Caravan owner threatens to stage protest over prices

A STATIC caravan owner who has kept a caravan on land at the Queen Elizabeth Caravan Park in Stonehaven for the last 16 years has threatened to stage a protest when the site is taken over by the Caravan Club in October.

Gary Mitchell, who visits the site most weekends with his family, said that he is considering the drastic action after learning of a likely increase in rent for a pitch at the site next season.

Aberdeenshire Council and Stonehaven Town Partnership have been running the site, which is in need of significant investment, and the Caravan Club are due to take over on October 26. The national club are expected to invest in the site to bring it up to the standard of other caravan club sites around the country and a rise in rent is expected to be announced.

Mr Mitchell said that he feels that the static caravan owners, who he describes as a “close-knit community” are being “pushed out” of the site.

He said: “People on the site are upset. Six months ago there were 47 static caravans on the site, now there are just 17. This is down to a lack of maintenance by Aberdeenshire Council. They have said they were operating at a loss, but the site was full every weekend last year.

“We feel let down because we have been coming to this town and spending our money here for 16 years, and if the price goes up we will have to leave, with nowhere to go.

He added: “I would like to see a fairer price and I would like to see the council spend some money on maintenance. We are respectful and look after the area when we come to stay. We have been criticised but we have done nothing wrong.

“If there is no solution by the time the Caravan Club take over in October, I am considering planning a protest and refusing to leave the site. My wife is making herself sick with worry over this situation.”

David Fleming from the Stonehaven Town Partnership said that he sympathised with the static caravan owners, but decisions have had to be made for the good of the entire town. He added that the site could not go on as it had been as it was making a loss at the expense of the tax payer.

He said: “You can’t go on losing money. We have a great deal of sympathy for the static caravan owners but the economic situation is such that the Council could no longer subsidise their stay on the site, and in order to attract the very large investment that the Caravan Club are willing to commit, the prices will have to rise significantly.

“The role of the STP is to promote the best interests of Stonehaven as a whole, and that is the basis for all of our decision-making.”