Porthcawl holiday park 'destroys community' by axing caravans

By Colette Hume
BBC News

Published
media captionSome owners had caravans at the site for more than 20 years

Residents of a holiday park have said their "community has been destroyed" after its owners decided to end the touring side of the business and axed 80 caravans from the site.

The Happy Valley Caravan Park, near Porthcawl, was bought last year by one of UK's biggest park home companies, RoyaleLife.

In an email to residents of the touring site, it said it had decided to "terminate the touring caravan section for the coming season as the company makes plans for the future development of the site".

It said that any advance fees paid to the previous occupiers of the section would be fully reimbursed.

Mathew Jones, from Ebbw Vale, whose grandparents, aunt and mother had caravans on the site for two decades, said the decision to end the touring side of the park had caused huge distress to many of the people who had spent weekends and holidays at the park with family and friends over the years.

He said: "The caravans have become second homes to people and that's what RoyaleLife are not really understanding.

"They've destroyed something my grandparents and parents have built over 20 odd years... it just wasn't nice."

image captionThe owners of up to 80 caravans were asked to move from the site

Residents were asked to go by the end of March and RoyaleLife said it wrote to outline the plans.

However, some residents said they did not receive the letter or found out through social media.

Some said they were unable to move the vans to a new site either because they could not find a new pitch, storage, or it was too expensive to make the vans road legal after being parked at the site over many years.

Others say they were left with little choice other than to sell them to specialist dealers or scrap them.

The company said: "Notice was given to owners of the touring caravans to vacate the site in a timetable agreed with the site office.

"RoyaleLife strongly refute any suggestion that touring owners were given any time limit."

"Moving forward RoyaleLife will be making a considerable investment in the location which has largely been untouched in 60 years - improving the infrastructure and facilities for the permanent residents and those occupying licenced holiday homes to bring the scheme up to the standard of the RoyaleLife brand across the UK."

Park homes are becoming increasingly popular for people looking for a weekend or holiday home as overseas travel remains difficult.

'Permanent residents secure'

RoyaleLife currently has 64 developments across England, and in Wales the company has a new site at Hasguard in Pembrokeshire along with the site near Porthcawl.

Residents must be aged 45 and over but the company said most homeowners were in or near retirement age.

The company added: "RoyaleLife would also like to make it clear that permanent residents and those with existing holiday licensed homes have nothing to worry about.

"Their tenure is secure. There is absolutely no question of either group having to find new homes as a result of RoyaleLife's acquisition."

More on this story