Bradgate Park mobile home owners in dispute over axing of monthly fee option

Doug (right) and other mobile home owners say the change in pitch payments is distressing

Upset mobile home owners at Margate’s Bradgate Park say they are no longer allowed to pay site fees monthly and are facing unmanageable  six-month or yearly bills.

The site, which is open all year around but is not listed as residential, is owned by Wyldecrest Holiday Parks headed by owner Alfie Best.

Wyldecrest was founded in 2001 and is one of the UK’s largest holiday park providers with 95 residential mobile home parks and seven holiday mobile home parks. It bought Bradgate in Manston Court Road, which comprises around 220 pitches, in 2014.

But some mobile home owners at the site say they now fear termination of their site agreements because they need to continue paying fees monthly.

Doug Tivers is among those who pay site fees monthly and says the demand for one or two yearly payments is distressing.

He said: “There are a lot of elderly people here that are very upset and in tears. Most of them have always paid monthly but we have been told we now have to pay 6 months or the whole year. If we don’t we are looking at a 28 day notice of eviction. They are saying they will lend money through a finance company.

“There are elderly ladies here in bits, I don’t know what to say to them and just give them a hug.”

Doug says although the park is not listed as residential it is open 365 days a year and some people do not move off site but they are not covered by any residential rights.

Doug and his wife have now received a letter to say they have £6,400 in fees outstanding, which is the amount for the year.

‘Temporary measure’

Wyldecrest owner Alfie Best, who has been featured widely in the media talking about his Romany Gypsy roots and becoming a self-made millionaire, said no termination notices had been served but that it could happen if fees were not paid.

The 52-year-old said monthly payments had always been a temporary measure and the change to half yearly or yearly payments was a necessary business decision.

He said: “Our main concern is for our holiday home owners. We do not operate our parks to upset people but we also have to run the business diligently.

“When we originally brought monthly payments in when we took the park over it was only to be for a short time, it was meant to be for a couple of years but we extended that and then extended it again.

“But we found some people were then not paying and taking their caravans off after 6 months, that has a detrimental effect on the business and on the park.

“It was abused, people were not paying and then it became a burden on administration having to constantly check and police owners on a monthly basis.

“We have a lot of fantastic home owners but unfortunately there are some that think it is a cheap way of housing. This is a holiday park not a residential park and as a company we have a duty of care. It is a criminal offence to rent holiday homes as residential.”

Wyldecrest does run residential parks but Bradgate does not have that designation.

Termination of agreements

Mr Best said no eviction notices had been served but added: “That will happen, termination of agreements, if people do not pay their fees. We have had meetings, gone through it and told everyone that this was coming into play.”

It is understood that between 10 and 20 holiday home owners on site have not paid the bi-yearly or yearly amount.

‘Cost of living crisis’

Another Bradgate unit owner, who asked not to be named, said: “In this year’s annual pitch fee review, Wyldecrest informed us that they would no longer accept monthly payments for our licence fees: six monthly or annual.

“Most residents are elderly, retired, disabled and the like. Wyldecrest has referred us to (a) credit finance company. Amid a cost of living crisis, high inflation, and increasing interest rates: get a loan! As if someone with limited income can get a loan; even if you were eligible, would a bank give one for what is effectively your rent?

“Assuming you overcome those hurdles, the monthly payments would be higher because of the interest on top, and you will be in perpetual debt because, in the following years, you would need another loan.

“Some folks have started to leave, but many of us can’t. While, as a holiday park, we have to give a residential address, as in our case, folks give a family address, and we can move there. Renting a place is beyond us, especially with the need to get deposits, furniture, white goods, etc. Again, assuming (as with loans) we would get a rental property with our low income.

“The option we seem to have is to cancel our direct debits and continue to pay monthly by standing order or bank transfer. But this is fraught with danger as we may get evicted.”

‘Done everything we possibly can’

Mr Best said the monthly payment is just no longer an option but 6 monthly has been offered despite all his other parks requiring yearly payments. He said: “I love what I do, I eat it with a spoon. I believe we are changing people’s lives and I do not like instances like this with people being upset but we have done everything we possibly can.”

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  1. The problem with this type of property. Is you only own what’s sitting on some one’s land . So your under there control and without a site your home is basically worthless.

    • But hang on a minute . . .

      If it is holiday homes then surely they would be rented out for a week or two at a time – a holiday maker would not expect to pay for six months or a year.

      a guaranteed income all year round is surely preferable – even if it is paid monthly rather than a year up front. Nobody is going to be paying for something that sits empty . . .

      Or am I missing something ?

  2. He’s skint that’s why. No one has ever been behind with there rent on here and taken there caravan off. It would just be taken out the cost of the sale. Poor excuses and abundance of lies. Made himself a halo when the holidaymakers were being evicted from Cresswell towers. Now he’s doing what he always said he will never do and evicting holidaymakers. It’s been all lies from start to finish. Well the fight isn’t over by a long street Alfie. And the other pathological liar in Nick. Every time he opens his mouth he spouts lies. Trouble is he’s no good at it.

    • But why cant the caravan holders go back to their permanent address as it’s not residential so they must have another home by law

  3. If he says living there as a rented residential home is a criminal offence, why was this not addressed when he bought the park in 2014? And what about the residents who actually own their homes there? Is that a criminal offence too?
    I do notice there’s no general consensus about evicting people who are residents, only about evicting those who don’t pay up front or go through his recommended loan company …. Self made millionaires only eat from the spoon for one reason

    • I expect he takes a nice commission from the loan company that he recommends. I can understand that collecting rents monthly is a pain .But not everyone has funds to hand over thousands In 1 lump sum. Its been OK for 8 years ??????

  4. How can the park be open all year if its not residential ?

    I thought only residential parks could stay open and non residential have to close for at least 2 weeks

  5. Can’t they just put their monthly payment into a savings account and then pay the rent when it’s due in six months or a year, am I missing something?

    • Yes you are missing the fact that people have limited income. Many are pensioners and thats why some are only able to pay monthly as they have no savings. Alfie Best wants payment in advance. So unless they have £6000 now to pay him then they will be evicted. Some already have eviction notices by email.

      • Anon hi, so is it a case of, let’s say they’ve paid their rent for January and now he wants the rent for Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun and Jul NOW?

  6. I blame Thanet Council on this confusion Bradgate has been allowed to operate as a residential site for years and years with Thanet Council it seems turning a blind eye to that fact. The council licensed Bradgate to operate therefore in a court it could be argued that Bradgate has historically been allowed by the council and the owners to run as if it was residential the matter should be challenged by Thanet Council in law. Alternatively the council should offer all Bradgate residents accommodation in council owned properties due to the council’s negligence in allowing this situation to come about.

    • I expect the council are happy to leave things as the are and not rock the boat. Knowing that the haven’t got the property avaliable to house these people..

    • I doubt it’s got anything to do with TDC, if it was a residential site the residents would have to pay council tax, tv licence.

      I would be surprised if TDC turned it’s back on the council tax it would be due.

      • Council tax is included in site fees & you still pay your TV Licence as well as the usual bills you would pay in a house. The only thing cheaper than living in a normal house is the caravan itself. Makes me laugh people think its actually a lot cheaper living in a caravan, its definitely not!

        • Claudia

          So the site owner pays your council tax ? I would double check that.

          I’m not sure how a company can pay an individuals council tax. The tax is person to you and your property

  7. Confused, the residents do pay council tax in the form of business rate’s which is divided amongst the residents to pay and they pay tv licence. These residents are not so called travellers they have been
    Lead to believe they are residents but are now told they are only holiday makers. All the time it suited the site owners it was very convenient for caravan owners to be told they could live on the site all year and a blind eye would be turned by Thanet Council.
    The current owners greed and mis management of Bradgate has exposed failings by both TDC and the site owners both past and present.

    • Bill

      Why would you pay business rates on a mobile home ? Why would you pay your council tax to the site owners ? The site owners would pay business rates not the mobile home owners.

      The same goes with the tv licence why would the site owner pay for each individual tv licence ?

      Alot of people buy these mobile homes to avoid paying council tax, tv licence etc.

      As this site is a holiday site all Mobil caravan owners have to by law have a permanent address. They cant use the site address its against the law.
      They will be paying council tax on their permanent address, if not they are dodging the council tax.

      Being a holiday site only both the owner of the site and caravan owners are braking the law by 1, site doesnt closed for a minimum of 2 weeks, 2, the caravan owners have to leave site to avoid paying taxes on their second homes, ie they permanent address ( house )

      Something is dodge here.

      I feel sorry for the caravan owners but they are braking the law as is the site owner.

      The whole caravan site industry needs monitoring much better. So many site owners are cowboys and only interested in making money.

      Remember when two chimmeys was taken over ? All Mobil homes over 10 years were told to get off site or buy new from them.

      I wouldnt recommend anyone buying a mobile home, it’s not as cheap as most think. You have to buy everything through the site owners apart from clothes and food !
      The price of your mobile home drops quicker than second hand cars. Plus you have to give the site owner a percentage of you sale when sell.

      Keep will clear of buying until the government tighten the laws and you have rights. At the moment the site owners have you by the short and !!.

      Sadly like me we will take a huge financial hit

  8. Interest free credit cards available 6months to 35 months ……pay up front the 6k+ on the card. Pay off the card at 0% interest within the time…then close the card…..

  9. Confuse. We own 4 caravans on a holiday site In Norfolk we very rarely go there not been there for the past 8 years the site owners manage everything for us and they are rented out every year it’s an investment. That site is inspected by the council officials every 6 months to make sure the site is being run in accordance with the licensing laws. That is what should be the case with Bradgate but it clearly has NOT. Therefore if Thanet Council have not been carrying out inspections of the current site owners and the last owners then why not the planning department gave the new owners permission to put more caravans on the site so presumably the planners were aware. As regards to tax the business rates cost are divided by the number of caravans owners and added to the ground rents of each caravan the same as we pay In Norfolk.

    • Bill

      Wouldnt your setup be a business with your 4 caravans which is to earn money different to people who live there 24/7 ?

      I agree something isnt right here. How have they been allowed to live 24/7 on a holiday park you can only do that on residential. Residential you pay council tax, holiday parks you dont. If these people have been paying their council tax to the site owners that seems odd to me. In theory these people have been paying council tax on their homes ie their postal address, and also paying council tax to the site owners !.

      It’s clear TDC havent been carry on site inspections correctly and these poor people have been lead down the garden path. Even if they can pay rent 6 months in advance they cant legally stay 24/7 as it isnt residential.

      • PS

        It’s clear these people have been let down by TDC who should have been forcing a minimum 2 week closure.

        Owning a mobile home is a mine field I wouldnt touch one with a barge pole.

  10. Why oh why did they not say in the previous years site fees that they would not be accepting monthly payments, at least then people could have tried to save some towards this years fees, they just weren’t given any notice this was being done,
    Also i’ve looked around Bradgate and it’s a flippin mess, they really need to put a few things straight and tidy it up, always see workers standing chatting but never actually working so instead of putting 2 large deers at the front spend the money making it look half way decent, worst looking caravan park in Thanet

  11. There doesn’t appear to be any supervision of this site from the local authorities, I agree it should be a court matter to decide if it’s an holiday site that has been allowed to evolve into a residential site.
    If the owner says it’s an “holiday site” who in their right mind would choose Bradgate to holiday at. I understand the swimming pool was taken out of use as soon as the new owner took over the bar is drab and only open one or two times per week if at all.

  12. Confused. Just to clarify the situation. There are two types of mobile home parks; residential and holiday parks.
    If you live in a mobile home on a residential park, they are called park homes and you can live there all year as you would any other home and you would be responsible for paying council tax etc.
    If you live in a mobile home on a holiday park, these are called holiday homes. You don’t have to pay council tax but you do have to move out every year. Most holiday parks are open for 10 and a half months and close for the remaining six weeks. During this time you are not allowed to visit your “holiday home”.
    Site fees for holiday parks are generally more expensive than residential parks as they include the cost of running all the amenities on the park such as swimming pools etc. as well as the operator’s costs i.e. business rates etc.
    Some park, e.g. The Foxhunter in Monkton have both park homes and holiday homes. Needless to say, the occupiers of holiday homes have to move out every year but those in park homes can stay.

    • Rabbi

      I know all that !

      These people should have been paying council tax on their permanent home. It’s a holiday park so as you say they cant legally stay 24/7. That’s why they would pay council tax on their house not the caravan.

      They day they have been paying council tax to the owners, which is very odd !

  13. So the owner takes in £1-4m a year in charges,if he spends say £400000 a year in the site and banks £1m ,cushty,only joking ,money for old role no wonder he’s a millionaire

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