Since 2013 our JUSTICE campaign (with the help and active support of residents from all parts of our country) has lobbied, rallied, organised a Three Nation Rally, presented petitions to Government and hundreds of residents have attended our meetings with MPs in the Palace of Westminster. Our request has always been for a full and transparent review of the sales commission in England with sight of the site owners certified accounting - and if a change is made that nothing is added to the pitch fee.
The decision of the Scottish government has been to retain the 10% and the Welsh government is likely to phase in a reduction to 5% over a five year period.
In England. Although, I fought very hard - as a member of the working group - to have the 10% commission charge included in the 2017 review of the effects of the 2013 Act; after our JUSTICE Campaign's staunch ally Dame Annette Brooke MP OBE retired and MP Natascha Engel was not invited to attend the meetings, I basically stood alone within that group on the subject of the 10% commission charge and as the BH & HPA were in opposition and with no other back up from other members, no recommendation to include the 10% Commission charge in the review of the 2013 Act could be put forward. Therefore, the review does not include the question of sales commissions; however, although outside of its scope, and following the help of hundreds of campaign members who wrote to their various MPs, this Government has agreed to give it further consideration separately from this review. I believe, this has come about ONLY because of the effort that members of the JUSTICE campaign have made.
In 2013, I was asked if the JUSTICE Campaign could do something about the 10% Commission Fee. I said we would try - and we have all certainly done that. In fact, if it had not been for the effort that park home residents have put in, the 10% would have disappeared and turned to dust under the proverbial carpet. Now, the fact is that we can do no more on this subject. It is in the hands of the government and we have to wait and hope that justice is done and in England we get the Independent and transparent review that JUSTICE Campaign members have requested and if the 10% is changed - as we have campaigned for - there is nothing added to the pitch fee. I am led to believe that the result of the review will be announced at the end of September - we shall have to wait to see if that is correct.
Our campaign to change the inflationary index used for pitch fees from RPI to CPI is included in the coming review. Let us hope that this is successful and a change is made because it is wrong that our pitch fees increase by RPI when our state pensions only increase by CPI. Again, Residents have done all that they can and we await the government proposals following its 2017 two part call for evidence in its review of the effects of the 2013 act - and whether this will include all that is needed to restore the lives of park home owners to what they should always have been.
The new Park Homes Policy Forum that was formed by Tony Turner in January 2018 fears that this latest review will not go far enough in facing and resolving all the known problems, from the first licensing of park owners, through to providing home owners with a greater say in the way in which their park is managed. The PHPF is growing rapidly and has accrued its own national membership to as best ensure that the 28 page report and proposals for changes that Tony has submitted to government in late 2017 are taken into account and if not, that any shortfalls are returned for further review. The JUSTICE Campaign has seen that report and fully supports all of its recommendations. In addition, it thanks Tony for his active support of our campaigns.
The position of the PHPF is that ALL the current loopholes and anomalies that encourage malpractices must be addressed once and for all, not least because it is unlikely that there will be a further review of park home legislation for a very long time. Your JUSTICE Campaign agrees with this and full supports this initiative.
The PHPF works quietly in the background, not only in its support of your JUSTICE Campaign but also its Park-HELP-Line. Tony, is a formidable opponent of rogue ownerships and has pro-actively supported the positions of very many park home residents for a decade.
If you are not already a member of the Park Homes Policy Forum ( which like your JUSTICE Campaign, has FREE membership) you might feel that you would like to join before the coming review is announced as I am assured that Tony will challenge anything that is wrong and against the wellbeing of the park home resident. You can join using the contact form on its website and the two links to the PHPF can be found below.
Members of the JUSTICE Campaign have fought an amazing campaign over many years. They have written copious amounts of letters to MPs, spent their pensions to come in support of our London rallies on many occasions. Built wonderful banners, dressed up, marched through the streets - and still found time to attend and speak respectfully in the Palace of Westminster. This has all been noticed by the MPs and Peers in attendance and because of them all, our JUSTICE campaign has become a name that is known throughout Westminster and the Industry.
As I have said many times. It is very easy to complain behind closed doors - but it takes courage to put your heads above the parapet. show your face publicly and get through the Palace of Westminster doors and bring about debates in the House of Commons - but the park home residents who are members of the JUSTICE Campaign have done just that. To win you must have the help of those already inside. That help is not easy to attain but our JUSTICE campaign has succeeded on many occasions because we have been strong and have always acted in a respectful but firm manner and to my knowledge, what we have achieved together has not been done on this scale by any other organisation that is related to Park Homes. In fact, whatever the future brings, residents can all be proud of what they and their Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign has achieved.
I will of course publish the results of the coming review to all members when they are available - but in the meantime: if you have any problems, please call the Park-HELP-Line on: 02038466601
This voluntary Help Line that has been set up by your JUSTICE Campaign; is sponsored by Paul Baker of PB Insurance Services for Park Homes and its friendly operators will do their very best to make sure that you find the best way to deal with any park home problems. In fact if you need a quote for your park home, why not give Paul a call on: 0800 038 5090 as he does so much for park home residents.
Many people have asked; but sadly, I have to report that there is no positive news on the whereabouts of my stolen home. However, I send my sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who have sent donations to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, to Tony Turner who has acted as a conduit for that appeal and the Park Homes and Holiday Caravan Magazine and Paul Baker for publishing the story of my stolen home - and for their steadfast help to our JUSTICE Campaign.
I hope that the coming review will make things better for all park home residents but I think it would be wise and would certainly recommend residents to join Tony Turner's FREE Park Homes Policy Forum - who have vowed to fight for your rights.
I have made many wonderful friends through the Justice Campaign and I send my best wishes and thanks for all your love and support - in all matters - over the last 10 years.
Sonia McColl OBE
Founder of the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign and Park-HELP-Line