More detailed information re caravan site pitch contracts

18/09/19

INCLUSIVE WIFI

The internet survey earlier this year resulted in a clear majority in favour of an “inclusive” facility, so that is what will be implemented from the start of next season. Going forward it will cover up to 3 devices. A seasonal code will be issued. The wifi service has been improving in terms of speed and capacity, but of course it’s all to do with BT Openreach and our contractors Infinium. The Infinium helpline is 01253-501655 (8.30am to 6.30pm 7 days a week). And I must make it clear that system downtime (which we would not expect to be of any duration) is something outside our control and for which we can’t accept liability. The helpline is useful, especially as problems are normally down to incompatible tech which they can sort out quite quickly.

OFFICE KEY HOLDER SERVICE

We keep spare keys for most caravan owners here in the Office. Only if you want: it’s for your convenience. The only need we have is generally to do with draining down and redoing if applicable. I’ve said before that although this is a “no cost” convenience – which will continue – it’s awkward for us in two situations. FIRST, when unknown strangers arrive saying things like “my friends say I can collect their keys to their caravan no xx, this causes trouble when we ask for some sort of permission from you as owners. If we are to hand out your keys then there must be some sort of consent for us to do so. Often enough these people don’t know the names of the owners either – just christian names mostly. Then they get upset with us in the office when we say we can’t dish out the keys. A couple of years ago we had someone turn up, spoke to a new person in the office, insisted on a key to a particular caravan but it turned out that the caravan no was incorrect and they ended up in a caravan belonging to somebody else, who was then very upset. So that sort of thing must never happen again, and you must understand that we will not hand out your caravan keys to anybody who does not have some sort of authority from you. It’s no good them being difficult with us in the office. And so often when they ring the owners (you) there is no answer and the people requesting the keys are left fuming at the office counter under the impression that we are being difficult and uncooperative!

EXTRA BIT ABOUT COMMERCIAL

As to those who let out their caravans there has been a clear element of extra work for us, and there will be henceforth be a charge of £25 per year. I’m happy to explain this as necessary.

Then about the general site rules. These are always available at the Estate Office. And they are incorporated in our contract. But some of our customers say they’ve not received them. So I’m setting out our rules/protocol here. There is a note in the siterent details (posted to everybody) saying this, and for those not having internet access then I have copies in the office for collection so that nobody can say they were unaware. So the protocol/conditions are:-

ELECTRICITY

We’re often asked more about the electricity supply on the sites. They are all fused to provide a 16amp supply to each pitch. That is 3.5kw. There would normally be a fuse box within your unit that incorporates fuse(s) of the Miniature Circuit Breaker type (MCBs) and a trip for faults (Residual Current Device – RCD). Then there is something similar where the unit plugs into the site supply, again with an MCB and an RCD. All of these switches will be in the “up” position if they are operating properly. Then the next line of safety is in our distribution stores where about half a dozen outlets are again protected by MCBs and RCDs. If you get a supply interruption (and it’s not an area power cut) then the first thing to check is the fuse box inside the unit. Then the box outside. If – having been reset – your supply goes off again then this would normally mean the use of a faulty appliance (the RCD going off) or overload (the MCB going off – the issues normally domestic kettles or electric heating). All that is needed here is to turn something off to get the load within limits. We hope this is of some help. Andy the site electrician inspects all outlets every season, and he has to produce a safety/compliance certificate. We have to make absolutely clear that our MCBs and RCDs are not to be interfered with on any account: it’s a tremendously important thing, and the consequences serious.

AGE OF CARAVAN

Our position about age of caravans (not the age of our customers!) is that unlike most sites we do not insist on upgrade/replacement of static caravans once they have reached a certain age, which I regard as a sales push. And I think it not right really that customers who have been with us for many years should be obliged to pay out large sums not at a time of their choosing. Upgrading should be a matter of personal choice. But should existing units become unfit, neglected or similar then we’ll be saying something about that.

CARAVAN SALES

Then about caravan sales. Any caravan can be sold to anybody at whatever price they can get on an OFF SITE basis. But we don’t take private sales ON SITE. The main reason for this is that a vendor’s interest is really only in the best price they can obtain, whereas ours is rather more – that a purchaser is going to be a good neighbour etc. Just on rare occasions we’ve got this wrong but initial checks are made and should it appear that something has gone awry then we do something about termination with those causing upset. Then we don’t have a problem and no charge with inter family transfers. But for this a cost of £50+ VAT applicable (admin, release and liability).

SEALS ON THE BEACH

The beach (coterminous with Long Beach Estate) belongs, and there are responsibilities. Breeding seals have now spread south and appear on our beach during the breeding season, which is October to January. Cute but can be biters! Two things here: first, don’t upset them by getting too close, especially with dogs. Second please don’t use things like frisbees in their vicinity (they can get stuck). Then as a matter of interest the local Seal Watch Society is trying to recruit people to help advise the public and keep the seals safe and free from disturbance. Flexible shifts. If your interested then the contact is Peter Ansell ([email protected]).

SITE RULES

IN GENERAL, PLEASE BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR, BUT MORE SPECIFICALLY:-

1. BALL GAMES: There is no objection to sponge ball games or captive ball games (swing-ball etc). But other games should please be off the Park.

2.PARKING: Over parking is a problem from time to time. If there are more than two cars at your caravan, can the excess vehicles please be parked elsewhere.

3.DOGS: We accept dogs on a clear basis: they must be kept under control and not foul the Park. Neither are they to be left alone if they are going to bark a lot while the owners are out. We are not prepared to accept large and fierce or fighting type dogs.

4.WOODEN STRUCTURES: The Site Licensing Authority (Gt Yarmouth BC) have a complete ban on flammable gas bottle containers/enclosures. That means they cannot be made of wood or incorporate roofing felt. The same applies to storage sheds. Please ask the Office at Long Beach if you need to know more about this.

5.GAS WATER HEATERS: Caravans that are let out must be gas tested annually. Gas works and servicing should only be carried out by a CORGI registered engineer.

6.CARAVAN SALES: If you wish to sell your caravan you can either (a) sell it privately on an OFF SITE basis (the caravan being taken away by the purchaser) or (b) we or Gt.Yarmouth Caravan Centre can give an immediate price. We don’t accept private sales ON SITE unless it is an inter family transfer(and there is a fee of £50.00 + VAT to cover a credit check on the transferee and release of liability).

7.PLAY AREAS: Small children need to be supervised: and bigger children need an eye kept on them as well so that accidents don’t happen to the smaller ones.

8.GENERAL: (a) if you set concrete slabs by the side of your caravan, can these be set flush and not proud. (b) rotary washing line bases must again be set lower than turf level. (c) children bring flints up from the beach and leave them around caravans. Can these please be kept out of the path of the mowers as stones can shoot out of the machinery to cause severe damage and possible injury.(d) Rubbish sacks are FREE on request from the Office. It does help if you can use them and leave full sacks in the rubbish compounds.

9. LETTING: If you let your caravan out or allow it to be used by others, you must please ensure that your visitors are aware of the above. In addition, caravans should not be let out to groups of young people or by more people than the unit is designed to accommodate.

10. NOISY BEHAVIOUR: Should not happen, particularly late at night.

 

14/07/19: update

The cash dispensing machines at the Dolphin Bar and the Seadell Bar have fallen victim to changing times. The company that was in the background (Yourcash/Hanco/Link) consider that the machines (not just ours) have become unviable following a decrease in the demand for physical cash. This seems to be industry wide and it has proved impossible to arrange an alternative service supplier. But we take card payments over the bars and in the site offices of course, as usual. I don’t think we’ll be able to do cashback at this stage.

Touring/tenting customers at Hemsby Touring Site and The Grange at Ormesby will have noticed the rather realistic sheep that have arrived. We think they are fairly robust and we are prepared for small children to be sat on them and photographed. But no large children please, and generally not pushed about.

16/6/19 – Update

16/6/19

All about the Virtual Reality kit in the Dolphin & Seadell Bars. Well, it’s all working OK and at no cost at all until after the end of this month (June). After that, it will be at the going rate – still looking into that but seems like £5 for 25 mins. This facility is going to be popular, I’m sure. We like to keep very up to date with tech as you know.

10/5/19 – Update

10/5/19 Just been assessing the remittance notices that incorporated the question about free wifi for next season in return for a small increase in the siterents. The result was a 55% approval for this proposal (of those who expressed a view). Although a fair number of people had no preference either way. So what this means is that this will go ahead and there will be a small increase in the siterents in capital terms for next season, as explained before). The service will cover multiple devices (up to 4 at the same time). Then in the Dolphin & Seadell Bars we’ve gone for Virtual Reality availability. The latest stuff, just headsets that don’t need to be plugged into phones or computers. It’s being trialled for the next couple of weeks on a “free” basis. After that we’ll have to be a bit more commercial (the going rate seems to be about £5 for 15 minutes). But a useful facility I think if you want to walk the streets of far off locations, swim with dolphins, join animal migrations on the plains of Africa or whatever, all without leaving Yarmouth! Only one of these headsets on hand yet but more coming if there is a clear demand. Then we’ve set up a more up to date system on the bar videos so that we’ll have more regular televised features. That will help on the rainy days when you can’t be in a deckchair on the beach. Nothing unsuitable. Probably on a short notice basis, depending on the weather, but will be publicised (& should be able to accommodate special requests). That’s it for now.

28/1/19 Update:

At the Dolphin & Seadell Bars in Hemsby we’ve been requested to look into the availability of non/low alcohol beers. Understandable if having to drive later that day of course, or just stuck in the Bar watching the football and not wanting to go over the top. Low alcohol products have been about for a while of course. Bottled low alcohol lagers seem OK but not very popular because customer reaction has been that they don’t taste of much. Until now I don’t think there’s been a bitter that’s been worth drinking either. But things are changing and now Adnams (the Suffolk brewers who are our main suppliers) have produced a low alcohol version of their popular “Ghost Ship” on draught & in 500ml bottles (0.5%abv): we’ve done a survey and it’s hard to identify a taste difference from the standard product. There’s also a range of low alcohol wines (again 0.5%abv), and we’ll be stocking these from the end of March. Then a bit of breaking news. The Hemsby Kebab & Pizza (at the Seadell Bar) has been taken over by the new people and will now be called “Istanbul Delight”. They are a professional, but private firm – not a franchise. They’re just finishing a makeover ready to open towards the end of \February. I believe they will be introducing a delivery service as well, and I think the menu – while based around kebabs and pizza as before, will have a more Egyptian slant. So more details to follow about this as it happens.

The road between Long Beach Caravan Park and Hemsby Touring & Tent site (about 300 yards) needed some illumination, particularly for those walking between the two at night. This was a bit impractical in the past because it really needed streetlamps that required mains electricity, and would have had to be installed on the North side (which involved other problems). But now it’s become possible to have solar powered streetlamps which have got over the “powerful enough” problem due to improved specification of the solar collectors and their reduced power consumption of the lights – which are now LED. No mains electricity supply/trenching required of course. Rather more expensive initially but no electric bills going forward. Eco credibility as well, so that’s alright. I hope that this work will have been done by Easter, and if it operates as we hope then can be considered for installation elsewhere.

At The Grange Touring Park, on the back field (where the hardstanding are and the ducks live) we’ve removed the old path lighting (which was mains powered but led to problems as the lamp standards kept getting driven into) and replaced with “approach” solar powered lighting. They come on from dusk to dawn at a low level but go fully bright for a time when there is nearby movement. Sounds right in theory but a bit of feedback is always appreciated.

21/1/19 Update:

I need to spell out the rationale about the rule re the sale of static holiday /caravans on site. The general position is that private sales on site /are not allowed, although of course there is no objection to inter family transfers.

The historic reasons (and the rule about private sales has been in effect for many years) – without being exhaustive relate to:- The main concern where private sales were accepted (years ago) of a vendor was – understandably – the best price obtainable. This could result in an artificial value for a caravan when a purchaser had overpaid and then we (or another private purchaser) were involved in a subsequent sale at a later date. Caravans don’t go up in value: rather like cars they are a depreciating asset.

There is a proper value for them that is to be found in Glass’s Guide (or other trade Guides). Figures in excess of that therefor generally relate to the situation of the caravan. That is something to do with us as site owners, not to do with the caravan owner. Logically the same caravan being sold on site would have a different value depending on the pitch, its facilities and the conditions. One of our main influences here is that we don’t have an age rule on site, something I’ve always made clear. Many other caravan parks do: that is where owners can only retain their pitches if they upgrade their caravans when they get to a particular age – a policy to encourage sales of course. I’ve always been against this as I consider it unfair to our loyal long term customers – who in their advancing years may be less likely to afford to do it anyway. Another trouble with private sales was that there was little control over the identity of the purchaser, and there could be significant drawbacks with people who were unneighbourly (say noisy, letting to groups of unsupervised youngsters, having badly behaved dogs etc). With our system of sales “in house” we can control this (and I can say that we don’t sell to some applicants).

It’s also relevant to us that we know the purchasers are financially stable and able to afford the rent – our other customers rely on us to ensure that the business is operating in a viable way financially and that they are not subsidising difficult payers. What has brought all this up? A couple of awkward cases last year, but mainly that we are selling caravans now that are more expensive than in the past, so although nothing will change it’s important that everybody understands the logic behind this.

20/6/17 – Update

Just an update. The lovely weather is having an effect by increasing occupancy levels. Schools break up in about four weeks so let’s hope it continues.

The charity we are supporting this year Is “Blood Bikes”. Their people zoom around between medical centres on motorbikes looking worryingly like police officers carrying blood and other emergency things. However we’ll have to think about a different charity for 2018 and I wonder if anybody knows anything about the “Foxy Lodge” animal shelter which is somewhere on Beach Road Newport, said to be very deserving and name put forward.

Our feathered friends at the Dolphin, where we had installed a nest camera with screen in the Bar have fledged and left. If they go for a second brood we’ll be showing it of course. While on about the Bar, Fosters will be replacing Carlsberg before long and it’s possible that Kronenbourg will be making a welcome return. Something completely new is Iced Tea with a hint of gojiberries, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

The long awaited new toilet/ shower block (which replaces the portaloo mobiles) on the north field at Hemsby Tent & Touring is nearly finished – probably by the end of the month, but in any event ready for the school holidays. We’ve taken on cleaning staff to concentrate on that and the other block and they strike me as efficient so that should go well.

Although its a bit late for this season we are often looking for student style people who could work during the summer. We’ve has foreign students in the past but the current EU business has started to put them off. So if anyone knows of any leads it would be appreciated.

Not much other gossip really!

 

NEW SHOWER & TOILET BLOCK FOR 2017 – Hemsby Tent & Touring .

This is an update from Hemsby Touring/Tent Site.  Our planning problems on the north field area are sorted out at last and a new toilet/shower block to replace the mobile portaloos is in course of construction, ready for this coming 2017 season.  It’s just the same as the one on the south field, which always gets such nice comments.  There will be more touring/tent plugins as well.

13/10/16 Update

We’re getting anxious enquiries about the need for a tv licence for a caravan.  The rules changed on 1st September to spell out that viewing on “catch up” services on all sorts of devices are subject to the normal  licence requirement rules.  But there is no need for a licence in a caravan of course if you have one at home (provided both are not in use at the same time), and in order to reassure anybody concerned about this we certainly won’t be passing any details on to the TV Licensing people.

Then we’re often asked about providing a laundry at Beach Estate Caravan Park.  There is one not too far away on Beach Road of course.  It’s something that has been considered, and we do of course have such a facility at Long Beach.  But this only works if there is close supervision: our usual problems are misuse (normally overloads),  locking up at night when cycles are still running (customers waiting for a finish and us having commitments elsewhere), having to dispense tokens because having cash in the machines is risky, mopping floors that may have become slippery and therefore dangerous and just generally making sure that nothing is going wrong.  Customers – being used to their own domestic machines at home – don’t always adapt to commercial machines.  So although it’s a good idea and we would like to provide another facility it just seems impractical.  But any suggestions would be appreciated.

Update

16/9/16     We all like to have a dig at banks of course, and I want to explain a small change in our siterent tariff.  Banks have always made a charge of one sort or another for payments made by card.  This was either a fixed fee per item or a percentage of the amount being transferred, or a mixture of the two.  And there were many differing rates depending on the card provider and whether the transactions were over the phone, the websites or through the terminal with a PIN.  It was all a bit complicated, and in the past credit cards (mainly VISA) had a charge – nearly 2%, which customers have come to accept was being passed on.  But just recently debit cards –which used to have a fairly nominal fixed fee – have changed to a percentage based charge as well.  The people we deal with are Barclaycard, but it seems that other service providers are doing the same.  What we have decided to do is add a small element to the siterents to cover the bank fees – and there will now be nothing extra on top as there was for credit cards in the past.  So customers paying siterents by debit card will be marginally worse off and those paying by credit card will be slightly better off.  As you know, we don’t take AMEX, but now we are discouraging BUSINESS credit and debit cards as well.  They have significantly higher charges and we may have to refuse to accept them in the future.  Nobody on the receiving end likes them.  To find out more about all this (they don’t make it easy!) you could look at www.cardswitcher.co.uk (“Barclaycard increase merchant services rates”).  Then while we’re on about the static caravan siterents, customers occasionally ask about the inflation index: this is to be found through the statistics portal on statista.com (“UK RPI forecast”).  Some of the other odd factors that have affected us this year have been things like the new national living wage/pension contributions (a substantial proportion of our outgoings are employment related) and much increased waste disposal costs/taxrates.  We’re feeling a bit nervous about the imminent business rate revaluation figures as well.  The business rates are included in the siterent instead of Council Tax of course.

Next, about gas bottle refills.  The market leader for gas is Calor.  We deal however (and have done so for very many years) with Shell Flogas (“SF”).  Propane cylinders have a standard (reverse thread) regulator which means that the cylinders interchangeable.  Butane cylinders however have different snap top regulators.  Not a problem when SF cylinders are being changed.  But we don’t stock Calor which means you have to obtain it from elsewhere, which is not always possible at the drop of a hat: they always seem to run out at the most inconvenient time don’t they. Calor refuse to supply us because we deal with SF. Anyway, what I have arranged is for a free SF regulator to be supplied to anybody who may wish to change from Calor (or indeed any other type) to SF. There is no difference to speak of costwise per kg. You don’t have to do this of course, and as ever can obtain your gas from wherever you wish.  But this is an option that you should be aware of.

We’ve had demand for battery charge facilities.  Mainly for mobile phones.  You can now top up devices FREE of charge at the Dolphin and Seadell Bars, where our new charging units accept almost all device connections.

More before long!