The chancellor has now extended the VAT reduction to the end of March, so siterent balances due then will come down to the lower amount mentioned in our recent siterent details letter. We will be sending an invoice for the final correct figure early next year.”
We’re working on the details for 2021 at the moment for the static caravan customers. These will be confirmed by letter next month but in the meantime its looking like an opening date of Friday 19th March to Monday 8th November. The dates at The Grange Touring Park will be more limited. Then more important, it’s clear that the siterent figure will actually go down instead of up for a change (due to the temporary reduction in the VAT rate until January). That will certainly be the case for the deposit, and there may well be scope for the balance as well. Details to follow.
We’ve been back open on the parks for a couple of weeks now and the news update is that the siterent refunds (£730) for static caravans where the rent at Easter was paid in full have been processed (this would not apply to those who have purchased a caravan during the lockdown period as their proportionate siterent already took that into account). If you are entitled but haven’t received, then please contact our office so we can look into it.
We’re starting next on the refunds for the static touring vans (on the same basis but at £450 – reflecting the lower rent – and that should be dealt with over the next few days.
Here at the Office we want to express our appreciation that the reaction of you, our customers, has been one of understanding in what has been a difficult time.
Then an interim report on the Wi-Fi provision. The site system was supplied, installed and is maintained by Infinium Ltd, a company that specialises in holiday park systems over the country. Their most recent engineer’s report (in March) was accompanied by maps showing the radius of the various service transmitters, and the whole of the sites are covered. As we now include the Wi-Fi provision as a site service it was important that the system should be up to scratch and Infinium were instructed to do whatever it took to ensure that. As to ourselves, we installed more broadband provision (our local distribution point is at Ormesby, where there were capacity upgrades last year and we took advantage of that). But their fastest speeds here in Norfolk are still lower than in many parts of the country. We should be able to identify if there are any weak points with Infinium, and the service should settle down (BT are our broadband providers and say they have instituted a policy of fairly regular improvements in our locality). We are now monitoring linespeeds on a regular basis at various points on the site which will help us to become aware of any particular weaknesses. But some of the problems clearly relate to the individual technical devices brought along by our customers, and there’s not much we can do in way of assistance with that – apart from reminding you that the first port of call should any problem be encountered is the Infinium Helpline. That is on your code card but if mislaid, its 01253 501655 (8:30am to 6:30om). The out of hours number – when I imagine the service will be rather limited – is 0845 5577288.
We now have the reopening date for holiday sites and that is Saturday 4th July. You should receive any siterent refund that is due promptly (provided you have given us your bank details for the transfer).
As to ongoing anti virus measures the government has issued guidance about this and how far that affects us (it’s not all relevant) but we all need to ensure that proper precautions continue to be taken (proper social distancing, hygiene, enhanced cleaning regime on our part and so on). There may be a few notices dotted around addressing particular issues, but it mainly boils down to common sense of course.
Then to change the subject, we have had a fairly close association over many years with Gt. Yarmouth Caravan Centre, but they are now planning to close down later this year. This will mean some change in the way we source our sales stock, but naturally we will be carrying the sales side of things on with the minimum of disruption. Caravans for sale will continue to be on the website and we can attend to any particular requirements. We’re pleased that Ian Fairbrother from Gt. Yarmouth Caravans is joining us on a part time basis to assist with our general operations.
Defibrillators are now more accessible. They are in boxes on the outside walls at Long Beach Stores, on the southeast corner of the Seadell Bar at Beach Estate and on the Reception Office at The Grange Touring Park. The weak point before was that they were pretty much unavailable at night, but now they are. So they can be accessed at 2am for example. But you need to have a mobile phone because they work by dialling 999, quoting the code on the defibrillator box, then you will be told the pass number to open the box and take the machine. These are the current models that talk you through the process of use.
THEN the latest update (as at 12th May) about when things can reopen is that we cannot start before July 4th at the earliest, but we must keep in touch with the announcements. This means that we cannot take touring/tenting bookings for arrivals before that time. Naturally if there is anything positive to report in the meantime it will be posted here.
First, we’ve used a drone to take pictures of the static sites at Long Beach and Beach Estate from ground level, so that you can see that your caravan is ok. You access this by going to the top right hand side of the home page and clicking on the Twitter link (this is blue “T”). It will then open up our Twitter page and you can then select either Long Beach or Beach Estate. Ignore the Twitter stuff about log in, signup, and password: just go down screen on the left hand side and select the part that you want to look at (it’s in several separate sections). Its the first time we’ve done this (hoping to repeat it at odd times in future) so we hope you’re able to get to it without difficulty.
Then about siterent balances: because of the rules against non essential travel, you should not be driving over to Hemsby to pay your siterent balances in person this weekend. Please either do this by internet banking, by card over the phone, or post a cheque to the Estate Office. If you wish to pay in cash and can safely get to a Post Office (and I know that’s not possible for everyone) we can let you have details of which Post Office service you can use.
Then as you know, later on there will (once we calculate the figure) be siterent refunds against what is paid at Easter. We’re proposing to do that by bank transfer and so will need the details of the bank account that should be credited. That is sort code, the name of the account holder and then the account number: the details to come from you will be used for this sole purpose and then deleted from our system. We can of course let you have a cheque if you prefer.
- First a very big thank you to everyone who has already paid their siterent balance, or is planning to in the next couple of weeks. Your confidence in us in much appreciated.
- Second, some of our customers have been enquiring what level of refund there might eventually be. As you know, I am not keen on being specific about this because so much is uncertain and will be for some time yet. But I can understand that people do want to have at least some idea of what to expect. So I have looked at what I do know about ongoing costs, and what the Government has promised in support, and I feel I can give a VERY ROUGH baseline figure of £50 for each week that the Government restrictions stop you from using your caravan, but we would otherwise have been open.
- Third, I know that there will be some of you with real cash flow problems brought on by coronavirus restrictions. If that is you, please do get in touch & let us know what your difficulties are and how we can help.
- Finally, if you normally pay your balance in cash, and have no way of getting your payment to us at the moment, please just let us know so that we can update our records.
With best wishes for your good health from all of us here.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement last night the position is that people should stay at home and non-essential traffic is ruled out. This means that until the restrictions are lifted (and the Government will be reviewing them regularly) our business is effectively closed. The consequences as I see it (at the moment, and things are changing on a regular basis as well as know) are:
Touring Caravans/ Tents etc:
We had already spelt out that we would not take more advance bookings at this stage, but will review things on 16th May. The position about bookings already made to arrive before then (predominantly at Easter and the early Mayday holiday) is that they can no longer go ahead because of the travel ban. There will be refunds of what has been paid in respect of these (less a small admin charge) unless visitors just want to transfer what has been paid to later on this season. There may be some pressure for unbooked pitches once the current problems are past of course, so a bit of thinking time here.
There will be no more bookings taken for the time being – with a review (as the touring/ tenting details above) in mid May. The same comments apply to refunds.
Static Holiday Caravans:
Again, we’re not expecting to see caravan owners coming because they’re meant not to leave home. The site rent balances are due of course at Easter, and I can’t see any chance of the situation changing by then. There will eventually be a partial refund of the siterent balance to reflect the situation but it is not possible to assess a figure at this stage, primarily because we don’t know how long things will last. My hope is that the siterent balances can be paid as normal, then there would be a part refund once we know that the caravans are again capable of use. The refund would have to be calculated bearing in mind whatever advice and assistance the Government comes up with, and there being a relationship of trust between us. The static caravans will remain of course on site and there are continuing costs to cover.
Social Media & Rumour Mill:
We don’t plan to respond to social media rumours: if there are particular issues you wish to raise then please do telephone or e-mail: the staff are continuing to work, the sites will be supervised and queries will be attended to.
I am very sorry to be in this position but hopefully the measures will enable us to stay fit & well and able to enjoy good times on the parks in the future,
As you are all aware, the circumstances with Corona Virus are changing all the time. Below is the current we can provide:
For all tent & touring bookings (ie everything other than holiday bungalow bookings) booked up to and including the 16th May:
We will no longer be taking any advance bookings for touring/tenting pitches (so includes all Easter bookings and the Early May Day Bank Holidays). The idea is that we should not be encouraging socially irresponsible travel, and you should be considering this. And it seems that there may yet be government orders about this.
We’re being asked about our policy should the caravan / touring sites close as a consequence of the virus measures. My general attitude to this is that we will continue to operate, and honour all bookings unless and until we get to a point where the government insists that our business should close.
I don’t believe myself that this will happen, and we can only speculate in the meantime. But obviously our customers have their concerns and because it’s hard to be specific in what is a fluid situation I can say little more than that we aim to do the right thing.
We’ll keep this blog updated on a regular basis of course.