The Wi-Fi system has been upgraded to all locations. As with all these things it has taken a little while to bed in properly but now seems to be relatively trouble free. There have been technical advances (multiple frequency, more powerful transmitters and more of them, more broadband capacity etc.) and the contractors (Infinium / Clarity wireless) are providing an improved back up service. Their helpline number is on every code ticket and they ask that they are informed of any problem initially: then they liase with us.
We’re regularly asked why the Wi-Fi facility cannot be free. But as with any other facility, it has to be paid for somehow. The NHS as an example is trumpeted as being free, but we all pay for it don’t we? Anyway, there has been a large capital cost (tens of thousands of pounds) with the Wi-Fi and there is an on-going annual maintenance contract (just thousands of pounds) to keep things up and running. And for the record, our aim for the future is to keep the service as up to the minute as we can. I suppose we could just increase our general overall prices to cover the service (thus appearing to be “no extra charge” for the Wi-Fi) but I think that would be unfair on those who would make no use of the facility either because they are not into tech (a surprising number of people still aren’t), have other arrangements or whatever.
So the position here is that the situation will be kept under review. Naturally a bit of feedback would be welcome.
We’ve been having a go at our waste disposal contractors (Veolia) recently about recycling. We’ve not been able to make much progress because their disposal lorry does not have a separate recycling bit where that sort of stuff can go, which is a shame because its quite important. We’re looking into alternatives but as usual they come at a cost.
More trouble with Gt. Yarmouth Borough Council. They are the people who issue us with a licence under the Caravan Sites legislation. It’s to do with structures between static caravans, where there is meant to be an unobstructed area between caravans mainly for reasons of access by the emergency services. Verandas (provided not of excessive size) and steps are OK if they are non combustible but the advice is to check with the Office. However fences between caravans are frowned on. There has been grudging acceptance of fencing to keep pets such as guide dogs in, but nothing else. Temporary things like windbreaks are OK. And temporary fences to keep pets enclosed seem to be OK but they are particularly under the spotlights and can only be used when the caravan itself is being used, so must be put away when it is unoccupied. So the answer here might be to have sockets so any fence could be put up and down quickly and easily. However, it is critical that fences are actually taken down when the caravan is unoccupied. This is something that we will – unfortunately – have to monitor and do something if necessary. Like taking the structure away (but only after notification, which I think is fair).
We’re doing a bit of planning work about the wifi system. A regular suggestion over the last few years has been that onsite wifi should be free. The problem is of course that there are costs associated with it – both as regards initial capital expenses (buying the transmitters etc) and then the running costs (several broadband lines) and the maintenance contract. The next upgrade (needed in order to keep up to date with the expanding nature of the service) is quoted at some £35k, so the figures are not small.
We could make this facility appear to be “free” (in the sense that there would be no separate fee to use it) by just increasing the caravan site rents, touring/tent rents and the holiday bungalow rents by an appropriate amount. But the problems here are (1) not everybody has wifi so why should they pay? (2) there are quite a few private owners within our service area who at the moment pay like everyone else, who would then really get the service for free (we don’t send them bills and would be unaware of their use) unless they paid voluntarily.
We want to continue to invest in the system to keep it as advanced as we can (within the constraints of our local BT infrastructure) but it can’t be done for free. We don’t need to make a profit out of it, but cannot run it as a lossmaking promotion.
The whole situation is reviewed regularly of course, so if you have any blinding ideas then do let us know.
Just to let you all know that the Longbeach Stores is now open with a completely fresh look and new management.
Katie & John have taken over for this season with new products, a new look and new opening hours. They are also very competitive on price.
They are extremely keen to meet everyone and get to know you all. They welcome any ideas & suggestions and will try their best to accommodate your requests.
So please do go in and visit them – they will be pleased to see you!
A couple of things just cropped up in case anybody is interested. First, Sue and Peter at Long Beach Stores have told us they are retiring at the end of this season. So is anybody is interested in taking over then we need to know. The rent is just the expenses.
Second, we’re still looking for assistant wardens for 2015 at the touring site. Part time, must be able to rub along with the main wardens.
That’s it for the moment!
At last BT / Openreach have finished the provision of the new high speed broadband facility to the Hemsby area. This should significantly increase the speed factor (figures yet to be confirmed but we have been assured it will be much better),
We’ve arranged the update and this will all happen on 3rd or 4th July – so there will be some downtime during this period while the works are being carried out.
There will be no cost increase and we don’t know yet about the possibility of an upwards review next year. Factors such as the new high speed package being more expensive, our wifi routers to be updated to take the extra capacity etc. may well be offset by increased customer takeup due to the big improvement in the service.
Occasionally we have a cutout on the wifi transmitters (there are quite a lot of them) which reduces signal strength. This isn’t very often and once we become aware of the problem we can usually reset things quite quickly.
Blocked drains seem to be popular at the moment. It’s the usual problem – congealed fat from sink wastes, wet wipes (which are not bio degradable) flushed away etc. It’s not always easy to clear the sewers. You can help by being thoughtful about what goes into the drain system.
Just to let you all know we have been listening to our customers and can now happily let you all know we are having Sky Sports installed in The Dolphin this week (ready in time for the Easter break).
Decision on dogs at Beach Estate Caravan Park
The historic position about dogs at Beach Estate is that we’ve never accepted them (apart from guide dogs), although they have always been allowed on the Sandsgate part of the site. This has been the case since before we purchased many years ago. Anyway, the problem we have is that despite the rules the guests of caravan owners still bring them down – presumably without being aware of the position. This causes fairly continual complaints from others who stick to the rules and understandably don’t see why people should get away with ignoring them. And we are regularly being asked to attend to do something about it. This is making life difficult. One of the options is to drop the dog ban rule. If so then the usual situation would apply – an annual fee for dogs and an insistence that they were kept properly under control and any mess cleared up. Personally I don’t have much of a problem with allowing dogs under those conditions. But I’m aware that there are caravan owners who have particular views about this and I don’t want to change things that may be considered important without there being a bit of feedback about it.
So the way to get back to us about this is to drop a line in the post or send an e-mail to [email protected] We’ll jeep things updated on this blog facility.
The Dolphin Bar
What happened about the breakfasts at The Dolphin Bar earlier this season was that we gave it a go. But the staff found it difficult because everything had to start early. The cooking lady and her (assistant) daughter left. We weren’t able to arrange substitute staff at short notice just as the season began to get busy. So unfortunately this had to be terminated, which is a shame. However, I don’t rule out trying this again in the future.
Next Season Details And Shutdown:
I’m sending out the details about the opening/closing times and the siterent etc. for 2014 in the next few days. As usual, the review is based on the government RPI index and the increase in any passed on costs (electricity/water/sewer/council tax etc.) in excess of that. In the past the lower rate (5%) used to apply to some service elements but this is no longer the case unless each caravan is metered which is impractical.
We have in the office signs that say “All valuables remove” etc. for caravan owners to put in their caravans over the winter. But if you try this then its important that the valuables are in fact removed or hidden, otherwise the credibility has gone. And our advice is that the curtains should be left open / net curtains taken down so that it is clear there is no reason to gain entry (also stops the curtains fading).