Generation Game

Generation Game Generation Game

In a sector still dominated by family-run businesses, the Barton Homes Group is the very definition of a close-knit family concern. Managed by a father and son team, the group has 40 years’ experience of managing high quality residential parks across the UK.

Their parks in Devon, Somerset and Lancashire are well run havens of peace, convenience and security for a retired and semiretired clientele. Barton Homes Group also has significant plans for expansion, recently adding the prestigious Seascapes Park, at Clevedon, to their portfolio. Barton Park Homes was established in 1978 when the Barton family opened their first residential park in Morecambe, Lancashire. At that time, there were just 20 traditional static caravans on the site.

The family completely redeveloped the site, replacing the caravans with stylish residential park homes. Since 1978, Barton Park Homes has gone from strength to strength, acquiring and developing residential parks all over the country. The current portfolio of parks consists of four parks (one currently undeveloped), each in a carefully chosen location in Devon, Somerset, Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The company head office is located in Lancashire, reflecting their roots in the North West.

Generation Game 2The Barton family enjoys building personal relationships with all their clients. Father and son owners of the Barton Homes Group, Charlie Senior and Charlie Junior, personally visit each park on a regular basis to ensure that everything is up to standard and, most importantly, that their residents are happy. “I have been visiting the parks with my father since I was a boy. Now I am proud to have taken over the reins and work alongside Charlie Senior keeping up the family traditions,” says Charlie Barton Junior.

Willowgrove Leisure Park and Fishery in Lancashire is Barton Park Homes’ northern flagship park, situated in the attractive Wyre Valley on the Fylde Coast. Voted one of the top ten places to live in the North West, this area is close to the shops and facilities of picturesque Preesall and Knott End-On-Sea, and only ten minutes drive from the attractions of Blackpool. The scenery of the beautiful Lake District is just an hour away.

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Stitch In Time – Landscaping

Stitch In Time - Landscaping Focus

Stitch In TimeThey say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought-out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. A useful starting point is to focus on the ‘unique selling point’ of your park or for types of clientele.

If a significant proportion of your guests are young adults on a short stay, you will want to provide ‘robust’ spaces with plenty of secure seating. Clever use of security-style planting such as prickly or thorny plants, will deter access to other protected areas. On the other hand, if the bulk of your long-term residents are more mature, ensure that there are safe and attractive ornamental spaces immediately around the living areas and communal spaces, but keep them clear from debris and obstacles and use non-slip surfaces.

DUTY OF CARE

For younger guests, preparing suitable landscaping options can prove even more challenging, ensuring that play areas are safety compliant and you can demonstrate appropriate ‘duty of care’. “People often stay in a holiday park to feel more connected with the local outdoor environment, explains Martin Howe of Wykeham Mature Plants, “But it is the holiday park itself that will bring repeat custom.

“A holiday park business cannot rely solely on their location or the surrounding countryside and must provide attractive, functional spaces,” advises Martin. “Why would you stay on a site, even if there are amazing views of the surrounding countryside, if the site itself is untidy, unloved, looks unprofessional, and even potentially dangerous?” Martin encourages holiday parks to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and how it will benefit the business and customers alike.

“Prioritise key areas and the timescale in which you need to address them,” he advises, “Large planting schemes, as well as needing significant initial outlay, will also require maintenance, so plan for this from the start and don’t take on more than you can handle in one go,” he continues. Stitch In Time 2

“Balance this with the logistical benefits (lower transport costs, less disruption in the long term, etc) of larger jobs and decide whether to undertake a single, major project or whether to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks,” Martin adds.

Knowledge of site conditions are also essential before preparing large scale landscaping works, specifically the growing conditions in each location (drainage, soil type, exposure, etc) as well as any other limiting factors, such as access by children and proximity to grazing animals. “Select plants accordingly – planting the right plant in the right place will avoid problems later,” warns Martin.

PLANTING SEASON

There is often a wider, or cheaper, selection of suitable plants available during the traditional planting season, which is during dormancy (November to March); for many holiday parks this coincides with the off-season, so this is the ideal time to plant horticulturally, commercially, and logistically to minimise disturbance to your customers. Naturally, demand for planting services at this time of year is high so plan ahead.

To read more about prepping and planning for landscaping work please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

COMPANY CONTACTS

FORDINGBRIDGE Tel.01243 55 44 55 www.fordingbridge.co.uk

WOODLAND HORTICULTURE LTD Tel. 01458 441122 www.woodlandhp.co.uk

WYKEHAM MATURE PLANTS Tel. 01723 862406 www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk

Defibrillator Coverage

Defibrillator Coverage

DefibrillatorTingdene Parks have installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at their 80-home Bedwell Park residential site in Witchford, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Defibrillators are simple to use and can restart someone’s heart if it stops. They will not work if there is a pulse.

Bedwell Park is one of the first residential parks within Tingdene’s 20 sites and 1500 homes, to see the installations of defibrillators. The unit is due to be officially unveiled by local MP Lucy Frazer in the near future, however, the potentially life-saving kit, easily accessible at the park office, is already available for use.

Founded in 1969 the Tingdene Group of companies first established itself as the leading Park Home manufacturer in the country and since then has expanded its range of operations into becoming one of the UK’s largest operators and owners of residential Park Homes Estates, Inland Marinas, Caravan Parks, Lodge Parks and Chalet Parks.

Really Wild Show For Elms Residents

Really Wild Show For Elms Residents

Really Wild ShowElms Retirement Park enjoyed a safe and informative fundraising experience. With the Lincolnshire park finding a touching way to aid animal welfare, the addition of exotic guests helped raise vital funds at the packed wildlife discovery day. Residents at the Torksey Park were joined by friends and family, with meerkats, pythons and skunks among the centrepiece critters on show. Visitors enjoyed a hands-on experience, petting and holding the animal in return for a small donation for pictures.

Tracey Coulson, a director of The Elms and a member of the park-owning family, said the day had proved a fantastic success for all ages: “It was a great experience for everyone,” said Tracey, “And the animal experts present did a superb job in telling us about the different species, and how they were working to protect them,” she added. “We have around 300 homes on the park, and many of the residents came along and also invited other members of their families, including lots of children. “Residents and guests were also very generous with their donations, and the park has received a big thank-you from the organisers for supporting their work,” added Tracey. The animals were brought along by Meercats And More which visits schools and other institutions to provide education about wildlife and some of the threats it faces.

Sibling Support

Sibling Support

LamalechResidents at Lamalech Park Estate have helped raise over £800 for Macmillan Cancer Support. They backed the owners of the park, Ruth Ross and Paul Lancaster, as they decided to tackle a gruelling 26-mile charity trek through the Lake District.

The journey took the brother and sister duo 11 hours, all of which off-road, but upon reaching their destination in Ambleside, they knew they had reached their goal with the help of donations from the residents’ social club and from individual owners of the 120 homes on the estate. Fundraising activities for good causes are an important part of social life at Lamaleach explains Ruth. “Having received such amazing support from so many kind-hearted people, we knew there was no way we could go back having thrown in the towel,” she added.

Lamalech Park Estate have also won a Gold Award from North West in Bloom, and Ruth says that residents also play a big part in helping to create a real community atmosphere on the park. Ruth and Paul’s Lake District trek was organised by Macmillan Cancer Support, one of Britain’s largest charities which is dedicated to assisting people affected by the disease.

MP Speaks Out On Commission Fees

MP Speaks Out On Commission Fees

MPPark home operators across the Vale of Glamorgan are being urged to participate in a consultation on the commission rate paid on the sale of homes. The Welsh Government is consulting on whether there should be moves to halt the ten per cent commission rate paid. Speaking on a visit to Ham Manor Park in Llantwit Major, Andrew RT Davies AM and leader of the Welsh Conservatives, explained it was vital everyone had the opportunity to have their say and urged park residents and park owners to get involved.

“It was great to visit Ham Manor Park and have the opportunity to speak with residents of the site,” said Mr Davies. “It was really beneficial to meet some people who love their community and enjoy park living,” he added. “Among those is the Welsh Government’s latest consultation on the park homes commission rate and I’d urge all park home residents and park owners to participate and make their views known.”

Funds For Aprons

FundsFunds For Aprons

A 60-acre park that boasts 300 retirement home has helped raise £800 for an ‘outstanding’ local school. Tracey Coulson, a director of family-run Elms retirement park in Lincolnshire, was inspired to help out the ‘outstanding’ rated school after her 12-year-old son Freddie enrolled at the Queen Elizabeth’s High School in Gainsborough She then learned from Freddie that pupils were being advised to bring their own aprons into art classes as the school’s old and patched-up aprons were no longer up to the job. “That’s when I decided that this is a problem we could do something about,” said Tracey.

“I told the rest of my family who run our business about the dilemma, and they were unanimous in agreeing that we should help the school have one less headache.” The funds raised have been invested in 90 new aprons. Tracey said the donation was simply continuing a long history of supporting good causes which was started by her father, John Kinch, when he established The Elms 35 years ago.

Making A Difference

Home Operator 1Making A Difference

Countrywide Park Homes Owner and Chairman, Anthony Barney set up the James Barney Foundation following a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of his 16-year-old son. Anthony vowed to donate a percentage of the business profits towards children’s charities.

Business is booming for Countrywide Park Home and impressive recent growth means donations towards the charity keep on rising. In fact, with over 25 years of experience Countrywide Park Homes have been able to expand from their origins in Melton Mowbray to cover residential sites nationwide. Since establishing itself as one of the providers of prestige living, Nottingham-based Countrywide has built an extensive and exclusive portfolio covering nine counties, with park homes for sale under hassle-free easy purchase schemes, including part exchanHome Operator 2ge deals.

The company boasts a portfolio of over 1,000 occupied lodges across their 13 residential and luxury lodge parks.  Head of Sales at Countrywide Park Homes, Patrick Chambers comments: “Our main aim is to provide park living in beautiful surroundings so that homeowners are able to live with likeminded people among safe and secure ‘gated’ communities, ensuring stress-free living.

“Our main focus is in offering residential, low cost, low maintenance homes. As well as this, we do also rent leisure lodges to visitors and holidaymakers at some of our sites.” Having grown from the company’s original Midlands roots, Countryside now reaches across Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

Sub-Let Owner Pay Outs

SubLetsSub-Let Owner Pay Outs

People who turn their holiday homes into cash generators during the school summer holidays are now scooping pay-outs of more than £5,500 each, according to research undertaken by Park Holidays UK.

The group says that many owners let go of just six weeks in July and August to maximise income, and then enjoy well over 40 weeks of their own exclusive use. But such people aren’t necessarily missing out on a summer break, says Park Holidays UK, because what they earn can more than cover the cost of a holiday abroad.

Others simply prefer to make use of their holiday homes outside the main summer season, and to leave the busier weeks to fun-loving families and children.

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