A caravan owner claims he is being made homeless by the new owners of a mobile home site in South Tyneside.
Geoff Lynch has lived in a caravan on the Lizard Lane Caravan Park at Marsden for eight years, but says he, and other residents, are being forced to leave because the new owners want thousands of pounds in site fees upfront - and have given them just one month to find the cash.
The grandad-of-five said he is devastated about the situation and is not only losing his home, but also all the good friends he has made at the Coast Road holiday park at Marsden.
The new owners, Meridian Parks, who took over the park a few months ago, say they need the money to help pay for improvement work being carried out at the site.
Geoff, 61, said hat, over the past eight years, residents have been able to pay site fees in instalments throughout the year.
They got a letter on February 1 saying they had to pay all the site fees for February this year to February next year in one go - and before March 1.
I thought I would be on the caravan site until I died, because I absolutely loved living thereGeoff Lynch
Geoff, who is a pizza delivery driver, said there is no way he can afford the £2,513.48 in one go and it would be impossible for him to find that sort of money in just four weeks.
He said: “People have been asking the owners if they can help us out and give more time to sort the money out, but they are just saying ‘pay up or leave’. It is inhumane, they have no empathy.
“I am not the only one being affected. Loads of people have their caravans up for sale now, I would say about five of us face being totally homeless.”
Geoff, who is in the process of applying for housing through South Tyneside Council, claims he is one of the lucky ones because his home is a touring caravan.
The divorced father-of-three, said: “At least I can sell mine and it can easily be towed off the site, but others have static ones and will be charged a lot of money if they want to have them moved.”
Other residents at the site said they did not wish to talk about the issue.
Frank Maquire, who owns Meridian Parks, said they are investing around £600,000 in upgrading the Lizard Lane Caravan park.
He said: “We are having to get the money in for that. We really can’t afford pay monthly fees.
“We have a business to run and we need to get the money in.
“We are investing to improve and maintain the park.”