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Victory for residents in homes saga

PUBLISHED: 16:41 19 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

DELIGHTED residents have been celebrating after Great Yarmouth Borough Council threw out plans to move their mobile homes.

Fred Smith, who co-owns Beaumont Park in Bradwell with wife Carol, had applied for permission to re-site the 23 caravans on health and safety grounds, arguing the changes were needed because the spaces between the caravans was too small, creating a fire risk.

DELIGHTED residents have been celebrating after Great Yarmouth Borough Council threw out plans to move their mobile homes.

Fred Smith, who co-owns Beaumont Park in Bradwell with wife Carol, had applied for permission to re-site the 23 caravans on health and safety grounds, arguing the changes were needed because the spaces between the caravans was too small, creating a fire risk.

However, the tenants objected, fearing the plans were the first step towards forcing them out and arguing their caravans, some over 40 years old, could be damaged by the move. The council received 14 objection letters from the home owners, who rent pitches off the site owners.

Most of these objectors packed into the borough council's chamber on Tuesday for a heated meeting in which councillors deemed the Mill Lane park's owners should negotiate a settlement with the residents before seeking planning permission.

Mick Cudworth, secretary of Beaumont Park Residents Association, spoke out against the plans at the meeting.

The following morning, he said: “Obviously we are all pretty happy about it, but it has taken all these discussions in front of the council meeting to reach this decision and it just feels like common sense has prevailed.”

He feared if Mr Smith, who purchased the park two years ago, had been given planning permission they could then have changed the residents' lease agreements with the previous landowner forcing them to rent their pitches at a rate they could not afford.

As well as the damage to their homes, the residents also argued their homes would not be covered by insurance and there were protected trees which could be threatened by the plans.

However, the site owner's agent Tim Matthews told the meeting the owners could face legal action if the site did not meet health and safety regulations.

He added they had £1m site insurance to cover re-siting the caravans.

In April 2009, Mr Smith, who runs F and D Continental Roadways, applied for permission to reorganise the caravans and add a further three caravans on site.

However, this was also refused on the grounds the layout was cramped and there would be a loss of space within the development.

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