Sunset Drive Caravan Park, Havering-atte-Bower, forms residents’ association to push for site improvements

Disgruntled tenants and homeowners at a Havering-atte-Bower caravan site have formed a residents’ association to push for site improvements after what they describe as seven years of neglect.

Havering Council sold Sunset Drive Caravan Park to Kent-based firm Sawyer Park Homes in 2004 after deciding it required a level of investment that would be best provided though the private sector.

But the residents’ association say Sawyer Park Homes has since allowed the site to fall into disrepair.

Chairman of the residents’ association Phil Wright said: “We formed the residents’ association because, although [Sawyer Park Homes owner] Mr Sawyer has owned the site for a while, he doesn’t seem to have done any improvements at all.

“We received letters from the council at the time saying they were selling because the site needed a high level of improvement they couldn’t provide.

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“The roads are disgusting – the site is completely run down.”

Cllr Keith Darvill has put his support behind the Sunset Drive residents. “When Mr Sawyer bought that site, he promised as part of the negotiations with the council to bring it into much better condition,” he said. “He hasn’t done that.”

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Residents say Mr Sawyer has breached the licence in respect of inadequate fencing, provisions for fire safety and sewage.

But Mr Sawyer said the issue of fencing was down to the residents’ gardener.

“The issues I know about at the moment are the roads and one street light that’s out,” he added. “The issues will be put right but I think they’re grabbing at straws.

“I’m not going to say I’ve been the best site owner in the country but all the fire points are working. The only issue is the roads.”

He said the residents were not honouring their side of the bargain and keeping the site tidy.

“The council want to turn a blind eye to what the residents do,” he said. “You can’t just keep kicking the owner.”

Parliament is currently reviewing the legislation used to draw up site licences – but Havering is not one of the local authorities giving evidence.

Cabinet member for housing and public protection Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “We have sent out new site conditions for the owner to maintain. They need to keep the site to a certain standard and if they fail to do so they could face enforcement action.”

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