Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Sedgemoor District Council has made funds available to ensure the survival of Re-Creation and the Edinburgh road Drop-in centre  while a revitalised Hamp Community Association has relaunched it's bid to obtain long term and sustainable funding with a major community renewal campaign it is calling the Hamp Action Plan.

The £16,000 funding is being provided in response to a request from the HCA which in turn has called on the Community to unite behind its Action Plan .

Hamp Councillor and HCA secretary Brian Smedley said "Hamp has had a difficult year since the death of our Manager and key fundraiser Lynne Macriner but we have finally turned a corner and I would appeal for calm and co-operation in helping us ensure that the funding we are now putting in place becomes sustainable in the longterm."

A key element to the Action Plan is the re-structuring of the way the Hamp Community organises itself. This includes a clarified membership system, a committee structure to provide support for the operational management of both Re-Creation and Edinburgh road, plus 2  crucial Finance and Governance Committee. It also includes a new innovation  with  a series of Community Review Panels which will be Resident led and professionally supported and will deal with key issues such as Mansfield Park , the Wireless project and the Hamp minibus.

Cllr Smedley added " It is also crucial to get genuine involvement from the Community in an organisation that they feel will  represent them . This will only work if people join in. We are asking for All Hands On Deck. People should join the panels they feel they can contribute best to and in January everyone should come to the AGM, join up, re-name the organisation if they like , and then take the project forward. "

"This support from Sedgemoor has come at a crucial time and is invaluable to us in giving us the breathing space to find further funding to make the projects sustainable in the long run. "

A Finance committee chaired by Cllr Kathy Pearce has already met and is producing a business plan for the development of the Hamp assets, whilst the Governance and Admin Committee chaired by Brian Smedley has re-drawn the constitution and the structure of the organsiation to encourage wider community participation and draw in professional support. Support Committees for Re-Creation (Jason Roberts) and Edinburgh Road (Gloria Jackson) have already met to deal with the operational matters of those 2 buildings and the first of the Community Review Panels to be set up will be Mansfield Park-chaired by Ben Harvey and which will consider how to spend a further £31,000 available to Hamp through SDC's RLT2 funding.


Thursday, 4 November 2010


Pauline Hayes leads the Lakeside group to Westminster

Hamp Ward Councillors Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley took members of the Lakeside Park Residents’ Association to Westminster this week (3rd November) to take part in a rally calling for improvements in the law to protect the rights of those living on park home sites.

The delegation joined up with other Park Home campaigners from across the country as part of a National cross party movement to put pressure on their MPs to bring about a change in the legislation. The National Campaign had been organized by Sonia McColl from Dorset and the Bridgwater Group was led by hard working Lakeside resident Pauline Hayes, who was interviewed by ITV .

Lakesiders & Councillors met their MP

Following a request from Cllr Brian Smedley to meet with the group ,Bridgwater MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, turned up ,invited them into Parliament , listened to their case and firmly pledged his support. Brian Smedley praised the Lakesiders determination to stand up and fight for their rights saying "We have been heavily involved with the Lakesiders campaign for justice for 3 years now and they are clearly living under terrible pressure 24 hours a day 7 days a week yet they are still out there fighting. Coming to London today and linking up with other campaigns around the country shows they are not alone and the support of all parties, the MP, the District Council and the case now hitting the National media shows that they are part of a Historic turning point for future generations of park home owners." 

 In the afternoon the group attended a meeting of the Cross-Party Committee looking at this issue, who listened to the wide-ranging reports of harassment, bullying and intimidation suffered by those living on sites owned by ‘rogue’ owners.

Hamp Councillor Kathy Pearce at the Rally

Over 100 residents from across the country, including the Bridgwater delegation, told MPs that a change in the law was required to prevent potential site owners who had a record of harassment or bad practice from owning sites and that they should be denied Site Licences. There were also calls for local councils to be more clearly directed to take action against owners who do not comply with site licence conditions.

A number of MPs from all three parties told the packed meeting that they agreed that the situation had been allowed to go on for too long. The general election had interrupted plans to introduce new legislation but, buoyed by the strength of the rally, they would be pressing forward to work towards the change in legislation that the park home residents were demanding.

Speaking in Parliament Cllr Kathy Pearce said “thousands of people across the country living on these sites, who are often elderly or vulnerable, have seen their homes completely devalued. Their lives have been made a misery as they find themselves completely trapped at the mercy of unscrupulous park site owners. It is not acceptable that even site owners who have successfully been taken to court by residents are then allowed to go on and buy other sites, making huge profits in the process. It is a complete disgrace that people are forced to live in these conditions in this day and age. The fight for justice WILL continue”.

Lakeside Residents, now part of a National Campaign
 The delegation was invited back to the House of Commons in the new year to attend the full cross party debate on the issue. Park home residents would also be looking out for the new Housing Bill, with the aim of lobbying MPs to include legislation for park home residents within the new housing policy.

Pauline Hayes, Lakeside Residents’ Association, Bridgwater: speaking on National TV said

“We can’t sell our homes anymore because the type of people that’s been put on the parks. They used to be elderly residential parks and they’re no longer that. There are owners that are actually deliberately devaluing the parks a) so we can’t sell them we have to sell to them at a pittance and also to get us off so that they can sell it for whatever reason they want the land.”