Press release -
"Seasons Holidays are cheating us out of the timeshares we paid for" say desperate Slaley Hall owners
Plucky Slaley Hall members readying for the 'fight of their lives' as Seasons Holidays are accused of employing underhand tactics to boot owners out of the resort
Much loved resort
Seasons Holidays have been in the media several times over what is described as their ongoing feud with members of luxury Northumberland resort Slaley Hall Lodges. Back in November 2020 lodge owners reported what they described as bullying attempts to get them to not only give up their memberships, but to pay up to £15,000 for the privilege of losing their holiday club.
"Many timeshare owners have the opposite problem to us at Slaley," explains Tim a 53 year old Slaley Lodge owner from Bridlington. "We very much want to keep our timeshares. We paid a lot of money for 99-year leases on beautiful lodges that could be handed down to our families. However since the pandemic British holiday accommodation of this standard has become even more valuable and we feel that Seasons Holidays are using unfair tactics to take our lodge ownerships from us so that they can profit from the lodges in other ways.
"I'm a hotelier myself and I know how valuable our accommodation is to Seasons, if only they can get rid of us pesky members.
"Seasons was pressuring elderly members last year with bullying phone calls. Now it has taken control of our owners Committee in its latest bid to take our lodges from us."
The Slaley Hall Lodges timeshare club has a committee and a constitution that Helen Knight (one of the independent committee members) explains was created to protect the lodge owners. "There are seven voting members on the committee," clarifies Helen 62, a retired teacher from Lancashire. "Deliberately an odd number to protect owners. The constitution allows Seasons to control three of the seven committee positions with four for independent owners. This balance is designed to safeguard owners’ interests from nefarious tactics by management companies or other entities.”
"However, Barry and Sharon Hurley, directors of Seasons Holidays PLC, appear to have got around this by their son, Jack Hurley, becoming a lodge owner. Seasons then used the timeshare weeks it owns to block vote Jack onto the committee as one of the 4 'independent’ owners. After that, they installed him as chairman of the committee. And now Seasons has announced that it is motioning to dissolve the owners club and its constitution. It has also advised that if this is carried, then all lodge assets will be liquidated.”
Helen continues, "basically, if Jack Hurley votes the way we assume he will (in his parents' interest), then the club will be terminated and everyone who paid tens of thousands of pounds for a lifetime of holidays will be left with nothing.”
"Seasons has not organised the club AGM (Annual General Meeting) as is required in the constitution. Instead they have requisitioned an SGM (Special General Meeting) instead.
"The last AGM in November 2020, which Seasons organised by itself, was by Zoom with all lodge owners muted, including the committee members, so nobody could speak out."
“My father bought the lease of our lodge just before he died, for myself and my siblings, so that we could have somewhere to meet up once a year and remember both my parents and past happy times. Reminiscence is good for the soul,” adds Helen.
Family resort paradise
Clare D'Agostino is from a typical Slaley Hall Lodge owning family and is furious about what she sees as her membership being stolen. "We have been holidaying their since the mid 90s," says Clare, a 54 year old Department of Health and Social Care worker. "A family friend owned first, then my parents joined around 20 years ago. Slaley is an institution for us. My mum was really proud to have Lodge one with its view of the lake and what used to be the 18th hole.
"3 generations of our family have our dearest memories there. My dad (Tom Brown, pictured to the left below) spent his last birthday there and our friends lived nearby in Muggleswick and we always invite them too. My whole family looked forward to our visit every year.
"Since I married, I brought my husband and step children," continues Clare. "We all love it. My brother Alan, his wife and son are all golfers and they expected to be enjoying Slaley for the foreseeable future. Alan can not get his head around the fact we may be cheated out of it.
"My 86 year old mum, Vera, is both upset and furious at the injustice of what Seasons are doing. We still can't work out how it is being allowed to happen in 2021.
Helen, Tim, Clare and an army of other lodge owners are determined not to let Seasons Holidays and the Hurley family get away with what they see as a profit driven attempt to rid itself of lodge owners who purchased their asset in good faith.
A spokesperson for the lodge owners said: "We will challenge this however we can. There are too many too upset people at this to take it lying down.
"The first thing they are doing is to make as much noise as possible. Whoever Seasons intends to do business with over their lodges, should know its history.
If Seasons are treating current lodge owners with this much contempt, then why should they treat future business partners or clients any differently?"
Get in touch
"This is a very sad story of what we don't hear about very often: a genuinely loved timeshare resort," says Daniel Keating, Information Officer for the Timeshare Consumer Association. "We will be following with interest and helping wherever we can."
"In the past Seasons and timeshare supported trade organisations like the RDO have been desperate to avoid having TCA involved, so we have helped from behind the scenes. But here I think we have no choice."
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