The Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign and how it all began.
A seed of thought was sown in 2009 when I decided to try and change the law to stop unscrupulous park owners from preventing the sale of resident’s homes and effectively stealing their equity. Although unknown to me at the time – that seed of thought would be the forerunner of what would become the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign. My late husband, Tony McColl was the rock behind me and the silent mountain behind our campaign which grew to 30.000 plus park home residents and is a stakeholder at the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group For Park Homes.)
As the journey began, there were new friends to be made, road shows to spread the word, two nation rallies to organise, statistics on park home life to compile, meetings in Westminster to attend, and the strange game of politics to learn as we sought to change the law. But we persevered along a tough road and together we did what no other park home organisation has done before. We succeeded in getting two laws changed that will help every park home owner in the land.
Due to the indomitable spirit of the residents who belong to our JUSTICE Campaign, we proved that together you can change things. Site owners are now legally prevented from “Sale Blocking” and the pitch fee increase will be changed from RPI to CPI. However, there is still a dark and greedy side to park home living, where unsuspecting residents have encountered heartbreak, intimidation, stress, arson, and harassment when they should have been living in peace. For my sins, I suffered the theft of my home - and I know there is still so much more that needs to be changed.
Our first objective is to change the hated 10% commission charge – which is effectively the legal theft of a park home owner’s equity.
I also believe that residents need to be able to talk face to face with those in authority about the park home problems they face. They need someone who completely understands the workings of the park home world, and I think it would be beneficial for residents to have a Park Homes Officer in every Local Authority.
There are of course many other problems that also need to be addressed – the list is endless and will only be achieved by standing together now and in the future.
Sonia McColl OBE