An elderly couple fear they could lose their holiday home after refusing to pay a rent rise - but the park owner says the increase is needed to bring the park up to modern standards.
Chris and Ron Davies, 85, from Blaby, Leicester, bought a chalet at the Riverside Chalet and Caravan Park on Occupation Lane, Poulton, in 1983, and say they have spent around £50,000 refurbishing it over the years.
They previously paid £750 a year to rent the land where their chalet is sited, however, they were told in September that the park had come under new ownership, and that their yearly rent would be increased to £2,100.
Mrs Davies said: “We bought it in March 1983 and we have been on there with no trouble all that time. As far as I’m concerned we shouldn’t have to pay because we have already paid our rent in advance until March next year.”
She added that the previous owner of the site had tried to increase the yearly rent from £750 to £1,100, but they had declined to pay.
New owner Bernard Saunders, who took over the site in September, said the new £2,100 price mark was required to bring the chalet park up to modern standards.
He said: “I have done a lot of work already to the park. I have widened the roads, I have taken down numerous sheds, and I have cut down and removed a number of trees for numerous residents of the park.”
Mr and Mrs Davies said they refused to agree to the steep increase, and so Mr Saunders offered to purchase the chalet from them for £3,500, which Mrs Davies described as ‘an insult’.
However Mr Saunders said he believed the price was fair as the property is believed to contain asbestos.
Mrs Davies said: “Everyone is in the same boat, more or less. For most of these people, it’s their only home. Some of them are on benefits. They wouldn’t be able to afford the increase. Some of the residents have said at least we have another home to go to.”
But Mr Saunders said that all other park residents had already agreed to pay the rent increase. He said: “If they cannot afford the rent, what I would do is put a payment plan in place so that it would be affordable to them. They could pay as much as they could afford within a year, within reason.
“If they could only pay £1,500 then that wouldn’t be an issue. It’s not my aim to take their home away and I haven’t done so for all 36 residents here.”