How bust chalet park took our savings
PUBLISHED: 06:55 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 03 October 2020
Gregg Brown/Chris Tyler
Pensioners who lost thousands of pounds when a holiday park went bust have told of their torment after the chalets they invested in were slammed as a “ruse” by the regulator.
Businessman Simon Moir, 58, promised generous returns to investors who bought lodges on his company’s sites.
Walsham Chalet Park Ltd, which traded as Dream Lodge, had holiday parks across England, including in North Walsham, Ely and Bury St Edmunds, which are now under new management.
More than 1,000 investors lost £19.4m when the company collapsed in January 2019 and 161 people lost £14m on chalets that were never even built.
Mr Moir began a 14-year company director ban last week.
Chris Tyler, 74, from Harlow, invested £55,000 in 2017 in a lodge in North Walsham.
“At first I was shocked that I made such a poor decision in investing with them,” he said. “Now I believe I am another hapless victim.”
Mr Tyler even visited their factory before investing and felt he had done his due diligence.
Ian Sanford, 74, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, lost £37,000.
He said: “We were told when we purchased the lodge that it would gain value, which was patently not the case.
“Many of us are pensioners and have lost most of our life savings.”
Brian Bennett’s wife Connie paid £43,000 for a part share in a chalet in Essex in 2010.
But they later found out the company had pulled out of that park.
“She was promised 8pc guaranteed rental revenue,” he said. “They made big promises, but in reality, they had just lost my wife’s payment for a lifetime working for the NHS.”
The Insolvency Service found that Mr Moir was aware that some of the lodges hadn’t been built and that there was “little or no prospect” of them being completed.
Michael Ollerhead, 78, and his wife Troy invested £35,000 in a lodge in Coleford Park, Gloucestershire, in March 2018 after being told units were “selling very fast”.
Mrs Ollerhead, from Nottingham, said: “We received a monthly return of £233 for five months - and not a penny after.
“It’s very distressing as we are retired and have no chance of earning this money back.”
Sue Macleod, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, described the business plan as a “ruse” and said: “Simon Moir’s actions have caused substantial losses to investors, many of whom have lost their life savings.”
Mr Moir was this year banned from an attempt to sell his £2.25 mansion in Essex.
Deloitte is also attempting to force Mr Moir to repay a director’s loan of £414,000.
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