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History of Willow Wood

LINE BY LINE HISTORY 2003 - 2021                              31 October 2021

  1. Background
    1. Park Opened in 2003
      1. Previously the Cuthill Coal mine (closed)1965
      2. Subsequently Knowepark Caravans (Site  sales)
      3. Finally Traveller caravan site till1962
      4. Development begun by Cresswell Welch in 1962/3
  2. Early History
    1. Site developed rapidly over period 2003- 2005
      1. Early realties with Welch good but deteriorated as initial sales literature promises were not met.
      2. Evidence of harassment of residents when complaints were made and demands to comply with his wishes.
    2. Residents became concerned at the trend of events and a group of 15 residents, with 3 apologies, (rom 14 homes) gathered on 11 September 2004 to consider setting up a Residents Association (RA)
      1. Prospective association formed September 2004 ( Chair Roger Eastland)
    3. Initial Objectives of RA
      1. Preserve the ambience of the park
      2. Warranties on homes
      3. Traffic and transport
      4. Security
      5. Social issues
    4. November 2005 – first AGM (55 members)
      1. Main committee (Chair Roger Eastland/ Secy.Jjm Haluch)
      2. Two sub committees (Finance & Social) (security and Amenities)
      3. November 2005 -  First Willow Wood Wanderer
      4. November 2006 – Tensions with Welch led to first suggestion of buying out the park under the Land Reform Act 2003 legislation  (CRtB)
    5. January 2006
    6. Formation of Willow Wood (West Lothian) Community Company Ltd to attempt buyout of park
    7. March 2006  Welch attempts rent hike - double the rate of inflation – rejected by association.
    8. May 2006 MSPs and Councillors begin to take an interest in residents’ issues.
    9. June 2007 Community Right to Buy (the park) granted by Scottish Government
  3. Recent History
    1. 2007 Members incensed at slow progress in completing the park. Pressure from Local MSP and Council on Welch.
    2. October  2007 Angela Constance tables Parliamentary Question on park home legislation. Scottish Government commissions research. Park completed December 2007
    3. November 2007 
    4. March 2008  Major formal community conference at Stoneyburn chaired by Mile Larkman, to discuss progressing Right to Buy High level speakers from  Scottish Government, West Lothian Council, Scottish Enterprise, Big Lottery Fund and others.
    5. Conference agreed to go forward
    6. Summer 2008 Community Garden developed paid by RA funds (£1000)
    7. September 2008 Scottish Government appoints valuers to value park for CRtB
    8. £10,000 Grant from Big Lottery Fund to WWWLCC for feasibility study on running the park
    9. WWWLCC appoints consultants to draw up study
    10. Welch withdraws the park from sale stopping Right to But process. Welch takes umbrage at RA and removes stag from front of park.
    11. November 2008  WW)WL Website goes live
    12. Lobbying of WLC results in a pavement and street lighting outside the park
    13. May 2009 Welch tries to increase rents again by 4.2% and demanded £80 per home for sewage charges. Packed general meeting of RA at Stoneyburn Community Centre rejected sewage charges as these had been included in the original rent.
    14. Membership now at 80%
  4. Summer 2009 Mike Larkman launches campaign for park home law reform
    1. November 2009 WWRA merges with WWWLCC
    2. Spring 2010 Scottish Government sets up consultation on park home law review. Mike Larkman and Jim Haluch appointed to consultative committee
    3. Summer 2010 Welch puts park back on market CRtB reactivated. RBS promises £250,000 overdraft  Big summer social calendar.
    4. Feasibility study published.
    5. WWWLCC obtains planning permission to turn cottage into community hub
    6. November 2010  Worst snow in recent memory WW snowed in. Had to ask farmer to clear roads.
  5. Current History
    1. April 2011 Welch Homes goes into Administration. Acquired  by Wyldecrest parks Ltd (WP). CRtB falls through and abandoned. Welch family leave park. Pitch fee increase brings annual rents to £1500.
      1. Association membership at 84% (52 members out of 62 eligible)
      2. Numerous homes for sale.
    2. July 2011 Licence transferred to Wyldecrest. Demand for sewage charges
    3. December 2011  Wyldecrest management visit park but refuse to meet Association and demand to meet individuals only. 15 residents met with them the majority boycotted the meeting in favour of the RA. At the last-minute David Sunderland agreed to meet Mike Larkman and Jim Haluch on behalf of the RA. He offered cooperation with the RA and his colleague apologised for any misunderstandings and poor communication.
    4. April 2012  Wyldecrest puts park on market to prevent another CRTB being activated
    5. June 2012  Wyldecrest appears before UK parliament to answer questions about their management of parks. Stormy session
    6. July 2012  Scottish Government working on new legislation governing park home living- expected Autumn 2012
    7. Autumn 2012  end of very successful social calendar for 2012
    8. Strong lobbying from WW for changes to park licensing system. Mike Larkman and Jim Haluch appointed to consultation on the Housing (Scotland) Bill 2013.
    9. December Wyldecrest take WLC to court over licence condition order to provide snow cleaning at WW. WLC lose action.
    10. Only on edition of The Wanderer in 2012 – December .Next edition December 2013

5.0       2013   MOMENTOUS YEAR FOR PARK HOME  RESIDENTS 

               (Chair Roger Eastland)

            5.1  2013 Biggest programme of events ever at Willow Wood

5.2  September 2013 The Mobile Homes Act (Written  Statement)(Scotland) Regulations 2013 introduced on 1 September 2013 giving real protection to park homeowners.

5.3  Housing (Scotland) Bill published making far reaching changes to       

       park home licensing.

  1. 2014   (Wilma Gault – Chair)
    1. April  - Wyldecrest refuse to update Written Statements in line with 2013 regulations and refuse to consult Association as required by law.
    2. September WWRA – 10 years old!
  2. 2015    (Jim Haluch - Chair)
    1. April 2015  WWRA received £5 payment from the administration of  Welch’s Homes against bill of around £275
    2. WWRA pushes for pedestrian crossing at Stoneyburn Cross backed by local community council.
    3. August 2015 Brilliant first ‘best kept’ garden competition, professionally judged by a horticulturalist and won by John and Pat Wemyss
    4. October 2015 New MP Hannah Bardell visits park
    5. Death of Mike Larkman RIP
    6. Park funding campaign buys a tractor/ grasscutter/snowplough and a snow blower
    7. Septic tank made over by WWRA led by Lorraine Woodmore WWRA pays all material costs.
  3. 2016   (Donny Woodmore - Chair)
    1. April 2016 WWRA AGM Jim Haluch steps down as Chair replaced by Donny Woodmore and Linda Lennox as secretary
    2. May 2015  Park Home licensing provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act come into force for new licences. (It has taken 10 years!) Renewal licences have till May 2019 to comply.
    3. Only one Wanderer in 2015
  4. 2017   (Roger Eastland – Chair)
    1. Spring 2017 Big summer programme announced:
      1. T In the park
      2. Outing to Union Canal Cruise
      3. Garden Competition
      4. Afternoon Tea
      5. Fish and Chip night
      6. Grand tour of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
      7. Christmas Lunch in the Community Centre
      8. Christmas Lights and Carols
  5. Death of Peter McGovern - Sadly missed.
  6. Joe and Eileen Campbell join the park
  7. Inaugural meeting of SCOPHRA (Scottish Confederation of Park Home Residents Associations – instigated by Jim Haluch after a dream of Mike Larkman)
  8. 2018   (Linda Lennox – Chair)
    1. Willow Wood represented at two meetings with Scottish Ministers and one meeting with officials regarding the new licence deadline of May 2019
    2. Marquee badly damaged in storm in 2017, replaced by insurers
    3. Second marquee also replaced by insurance after damage
    4. Wilma Gault obtains various grants including money for a new shed to house the tractor.
    5. Linda and Roger meet Wyldecrest staff regarding park repairs and upgrade.
    6. Outing to Fort William. first Silent Auction  organised by John Adamson
    7. Excitement as two fire engines turn up to false alarm.
  9. 2019  (Linda Lennox -  Chair)
    1. Wyldecrest required to apply for new licence for Willow Wood
    2. Wyldecrest disputed licence conditions which are still in dispute at October 2021
    3. Cost of licence added to pitch fees. NOTE – this must end  in 2024 when licence is renewed. New licence cost cannot be passed to residents
    4. Three trips out - to Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel, the Borders and the Trossachs including a sail on Loch Katrine.
    5. John Wemyss wins garden competition – again.
  10. 2020 (Covid Era) (Chair Linda Lennox)
    1. No social events
    2. Several fresh faces join the park
    3. Christmas Lunch provided by WLC and distributed to homes.
    4. SCOPHRA continues operations by ZOOM meetings.
    5. The Adamson’s and Julia Mclaughlin host Xmas lights when Wyldecrest causes problems.
  11. 2021 (Chair - Donny Woodmore)
    1. New committee New Ideas.
    2. Death of Linda Lennox RIP
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