Chairman’s Report 20th March ‘16
Welcome. David and I met with Martyn Fowler at Ilfracombe – as always a friendly but frank and open meeting. It is evident that having inherited a shaky financial situation at the time of his father’s death, Martyn has now built up a clear vision for the company and a firm plan for its sustainability. From their perspective, profits were up last season and though he refused to be drawn into predicting this year’s prospects, he was able to tell us that as of now, the bookings for 2016 are well up on those for 2015 at this stage last year.
Maybe many of us did not see any noticeable increase in income last year, but Martyn told us that with the sale of Kenegie and the better results last year, he was now investing more in all the remaining sites with clearly laid out rolling maintenance and improvement programmes which he believed to be sustainable. Having said this, he also informed us that Perran View is on the market, (though no interest has been shown in it so far) and that Gavin and his soon-to-be wife were working hard to convince him that Tolroy is a potential jewel in the crown and therefore not for sale!
From experience, I suspect that many of you owners will be saying, “yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before.” But it was clear from our conversation that Martyn’s approach is much more structured and, dare I say, business-like than that of his father and I think we both felt that with the latest shuffle of managers, his plans for investment and development were realistic and thanks to the sale of Kenegie, parts of the Ilfracombe set-up and the sale of the new units at St Ives, it was achievable. So I think we can be cautiously optimistic!
After my rant about communication at the AGM, I believe that communications seem now to be working well on all sites. There have been a lot of problems on St Ives as before the management shuffle, maintenance was seriously underfunded and standards slipped terribly. There has been a great push to catch up but inevitably some owners continue to have serious issues. They have reported these to the reps who have listed them, arranged a meeting with Kevin to address them and minuted the outcome. Any action as a result may be slow, but at least everyone can say that their voices have been heard and their concerns addressed. As for the other sites, communication on both Tolroy and Perran seems to be good and at Kenegie the new owner appears to be very keen to be open and cooperative.
Please do continue to support your reps by reporting your findings, (both positive and negative,) when you visit your units or if you are local, whenever you visit the site. Anything you flag up can be passed back to the manager as appropriate and be seen to be dealt with or explained.
That addresses communications at site level but we also discussed with Martyn issues about the booking system and some suspicion over the accuracy and (frankly, the honesty of) the billing shown on our statements. I think we should all have received a letter from Cathie Higgs who deals with the software that generates our statements. They are aware that there have been problems with it which they hope are now resolved. However having spoken to the relevant person I was asked to urge that if any of you do have concerns about your statements, please do phone Ilfracombe and ask to speak to Carrie as it is she who deals with owners’ bookings and is very keen that everyone is happy with them.
So we continue to attempt to address all your concerns and would urge you not to sit on your worries but to email the manager regarding anything specific to your unit and email one of your site reps regarding any general issue with the site and we hope you may have a trouble free and successful season.
Liz Ashenden – Chairman