COMMUNITY SPIRIT

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

 

LONG CARRANT enjoys spectacular vistas of the Bredon Hills and is located in a designated area of outstanding beauty

 

Highgrove Parks aims to offer an exceptional lifestyle for the over 50s…

Highgrove Parks Limited, formerly Fury Park Home Estates is an established family business with six park home estates across the southwest of England.
The Highgrove portfolio includes Long Carrant Views in Evesham and Three Counties Park in Malvern, Worcestershire; Beverley Hills Park in Amesbury, Wiltshire; Lea Villa Park in Lea, Herefordshire; Poplars Park in Cambridge, Gloucestershire; and Greenacres Park in Yeovil, Somerset.

Directors Jim and Eliza Fury first decided to invest in residential parks around 25 years ago after being inspired by the nature of the business:
“Looking in from the outside, I always thought it [the parks industry] was an interesting business to be in. What a lovely way to live when you’re over 50. A close community. Safety and security, as well as great quality and affordable homes. I can’t think of anything better!”
Each of the Highgrove Parks cater exclusively to the over 50s and their scenic countryside locations are ideal for those wishing to enjoy a leisurely semi-retirement and retirement.

 

BEVERLEY HILLS PARK in Amesbury is the largest of the Highgrove Parks. The head office (pictured) is also at the park.

 

“We believe our parks offer an exceptional choice based on both location and lifestyle,” explains Jim Fury.
“We strive to manage and maintain our parks to the highest standards and are proud to be Members of the BH&HPA, which assists with park legislation, regulation and safety issues for the benefit of park owners as well as our residents.”
Largest of the Highgrove Parks with 128 homes, Beverley Hills Park in Amesbury lies in the heart of the Salisbury Plains, well-known for Stonehenge just a short drive away. The main head office of Highgrove Parks is on site and all of the homes have private gardens and enjoy widespread views across open countryside, whilst also being conveniently located close to local shops and facilities.

 

WIDESPREAD VIEWS

At the other end of the scale is Green Acres Park in Somerset. The smallest park in Highgrove’s portfolio, Green Acres has just 17 residential park homes and is also the most southerly of the Highgrove Parks.
“Green Acres is a real little gem,” says Jim Fury proudly. “We bought this park in the early 2000s. It’s fairly traditional in style but a real favourite with prospective buyers and residents who appreciate the quiet location but easy access to amenities on the outskirts of the vibrant market town of Yeovil.”

 

GREEN ACRES PARK in Somerset is a ‘little gem.’ It has just 17 residential homes at the moment.

 

Green Acres will shortly be expanding with three new plots due to be released in the near future. Also currently under development is Highgrove’s Lea Villa Park, which boasts a superb rural location on the doorsteps of the beautiful Forest of Dean and Wye Valley in Herefordshire. Five new plots will be available at Lea Villa Park in the first quarter of 2022, bringing the total number of homes on the estate to 73. Residents at Lea Villa enjoy participating in village life, as well as venturing to nearby Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester.
Highgrove’s remaining three parks are all relatively close to Lea Villa. Three Counties Park at Sledge Green offers 74 residential park homes nestled in glorious Worcestershire countryside enjoying beautiful views across to the Malvern Hills. More plots will be available to purchase at Three Counties early next year.
Poplars Park is a small quiet estate with 37 homes located in the village of Cambridge, close to the famous nature reserve of Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

 

POPLARS PARK is a small quiet estate with 37 homes in the village of Cambridge, Gloucestershire.

 

The Fury’s acquired their final park, Long Carrant Views in December 2020 and the park is currently being further modernised and developed. Long Carrant Views is licenced for 52 homes and there is a lake and a well-stocked woodland area with picnic benches for residents to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
“Long Carrant enjoys spectacular uninterrupted vistas of the Bredon Hills and is located in a designated area of outstanding beauty,” explains Jim. “We’re very excited about the development of this park which is set to become the flagship in our portfolio.”
Long Carrant Views is situated just a short drive from the beautiful honey- coloured, period homes of the scenic village of Broadway, often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds.

 

PREMIUM SPACE

Another advantage of Long Carrant is space – an absolute premium in this area.“Not many parks can take the size of homes that we can install at Long Carrant,” explains Jim. “The plots have space for homes up to 54 x 22. They also have super large gardens and splendid views. The potential at this park is really great for the future but we’re always on the lookout to expand and add more parks to our portfolio.”

 

THE FURY’S acquired their flagship park, Long Carrant Views in December 2020. Pictured, an Omar Middleton at Long Carrant Views.

 

The Fury’s have developed good links with all the main home manufacturers in the UK and work particularly closely with Stately Albion. A maintenance team works across all the parks and Jim and Eliza are assisted by Susie Moxey in Sales and Marketing who works directly from the head office, as well as the smaller offices at Long Carrant and Three Counties.
Visiting each and every park on a regular basis is a key commitment and residents know Jim as a personable and approachable owner – not just as a name on a piece of paper.

 

HIGHGROVE PARKS is a team effort. Jim Fury – second from the right – with Susie Moxey, Sales & Marketing, and Chris Andrews and Mark Andrews from the maintenance team.

 

“I like to meet all the customers personally if I can,” says Jim. “I enjoy explaining the very real benefits of park home living and what it means to move to a park community.”
“My wife and I came into the parks business with a fresh perspective and we’ve worked hard to establish and build an excellent reputation within the industry,” adds Jim. “Taking time to get to know residents personally is really important to me. I truly believe that a hands-on approach is the only way to successfully do business.”

Highgrove Parks
Tel. 01386 335434
www.highgroveparks.com

TURNING TIDES

TURNING TIDES

LEEDONS RESIDENTIAL PARK IS THE FLAGSHIP in Allens Caravans residential portfolio.

Planners are favourable to Park Home applications reports Jane Herbert...

Back in the mid-1930’s, when auto trader Bill Allen decided to display touring Allens Caravans on his garage forecourt in Wolverhampton to fill some empty space., He could never have foreseen that Auto Selling Cars would grow into the huge success Allens Caravans is today. But times were changing, and caravan sales took off. Bill’s curiosity was piqued. Just a few years later in the 1950’s, with business growing, Bill moved the company to the historic stately home of Wootton Hall inWarwickshire’s Henley- in-Arden, which is still Allens Caravans headquarters today. Here, he hosted the first-ever Annual Midlands Caravan Exhibition, and its success made Bill realise that he was onto something. In the 1960s he travelled to the USA where he was inspired not just by the trend for caravan holidays, but also by the increasing popularity of Allens Caravans for all-year residential living. Bill returned toWootton Hall convinced of the potential growth for residential caravan parks in the UK, and with caravan sales soon outstripping car sales, Allens Caravans was born. Today, Allens Caravans is one of the country’s leading Park Operators with a portfolio of 13 Holiday and Residential Parks across the Midlands and Wales. The business, which now employs around 160 staff, is still managed by Bill’s grandchildren and other family members, with joint Managing Directors, Joe Folkes and James Allen, heading up the team.

THRIVING BUSINESS
“Allens Caravans has come a long way since its foundation in the 1930’s,” explains Joe Folkes. “But at heart we are still a thriving family business, the owners of which are not just faceless names, but third generation working Directors who can be found at our Head Office or on the Parks looking after the day-to-day running of the company,” he continues. “As a whole team, we ensure the highest possible standards are delivered at our Parks, for the benefit of our customers,” he adds. “We are so proud of the excellent reputation we have built with those customers, and also our colleagues within the caravan industry.” Currently, five of Allens Caravans 13 Parks are residential: Broadway Park with 82 residents and Leedons Residential Park with 129 residents in Worcestershire; Wootton Hall in Warwickshire with 290 residents; Pendeford Hall inWolverhampton with 62 residents; and Overstone Solarium Residential Park with 80 residents in Northamptonshire. Typically, Allens Caravans Parks have all been chosen for their stunning locations in the great British countryside. Residents of both Wootton Hall and Pendeford Hall can enjoy the outstanding surrounding scenery of two former historic country estates. Similarly, Overstone Solarium is set amongst 115 acres of beautiful woodland – the perfect spot to relish in the peace and quiet of retirement.


GAMES ROOM
Both Broadway Park and Leedons Residential Park are situated just ten minutes’ walk from the charming and picturesque village of Broadway in the prime location of the Cotswolds. With a scenic setting nestled beneath the Cotswold escarpment and overlooked by Broadway Tower, the Parks are blessed with plentiful wildlife and both Broadway and Leedons hold the prestigious Gold David Bellamy Conservation Award. Residents at the two sister Parks also benefit from an enviable array of facilities including an indoor swimming pool, a three rink bowling green, tennis court, social hall, launderette and games room. Leedons Residential Park is the newer development of the two, and the flagship in Allens Caravans residential portfolio. Originally acquired in the 1980’s, Leedons has been the focus of considerable expansion over the years and several £million investment both in its infrastructure and leisure facilities. A proportion of the Park is devoted to holiday home ownership (ten months of the year) but the focus is on delivering Residential Park Homes for the over 50s semi-retired and retired. Phase three of the Leedons development has recently been released and work is currently continuing on around 40 plots. Phase four is already in the planning with more luxury homes with exceptional countryside views coming soon. Prospective residents can choose from a variety of manufacturers including Willerby, Omar, Stately, Lissett, Homeseeker/Prestige, Tingdene and Pathfinder. Each home has its own garden area, a shed or greenhouse, and parking for up to two cars adjacent to the property. Pets are welcome on site and amongst the team of eight staff, there are resident Park Managers and Wardens for peace of mind.

Despite Allens Caravans obvious growth, long term expansion for the residential park sector as a whole is still reliant on the vagaries of the planning process. “We are always striving to expand our Park portfolio and there are a couple of Parks in the pipeline for the near future,” explains Joe. “The supply of new, modern sites for Parks is always going to be the biggest hurdle. “Fortunately, the tides are turning, and as local communities, councils and consumers start to see Park Homes (rightly so) on a par with conventional housing, the easier planning applications for Residential Parks will be.” Allens Caravans continued success is also evident in their Holiday Park portfolio. A brand new luxury Holiday Park, Bredon View, opened in Worcestershire on May 1st this year, bringing a five year development plan to fruition. No mean feat considering the tricky trading conditions of the pandemic. “Park Homes, much like every supply chain industry, has been hit by delays due to Covid,” says Joe. “With hundreds of supplies involved in manufacture and construction, this has inevitably resulted in a knock-on effect of price increases and, more significantly, longer waiting times,” Joe points out. “But we continue to invest back into all our Parks, both in terms of facilities and infrastructure.We have a solid history of investment spanning nine decades and this spirit is ingrained into every new generation who take on the stewardship of the Allens Caravans brand.”

Allens Caravans
Tel. 01564 792323
www.allenscaravans.co.uk

 

Nature’s Paradise

Nature’s Paradise

Natures paradise 1

William Wordsworth described the Lake District as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath found’ and residents of Nepgill Park have certainly found their own little slice of nature’s paradise, just a few minutes away from the famous writer’s childhood home. Nepgill Park enjoys a peaceful rural setting in the quiet village of Bridgefoot, a few miles from the beautiful market towns of Cockermouth (William Wordsworth’s birthplace) and Keswick.

The park was originally established by a local man, Leo Smith, back in the 1960’s. Nepgill’s current owners, Kevin and Marcia Morgan, bought the park in 1987 from Kevin’s brother, which worked out to be perfect timing for both. “My brother wanted to sell up and move into the holiday industry,” explains Kevin. “Meanwhile, I was getting tired of flying all over the world in my job as an electronics engineer and wanted to keep my feet on the ground for a while. Nepgill represented the chance to build something for my family where I could, everyday, appreciate what I had achieved and enjoy a different pace of life.” Since taking over Nepgill, Kevin and Marcia haven’t looked back and under their careful ownership, the park is now double the size, with 56 residential plots, seven rental flats and cottages and 81 residents.

ABOVE: Nepgill's owners, Kevin & Marcia Morgan, bought the pakr in 1987.

ABOVE: Nepgill's owners, Kevin & Marcia Morgan, bought the pakr in 1987.

Daughter, Mel Wykes, joined the family business in 2016 to help out in the busy park office. Unusually for a residential park, Nepgill enjoys a diverse population due to the fact that the only age stipulation is that residents need to be over 18. “The park has a great community of working, semi-retired and retired residents,” says Mel. “There is quite a mix of ages with younger people, especially, renting out our flats and cottages. Nepgill is very much focused around its people and  building that community spirit that can be so hard to find these days. Almost everyone here gets involved in life on the park and supports our green projects.” Nestled within a quiet corner of the spectacular Lake District National Park, it’s no surprise that the area’s natural beauty is an integral part of the park’s development. In fact, the Morgans have excelled in creating a park with a focus on providing a peaceful, natural environment for both residents and wildlife to enjoy. Nepgill Park enjoys an abundance of wildlife including deer and red squirrels, with views across fields to the beautiful Lakeland fells. Over the years, many hundreds of metres of hedgerows and trees have been planted and nurtured, and a pond and wildlife area created for residents to enjoy. The pond is currently home to many ducks and ducklings, as well as being a magnet for other birds, aquatic species and amphibians. The local red squirrels are well loved (and fed) by residents, who generously provide many well-stocked nut boxes in their gardens for these regular and much admired little visitors.

 

HONEY BEES
Natural paradise 6Nepgill’s exceptional commitment to the environment was recognised last autumn, when it was named as a 2018-19 winner of the prestigious Gold level David Bellamy Conservation Award. The park received three extra commendations from Professor Bellamy for its work on protecting honey bees, managing hedgerow habitats, and its extensive wild flower plantings. “We were absolutely thrilled to be presented with the David Bellamy Award last year,” says Mel. “It’s recognition of all the hard work that my parents and the residents have put in over the years to make Nepgill such a naturally beautiful and environmentally-friendly place to live. Everyone who visits the park comments on how peaceful it is, tucked away in our own little corner between the mountains and the sea.”

FAMILY VISION
Kevin says that the family’s vision for Nepgill has always been about “quality over quantity.” The residential homes are spread over a nine-acre site but careful landscaping and generous green areas mean that the park feels very spacious and far removed from the grid layout of traditional parks. A mixture of single and twin homes, many from Lissett Homes and Prestige Homeseeker, encircle traditional stone cottages and barn conversions, which are available to let. Nepgill Park also includes Millbanks Court, a newer development of twin homes with sett-stone driveways and adjacent garages. The park is unique in that its 12-month license for residential living has been granted in perpetuity. For the future, the family intends to develop Nepgill ’s environmental projects and is establishing a working ‘beekeeper’ team to manage the park’s own hives. They are also thinking ahead and are keen for residents to embrace the benefits of electric vehicles. Mel is currently exploring the best options for electric charging points. “It’s important to anticipate tomorrow’s needs,” says Mel. “We’re keen to stay ahead and also have plans to expand in some way.” Dad, Kevin concurs: “We don’t want to over-burden Mel for the future but there’s still lots to do here, even after 30 years. Marcia and I haven’t got any plans to retire for a while yet!”

Nepgill Park
Tel. 01900 826582
www.nepgillpark.com

 

Rainy Day Planning

Rainy Day Planning

ABOVE: Specialist holiday park insurance is vital to ensure adequate cover.

ABOVE: Specialist holiday park insurance is vital to ensure adequate cover.

Luckily, 80-year-old park home resident Alan Smith was not injured in a devastating fire that wrote off his Essex Park Home and destroyed all possessions and contents inside. Even more luckily, Mr Smith had the extensive cover and benefits of residential park home insurance policy with leading specialists, Leisuredays, one of the leading holiday caravan and park home insurance specialists in the UK The Leisure days team was able to quickly pick up the pieces for their customer by co-ordinating the removal of the badly damaged property and then helping with the ordering of a brand new park home, replacing his contents and having a brand new unit sited, connected to services and creating suitable access. “Our team is best at making customer insurance easy,” says Gareth Walker, of Leisuredays whose in-house claims liaison team worked closely with the loss adjusters and a specialist team at our underwriters, RSA, to handle this high value claim. “The expert claims team always works hard with all parties to make sure claims are handled efficiently, guiding customers and park owners through the process so claims are settled as quickly as possible,” Gareth continues. “In this case, the park home owner was also quickly given some money to pay for replacement clothes and toiletries as most of his possessions were damaged in the fire.”

As customers await their replacement park homes, a robust insurance policy can also pay for emergency short term accommodation for family and pets that usually live with them. Other costs involved in this claim include demolition and site clearance, local authority charges for delivery of the new park home and the cost of a new park home. Customer insurance rates vary from park to park. When calculating a premium, insurers take into account the type of unit being insured, its value and the value of its contents.

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Company Contacts
Compass Insurance 01452511430 www.compass.co.uk
Leisuredays 01422396693 www.leisuredays.co.uk/park-insure
Wilby 01422358525 www.wilbyltd.co.uk/parkprotect
            

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.

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Conference Unites Parks And Politicians

Conference Unites Parks And Politicians

BH&HPA - ADelegates from parks across Britain were joined by senior politicians and national tourism chiefs at this January’s annual conference of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Held at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, the event welcomed an array of high-profile speakers on a wide range of subjects which impact on the parks industry.

It was also an opportunity for many park owners to engage with their local MPs who came from the nearby Houses of Parliament to attend a lobby lunch hosted by BH&HPA.

The forward-facing theme of the conference was taken up by one of its first keynote speakers, cabinet minister and Secretary of State for tourism John Whittingdale. Mr Whittingdale told delegates to be in no doubt that the Government acknowledged and valued greatly the enormous contribution made by park businesses to the UK economy. He explained the Government’s approach to tourism support through the Five Point Plan, and added that the Prime Minister was in Cumbria that very day announcing further support following the recent flooding.

Also taking the platform as a long-time champion of Britain’s visitor industry was Lord Lee of Trafford who first addressed the BH&HPA conference 29 years ago. Serving then as tourism minister, he told delegates of the passionate belief he still holds in the need to support tourism businesses, not least because of the employment opportunities they provide. Lord Lee gave his views of successive governments’ approach to tourism, underlining that the industry needed to continue to lobby for the recognition it deserves.

The challenges faced by residential parks were addressed by Christopher Chope MP who was chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mobile Homes in the previous Parliament. Mr Chope, who was a minister in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, explained how parks homes are viewed in Parliament and emphasised the need for MPs to be invited to visit parks themselves.

Other speakers included Philip Collins, the celebrated Times columnist and former chief speech writer to Tony Blair, who shared many eyebrow-raising political predictions with the conference. On a lighter note, TV presenter and actor Warwick Davies – whose film career includes roles in Harry Potter and Star Wars – spoke of his life-long love of caravanning. His amusing anecdotes took in both his early caravan experiences with his mum and dad, and the motorhome stays on parks which he enjoys today with his wife and children.

BH&HPA’s conference was prefaced by the previous day’s BH&HPA Marketplace at the Hilton on Park Lane where park owners and managers met with a myriad of different industry suppliers. The business ‘speed dating’ concept – where would-be suppliers are given just 12 minutes to put their case to prospective park customers – was judged a great success by those on both sides of the tables.