Countrywide Park Homes Expansion

Countrywide Park Homes Expansion

Residential and luxury lodge park operator, Countrywide Park Homes has expanded its portfolio of successful parks across the UK with the addition of six new locations purchased from park operator Lifestyle Living UK.

Countrywide expansionThe company, which currently owns and operates 19 parks across the UK, purchased the new parks in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cumbria. The parks offer a selection of touring, camping, static caravans, individually designed luxury lodges and park homes. The deal comprises the business and assets of Lifestyle Living UK including the parks, lodges and future bookings.

Anthony Barney, Owner and Chairman at Countrywide Park Homes, said they saw a unique opportunity to expand the company’s portfolio through the acquisition, enabling them to purchase a group of popular parks based in desirable locations across the UK. “Norfolk, Suffolk and Cumbria are the perfect, picturesque destinations, offering sandy beaches to quaint villages, outstanding food and drink and enviable views. We remain committed to investing in locations which, like these, offer tranquillity for residents, yet are within easy access to towns or villages with essential amenities,” he said.

“We are very much looking forward to operating in these great locations, and contributing to the continued success of these sites, and providing the perfect escape for future and current residents.”

FRP Advisory, the business advisory firm, negotiated the sale following a competitive sales and marketing process. “The proposal from Countrywide Park Homes was chosen as it offered the best value and certainty in the interests of all of Lifestyle Living’s stakeholders. We wish Lifestyle Living the very best under new ownership,” explained Jason Baker, Joint Administrator and Partner of FRP Advisory.

Countrywide Park Homes

Tel. 0800 690 6060

www.countrywideparkhomes.co.uk

 

Young Entrepreneur Acquires Second Site

GraysYoung Entrepreneur Acquires Second Site

Best Park Homes has expanded its property portfolio with the acquisition of a mobile caravan park in Dunstable, following a funding package from HSBC. The site, which currently has around 40 residential units, joins Best Park Homes’ already well-established flagship park in Crays Hill, Essex.

The deal will fund improvements to the park, including approximately ten new homes and a renovation of the site’s grounds and communal spaces. Best Park Homes, based in Grays in Essex, is run by 20-year-old Alfie Best Junior, who has ambitious plans for the new park and for the business.

“The residential park homes sector is on the up and it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry,” says Alfie. He adds: “This latest acquisition is the next step on the ladder for Best Park Homes and I’m looking forward to developing the park further over the coming year.”

Alfie established Best Park Homes in 2014, when he purchased his first residential park in Crays Hill at the age of 17. “The primary goal is to deliver high quality residential parks to the communities that we currently serve,” comments Alfie. “The long term plan is to continue to grow the business further with the addition of more parks to the portfolio in the future.”

Centre Parcs Ireland’s First Employee

Centre Parcs Ireland's First Employee

Daragh

Center Parcs has appointed Daragh Feighery as the first General Manager of Center Parcs Longford Forest, near Ballymahon in County Longford.

Daragh becomes the company’s first employee in Ireland and will be the most senior role at the new site. As General Manager, Daragh’s main responsibility will be to oversee the safe and successful operation of Center Parcs Longford Forest, which includes the 1,000 employees and approximately 2,500 guests per break.

Daragh will also work closely with the local community once operational to ensure that Center Parcs remains a long term, sustainable partner within County Longford and the wider Midlands region. Daragh commented: “I am extremely excited to join the Center Parcs team and look forward to what will be a fantastic opportunity for families like my own to enjoy a unique family break in Ireland. I believe my experience, skills and beliefs will be a great match in the role of General Manager in Center Parcs Longford Forest.”

Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs, added: “Daragh brings with him a wealth of industry experience in Ireland as well as the drive and personality that are crucial to the role of General Manager at Center Parcs. This appointment represents another key milestone in our journey to bring Center Parcs to Ireland.”

Home Grown Success

Home Grown Success

Killarney Park was the Kellam’s first park and is still the flagship of the Killarney Homes portfolio.

Killarney Park was the Kellam’s first park and is still the flagship of the Killarney Homes portfolio.

Nottinghamshire–based Killarney Homes started life in the 1960s when David and Sheila Kellam purchased land to create Killarney Park. The couple built Killarney into a successful holiday park with a clubhouse, swimming pool and fish & chip bar. When home-grown tourism started to decline in the mid- 1980s, their son Gary, who had previously joined the family firm aged just 16, saw the opportunity to develop the park for residential use. Today, Gary and his wife Joanne, still oversee the business but their daughter Sophie and son Alex, are increasingly taking the reins. The Killarney Homes portfolio now includes three parks and employs 11 full time staff. Despite its growth, the family firm ethos is still central to everything they do. Their philosophy is that “Killarney is small enough to care and experienced enough to cope.”

“Mum does the accounts, Dad oversees things, Alex does the ground works and I look after the office,” explains Sophie. “One year, Dad put 18 homes on Killarney Park in a 12 month period with the help of just two staff. Now, we have a small team of staff to help us but we take a personal interest in everything and like to get to know all our owners and tenants. We don’t have ‘departments’ for marketing, sales, accounting, IT and so on… we’ve just been doing it for 60 years so the park business is in our blood!” Killarney Homes has over 185 private residential homes with 300+ residents and 200 rental properties with around 300 tenants. Killarney Park and Willow Park are purely for home-owners, whilst Moor Farm Park offers short term rental accommodation.

FLAGSHIP SITE : Killarney Park is still very much the flagship of the business. Located just six miles northeast of Nottingham in 35 acres of picturesque woodland, this gated community offers 148 homes. Designed exclusively for the over 45s, Killarney Park mostly contains park homes in the traditional style and offers a range of amenities to keep even the most active residents busy. An on-site clubhouse offers a wide range of regular activities including arts and crafts classes, exercise clubs, supper evenings and themed party nights. According to Sophie, Killarney Park “offers residents the serenity of the countryside with all the conveniences of modern daily life nearby.” A courtesy bus service offers regular trips to the local market town of Arnold, as well as Nottingham and Mansfield. The local area also offers plenty of natural beauty with walking trails, golf courses and many historic places to visit. Five years ago, the Kellam family started to develop Willow Park. Offering modern and exclusive accommodation for the over 45s, Willow Park offers sustainable luxury living in a sheltered valley on the edge of the pretty village of Calverton, ten miles outside Nottingham. A partnership with Stately Albion has been key to the development of Willow Park. “We have worked exclusively with Stately Albion to create beautiful homes for Willow Park,” explains Sophie. “Vaulted ceilings, exterior cladding, triple glazed windows – these gorgeous, modern homes challenge the ‘traditional view’ of park homes.”

Willow Park offers residents modern homes and plenty of green space.

Willow Park offers residents modern homes and plenty of green space.

GREEN CREDENTIALS : “The homes also have the most fantastic eco-credentials. Specifically designed for low carbon footprint lifestyles with double the insulation of a standard build, they can reduce energy bills by up to 50% and save residents money, as well as the environment.” Willow Park has just 35 available plots with new homes being added all the time. Each home is set in its own private garden with driveway parking for two cars. The design of the park allows for plenty of green space and residents have use of a communal allotment and composter for garden waste. All the water supplied to the homes is sourced directly on site from the park’s own natural spring, providing the most affordable water rates in the area. Killarney Homes’ final park is also located on the outskirts of Calverton. Moor Farm Park provides affordable rental accommodation starting from just £55 per week.

Killarney Homes Tel. 0115 965 2426 www.killarneyhomes.co.uk

To read more on this story, please subscribe online today.

Value Added

value added

Always a warm welcome - Chek Whyte of Richmond Wight Estates.

Value Added

Richmond Wight Estates specialises in turnaround projects - buying parks in distress and re-developing them into successful and sustainable businesses.

In just three years Richmond Wight Estates has turned around and developed 15 parks and now owns and operates seven.

Formed in 2013, Richmond Wight is very much a family business. Managed by Chek Whyte, who formerly worked for Lifestyle Living. Chek’s son Charlie has a major role as Operations Manager for Scotland, where the majority of their current park portfolio is situated. The company employs around 50 staff across their portfolio, which is managed from their head office in Nottingham.

Richmond Wight’s Scottish parks include Glendevon, Moffat Manor and Riverview Country Parks, as well as a new holiday development close to Edinburgh called Rutherford Castle Lodge and Golf Resort. The company is also expanding south of the border with a number of parks in the south of England currently under development or offer.

“We offer a full turnaround business and only invest in parks in distress,” says Chek. “Re-developing the neglected parks we buy adds value and restores security. “Inevitably, we sometimes crack a few eggs as we go in but the long-term sustainable benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Without us, the parks would close and people would lose their homes.”

Richmond Wight’s main residential parks are situated in some of the most picturesque locations in Scotland amidst stunning and peaceful scenery that belies their turbulent history.

For more on this story subscribe to Holiday Park Scene at www.holidayparkscene.com/subscribe

Wyldecrest Park Homes Expansion

Wyldecrest Park Homes Expansion

Wyldecrest Parks hope the development may accommodate as many as 750 park homes in the future.

Wyldecrest Parks hope the development may accommodate as many as 750 park homes in the future.

 

Wyldecrest Parks is expanding its Herefordshire holiday park, Saltmarshe Castle, to include a new residential park home development.

The first phase of the homes is already underway in the Tower Court area of the park, which is being extensively redeveloped. Interest in the initial 29 plots has been high with many premium plot locations already reserved. Wyldecrest Parks hope the development may accommodate as many as 750 park homes in the future.

Saltmarshe Castle Park offers stunning vistas over the Bromyard Downs and Malvern Hills. The site currently has 340 holiday home owners and 13 holiday let units. Facilities at the park a fishing lake, play area and a recreation field, along with forest trails, a club complex, shop and restaurant.

Wyldecrest Parks are undertaking a comprehensive development programme throughout the park with many historic and original features of the 19th century estate being restored. Rental holiday units and a new touring caravan area will also be updated. According to Alfie Best, Chairman of Wyldecrest Parks, Saltmarshe Castle Park’s many natural assets made it a natural choice for an expansion into residential development.

“The park’s premier location, its extension and its outstanding beauty are impossible to deny and those were the main factors that contributed towards our decision,” explains Mr. Best. “It would have been a shame not to take advantage of those natural factors – everything was there already, we just had to see it. “Besides that, this park is set on the grounds of the old Saltmarshe Castle, which was used as a residential house, so it all comes together perfectly.”

Innovative Scheme To Prevent Fuel Poverty

Innovative Scheme To Prevent Fuel Poverty

A number of park homes at Wyldecrest’s Orchard Park, similar to those pictured, have undergone insulation improvements

A number of park homes at Wyldecrest’s Orchard Park, similar to those pictured, have undergone insulation improvements

An innovative scheme to install energy efficiency measures at a park home site in Elton, Cheshire has lifted vulnerable residents out of fuel poverty.

Managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and part funded by National Energy Action, this is the first significant subsidised energy efficiency scheme in the area to target park homes.

Orchard Park is situated in a rural off-gas area and contains 109 privately owned park homes. All residents with non-insulated properties expressed interest in the scheme, with those living in the oldest park homes prioritised for works.

In total, 52 of the most energy inefficient properties received insulation measures by approved installer Cornerstone.

Critical to the success of the project was the support of site owner Wyldecrest and the buy-in of Site Manager Ann Raywood.

Ann commented: “Every single resident expressed interest in the insulation scheme – it has been so popular and made such a difference to the living conditions of our residents. I hope more residents are able to benefit from schemes like this in the future.”

Two Become One In Multi-Million Pound Merger

Two Become One In Multi-Million Pound Merger

Prestige Park & Leisure Homes and Homeseeker Park & Leisure Homes have formally merged following a refinancing deal.

Prestige Park & Leisure Homes and Homeseeker Park & Leisure Homes have formally
merged following a refinancing deal.

Two of the UK’s leading names in the leisure lodge and park residential manufacturing industry have formally merged as part of a multi-million refinancing deal.

The restructure of Prestige Park & Leisure Homes and Homeseeker Park & Leisure Homes provides a long-term capital solution that will enable the two businesses to amalgamate.

The major shareholders and senior managers of both businesses have invested into the new company with a £13 million funding injection provided by Praesidian Capital to support growth plans in the rapidly expanding UK leisure market. The merged companies will continue to trade under their separate Prestige and Homeseeker brand names.

Commenting on the transaction, Silvano Geranio, founder shareholder of Prestige Park & Leisure Homes, said: “Prestige and Homeseeker are long-established and high-quality manufacturers supporting both the growing leisure markets and the supply of suitable homes for the ageing population. This investment will help to facilitate and drive our new product development and new market strategy.”

Debbie Foulke, Shareholder and Managing Director of the company, added: “The partnership with Praesidian will allow the two distinct brands to be brought together and will charge the highly experienced
management team with capitalizing on the Company’s future growth potential.”

Matchmakers

Matchmakers

Jane Herbert talks to Mandy Challis, a new breed of park home industry specialist…

Park home success relies on matching people with the right home, in the right park, in the right location. Image courtesy of pantmawrpark.co.uk

Park home success relies on matching people with the right home, in the right park, in the right location. Image courtesy of pantmawrpark.co.uk

Finding the right home can be fraught with difficulties putting moving house regularly at the top of most people’s stress lists.

Solutions that help to smooth the home buying process are just what the park home industry needs. Mandy Challis is at the forefront of a new breed of industry specialists whose job it is to match customers to the perfect park and park home. Last October, fuelled by the growing popularity in park home living and receiving up to 180 enquiries a week from retail customers, the Omar Group appointed Mandy as Retail Sales Manager.

Her brief: to offer the same outstanding customer service experience to potential home owners and retail customers, as already developed in the trade side of the business. Success is not just about matching people to the right home, but also the right park, in the right location. Mandy explains: “My role is to help people find exactly what they’re looking for, whether that’s to find a park in a specific area, to ensure that a park is close to a bus stop or local shops, or to find a pet friendly park for example. “Buying a new home is a huge decision, so first I take the time to understand an individual’s wants and needs and then I match those needs to a park and home.”

PITCH PERFECT

In the first six months of the role, Mandy matched more than 30 couples and individuals to their perfect park and home. “It’s not just about finding the right park or home though, it’s also about being there for people to answer questions, give advice and support them through their journey,” says Mandy. Customers vary considerably in their requirements and the amount and type of information they need. Many are at the very earliest stages of looking into park home ownership and need help unpicking everything from legislation to finance. Mandy also helps customers with their choice and specification of home, ensuring that it fits not only their requirements, but those of the chosen location.

BRICKS AND MORTAR

The possibilities are almost endless. Buying any new home is daunting but making the move from the traditional bricks and mortar property market and leaping into the park home world, especially in later years of life, can be particularly overwhelming.

To read more on this story, subscribe here.

Quality Benchmark

Quality Benchmark

The number of homes at Birch’s Parks ranges from 20 plots to over a hundred.

The number of homes at Birch’s Parks ranges from 20 plots to over a hundred.

Jane Herbert meets the team behind Birch’s Park Homes…

When Charles Birch Sr saw the opportunity to expand his caravan sales business into the park homes market in the early 1970s, he would not have foreseen that this was the start of the Birch’s brand we know today.

Now, synonymous with the highest quality homes in some the most desirable locations in England, Birch’s Park Homes are one of the UK’s leading operators in luxury residential developments.

As Chairman of Birch’s Park Homes, Charles Birch Sr has long since handed over the day-to-day operation of the Cambridgeshire-based business to his sons Charles and James Birch. With a growing portfolio of ten parks across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Somerset, and soon Essex, Birch’s Park Homes are renowned as a luxury operator but as a family-run business, like to keep their feet on the ground. “Our business has grown so much over the years and we are constantly expanding and looking for new opportunities,” explains Managing Director Charles Birch. “It’s not just about growth though. We like to be the best we can be. Attention to detail at every level is an important part of the Birch’s brand. We are continuously working with new products, new landscaping and new ideas to push forward our business and make our next park better than the last.”

CLASS LEADERS

The number of homes in Birch’s parks varies considerably from under 20 select plots to over a hundred in their largest parks, but the emphasis is very much on quality over quantity, regardless of size. Class-leading homes (often designed in partnership with Birch’s themselves) placed amidst careful landscaping to maximise residents’ privacy and security are key to each overall park design.

Bluebell Woods on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Cambridge is typical of a Birch’s development. Opened in 2007, this small, gated estate offers just 16 high-specification homes in a pretty, woodland setting. All Birch’s parks are aimed at retired and semi-retired people with residents generally required to be aged 45+.

Key to the success of many of Birch’s ‘boutique-style’ developments is their stunning locations. Sandbanks, in Clevedon, Bristol, is an exclusive development of just 23 contemporary homes on a private, gated estate. Opened in 2009, the park has been expertly designed to make the most of the spectacular seaside setting, ensuring that every home benefits from magnificent views over the Bristol Channel to the mountains of Wales. Additionally, each home boasts a stylish glass balcony from which to enjoy the incredible views. Indian stone paths wind around the landscaped terraces and lead to private access to the bay below and a lovely coastal walk to the Victorian seaside town of Clevedon, just 13 miles from Bristol.

New to the Birch’s portfolio is another brand new waterside development. The Estuary will be launched in March 2017 and will offer the highest standard of park homes, each offering unrivalled marina views over Hamble, one of England’s finest spots for sailing and watersports. According to Charles, interest in the limited number of homes available is already “at fever pitch.” With prices starting from around £300,000, The Estuary will offer truly luxurious park home living.

View of the patio of one of the homes at The Tides development in Somerset.

View of the patio of one of the homes at The Tides development in Somerset.

PUSHING BOUNDARIES

Pushing the boundaries of the park homes business and its reputation is central to Birch’s vision. “In the past, park home living has sometimes suffered from a poor reputation due to a handful of unscrupulous operators,” says Charles Birch. “Thankfully, the tides are changing. We like to think that our unique brand of parks, our partnerships with quality manufacturers and our emphasis on exclusivity is all helping to change the perception of park living. At Birch’s, we genuinely believe the potential for the park homes sector is limitless and we want to keep Birch’s at the forefront.” Charles says Birch’s aim is to grow their park portfolio so they have a “park in every county in England.” Acquisition is a key part of their future expansion plans. “We’re actively looking to acquire new parks at the moment. Residential parks, caravan or camping sites… We’re keen to get any parks with additional development opportunities on the Birch’s radar,” says Charles. Having outgrown their existing HQ in Waterbeach, Cambridge, Birch’s are also in the process of constructing new offices and looking to expand their team of staff from 20 to considerably more. A new website is currently in development and Charles, James and the team are working on a number of exclusive projects that will ensure Birch’s profile in the park homes business and property world only continues to rise.