A single mum said she can’t afford to take her kids on holiday after being ordered to remove her caravan from its pitch – after paying thousands of pounds in fees.
Mum-of-two Cheryl McGann, 47, from Dundee, had a caravan at Seaton Estate Holiday Park in Arbroath for 19 years.
She has been paying more than £200 per month in site fees during lockdown, despite not being able to visit, and had hoped to take her children Hannah, 14, and Michael, 13, there this summer.
But last month Cheryl was horrified to receive a letter saying her caravan is now too old and must be removed from the site.
Site owners Crown Parks said the caravan “downgraded park standards and expectations of other guests”.
Angry and disgusted
Cheryl, who works two jobs to afford the holidays, said: “I was angry and disgusted.
“They were happy enough to take almost £4,000 in site fees from me during lockdown.
“Then when things are beginning to get back to normal they tell me I can’t keep my caravan on the site any longer.
“If it was so bad it had to be removed why did they not tell me this months ago rather than let me go on paying the monthly site fees all that time.”
Cheryl said she paid £220 per month in 2020, followed by another £220 for the first three months of this year. This was increased to £240 which she paid in April and May.
She also paid £20 a month for electricity.
Some sites have a policy that caravans must be removed or replaced once they reach a certain age but this is not a rule at Seaton Estate.
Eventually Cheryl had to sell her caravan.
“I have had my caravan on that site for 19 years and have spent all my holidays and many weekends there with my children,” she said.
“I hold down two jobs to be able to afford our holidays in the caravan. We all loved going there and now they do this to me. I think it is disgusting.”
While understanding her caravan was old, Cheryl is most upset by the way she was treated.
She said: “Obviously caravan parks were closed for most of last year and much of this year so far.
“I had a week there last July and then another in October and apart from a couple of weekends that has been it.”
I could have saved for a holiday
She added: “Had I known they were to ask me to move my caravan off I would have taken a decision ages ago and saved the monthly fees instead to go towards a holiday for myself and my children this year.
“Now I have been left with no caravan and no money for a holiday for me and the kids.”
Seaton Estates park manager Kyle Robertson said he was following “due diligence” when he wrote to Cheryl about the condition of her caravan.
“We contacted Mrs McGann regarding the general old age and poor condition of her caravan and pitch,” he said.
“The unit has dilapidated so seriously with age and the plot has been left with broken swings and chairs, seriously downgrading the park standards and expectations of other guests coming to a five star tourist board-regulated park.
“Monitoring the sites adherence to general age and condition is a due diligence that all parks adhere to.”
He added that the fees paid during lockdown were for plot rental which Cheryl was responsible for as the caravan remained on its pitch.
“Whilst we understand and sympathise that a tangible period within this timescale was enveloped by the Covid-19 crisis, the van was before that time detrimental to the general standards of the park,” he said.
“Whilst the staff including myself were furloughed, we could not initiate any action to monitor and act on vans not up to safety and acceptable condition requirements as per park licence.
“There has to be an age that old caravans come to when they are no longer viable to stay when the condition is well below the safety and condition standards.
“Whilst we do not restrict the age limit of vans, we do have to look at sensible choices for the standards of the park to adhere to the stringent 5 star tourist board expectations and general customer expectations.
“These old vans would no longer be covered by safety standards and fire regulations for modern builds and generally have the old unsafe open front gas geezer water boilers, which are a huge fire risk and they would not have compatible fire retardant insulation to current caravan regulations.”