Residents face being booted off caravan site home in days

Residents at risk of losing their homes on a Nottinghamshire static caravan park within days are standing firm after being left “disgusted” by plans to boot them off the land.

Those currently living at Ashfield Mobile Homes Park, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, have previously been told by the new landowner they have to leave the site by August 1.

They now plan to seek legal advice, as well as help from their MP in their battle to stay in the homes.

It comes after tenants received a letter saying they must “have removed all of your belongings from the site” by August 1.

The new owners took on the land last year, before realising that the site required too much work to bring it up to standard.

Paul and Melissa Newton have both lived at the site for nearly a decade
(Image: Nottingham Post/ Gurjeet Nanrah)

Undertaking the work was something the new owners said they “can’t afford to do”.

Melissa and Paul Newton have both lived on the site for nine years. They said they have invested more than 25 years’ of earnings to their home, totalling around £50,000.

Melissa said: “We are devastated by the decision to move us. The last 25 years of our financial life has been invested here and we stand to lose that.

“The overall decision being made is disgusting. We want people to walk away from what’s been proposed because we’re not moving.

“We have four dogs here so it’s not just us moving and if we go to a council property, we won’t be able to keep them all.”

Ashfield Mobile Home Park in Ashfield Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield could be closing in August.
Ashfield Mobile Home Park in Ashfield Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield could be closing in August.
(Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Paul added: “People have lived a lot of their lives here. This is a community.

“There are some older residents who would really struggle to settle somewhere else. They could end up in care homes or something.

“It feels really malicious. I don’t know what we are going to do.”

John Cree, who has lived on the site for 22 years, added: “They haven’t given us very long at all to make plans. We don’t know what to do because we don’t want to make other plans. We want to stay here.

“We really wished the council could have done more to help us.

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“It’s all taken a toll because it’s so stressful to deal with. I’ve started biting my nails and that wasn’t a habit I had before.

“The people here are lovely. We’ve never had trouble with the police or anything.”

Adding his thoughts, Melvin Harrison, a resident of 20 years, said: “I’ve been stressed out since we first found about about this earlier in the year

“Why would be pay thousands for our caravans just to then move somewhere else.

“I don’t understand why it’s been brought and what the plans for the site are.”

Marie Barton, 69, who lived on the site for a number of years in the 1970s, now lives on Leyton Avenue, in a property which backs onto the caravan site.

Marie Barton, 69, moved onto the site in the mid-1970s
(Image: Nottingham Post/ Gurjeet Nanrah)

She said: “When I lived here the site was much less developed than it is now. It’s now a part of the local community.

“It’s not the residents’ fault that the site has got to the state it has. It is the owners’ responsibility, but the people living here are suffering for it.

“It should have been better maintained over the years.

“The residents are trying their best to stay here but if the site is developed, it needs to be something that benefits the community and doesn’t drive down the house prices here.”

MP for Ashfield Lee Anderson has been helping the residents state their case to remain on the land.

He said: Ashfield District Council have said the site does not meet the required licensing conditions, so the consequence has been that the owner is trying to turf them off.

“It makes you wonder what’s been happening behind the scenes. There are rumours of a travellers site of bungalows coming here – both of which I know residents don’t want.

MP Lee Anderson
(Image: Nottingham Post/ Gurjeet Nanrah)

“There’s been a reluctance to help the residents here from the council in my opinion.

“I asked them to buy the land because I think it would be a great asset, but they’ve said that’s not possible even though we know they’ve received under £70 million this year with the Towns Fund and that councillors have had a pay rise. That could pay for this.

“The decision will split up this tight-knit community.”

The site owner, ATE Farms have been approached for comment by Nottinghamshire Live on the latest developments.

Previously speaking to Nottinghamshire Live about the issue, a spokesperson said: “We can’t afford to run the site anymore, and we have offered it back to the residents if they wish to buy it.

“The site has been there for years and unfortunately we took it on a few months ago, and needs a fortune spending on it to bring it up to health and safety standards.

“This is something we can’t afford to do.

“By law we’re only supposed to give the residents 28 days to get off the site, but because many of them are elderly and we know a lot of them, it’s obviously come as a shock.

“I’ve tried to give them as much time as possible, and unfortunately because of the situation many of us have found ourselves in over the last 12 months, we want to give as much time as is humanly possible and offered to help in any way we can.”

Councillor Jim Blagden, support cabinet member for housing at Ashfield District Council, said: “This decision was solely the owners’, the council has no authority over someone wishing to sell their land and/or business.

“The site is not currently up for sale, but with 11 years of successive government cuts the council is not, and would not be in a position to buy if it were.

“We met with Lee Anderson MP back in March where we outlined the reasons the council is unable to purchase the site and to agree our continued support to residents of the site.

“The council has been working closely with residents of Ashfield Mobile Home Park since February 2021. We have met with residents, sent regular communication and supported them with both legal and housing advice.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News