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'It affects the rest of your life' - investor lost £55k in collapsed holiday park firm

PUBLISHED: 09:29 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:31 22 August 2019

Chris Tyler invested £55,000 in a Dream Lodge in North Walsham. Investors have been told they will only get back a tiny fraction of their money. Photo: Gregg Brown/Chris Tyler

Chris Tyler invested £55,000 in a Dream Lodge in North Walsham. Investors have been told they will only get back a tiny fraction of their money. Photo: Gregg Brown/Chris Tyler

Gregg Brown/Chris Tyler

A grandfather says the failure of a holiday park company will impact on the rest of his life after he poured £55,000 of savings into a luxury lodge.

Travel feature on Dream Lodge Group at Norfolk Park.Travel feature on Dream Lodge Group at Norfolk Park.

Chris Tyler, 73, was promised returns of 8pc a year on his investment at Norfolk Park near North Walsham.

But in autumn last year the payments from Dream Lodge Group stopped.

The firm, which ran eight holiday parks across England, including Norfolk Park and Fornham Park, near Bury St Edmunds, went into administration in January.

Administrators Deloitte sold the business and its assets for £11.2m to Exclusive Luxury Lodges in February.

But as reported on Monday investors like Mr Tyler, are likely to lose 95pc of their money.

A report from Deloitte said 1,150 creditors were owed around £25.6m. Many paid for lodges which were never even built, but they are expected to only get 5pc back of what they put in.

Mr Tyler, from Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex, invested his money in the North Walsham site two years ago.

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He never visited the park but was told he would get a return of 8pc a year for three years.

"I lived in East Anglia for many years and knew about the company," the grandfather-of-six said. "I really liked them and thought they were a go-ahead company."

He even visited the firm's headquarters in Essex and saw them making the lodges.

"It was impressive and I felt it was a substantial company," he said. "I felt I had done my due diligence but it has now turned from an investment into a liability."

Norfolk Park. Photo: Gregg BrownNorfolk Park. Photo: Gregg Brown

Deloitte said a "period of financial pressure" had led to Dream Lodge's demise.

Mr Tyler added: "I don't know for sure what I'm going to get back. It's a considerable amount and it can not be made up. It is a psychological loss as well.

"It impinges on what you do for the rest of your life - as you get older you can't replace it."

The retired production manager is now being asked for site fees by the new owners of the North Walsham site, but Mr Tyler said: "I'm not going to throw good money after bad."

New owners Exclusive Luxury Lodges, trading as Countrywide Park Homes, said it worked "tirelessly" to ensure a smooth transition after buying the holiday parks which are still open.

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