“Who better to buy a caravan from than a gypsy?”
Those are the words of Alfie Best, who has just bought six caravan parks across the Chichester, Bognor and Littlehampton area for £9.25million.
The businessman from East London, known as the ‘Gypsy King’ was born in a caravan on the side of the road and runs the Wyldecrest Parks company, the largest residential park owner in Europe.
Its most recent acquisition is a take over of the Silver Lakes Investment freeholds in six parks: The Willows Park in Arundel; Silver Lakes Park in Drayton; Orchard Park in Rustington; Marigolds Park in Bognor Regis, and Beechfield Park and Aldingbourne Park in Aldingbourne.
Mr Best said his plan was, with the backing of residents, to also take over the leaseholds on all the sites over the next three months.
He said: “We would like to negotiate with the residents and we would bring residents on board to look at what improvements and what they’d like if we can manage that, improving the quality and improving their lives.”
Improvements could include electric gates or CCTV, he added, although ‘to be fair, they’re very, very nice parks anyway’.
The reason for the shift in lease would be twofold. Firstly, Wyldecrest Parks, which has 72 sites, owns both lease and freehold on its other locations and prefers to operate that way.
Secondly, Mr Best argued, a more permanent lease gives residents more assurance long-term under the 1983 Mobile Homes Act.
He said: “By doing that, we would give stability. Rather than a temporary ten or 15 years on, we would have an indefinite period on that lease.”
He added the £9.25million price tag was ‘a fair price’ for the real estate, and yes, he would live in them.
“Of course I would,” he said. “I know more than most people ever know in their lives about caravans, I was born and bred in them.”