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

 

Residential Park Operator – CALL OF THE WILD

CALL OF THE WILD

WHIPSNADE PARK HOMES is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Dunstable Downs. Photo - ZSL Whipsnade Zoo © ZSL

Unusual neighbours for some Bedfordshire park home residents...

Every park has its own unique attractions for home buyers but those of Whipsnade Park Homes are definitely more exotic than most! This third generation family- run business is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Dunstable Downs just a couple of hundred metres from the UK’s largest zoo and safari park, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. “On a typical day, the sights and sounds of the safari park are never far away,” explains Park Manager Cheryl Sears. “A public footpath runs around part of the perimeter fence and it’s very common to see various species of deer, as well as elephants and camels from there.When the zoo is running its steam train, we can often hear the whistle blow. The occasional hoot, growl or even roar is also part of our daily life here atWhipsnade. It certainly adds to the local colour and is a real novelty for our residents.” Whipsnade Park Homes has been established for over 70 years by the family of the Park Owner Gill Ponsford. Gill’s Grandfather originally started the business to cater to touring visitors when Whipsnade Zoo first opened next door to his farm. In later years the park’s licence was changed permanently to residential use.

OVER FIFTIES
Whipsnade Park has been much improved over the years and now boasts 102 residential homes. All of the homes are connected to mains electricity, water and sewage. Residents make their own arrangements for oil or gas heating. The park is exclusively for the over 50s but there are often families and grandchildren visiting and the park community is a friendly and welcoming one. “Whipsnade is a lovely community full of like-minded people,” says Cheryl. “All of our residents have embraced the benefits of park home living. In downsizing and releasing equity from their previous homes, they are able to still maintain a very high standard of living. Most of the park homes have individual gardens and parking, and some owners also rent garages close to their property. Many homes offer lovely views over local farmland.” Whipsnade Park is well landscaped to reflect its beautiful natural setting in the Bedfordshire countryside. The park is nestled in the stunning Dunstable Downs, part of the Chiltern Hills, where residents enjoy scenic walks, several golf courses and a nearby gliding club. The park is located on the outskirts of the village ofWhipsnade, which contains a beautiful church, a traditional country pub, and a thriving village hall and social club, which in ‘normal times’ attracts the park residents to its many events and activities.

RESIDENTS OF THE PARK enjoy the sights and sounds of Whipsnade Zoo’s residents on a daily basis. Photo - ZSL Whipsnade Zoo © ZSL

TREE CATHEDRAL
The historic Whipsnade Tree Cathedral – trees, hedges and shrubs planted in the form of a medieval cathedral after the First World War - is just ten minutes’ walk from the park. Another National Trust property, the 5000-acre Ashridge Estate and its famous bluebell woods, is also a nearby attraction, popular with residents and their visitors. “Our lovely countryside setting is one of the biggest draws for prospective owners,” explains Gill. “It’s hard to believe that the bustling town of Dunstable is just three miles away. A lot of our residents take advantage of the bus service from the park entrance to nearby Hemel Hempstead, Luton and Dunstable. It’s possible to reach London by train in around 30 minutes. Our park really offers the best of countryside living with access to all amenities.” Whipsnade Park residents benefit from a wealth of high quality home choice. The Park features a selection of homes from leading manufacturers such as Omar, Tingdene, Prestige and Stately-Albion. There is presently a brand new Tingdene Hayden Classic (double bedroom) just about to be released onto the market, and plans are already in development for a further two new homes this year. The park continues to be 95% full, with around 150 residents in full time occupancy throughout the year - a positive outcome considering the challenges of trading in any business during the last 12 months. “We feel very lucky to have weathered the storm of the Pandemic and not been too badly affected,” says Gill. “Inevitably there’s been a bit of a slowing down in the property market. For us, it’s prevented the over 50s from visiting the park to view any potential new homes.We’ve invested more in our website and marketing materials accordingly but there’s no substitute for being able to see the park first- hand.We are now looking forward to welcoming visitors again and showing prospective residents the advantages of joining our lovely community.”

THE NEW TINGDENE HAYDEN CLASSIC which is about to be released onto the market

BRIGHT SIDE
Unexpectedly, the Covid Pandemic has resulted in some more welcome benefits too. Residents ofWhipsnade Park Homes have benefitted from the setting up of a good neighbours’ scheme known locally as SKaW, which covers all those who live in the three surrounding villages of Studham, Kensworth and Whipsnade. The scheme offers lonely and vulnerable people assistance with grocery shopping, medical transport, prescription collection and other necessary activities. “Although the park didn’t set up the scheme, SKaW has been a valuable resource for some of our elderly residents,” shares Cheryl, who herself volunteered as a helper last year. “In many ways, park home living has proved to be the perfect environment for lockdown,” adds Gill. “It offers a ready-made self-contained community with plenty of support.” “It’s heart-warming to see how the community as a whole has been brought a lot closer together as a result of this year’s difficult events. It just goes to show that positive things can come out of even the hardest circumstances. As the situation improves nationally, at Whipsnade Park Homes we will be continuing to support our residents, whilst keeping those stronger community ties and values close to home.”

Whipsnade Park Homes
Tel. 01582 873 119
www.whipsnadeparkhomes.co.uk

THE BUSINESS WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED as a touring park for visitors to Whipsnade Zoo which is next door.

Spa Is Up On The Park Home Roof

Spa Is Up On The Park Home Roof

Tingdene Homes partnered with spa specialists, Park Leisure Solutions, to design its show-stopping Quantum Leisure Lodge that will form the Spa Is Up On The Park Home Roof 1centrepiece of the Northamptonshire company’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Stealing the show at the recent World of Park & Leisure Homes show at Stoneleigh, The Quantum Leisure Lodge has now moved to Tingdene’s Visitor Centre in Wellingborough but will appear at various exhibitions throughout the UK during the course of the year.

Unrivalled in the industry, the 52’ x 22’ Quantum Leisure Lodge boasts spacious living areas with luxury fittings and furnishing throughout. The huge 1,114 sq/ft footprint of the Quantum has been fully optimised both inside and out with the design of a fantastic edge to edge, fully decked roof terrace, Spa Is Up On The Park Home Roof 2with seating and entertainment areas as well as an energy efficient spa adding that final touch of luxury living.

Installed on the roof terrace the unique design will allow guests using the spa to enjoy 360-degree views from the comfort of the spa, in the privacy of the roof terrace.

Park Leisure Solutions Managing Director Stuart Mulchay said: “We were delighted to be involved with such a prestigious and challenging project that breaks new boundaries in leisure lodge development.” “From initial ideas-to plans and build specification, to final production and installation both teams used their skills and knowledge to deliver what will be a very unique customer experience when relaxing in the spa.”

 

Royal Roots

Royal Roots - Warfield Park

royal roots main picAscot, Sunninghill, Wentworth… this leafy corner of Berkshire boasts some of the most picturesque countryside and expensive real estate in Britain but it is also home to one of the longest established park home estates in the country, Warfield Park. Few people today, wandering through Warfield Park’s scenic rural parkland dotted with modern park homes, could imagine the colourful history of the park on the outskirts of Bracknell. First established in Tudor times, the land was formerly part of Windsor Great Park, welcoming Kings, Queens and illustrious figures from history over the centuries. The estate was sold to Archie MacLaren in 1939, and his son, Captain Ian MacLaren, subsequently set up Warfield as a residential caravan site in 1947. Today, Warfield Park is overseen by the MacLaren Trust and has evolved into one of the most desirable residential parks in the UK. The 92 acres of wooded parkland now feature 509 park homes on spacious plots that harmonise with the spectacular surroundings, with the majestic Wellingtonia trees planted by forroyal roots pic 3mer owner Lord Ormathwaite’s wife, Lady Jane Walsh, still in situ from the late 19th century. “Warfield Park’s philosophy has always been to site high quality homes sympathetically within the natural surroundings, and to preserve the environment for years to come,” explains Nikki Collas, Development and Projects Coordinator for Warfield Park. “We don’t believe in cramming in row after row of homes, and instead site them in a sylvan and non-linear fashion around winding roads and our magnificent trees.” 434 of the homes at Warfield Park are privately owned but according to Nikki, no two homes look the same because of the unique way the plots are sited on the park and the fact that new residents are encouraged to design bespoke homes. The team at Warfield work with a number of different manufacturers including Lissett Homes, Aspire Leisure & Park Homes, Prestige and Homeseeker, and Tingdene. Nikki says: “We are known for our plot sizes being significantly larger and more private than most other park home estates.

Most homes have gardens and garages. We also landscape the new gardens so they look nice before residents move in, and to keep with our theme of preserving the natural environment.” Apart from its history and setting, one of the most interesting features of Warfield Park is that its remaining 75 homes are rental properties, offered on 6 month Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Not surprisingly, in a location that can offer residents a short commute to London, demand for these rental homes is high. Many homes also attract families as this is one of the few parks to offer no lower age limit on ownership / rental and where children (and up to three well-behaved pets!) are also welcome. “Warfield Park invest heavily in our rental properties and the vast majority of our homes are new or fully refurbished,” explains Nikki. “This prolongs the life of our homes, improves comfort, and reduces energy prices for the tenants. We are proud that we do not have a boiler older than 5 years old in any of our rental properties, many ofwhich also have improved thermal insulation and a multi-layer render coating or low maintenance wall covering (Canexel cladding), which complies with British Standard 3632.” Warfield Park has won many accolades including the Social Responsibility Award in the National Energy Efficiency and Healthy Homes Awards in 2017. Homes are covered under GoldShield warranties and the park is a member of the BH&HPA.

Home to approximately 900 residents, Warfield Park is a thriving, multi-generational community with its own Community Hall, Hairdressers, Beauty Salon aroyal roots pic 8nd coin-operated Launderette. An active Community Association host a number of social, music and fitness classes in the hall daily, as well as regular weekend socials. A team of 18 staff is employed on site: 10 are office based and eight take responsibility for the extensive grounds outside. Warfield Park management and staff, led by Managing Director Barry Sumner, are committed to ensuring the park runs in tip-top condition and that the residents are happy in their homes. “We feel very strongly that it is important to have an open dialogue with our residents so they can voice ideas for improvements or amendments to the way we work,” says Nikki. “We hold bi-monthly Park Assembly meetings in the Community Hall to find out what the residents think we do well and what we can improve upon.” In 2018, Warfield Park saw a huge number of developments including electrical improvement works, several new homes, extended visitor parking, a redecoration of the Community Hall, and the laying of 7.6km of pipework for the supply of mains natural gas, which was completed just in time for Christmas 2018.

In collaboration with Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) and T & K Gallagher the new infrastructure was undertaken at zero cost to residents and should mean significantly less costs for them once the roll-out of boiler conversion carried out by Happy Energy is finished this Spring. Warfield Park has also recently undergone a complete re-brand with an attractive new logo and company website to appeal to potential new clients on the horizon. The team were delighted to finally receive planning permission in September 2017 for an extension that will mean 82 new homes. “Everyone at Warfield Park is very excited about the expansion,” says Nikki, “and we will be spending time working through more detailed plans during this year. We really want to replicate the character of the existing park in the new extension and preserving our heritage and outdoor space will continue to be top priority as we take Warfield Park into the future.”

 

 

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.

Diary Dates

Diary Dates

The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show returns to Stoneleigh Park from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th June.

The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show returns to Stoneleigh Park from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th June.

The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show returns to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire this summer and will once again showcase the latest designs from some of the UK’s leading lodge and park home manufacturers. Taking place from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th June and with a special trade preview day on Thursday 8th, The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show will have over 50 lodges on display, plus a vast array of other products and services for the park home sector.

Manufacturers confirmed for the 2017 edition include Pathfinder, Manor, Oakgrove, Prestige & Homeseeker, Lodgikol, Pemberton, Tingdene, Sovereign, Stately-Albion, and Phoenix Lodges. A number of both residential and holiday parks will also be represented at the show such as Darwin Holiday & Leisure Resorts, Lakeland Leisure Estates, Berkeley Parks, Haulfryn Group, Kerdene, John Roman Homes, Kelling Heath Holiday Park, Laird Estates Group and Birch’s Park Homes. As always, entry to the show is free and there is free parking on site. The show opens daily at 10am and dogs are allowed but must be kept on leads at all times.

For more information visit www.parkhomeandleisure.co.uk.

Show Success

Show Success

The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show took place at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire in June.

The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show took place at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire in June.

The 2016 edition of the World of Park & Leisure Homes Show proved once again to be an unmissable date for the parks industry.

The three-day show at Stoneleigh Park delivered its promise of being the biggest yet, with more than 120 exhibitors and over 50 new lodges and park homes on display.

As in previous years, the trade preview day was an ideal opportunity for park owners, site managers and others working within the industry to visit the show ahead of the general public.

Some of the UK’s biggest manufacturers were in attendance, including Pathfinder, Cambrian, Homeseeker, Lindera, Omar, Pemberton, Tingdene, Sovereign and Lodgikol.

The dates of the 2017 World of Park & Leisure Homes Show have been confirmed and will take place at Stoneleigh Park on June 9 - 11 inclusive.

A Fine Romance

A Fine Romance: Jane Herbert talks with the movers and shakers of the industry and reports on the growing love affair with the park home living concept….

The latest park homes offer vast improvements in energy efficiency, light and space. Pictured: Omar Ikon.

The latest park homes offer vast improvements in energy efficiency, light and space. Pictured: Omar Ikon.

There are exciting times ahead for those involved in buying and selling park homes.

“There is a marked change in culture; this is in part down to the Mobile Homes Act and partly down to the public being better informed about the benefits of park home living,” says Justin Allitt, owner of sellmyparkhome.co.uk and its sister company sellmylodge.co.uk.

“Now, it seems, at long last, the public is falling in love with park homes,” Justin adds.

With over 20 years’ experience in the property industry and a chain of estate agents, Justin identified an opportunity to expand into the park home industry at the end of 2012. “My background in the property industry proved invaluable and has given me a unique perspective on park homes,” he explains.

“For many years, as an estate agent, these homes were hard to sell. Although popular, both the public and agents found it difficult to get to grips with the legislation, licensing and rules, which led to a lack of confidence,” he adds.

 

WEBSITE TRAFFIC

One of the best sellers within QMP’s stock support scheme is the Tingdene Hayden Classic.

One of the best sellers within QMP’s stock support scheme is the Tingdene Hayden Classic.

Since 2012, traffic to the sellmyparkhome.co.uk website has grown 50 per cent year on year which reflects both the increase in consumer confidence and also the wider public’s interest in park homes. 65 per cent of their customers are the general public but the remaining (and growing) proportion is park owners themselves.

Justin explains: “With the recent developments in design and manufacture, the whole industry is now less inward-looking and more geared towards the needs of the end user. More and more park owners are using our service to reach the buying public.” In recent years, many newcomers to the residential homes industry are bringing with them their ideas and experience from mainstream property after cutting their teeth in new builds, construction and traditional estate agencies.

Paul Short joined Turners Parks Group as National Sales Manager in 2015 after 20 years in the bricks and mortar market.

He credits his varied experience in construction and estate agency as “it has provided me with an unprecedented insight into every aspect of the process that enables me to speak to both developers and potential purchasers with reassuring confidence.”

With 38 residential parks across the UK, Paul and the Turners team certainly have their work cut out but the market is buoyant and new developments such as Lechlade Court in Gloucestershire are selling well. Another new project at Twinbrook Park in Falmouth has already sold four units prior to launch.

CUSTOMER FOCUS

Key to success is a customer-centric attitude and an integrated approach that is typical of those businesses at the forefront of the park homes industry. As Paul says, “Turners can offer a truly bespoke service to our clients offering them a sales journey which is transparent and simple. We can manage the whole transaction.”

The modern park homes business is all about providing innovative solutions that bring the industry together and move homes forward. As the UK’s largest independent provider of property part exchange, Quick Move Properties works with everyone from individual park owners to manufacturers and groups with large park portfolios. Since 1998, Quick Move Properties has directly purchased over 5,000 properties with a value of over £725 million.

To read the full article, subscribe here.

 

 

Summer Show Returns To Stoneleigh

Summer Show Returns To Stoneleigh

2015 Street Scene AOrganisers of The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show are urging visitors to save the date, as the popular trade show returns to Stoneleigh Park from June 9 – 12.

Showcasing the latest design concepts from some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, the show is a must attend for anyone involved in the holiday park and park home industry.

Covering every aspect of park lifestyle, confirmed exhibitors include Homeseeker, Pathfinder, Tingdene, Prestige, Willerby, Pemberton and Omar Park & Leisure Homes.

“For those who haven’t been to the show before, it’s a free to attend outdoor event giving visitors a wonderful feel for that quality leisure or park homes lifestyle,” explains event organiser Jo Turner.

“Thursday June 9 will be the exclusive trade preview day and the show will be open to the general public on the Friday and Saturday.”

Complete Sales Before Christmas

Complete Sales Before Christmas

QMPQuick Move Properties, the UK’s leading independent part exchange company, is helping residential and leisure park operators to complete sales and get customers on-site before Christmas with its new Stock Support service. The service, which is available to all park operators and is free of charge to any parks using Quick Move Properties’ part exchange service, offers a range of new units from manufacturers such as Prestige, Homeseeker, Omar, Wessex, Tingdene and Pathfinder. The units are ready to be sited throughout the year, without the lengthy lead time usually associated with ordering a park or leisure home. Quick Move Properties’ sales director, Patrick Chambers, explains: “With our new Stock Support service there is no need for your sales to be held up by lengthy unit order lead times. We have units ready to be sited on your park before Christmas, which means you can get your sales completed before the end of the year. “Units can be tailored to customers’ individual requirements and specifications with 12 weeks’ notice or we also have a select number of homes available for immediate delivery to site, all with showroom standard furnishing packs.”

Quick Move Properties
Tel. 01793 840907
www.quickmoveproperties.com