(1) The report detailed the reasons for the proposed pitch fee for the new Coldharbour site, and necessary compliance with the Mobile Homes Act, for current and future pitch occupiers. It included the reason for, and proposed level of, a service charge towards costs of waste water disposal.
(2) The report recommended a pitch fee of £65 per week, to take effect from the handover of each new pitch on the new site, or 1 April 2013 if later, for existing pitch occupiers, subject to consultation under the Mobile Homes Act 1983.
(3) The Coldharbour Lane site in Aylesford was originally established in 1981, to accommodate families who had lived for some time down the adjacent (then) A20. Following various efforts down the years to improve and expand the site, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and the County Council started a joint project in 2008 to establish a new site, which had included new land acquisition and planning consent for a 26-pitch site, and part of the funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.
(4) The new site was now being constructed, and should be available for occupation early next year. There needed to be a pitch fee agreed for those who would be allocated a new pitch on the site, and an increase in pitch fee for those who lived on the old site currently.
(5) The proposed £65 per week per pitch fee would cover the costs of maintenance of the site and repayment of a significant proportion of the prudential borrowing needed to build the site. The implications to KCC if the pitch fee were not agreed and collected would be serious, as any shortfall would need to be found from the County Council’s revenue budget.
(6) The Mobile Homes Act 1983 required site operators to consult over pitch fee increases with existing pitch occupiers, and to justify the proposed pitch fee set for new pitch occupiers. Consultation over the design of the new site had taken place with current occupiers, and they would be consulted over the proposed increase to their pitch fee.
(7) The new site was a complete transformation of the current site, on which the pitch fee had been £44.50 per week. Current pitch fees for sites managed by the Gypsy and Traveller Unit ranged between £44.50 and £57, so Coldharbour Lane, because of its current condition, was the lowest. The new site had larger pitches than the current site, and the new facilities included new amenity blocks, pitch surfacing, fencing and utilities; and had a play area for children.
(8) The Edenbridge site in Sevenoaks recently had significant improvements and expansion and its pitch fee was currently £72.10 per week. Based on the extent of the improvements resulting from the new site development, the recommended pitch fee for new pitch occupiers was £65 per week per pitch, and the recommended increase for current pitch occupiers was from £44.50 to £65. It was recommended that the increase for existing occupiers took effect ... view the full minutes text for item 35