Residents raise concerns over abandoned caravan in Johnshaven

Residents in Johnshaven are pleading with Aberdeenshire Council to remove an abandoned caravan amid fears vandals may torch it.
Joann Beattie next to the abandoned caravan in JohnshavenJoann Beattie next to the abandoned caravan in Johnshaven
Joann Beattie next to the abandoned caravan in Johnshaven

Secretary of Benholm and Johnshaven Community Council, Joann Beattie, is asking the local authority to take action to move the “eyesore” from the picturesque shoreline.

The caravan has been sitting on the foreshore across from the Wairds Park Campsite on Beach Road for six weeks now but no-one has come forward to claim it.

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It has been reported several times to Aberdeenshire Council and the police are also aware, however the caravan remains in place.

Joann said it has been sitting so long it has attracted the attention of vandals.

And with November 5 just around the corner, she said there is a “real danger” youngsters may decide to set fire to it causing danger to themselves and others.

As part of her community council duties, Joann travels around the village once a week on her disabled scooter to see if there is anything she needs to take note of.

However, this is starting to become a problem as she is approached by residents who are demanding answers to the ongoing issue.

She explained: “People are coming up to me and I’m getting poked, ‘You’re on the community council aren’t you? Do you know about this caravan? What’s the community council going to do about it?’

“The community council can’t do anything about it apart from report it. It’s terrible, why dump it?”

She added: “I can appreciate that Aberdeenshire Council wants to be sure it has been abandoned but they have had six weeks to do something about it.”

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In recent days, Joann has noticed more rubbish has been placed in and around the caravan but she is worried there is a reason for this.

“I’ve got a funny feeling that with Guy Fawkes night coming up, if it’s not moved somebody will just throw a match in and have a bonfire,” she revealed.

“People coming to the caravans in the Wairds Park have been complaining about this being across from them. If it’s a burnt out wreck it’s going to be even worse.”

The caravan has fallen into an even worse state as its windows were smashed due to Storm Bebet.

Joann said: “When it was windy at the weekend, I was hoping it would blow onto the beach – but no such luck.

“I will be absolutely delighted if it does get moved because I’m having a hard time.”

Johnshaven is due to feature on television later this year as part of the BBC series Villages by the Sea.

Joann was chosen to take part thanks to her strong knowledge of the village as well as being a member of the Benholm and Johnshaven Heritage Society.

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She spoke to the show’s presenter, archaeologist Ben Robinson, about the village’s fishing history and how people used to live in its old fishing cottages.

He told her that other places which have featured in the programme in the past have experienced a huge increase of visitors – sometimes as much as 90%.

But Joann is worried the abandoned caravan will be an unwelcome sight to those visiting Johnshaven.

“If we go to all this trouble to try and get people into the village, they go to park in the caravan park and they see this eyesore straight across from them. It’s not nice.

“We do not want people to come here having seen the programme to find such a mess.”

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman confirmed the local authority was aware of the abandoned caravan.

He said: “We have started the process for its removal by placing a notice on the caravan asking for the owner – or anyone with information – to come forward.

“This is a required step before it can be moved.

“We need to give the owner a chance to come forward and claim their property.

“In most cases, an owner does come forward with an explanation as to why the vehicle is there.”

However, the spokesman revealed the council would eventually remove the caravan if no-one claims it.