Owners of holiday homes on the Isle of Wight say they are “devastated” after being forced to vacate a Rookley park by Christmas.
Rookley Country Park, owned by Island View Holidays, has recently been taken over by new management who have decided the park will be developed.
On 16th September, holiday homeowners were sent a letter which stated the new owners wanted to make Rookley Country Park “the most attractive park on the Isle of Wight”. The letter also stated that, in order to make the improvements, due to start this Autumn, “a large number of pitches must be reclaimed by the park”.
Around 40 families will need to leave the park by 31st December 2017. The remaining number of owners have until the end of next year to find somewhere else to stay.
Many owners have recently invested thousands of pounds adding a decking area to their holiday home, with the view of keeping the accommodation long-term.
Gloria Grant and her husband moved to the Rookley Country Park in 2013 to give their son and grandchildren more space in the family house.
Gloria says it’s devastating for owners:
“It’s so, so sad for people. There are a lot of older people here, there are people who aren’t well, there are a lot of people who have invested thousands and thousands of pounds in their caravan and they’ll just have to walk away from them.
People are just at the end of their tether – we just don’t know what to do.”
Gloria added how she wishes the park owners had been more considerate:
“You’re looking at, initially, 43 people who need to find somewhere else to live and that’s a lot of people…
There’s no financial help or compensation for anyone, so people will literally have to walk away from their caravan if they can’t find anywhere else to put it.”
Although Rookley Country Park states in its terms and conditions that caravans must not be occupied for more than 6 consecutive weeks, many people staying there say they consider it their home, as they only leave for one or two nights every six weeks in compliance with the terms and conditions and otherwise, stay there on a full-time basis.
One holiday homeowner who feels this way is also one of the eldest, aged 90. She’s told fellow owners she still has outstanding finance on the caravan and has nowhere else to go. This lady, like many others, has been told to vacate by the end of this year, which means she could be homeless by Christmas.
Another problem owners are facing include high costs of relocating to another park, as well as most parks only being willing to accept caravans less than 10 years old.
Site fees have increased by 5% for next year. Owners think is unfair as there will be considerable work happening on the grounds of the park, which is likely to be disruptive.
Isle of Wight Radio has approached Island View Holidays and Rookley Country Park to comment on the above points but we’re yet to receive a response.