People must do the right thing amid coronavirus outbreak

I have urged businesses including landlords, hotels and holiday parks to “do the right thing” after stepping in to prevent a number of evictions in the area.

Around 30 families were due to be evicted from Burgoyne Heights in Guston, near Dover, due to action commenced before the recent coronavirus measures. Following my action, the landlords, the Ministry of Defence, withdrew the eviction notices.

Meanwhile several residents of St Margaret’s Holiday Park had been told to leave the site. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has written directly to me confirming there is an exemption for “permanent residents who should be allowed to remain” on caravan sites and holiday camps in our area.

My team and I have worked with the Park owners in the light of the guidance to reverse the decision and let permanent residents remain at this time.

A spokesman for ParkDean, the owners of St Margaret’s Holiday Park, apologised for the handling of the matter saying they were “sorry if they feel their cases have not been suitably handled” and confirming that they are complying with the latest Government guidance. In addition, they have donated surplus food to local charities, offered spare accommodation for local keyworkers and kept on all employees on full wages.

Further discussions with landlords, hotels and other businesses are ongoing, and I have called on all businesses to make sure they do the right thing for the community and in line with Government directions.

This is a time of national crisis – a time where we all need to look out for each other. I appreciate that many businesses are under incredible pressure in difficult circumstances but this is not a time to be evicting anyone. This is not a time to be making people redundant instead of using the Government’s support schemes. It is contrary to the Government position and must stop.

People should stay in their homes at this time of national emergency in order to stop the spread of the virus – Stay Home and Stay Safe. So far as possible, workers should be kept in their jobs. This extreme situation may only last weeks if everyone does what is needed. Every business or individual who acts badly takes up valuable national and local resources that need to be used to save lives. Stop – Think – and Act Responsibly.

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