CARAVAN owners have reacted furiously to plans for vans 25-years-old and over to be removed from a popular North Tyne site.

Hareshaw Linn Caravan Park, Bellingham, is managed by Horizon Holiday Parks, formerly Ward Leisure. It was put up for sale in 2018 by the Duke of Northumberland with a £1.4m price tag.

Sixteen site users now say they have been served an email informing them they must be off the site by January 31.

“There is nothing wrong with our caravans”, said Lee Campbell, who has a van on site. “We had to keep paying our fees while we could not go to the site due to the pandemic; this has crippled a lot of families all because he (the owner) wants more money and he is allowing people on site to live there, thus defrauding the council of all the money that people should be paying in council tax.”

Valerie Adams added: “I myself have just spent £1,000 on laminate flooring last month and committed to a two-year contract with EE for wifi in the van at £50 a month only three months ago.

“If they had told us at the beginning of the year that this would be our final license, I wouldn’t have spent that money on flooring.”

She also claimed that up to as late as April this year, owners were given assurances there was no intention to remove any caravans because of age.

Michelle Ward, Horizon Holiday Parks’ company director, said: “It is a fact that we have informed those owners whose caravans are 25-years old or more, that their site license would not be renewed at the end of the current licence term.

“It is normal practice that caravans in excess of a certain age are requested to be removed from holiday parks.

“This occurs because the general state of the site must be considered, and we cannot be seen to discriminate one way or the other with any particular individuals.

“When we acquired the site in 2018, the general caravan “vintage” was dating from 1986 . We have allowed natural wastage up to now but unfortunately, the time has come when the older units now need to be removed.

“As with any business, we acquired the site with the intent of improving it. It is our intent to uplift the park and push it to a five star site.

“It is unfortunate that this seems to be coming as a big blow to our owners but we were unable to do anything last year due to Covid-19 and do not feel that delaying any longer will impact our owners in any positive way.

“Many caravan sites have a maximum 10-15-year site license agreements in place and a 25-year policy is generous. We are trying to minimise the impact of this by providing solutions but cannot mitigate away the fact that there are some old units on site that impact on the enjoyment of the entire community.

“We believe that we have been more than fair with the notice period given. We are giving owners four months-plus notice.” of intent.

“Whilst we try to help our owners as much as we can, we must be aware that caravan parks are businesses and need to be run as such. The site licences for the affected pitches clearly state that they are on a rolling one-year licence and there is no automatic right to renew.

“As regards people living onsite, we do not believe that this is the case. We follow all guidelines on this and owners’ primary addresses are filed in the office. “

The caravan owners said they have requested a meeting with site bosses.