Rowdy nights cause closure of Browns Bay caravan park

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A road rage incident, when the lives of three children were put at risk, has helped to prompt closure of Browns Bay caravan park.

An angry motorist leaving the park after a row hit a tent in which the youngsters were sleeping, Larne Borough Council was told.

It was one in a long list of incidents last summer which persuaded elected members that the facility should not open this summer. The future of the site is to be decided at a later date.

Council officials reported serious problems at the caravan park last summer.

It was said that an electronic access system had been abused by some patrons who passed their four-digit code on to friends, so that they gained access without paying. It led to a “significant number of disputes”, with people who had booked and paid finding their pitches occupied and refusing to leave.

Problems with automatic barriers resulted in some patrons being unable to enter or exit the site. “In one instance, a patron was trying to leave in order to get to work and could not do so. As a result, he lost one day’s pay,” a report to councillors revealed.

“In instances such as these the council had little choice other than to refund the booking fee,” it added.

Refunds had also been paid to caravanners complaining about “noisy an anti-social behaviour by elements on the site”. The worst was the car hitting the tent. It was reported that: “By good fortune the children were not injured, but were badly shaken.”

“The very high number of complaints received last summer resulted in significant refunds being made to visitors who had genuine grievances about their stay,” councillors heard.

Complaints about behaviour “mainly related to the behaviour of the Travelling Community,” the report claimed. “The complaints related to noisy behaviour going on into the early hours of the morning and children driving around the site on quad bikes.”

Staff had also dealt with complaints about the toilet blocks which, the council admitted, were outdated and in need of major refurbishment.

Staffing the caravan park had been “problematic”. Two staff had left very soon after being appointed, citing the abusive behaviour of some patrons” as a prime reason.

“There is little doubt that Larne Borough Council has suffered significant damage to its reputation as a result of operating Browns Bay caravan park,” said the report, which revealed operating losses totalling over £21,000 in the past two years.