing advice and support.
“But we urge the owners of the land to do the right thing and work out a resolution with their customers as quickly as possible.”
Councillor Keith Darvill said: “It’s quite clear in my mind the site owner has to compensate those residents that have been a victim of the situation.
“People need to be warned that before they spend huge amounts of money on mobile homes they need to maybe take their own legal advice and make sure the right planning permissions are in place.”