The owner of a holiday park housing around 200 people in Beverley, East Yorkshire, has been accused of misleading buyers of his chalet homes. William Flannigan is alleged to have sold the properties as permanent homes, when they had planning permission for holiday use only.
On rejection of a retrospective planning permission in 2012, East Riding of Yorkshire Council attempted to evict the residents of 76 of the properties. The council’s former head of planning, Peter Ashcroft, said sales at Lakeminster Park had been “a serious breach of planning policy, which could have set a very dangerous precedent for other holiday homes”.
Residents were forced to take legal action when they learned their homes did not have planning permission, and Mr Flannigan has been accused of ten counts of fraud and misrepresentation. He claims in his defence to be the victim of a plot to “deflect scrutiny and concern away from the council”, saying that he is the victim of a “carefully worked out strategy”.
Mr Ashcroft denied suggestions that Humberside Police had become involved, enabling the council to avoid facing legal action.
The case continues, with jurors reminded by the judge that their “primary concern is what residents were told about the purchase of the homes. Eventually that’s what you’re going to decide”.
Meanwhile, one of the residents giving evidence at the trial has successfully sued the solicitor recommended by Mr Flannigan. Mike Adams, of Beverley solicitors Cooper Wilkin Chapman, was accused of providing negligent advice when he told the complainant that he would act on the sale of his property elsewhere, but not on the purchase of his Lakeminster property, saying: “it’s akin to buying a shed from B&Q and you don’t need a solicitor for it.”