RESIDENTS of a caravan park in Clapham say they will be evicted following changes to the status of the site.
Previously classed for touring caravans, the Flying Horseshoe Caravan Site is now set to be redeveloped with static caravans and lodges.
And although members of Craven District Council’s planning committee expressed sympathy for the 44 current caravan owners on site - including some who had been there for 20 years - they said there were no reasons to refuse the application.
The committee, which was recommended to approve the planned change of use, heard there would be little material change to the site - part of a group of buildings at Clapham Station and including the former Flying Horse Shoe Hotel, now flats.
But Mike Porter, a retired secondary school teacher and magistrate from Wakefield, said he had had his caravan at the site for 20 years and the plans had come as a shock to everyone, including the on site warden.
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He also claimed that following a recent change of ownership of the site, caravan owners had been assured things would remain the same.
Mr Porter, who urged the committee to refuse the application by new owner John McCarthy, said he could not say he represented all those on the site, but those he had spoken to believed they had been treated badly.
He said although the site was classed for "touring" caravans, the 44 on site were there on an annual basis and were no longer used on the roads.
“We have ceased touring and no longer block up the A65. We no longer have the means to tour and the site is probably unique in the area, it is already a static site,” he said.
“The 44 owners will be evicted and the caravans will be replaced with static caravans.
“I feel it is a shabby and disgraceful way to treat people who have supported the local economy for years.”
Clapham councillor, David Ireton (Cons) questioned whether the site needed a change of use as most people seemed to be permanent occupiers.
But he added he did not believe there was any planning reasons to refuse the application and that any issue the owners had was a civil matter.
Coun Alan Sutcliffe added: “I do feel for the objectors, I feel they are being treated shabbily, but these issues are not within our control.”
The committee approved the application, but with conditions including the appearance of the lodges and a landscaping scheme.