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Sheppey caravan owners' financial nightmare over Cosgrove Leisure Parks' payment demands


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More than 1,000 furious caravan owners on Sheppey say they are facing a financial nightmare.

Those with mobile homes older than 10 years have been told by park bosses they can no longer pay site fees and water rates monthly and must find up to £6,000 by December 17.

Letters have been sent to residents on four sites owned by Cosgrove Leisure Parks – Sheerness Holiday Park in Halfway Road, Ashcroft Coast in Plough Road, Minster, Shurland Dale in Warden Road, Eastchurch and Central Beach in Grove Avenue, Leysdown.

Caravan owner Jane Fothergill said: "We simply cannot understand the reasons for these new payment terms.

"A caravan that is 11-years-old costs the site no more than a similar caravan of nine-years-old.

"Yet all of those who own caravans of 10-years-old and older will no longer be able to pay fees monthly by direct debit and will now be forced to pay a whole year's fees in advance or face losing their caravans."

She said her husband had tried to meet managers to discus the change in payments but had received no reply.

Central Beach, Leysdown, owned by Cosgrove Leisure
Central Beach, Leysdown, owned by Cosgrove Leisure

Another caravan owner who didn't want to be named, said: "Residents are having to form action groups.

"Despite many people writing to the company, there has been no clarification about why owners of caravans over 10-years-old are no longer allowed to pay by monthly direct debit."

He said those who don't pay on time risked having their caravans disconnected from electricity or water.

"This will make hundreds homeless as the majority of residents reside on the park for 10 months of the year," he added.

He said residents still needing to pay their monthly fees for October, November and December could end up facing bills of nearly £6,000.

Ashcroft Coast Holiday Park, Plough Lane, Minster, owned by Cosgrove Leisure
Ashcroft Coast Holiday Park, Plough Lane, Minster, owned by Cosgrove Leisure

Annual fees at Ashcroft Coast are £4,577 for a standard pitch and £4,825 for a premium pitch.

He added: "For residents who cannot afford to pay, their only option is to try to find another park to move the static caravan to.

"A lot of parks do not accept caravans unless they were bought by the park. If they do accept them, the cost of moving is about £2,500. But they only have until the end of December to arrange an alternative location.

"This means Cosgrove Leisure Group could potentially repossess hundreds of caravans from loyal customers who have nowhere to go."

He said some owners were oblivious to what faced them as letters had been sent to home addresses.

"I never missed a payment in 30 years and my mum for 40 years. We are now being penalised as we won't buy new vans."

"This is just another kick in the face to residents who still had to pay full fees for the past two years but had been unable to access the park for months because of Covid-19," he concluded.

Another owner said anonymously: "After many years my family have been here, it is a shock to realise we are no longer welcome, our asset is worthless and the reality is that we will have to walk away for them to take our caravan away."

Another said: "I never missed a payment in 30 years and my mum for 40 years. We are now being penalised as we won't buy new vans."

Cosgrove Leisure Parks has been contacted for comment.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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