Caravan park concerns

A PUBLIC meeting on Thursday night about the future of The Queen Elizabeth Caravan Park revealed that big changes in the running of the caravan park would not take place for over a year.

David Fleming, secretary of Stonehaven Town partnership told those attending the meeting that there would be no “big changes” until August 2012. He also emphasised that there was no “done deal” with the Caravan Club.

However this has not quelled concerns which were expressed by around 40 static caravan owners who attended the meeing. The static owners fear that if the Caravan Club takes over they will not be allowed to keep their caravans on the site. One of the concerns expressed was over a lack of communication between caravan owners and the Stonehaven Town Partnership.

One static caravan owner claimed that they were assured by the Council, when they bought their static caravan last year, that “it was secure for life.” Another questioned the bidding process saying: “We don’t know who the other bidders were. The caravan club are the preferred bidder for who?”

Many of the concerns voiced at the meeting echoed those expressed at the Stonehaven Community Council meeting on Tuesday August 9.

Suggestions were also made for alternative ways to run the caravan park such as splitting it into static and tourers or a Community Enterprise initiative.

What was clear from the meeting is that something has to be done about the caravan park which was described as “unsustainable.”

The caravan park being up for sale, is a direct result of an Aberdeenshire Council decision of February 2011 to look for alternative arrangements for all 10 council run caravan parks. The decision was made to approach the community over the running of the park, and as a result of this the Stonehaven Town Partnership were approached, STP then sought a professional operator to run the park, as they felt that they did not have the funds or capacity to run it themselves. Of the bidders sought, the Caravan Club was then acknowledged by the STP as the preferred bidder. It was explained at the meeting on Thursday that if a community solution could not be agreed there was no “Plan B” for the caravan park.

Frank Budd, Director of STP and Stonehaven Tourism group, commented that it was a possibility, if an agreement was not reached, that the land could be sold and used for other developments.