Lancashire pensioners' misery after water bill demand piles on pressure in battle over site fees
Vulnerable pensioners living on a residential park in Lancashire say they have been slapped with excessive bills by the new owners of their site.
The residents at the Westend Residential Park near Kirkham are in an ongoing dispute with the site owners Hill Brothers Residential and Leisure Parks and have said that they feel they are being forced out of their homes.
Although no direct threat of eviction has yet been made, the residents have faced huge hikes in their site fees and now have been hit with demands for £400 for water charges.
The dispute has been set to go before a tribunal but it has been delayed amid coronavirus and no date has been set. The residents, most over 70 and some infirm, say the year ahead now looks filled with misery and uncertainty.
The Hill Brothers took over in December 2018, and following a meeting at a Morecambe hotel in November 2019, the fees rocketed by almost 100 per cent, far higher than recommended increases allowed in law,
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said he is concerned about the pensioners and has repeatedly tried to contact the park owners to mediate, without success.
Alan Haworth, 74, who has lived at Westend for six years with his wife Jean, said the residents were desperate.
He said: "Since December 1, we have had over-inflated demands for site fees and demands for water bills of more than £400 which we have never had to pay before all the years we have lived here. In the past the site fees covered everything.
"The ridiculous demands were enough to upset most residents, perfectly timed to cause the most distress right before Christmas. We are all just feeling bullied and 2022 looks like it will just bring more misery.
"With the demands, we were informed we could go to tribunal if we were not happy. As we have been in tribunal for some considerable time, one wonders which planet they are on?
"There have been tears and fear here. We just don't want this at our time of life. We still have not had a date for our tribunal and this is causing a lot of anxiety for people who really don't need it."
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I am aware of the issues faced by residents living on the park and am concerned to hear of these latest developments.
“It is important that the site owners work with park home owners, with their best interests at heart.
“I am disappointed the owners have not yet responded to my approaches on behalf of residents and will continue to do all I can to support them.”
The Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post has tried to contact the Hill Brothers, but without success.
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