Cornish Manor Owners’ Associatio
Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 17th March 2013 at the
Village De Vere Hotel Swindon
Present Jean Tolchard Chairman
David Lappin Secretary
Site Representatives Paul Hunter, Barrie Hockley, Liz Ashenden,
Christopher Nell, Anne Earl, John Youdell
Attendance 39 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked all for attending and making the effort to travel regardless of the adverse weather conditions of snow and rain.
The Secretary reported back to the meeting on issues raised at the AGM held on 4th November at Tolroy Manor. The Secretary explained that each year before the Spring meeting both he and Madam Chairman hold a meeting with Martyn Fowler at Ilfracombe to address the issues and concerns raised by members.
Most of the concerns were addressed with the site manager Gavin at the AGM, however there was still concern over cleaning standards and items of furniture including vacuum cleaners developing legs and migrating to other properties. Martyn Fowler gave his assurance they would be addressed. The Secretary also asked if anything could be done about the entrance porch reception area, as it is in a very shabby state which gives the wrong impression to visitors and suggested it should be replaced. Assurance was given that it would be addressed in next year’s budget as nothing had been allocated for this year.
Over the past years members have complained about the outside appearance of their properties as the weather has taken its toll. A solution has now been found which would entail painting the exterior, however to maintain uniformity all properties would need to be included and therefore all owners would have to agree. The Secretary understands through Gavin, that the cost would be in the order of £2,000 per property and that they would need to be repainted every 4-5 years.
Most members are pleased with the progress that Ray Rushforth and his team have made at St. Ives since taking over the management. Ray unfortunately has now stepped down and taken retirement. Malcolm Evans has been appointed to run the site. Martyn Fowler did inform CMOA that a new woodlands walk is now in place as requested by owners. The walk has been professionally designed and installed with plenty of information boards explaining about the wildlife and nature. There is also a quiz for walkers to take part in.
Members are in the main delighted with the progress that Kevin Waite has made during the past 12 months. He has also issued a newsletter this winter to inform owners of changes and improvements. The Secretary has asked if all sites could do the same. This was agreed by Martyn Fowler.
The Secretary again reported no major issues outside those that were dealt with at the AGM. Most members are pleased with the efforts of Heather and Paul with the limited resources they have at their disposal.
Chairman’s Report (see attached)
As the Treasurer was unable to attend the meeting the Secretary gave the report.
Current financial report
Cash in Bank = £2,039.00
Contingency fund on deposit = £18,273.00
Profit forecast for the year end circa £500 after all other expenses.
Membership has reduced by 14 due to non-payment of subscriptions. The Treasurer spent a considerable amount of time trying to contact these members, but all forms of communication went unanswered.
On behalf of the Treasurer the Secretary reminded the meeting of the online banking facility set up last year for those members who prefer dealing with their finances online. Most households now pay their bills by direct debit and therefore don’t need to worry about raising a cheque. CMOA is somewhat old fashioned and relies on cheque payments as it does not have the facilities of a large company to set up a Direct Debit system. If members do not raise a cheque immediately on receiving their subscription renewal, then it can get mislaid or even lost causing the Treasurer more work by sending out reminders. The member of course does not have access to the CMOA website until payment is made.
To help change that situation the Secretary explained that all members can now establish a Standing Order bank payment which will automatically pay the renewal subscription on the 1st of April each year, thus taking away the need to raise a cheque and post it.
Ease of Payment
1. Online banking refer to attached form for details
2. Establish online standing order mandate to renew subscriptions on 1st April each year.
3. *Standing Order Mandate for those who do not use online banking.
A sample Standing Order form is attached for you to fill in and give to your bank. The bank may wish to use their own form, in which case you will have the CMOA bank details on the form.
In all cases it is vital that you enter your membership number as the payment reference.
Members present welcomed the new payment facilities.
*Members with more than one property please change amount payable accordingly
Business Rates/ Council Tax
The Secretary advised the meeting of the government’s decision to continue for tax year 2013/14 the 100% Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) that was introduced in 2010. Those members who claim business rates have enjoyed receiving a zero payment bill since then.
Members who pay standard council tax have unfortunately seen their bill rise. The subsidy of 10% for second homes has now been removed by most Councils in England and Wales, including Cornwall. Members who let out their property should consider claiming Business Rate relief, providing the lettings meet the criteria as follows.
Number of days property to be available for let = 210 days
Number days let = 105 days.
If the property is let through JFH, then it will automatically comply.
JFH Accommodation rating system
This year JFH have introduced a star rating system for all categories of properties in their Brochure. This has not been met with approval with some owners complaining that their property has not been rated high enough. The Secretary and Chairman endeavoured to establish the criteria used to allocate the rating. The system used for JFH Caravan sites is relatively simple as it is based on the age of the unit. New i.e. less than 1 year old gets a platinum rating followed by a gold for 1-3 year old followed by silver and bronze. Over 10 years is classed as a budget Caravan. Clearly the same formula cannot be applied to fixed structures of many years standing. The rating system seems to have been applied on a loosely subjective basis and the opinions of the various park managers and does not recognise in any way the interior difference of identically classified properties on the same site. After a protracted discussion with JFH a practical solution was not forthcoming. JFH will re-visit the rating system during the year and if by the end of the season they are no further forward it will be removed from next year’s brochure.
Feedback on 21st Anniversary Celebration
Madam Chairman invited comments from the meeting as to whether the celebration evening was a success or otherwise. The overwhelming response from those who had attended was that they had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Members were surprised that the entire evening had been funded by JFH even including wine. Madam Chairman also enquired if everyone had received a copy of the photographs taken at the event. The response was affirmative. The next opportunity for the committee to consider is the 25th Anniversary of CMOA in 2016. Members on Tolroy informed the meeting that Kevin (Tolroy Manager) was so impressed by the event that he intends to arrange a similar function for Tolroy owners in November. Date to be announced.
Service Providers booklet and CMOA Website
The Secretary asked the meeting to provide updates for the new issue of the Service Providers booklet. At the same time sought their opinion on its usefulness. Those present agreed and in most cases it was their first port of call when looking for trades people or suppliers. The Secretary issued a cautionary tale to those who did their own thing as it is wise to check if the supplier belongs to a recognised trade body and has the relevant qualifications. A member recently reported organising work with a provider not on CMOA list. A deposit was paid and the trader has not been heard of since.
In order to keep the list of providers relevant it is important that members notify the Secretary of any additions and also deletions as soon as they are aware. Although the booklet is issued annually the internet version is updated every six months following a meeting.
Website- JFH & CMOA
The Secretary provided an update on the proposed new website for JFH. He reported in the last Minutes that a new site was going to be launched at the end of 2012 and come into full service this year. The new site is being provided by one company instead of two and this will remove the on-going problems encountered by some owners when trying to log on to the “Owners bookings” portal.
Unfortunately the project has been put back and will not come online until the back end of this year at the earliest. JFH advise owners who experience difficulties in logging on to contact the bookings office at Ilfracombe. It is extremely important for owners to check with Ilfracombe during the season to verify if they have a booking or not for the time they wish to use their property and not just turn up to site thinking that the property is empty.
The Secretary advised members at the last meeting of the changes to the CMOA website and the additional facilities that were now available, such as offering members the facility to advertise their property when wishing to sell, however there are many other categories available and members were asked to suggest other uses for the benefit of all. The changes on the website were demonstrated at the meeting, as was the member’s forum to show how it is being used. The Secretary commented that some members take the trouble to ask a question on the forum, but seldom is it replied to by others. Although the Secretary has responded to some queries, he didn’t want to make it a habit, as it is intended for members to participate. He urged the meeting to visit the site on a regular basis and check on all categories for the latest information.
Perran View – John Youdell – see site report attached
A number of improvements to the site have been carried out over the winter period, which include installing new showers and cubicles in the changing areas plus providing a volley ball court and outdoor badminton court. The site is looking smarter and presents a better initial impression to visitors. Bookings are better than this time last year. The only down side reported was the lack of local beers in the bar. But as it is early in the season the beer may still be on its way.
Action: David Lappin
St. Ives – Liz Ashenden – Anne Earl –see site report attached
Concern was expressed about the impending retirement of Ray Rushforth, who has done a sterling job since taking stewardship of St. Ives. His successor is Malcolm Evans who has been running alongside Ray for the past couple of weeks before taking over the reins completely.
There was disappointment as some of the good had been undone with overgrown vegetation deeper into the site, potholes left unattended and some street lighting out of action. There is also an issue with the external painting of properties which is now two years overdue. On a positive note the standard of cleaning continues to improve.
A questionnaire was sent to St. Ives members by the site representatives. A report to members will be issued when the feedback results have been analysed.
Action: David Lappin
Tolroy Manor – Christopher Nell – see site report attached
There is nothing but praise to report from Tolroy as Kevin continues to make improvements to the site appearance and amenities. So far this year a new games area with a giant chess board/noughts and crosses plus a mini-golf area has been provided. Properties have been repainted: walkways pressure washed and white lined.
Owners have asked for re-cycling policy on Tolroy, as there is a reluctance to throw all rubbish into the same bin. One issue that has been raised is the apparent disparity of service/ repair charges and clarification is sought.
Action: Christopher Nell.
Kenegie Manor – Paul Hunter – Barrie Hockley – see site report attached.
The main topic for discussion was the proposal for interested owners to purchase the site. Please refer to Kenegie meeting report for issue to Kenegie owners only.
Kenegie members agreed to pursue the proposed buy-out but need professional advice. Paul Hunter proposed that CMOA contingency fund should be used for this purpose. A sum of £2000 was suggested to pay for professional services in ascertaining the value and feasibility of Kenegie Manor as a going concern. John Youdell proposed that £2000 plus Vat to be allocated by CMOA. The proposal was seconded by Christopher Nell.
Some members have expressed concern about higher than normal electricity charges. There have been situations when street lighting has been connected to an owner’s meter. If in doubt please refer the matter to Paul. It has also been pointed out that as changes have been made to property internal lighting and the supply of other electrical items this may increase the consumption of electricity and of course its cost. JFH are also faced with higher electricity charges in keeping with all consumers in the UK.
General Discussion and AOB
Since the installation of hard wired smoke detectors and emergency lighting systems, it is now a requirement to have them tested on an annual basis. The cost for this service is in the order of £36.00. Members queried whether this was a fair price and was the job put out to tender?
Action: David Lappin
Dampness and humidity during the winter months continues to be a problem for owners. There have been various suggestions and solutions over the years. The latest being the use of de-humidifiers. Madam Chairman enquired as to how many members used them and did they prove to be effective. Les Rose suggested the use of Silica gel crystals as a cheaper and equally effective alternative.
As there were no other points raised Madam Chairman advised the meeting of her intention to stand down at the next AGM in November.
This was followed by the Secretary announcing the he will not be seeking re-election at the next AGM.
Nominations for Chairman and Secretary will be called for in the notice to members preceding the AGM.
Meeting to be held at St. Ives on Saturday 9th November 2013.