My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Ian Austin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am today publishing a paper Park Homes Site Licensing Reforms: The Way Forward and Next Steps which sets out the Government’s proposals for the reform of licensing of park home sites in light of the responses received to the May 2009 consultation paper Park Home Site licensing—Improving the Management of Park Home Sites. Copies will be placed in the library of the House.
The Government want a thriving and well run sector that provides sites where people want to live. We want a licensing system that raises and maintains standards on sites and protects residents by ensuring sites are safe, well planned and properly managed with appropriate facilities and services.
The paper announces that the Government are committed to introducing a number of key reforms to the current site licensing regime, including a requirement that persons engaged in the management of park home sites are “fit and proper” and only such persons may hold licences. The new system will give local authorities duties to impose management conditions in licences and provides a range of enforcement tools to ensure that site licensing conditions are complied with. Measures will be required to be put in place for alternative management arrangements where sites are not able to be licensed. The new scheme will also allow licensing authorities to recover their costs in connection with their duties under the provisions by charging appropriate fees. A new regime for appealing licensing decisions to the residential property tribunal will be introduced.
The Government intend to establish a task force, including representatives of local authorities, the industry and residents, to advise and recommend how some of the key elements of licensing may be most effectively implemented with minimum burdens.
The Government’s proposals are intended to drive up standards in this sector (where that proves necessary) and, where that is not possible, to remove the ability of those unscrupulous and incompetent site owners from continuing to manage park home sites.