As a result of refusing to accept the 2022 to 2023 pitch fee increase of 6.00%, several residents were taken to the First-Tier Tribunal by Thorney Bay Park Limited.
The hearing was held on 19th October 2023 and comprised of a site visit by the Tribunal and a hearing conducted at the Southend-on-Sea Magistrates Court.
After consideration, the Judge decided on 30th November 2023 to rule in favour of the residents.
The proposed pitch fee increase for 2022 to 2023 should be reduced from 6.00% to 4.00%, a 33.00% reduction.
Note, the original increase proposed for 2022 to 2023 was 12.30%, this was reduced to 6.00% after intervention from the previous SBPRA Chairman.
The Tribunal criteria is quite restrictive and meant that they could only consider issues where there had been a deterioration in the condition, and the amenity of the site, a reduction in the services that the owner supplies to the site and the quality of those services.
No consideration was given to the evidence produced by the SBPRA in support of the promised new facilities and improvements to Sandy Bay Residential Park.
The Judge made positive comments with regard to the evidence during the Tribunal hearing, commenting that the material was suitable for a mis-selling action.
Please read the full judgement received by the residents taken to the Tribunal by clicking on the button below
Both parties have a right within 28 days of the date of the judgement letter sent to all parties on 7th December 2023, to appeal against the judgement.
Please read the judgement letter, to understand the appeal process. Please click on the button below
What Happens Next
- Sandy Bay Management will need to calculate the new 2022 to 2023 pitch fee and advise the affected residents.
- The SBPRA will investigate the pitch fee status of the remaining residents who accepted and paid the 6.00% increase. Initial thoughts are that by accepting the increase, no reduction or refund will be given.
- The judgement has important ramifications on the proposed 2023 to 2024 pitch fee. As previously mentioned in other communications, the Committee cannot recommend actions, they can only advise residents, residents must make their own decisions on the way forward.
- The SBPRA will now need to communicate with Sandy Bay Management to discuss the 2022 to 2023 judgement and the 2023 to 2024 proposed 6.70% increase. Very little on Sandy Bay has changed since the Tribunal was held on 19th October 2023. One would assume that this would be considered in any potential future tribunal.
- Sandy Bay Management have not produced any audited figures supporting the proposed 6.70% increase. This is a fundamental right of residents specified in the Mobile Home Regulations. For too long, successive Sandy Bay Managers have ignored the right of residents for a breakdown of costs, and generally imposed other increases and rule changes without consulting the Residents Association first.
- Residents should consider delaying any decision on accepting the 2023 to 2024 increase until the SBPRA Committee has clarified exactly what Sandy Bay Management is proposing to do considering the Tribunal judgement. As mentioned previously, residents must make their own decision.
- Continue to pay your current pitch fee until the 2023 to 2024 increase is agreed.