BH&HPA Pleads With Government To Help Holiday Parks

THE UK’s foremost holiday park owners’ organisation has written to the Prime Minister, urging him to take action to help parks survive the coronavirus crisis.

“We plead for the survival of our businesses and communities they sustain,” wrote Ros Pritchard, director general of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA), in a letter to Downing Street.

The letter, on behalf of the organisation’s 2,000-plus members asked why caravan parks would not be able to reopen until July at the earliest.

“Your Transport Secretary and Deputy Chief Medical Officer noted the lesser risks in outdoor environments in the Downing Street Briefing on 14 May. We ask please that urgency is given to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer’s undertaking to give ‘careful thought’ to outdoor holidays in caravans and camping,” wrote Ms Pritchard.

“Holiday and touring parks are ‘fresh air hotels’ since our customers enjoy outdoor holidays in self-contained, self-catering accommodation with full bathroom and kitchen facilities in holiday caravans, chalets, treehouses, safari tents as well as in many touring caravans and motorhomes.”

The Welsh Government has taken a different approach, with their roadmap for rebuilding including “accommodation businesses without shared facilities” opening at the same time as “non-essential retail” – an approach Ms Pritchard agreed with.

“If the Welsh approach were applied in England, that would mean some of our customers could come and stay from 1 June, rather than from 4 July as is currently proposed,” she said.

She asked that “urgent consideration” is given to allowing caravan park owners to allow their customers to access self-contained accommodation without shared facilities in step two, covered in two points:

  • For households which own their holiday caravan, the social distancing requirements would be identical to those they already follow at their primary residence
  • For holidaymakers who rent holiday caravans and other accommodation from us (without shared facilities), we have well developed social distancing measures which would safeguard against the risk of infection.

However, Ms Pritchard said her organisation was not asking for an earlier return for parks that needed to open shared facilities and sanitary blocks, as well as pubs, cafes and bars on holiday parks.

But she did state that there was “considerable unfairness” in the current arrangements, where consumers can visit their own beach hit or boat in a marina but not a holiday caravan which they own.

“That is damaging essential business relationships as the law places the onus on the park owner to turn their own customers away,” she wrote.

On holiday home sales, Ms Pritchard asked for consideration to be given to this area of the sector too.

“As soon as it is safe, we would like the opportunity to recommence this trade along with all other ‘non-essential retail’. The law should not discriminate between different types of retail in Step Two in the absence of scientific evidence.”

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