Lodge owners take electricity bill dispute to court

Mike Chesworth stands in front of his mobile home looking serious
Mike Chesworth told the court lodge owners were scared [BBC]

Lodge owners who previously claimed they were tricked into buying homes on a holiday park have become locked in a dispute with the site owner over an unpaid electricity bill.

Buyers at Wyre Country Park in Lancashire told BBC Panorama earlier this year they were cheated out of their life savings when they bought homes believing they could live in them full-time.

Since then, they said site owner Mike Welch had threatened to disconnect their power supply in seven days if they did not pay a £46,000 bill, Blackpool County Court heard.

The BBC has approached Mr Welch for comment.

A judge has granted the owners a temporary reprieve over the unpaid bill, after an injunction was put in place last week.

The court heard Mr Welch had promised not to disconnect the power supply.

Mike Chesworth, who owns one of the lodges, told the court: "Residents have had to put up with aggression, bullying and harassment tactics and that leaves them scared and not knowing what is going on.

"It has got to a point that they will not open doors - that's how scared."

'Protected livelihoods'

District Judge Woosnam adjourned the case until 5 September to enable discussions to take place "to resolve the underlying issues".

"What's going to happen is that Mr Welch is going to promise and give an undertaking and the injunction will be set aide," he told the court.

The lodge owners said Total Energies supplied the site owner and he billed them individually, but they claimed Mr Welch had been refusing to give them an accurate breakdown.

They said the sums calculated were inaccurate as a result.

Buyers told BBC One's Panorama earlier this year that they were falsely promised they could live full-time on the site.

An undercover reporter secretly filmed one salesperson claiming year-round living was permitted.

Mr Welch told the BBC contracts clearly stated it was a holiday park.

In the latest dispute, he rejected any allegations of intimidation or threats to evict owners

He told the court: "I just want to resolve this."

About a dozen residents were in court for the hearing.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Chesworth said: "We've protected the livelihoods and concerns of some very vulnerable people.

"I just hope he stays by the order he is committed to."

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