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Butlin's bans Hardwicke travelling family because one of them isn't on the electoral roll

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: November 29, 2013

Butlins in Minehead

Butlins in Minehead

Comments (14)

They have holidayed thousands of miles away in Mexico but a travelling family can’t stay at Butlin’s in Minehead less than 90 miles away on the north Somerset coast.

Hardwicke mum-of-six Margaret Connors’ Christmas booking has been knocked back by the holiday camp giant because her husband isn’t on the electoral roll.

She believes she is being discriminated against but Butlin’s said its terms and conditions are clear - it has operated the electoral roll policy for many years after disturbances caused by some visitors who are travellers.

“We are travellers in the summer but we have a house in Hardwicke and we work, we pay our taxes and send our children to school like anyone else,” said Mrs Connors, who was planning to take five of her children to the resort from December 23 to 28 as a Christmas getaway treat.

“I think it’s discrimination. Is my money not as good as the next person’s?

“The children are devastated.

“We went to Cancun in Mexico earlier this year and this is costing nothing like that but it’s the principle of it.

“We can’t even go for a holiday just down the road.”

Mr Connors lives at the same address and runs a block paving firm. They have six children, and five of them - Queenie Elizabeth, 12, Mary Theresa, 11, Jerry, eight, Jim, five and Dan, four months, were all going to go to Butlin’s.

Her sister-in-law has already cancelled her family’s booking in disgust, said Mrs Connors, 35.

“I have complained to Butlin’s but they won’t budge,” she said. “I am not going to stop here. I am consulting a solicitor.”

Incidents involving travellers at the resort hit the headlines in 1997 and 2000. Sixteen years ago fighting broke out between rival families, many of them travellers from the Reading area when an incident arose after a dispute with a Chinese family earlier in the day.

Police were called from other parts of Somerset to help break up the fighting, during which one member of the centre's security staff was injured.

A Butlin’s spokesman said its policy on the electoral roll is clear.

“It’s in our terms and conditions,” he said.

“It’s clearly stated that you must be on the electoral roll.

“It was a decision that was taken a number of years ago and it has worked very well.

“When you have a huge number of people visiting we want them all to enjoy themselves and be safe and this is one of the measures we take to ensure that.

“In the past we have had one or two incidents over Christmas and New Year and since we have tightened things up things have gone very smoothly.”

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14 comments

  • Sunnnny  |  December 02 2013, 4:23PM

    If they have a permanent residence in Hardwicke then can't they just get on the electoral register? Problem solved? I do think Butlins policy is a bit odd, shouldn't really be tarring everyone with the same brush but for the sake of their holiday just get on the register.

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  • 8589brian  |  December 02 2013, 5:54AM

    I can see why Butlins are anxious about having members of the travelling community stay if a fight broke out every time they visited Butlins but this sounds like one incident has soured things for the rest of the travelling community and using the electoral roll to ban someone seems like a blatant excuse.

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  • jackstumps  |  December 01 2013, 5:05PM

    Ah the travellers of Hardwicke. Those fine people who randomly buried broken beer bottles just below the surface of the playing field because someone objected to their caravans illegally parking. Nice

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  • kazzer12  |  November 30 2013, 4:31PM

    They are nothing but trouble ,I certainly wouldn't want to be on holiday anywhere near them!

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  • citon  |  November 30 2013, 3:38PM

    I have had dealings with these fine folk of Hardwicke. They are convinced that everyone is out to con them out of cash or goods. Maybe they tar everyone with the same brush? ;-)

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  • supernova1  |  November 30 2013, 1:20PM

    Aaaaaahhhhh, Gloucester's finest...................LOL! Don't you need to be on the electoral roll to get a passport?

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 30 2013, 12:40PM

    There are many people who are registered to vote who don't appear on the electoral register for security reasons and they face the same problem as these "travelers"

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  • zinboya  |  November 30 2013, 11:05AM

    Can see this ending up like the case in which the guest house owners,lost to 2 gay men.

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  • spindles12  |  November 30 2013, 10:10AM

    Connors? Connors? That name rings a bell. Ah yes, Connors was the name of the traveller family that kept slaves, wonder if they're related. Back in 2010 there was a report in the Citizen about presumably the husband who isn't on the electoral roll for some reason. The clues are there! "Jerry Connors, aged 37, also known as Gerry Connors, Jeremy Connors and JC Groundworks of Hardwicke, Gloucester, appeared in Gloucester Magistrates Court on Friday October 29. The case arose after Connors 'cold called' a consumer in Gloucester and subsequently began work digging up her concrete pathway and replacing it with block paving without the householder having agreed to the work. Although the work was started without permission, the homeowner felt she had no choice but to agree for Connors to finish the work once it had been started." On that occasion he was given a fine but perhaps he was on a free "holiday" when the Electoral Register form came round. Holidays in Cancun eh, just shows how lucrative a block paving company can be!

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  • derekmd  |  November 30 2013, 8:27AM

    Its the company's terms and conditions and we all have to abide by them so stop playing the discrimination card Mrs Connors, Its the same rules for all of us

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