Couple forced to leave caravan park after living there ‘illegally’ for 20 years

An elderly couple have been forced to leave a caravan park they had lived on for two decades because they were there "illegally".

Doug Davis, 73, and partner Pam Donovan, 77, have lived on a Welsh caravan park in Barry for 21 years, paying council tax on a standard caravan.

But it wasn't until the coronavirus pandemic prompted the Welsh Government to ask caravan park residents to return to their homes that they realised some had been living at the park for decades, WalesOnline reported.

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Ex-park owner Phil Edwards claimed people had been living on the site for 10 months of the year in caravans permitted only for secondary home living.

Some had even sold their homes to live at the park, now owned by Vale Holiday Parks, which is illegal under UK law should the people not have a permanent residence listed elsewhere.

Pam and Doug are part of a group that lived on the park and left in June after coming out of a court settlement with former park owner Edwards, costing them thousands of pounds.

Doug believes the council should have known already that was their permanent residence as it was where their council tax was registered.

The 73-year-old said: "We had a letter from the environmental health officer in July stating that it only came to the council’s attention during covid. I can’t get my head around how it would only at that point have come to their attention."

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Remembering her time in the caravan park, Pam spoke fondly of their "wonderful time", with the couple now renting a flat together.

She added: "It was a shock. We couldn’t believe it. Everyone knew we were living there and nothing was said for two decades."

Doug continued: "Every year I went into the office, paid my money for the year, got my little slip and that was that. Everyone knew. And we loved it there."

The pair added that they felt "oblivious" to any wrongdoing as the council had accepted their payments of council tax.

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