Council “ruined my business”

Wolds Retreat in Caistor EMN-150216-171649001
Wolds Retreat in Caistor EMN-150216-171649001

The operator of a Caistor holiday park is blaming West Lindsey District Council policies for “ruining” his business.

Bill Green of Green’s Park and Leisure, owner of Wolds Retreat, has appealed against the district council refusing residential use of the park at Fonaby in Brigg Road.

Mr Green said when he opened the park eight years ago, everything was fine with the holiday planning permission and he sold 14 homes. But West Lindsey claimed he and homeowners were breaching residential conditions. He gave them evidence showing they weren’t but WLDC then employed a freelance planning officer to investigate.

“She sat on the park looking at the lodge owners and sometimes for hours making the lodge owners very uncomfortable. This went on for 12 months telling some owners they could only stay in the park for six weeks a year and telling one owner they would be fined if they stayed longer than six weeks,” he said.

Residents tried selling their homes, but with so many for sale, lodge owners could not sell them, forcing Mr Green to buy three back. Some 18 months later, WLDC decided conditions were not breached, using the same information as supplied before.

Mr Green said his business has invested more than £2 million on the park, adding he is losing money every week and it “just cannot carry on.”

As a holiday park, the business has been further “ruined” by two other holiday parks opening nearby withing the past two years.

Mr Green says if he does not win his appeal, he will have “no option” but to sell the site.

The Rasen Mail has heard rumours of possible traveller use of the site, but Mr Green declines to comment on this.

Instead, permanent residential use of the site would help Caistor by easing local housing pressures and its residents would shop in the town.

“All we want to do, is change one word, from holiday use to residential use. We know Caistor needs houses. It’s a scenic site on the edge of town. It would be ideal for use by the over-50s. They can sell their big houses and it would free the market,” he said.

Mr Green added WLDC has allowed residential use at other holiday parks in Torksey, Burton Waters and Saxilby.

If he wins his appeal, he would build a bus stop and extend the footpath on Brigg Road to his site, which he said the lack of are cited by West Lindsey as reasons it opposes his plan.

A WLDC spokeswoman told the Rasen Mail it was “irrelevant” what other sites can do, as they are different and went through planning procedures. With Mr Green seeking a change in planning conditions, “there is little more we can say as an appeal is active.”