RESIDENTS on two Wisbech mobile home parks will have to wait four weeks to learn whether or not they have won their case against landlords Tingdene.
They are also waiting to hear whether or not they face a £12,000 legal bill after Tingdene’s lawyer, Kirsty McLennan, asked for costs to be awarded against the residents at Friday’s hearing.
Around 60 residents packed the Boathouse on Friday for the tribunal before a two-man panel into whether or not they will have to pay the pitch rent rise, which they are withholding as a protest amid claims their amenities have been reduced.
The hearing heard how residents on Fenland Village and Osborne Park are afraid to go out at night after Tingdene lowered street lights to make it easier for repairs to be carried out and had banned residents using the green for community events.
The park home owners claim the lowered lights have resulted in the streets becoming darker making people frightened to go out after dark and have also caused light pollution for those people who have a lamp post outside their homes.
Terry Van-Santen, representing the residents, alleged Tingdene had breached its own rules by failing to give 28 days notice of work to the lighting. He said residents were legally allowed to withhold the 4.8 per cent ground rent increase as a protest until the issue was resolved.
He also claimed the park owners had failed to carry out maintenance on drains and to deal adequately with flooding caused by heavy downpours.
Mr Van-Santen said Tingdene had refused to discuss the residents’ concerns.
“We have asked numerous times for a meeting to discuss our concerns, but Tingdene have ignored our requests. We are not rebels, we are pensioners who are standing up for our rights,” said Mr Van-Santen.
David Browne, panel chairman, together with fellow panellist John Morris, Tingdene’s lawyer Ms McLennan and director Jeremy Pearson, visited both Fenland Village and Osborne Park before the hearing and were confronted by a silent protest by residents over Tingdene’s decision to ban fundraising events on the sites’ green following complaints about noise.
Ms McLennan argued the lowering of the lights had improved lighting and said there had only been one written complaint about light pollution, which had been dealt with by the blacking out of one side of the lamp.
Residents claimed crime and anti-social behaviour had increased on both sites since the lights were lowered including an increase in thefts from gardens and people sleeping rough.
Site manager Bill McCracken said he regularly rodded the drains and blamed people putting inappropriate items down the toilets for problems.
The panel adjourned after hearing summing up from both sides and also Ms McLennan’s application for £12,000 to cover her firm’s legal costs.
The panel’s decision on all issues will be made within four weeks.