Cornish Manor Owners’ Association
Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 23rd March 2014 at the
Village De Vere Hotel Swindon
Present Liz Ashenden Chairman
Jean Tolchard Vice- Chairman
Trevor Healing Treasurer
David Lappin Secretary
Anne Earl Membership Secretary
Site Representatives Paul Hunter, Barrie Hockley, Ted Hand,
Christopher Nell, Simon Arkell.
Attendance 40 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked all for attending her first meeting as Chairman.
Madam Chairman asked those present if they had received a copy of the AGM Minutes and asked if they reflected a true and proper record. This was proposed by Mr Mike O’Neill and seconded by Mr John Bennett.
The Secretary reported back to the meeting on issues raised at the AGM held on 16th November 2013 at St. Ives. There were few issues outstanding as most had been dealt with by the respective JFH site mangers, who had attending the meeting. Issues they could not address were then discussed with Martyn Fowler at the annual meeting on 18th February attended by Madam Chairman and the Secretary.
The Hotel TV Licences are now being organised for Perran View and St. Ives owners who use the JFH letting scheme. Kenegie owners have now been informed of the TV licence details which are now in place.
Once you have been informed of the new TV licence the next step is to notify the TV Licence people to cancel your existing licence. This is easily done online and going to the “refund” section. You will be asked to enter current details for your Holiday Home licence. i.e. TV licence No. and post code. Select “premises covered by another licence”, and then enter new details issued by JFH – licence number only required. Once complete ask for a refund. If you pay annually, then a refund will be issued. If you pay by direct debit, then cancel this with your bank.
Some time ago CMOA requested that the bedding supplied by JFH for holiday makers should be more neutral in colour to reflect the décor that owners have chosen. JFH agreed to this proposal and planned to implement the change on a roll out basis. So far this has not happened, however due to a change in the way JFH market their budget caravan holidays by including linen in the package, there is now a stock shortage. This has now brought forward the decision to purchase new bedding. The roll out will start this season, probably with Kenegie first. JFH are proposing to use all white linen in future.
Chairman’s Report – see attached.
The Treasurer reported that the current bank balance stood at £2,131. This was largely due to the early renewal of subscriptions, for which he thanked all those who had done so. He also took the opportunity to remind the meeting that he was quite happy to receive more subscription renewals today. He anticipated that the accounts for CMOA would break even at the end of the financial year and did not see a need to raise the current subscription level of £15.00. Members will be receiving receipts of payment together with a new window sticker and new password effective from Monday 28th April 2014.
Business rates 2014/15
Most members are now aware of the 100% rate relief on business rates, which they have enjoyed for the past 3 years. The relief is continued for this current tax year 2014/15 and is likely to do so when the budget is announced next March 2015. The General Election in May of next year may see some changes for 2016 onwards. Business Rates are normally reviewed and set every 5 years with the next review in 2015. However this review has now been put back to 2017 due to the discontent of high retailers and other businesses on the perceived unfairness of the present system.
CMOA advised members in November of the £50 rebate on water bills by Southwest Water. As our water is supplied via JFH, it was necessary for them to make a collective claim on owner’s behalf. This has now been done, but unfortunately the rebate is only for Council Tax payers and not for those who claim Business Rate relief. It seems that very few CMOA members pay the normal Council Tax. Those members that do will receive a £50 credit on their annual JFH statement, which will continue to 2020.
JFH Accommodation ratings
Last year JFH introduced a rating/grading system for all properties that let through the letting scheme. The system was implemented to enable JFH to market all accommodation in the same way as they do for their core business of caravans. The methodology in applying a grading system to caravans is largely based on the age of the caravan. A new caravan would receive the highest grade which would reduce down the band as the unit ages. This cannot be applied in the same way to permanent structures that were built many years ago. Last year the grading’s applied on the type of accommodation which took no account of the internal standard of say furniture, fittings and décor. CMOA made representation to JFH to revisit the system and allocate a grading that reflected the standard of accommodation being provided. This year grading’s have been carried out on a per property basis and Gold, Silver, and Bronze allocated accordingly. CMOA tried very hard to ascertain the criteria used by JFH so that owners would be aware of the grading allocated and how to achieve a higher one if they wished. It appears that the grading has largely been decided on a subjective assessment of the person carrying out the assessment with no input from the owner. As the grading has already taken place for this holiday season there is little that can be done by the owner to change it if they are dissatisfied.
CMOA has agreed with JFH that all owners will be advised of the grading allocated. Owners will then have the opportunity to discuss it with the appropriate manager, who will advise what needs, if anything, to be done to achieve a higher grade. It should be borne in mind by owners that achieving a Gold standard may make their property less attractive on an affordability basis for visitors and therefore may suffer a reduction in lets for the season.
A couple of members queried the price tariffs for the property grading this year and believed their income based on last year’s total number of lets would reduce. An exercise was carried out on the tariffs published in the main brochure across all properties and the respective grading allocated and compared with the tariffs published last year. There didn’t appear to be any correlation between the two sets of tariffs and JFH did not have a ready answer. It was established however that larger properties sleeping 6 – 8 were more difficult to market during the high season July/August and therefore have seen a reduction in order to make them more attractive. It is important to bear in mind that JFH publish about 5 different brochures during the season all with different tariffs and the only real price is the one that the owner’s property is let for.
JFH New Website
The new website now has a member’s booking portal, which is not calendar based but shows instead the date – duration and lead name of the booking. Unlike the previous website JFH manage and control it themselves. Some members experienced difficulties in past in accessing the site and the accuracy of the booking shown. This problem has now been resolved.
CMOA took the initiative to suggest enhancements which would be of benefit to owners.
The Secretary then gave an online demonstration to show the additional features and how best to use them.
- Booking History – All bookings will remain listed throughout the season instead of falling away when the booking date was reached.
- Owners booking – Owners can now make their own booking online 24/7. When a booking is made, an email will be sent confirming the booking or otherwise. This method removes the need to wait for paper confirmation.
- Cancelling a booking- if you wish to cancel or amend a personal booking this can easily be done by “clicking” “cancel” which appears alongside the booking.
- Please note the “cancel” facility will only be present for owners own bookings. Clicking on this will again generate an email confirmation.
A question was raised that the acknowledgement of email booking receipt did provides details of property number. The Secretary will investigate.
Action – David Lappin
Additional CMOA Website facilities
Members who wish to sell their property are able to do so by advertising the details on CMOA website Notice Board. The Secretary informed the meeting that this facility is now available on the forum, so that members can input the details themselves at any time. Members will still have the Notice Board facility which can display photographs of the property for sale.
Advertising property to let or renting
From time to time members ask if CMOA could find out from other owners if:
- They are able to accommodate owner’s friends or family during certain times of the year e.g. Christmas and New Year.
- Would other members be interested in renting their property at certain times of the year.
The Secretary was pleased to advise the meeting that this facility has now been added to the forum for members to use.
Service Providers booklet
The Secretary thanked all those members who provided update information for this year’s publication of the Service Providers booklet and advised the new issue will be sent out with the Minutes.
Robin, a Tolroy owner addressed the meeting to highlight certain areas he felt dissatisfied with and needed to be addressed. He informed the meeting that he had initiated the Hotel TV licence with Kevin Waite, which has now been extended to include all owners letting through the JFH scheme to which we all owe Robin a big thank you. Robin then raised a past issue regarding the installation of Smoke alarms and emergency lighting in his property at Tolroy without reference to him and then being landed with a bill. The Secretary and other members of the committee reminded the meeting of the circumstances that necessitated the work at the time, in that an incident occurred which result in the involvement of the Health & Safety Executive and the Fire & Rescue Service. They required hard wired Smoke alarms and emergency lighting to be installed before the properties concerned could be let as holiday accommodation. As this occurred in the middle of the holiday season, JFH had no option but to comply with the requirements. Another point raised by Robin was the annual charge imposed to test the Smoke alarms and emergency lighting, which he considered to be a simple task and could be carried out by anybody. Although the task is relatively straight forward, self-certification is not acceptable, as this puts not only the owners at risk if an incident occurs, but also the agent letting the property for holiday use on the owner’s behalf. In this case John Fowler Holidays. The owner’s public liability insurance may also be in jeopardy in the event of a claim, therefore for the owner’s peace of mind a qualified electrician should carry out the test and issue the appropriate confirmation statement.
The Secretary took the opportunity to remind the meeting of the trade people available through the Service Providers booklet and to try to use them whenever possible, rather than relying solely on JFH to arrange for the work to be carried out.
There are a number of advantages:
- Choice of contractor
- Control of work
- Ability to shop around
- No admin or uplift added by third party arrangement
Another area addressed by Robin was the replacement of appliances etc. without reference to the owner. It was agreed that this has been problematic in the past, however CMOA believe the present team of managers are able to empathise more with owner’s and have adopted the following policy as reported in the AGM Minutes November 2013.
- Items costing over £100 that require to be replaced during the letting season, then the owner will be contacted for approval
- Items less than £100 will be replaced if required during the letting season without immediate reference to the owner.
In the event of any item being replaced the old one will be retained for the owner’s inspection. If the item replaced is subject to a manufactures guarantee, then owner must make sure the guarantee is obtained for their records in the event of a claim.
Madam Chairman thanked Robin Rispin for his presentation and contribution to the meeting.
Perran View – Judith Hassel and Nick Muller – please refer to site report
In the absence of Perran View representatives at the meeting former committee member John Youdell gave a short report on their behalf. The main site report covers issues in more detail.
In general owners are pleased with the progress and that Gavin is making improvements where he can. The reception area is receiving attention with cladding the outside to improve its appearance. CMOA has asked JFH to build a new one.
The main drawback to Perran View is the external appearance of the properties, which does receive negative comments from visitors. These are then published on internet sites such as TripAdvisor. The solution is to paint the exterior of each property, but to do this, it is necessary to get the backing and support of every owner. The painting must include all properties or none at all. Gavin has worked hard to get competitive prices and to canvas the support of owner’s over a period of time. Support now stands at nearly 100% and perhaps with a final push the work can then proceed. CMOA representatives are fully supportive and urge all Perran View CMOA members to do the same.
Tolroy Manor – Christopher Nell and Simon Arkell – please refer to site report.
Christopher Nell reported back to meeting on some of the points raised. His report contains more detail. The meeting was informed of the continued closure of the swimming pool due to storm damage. The damage is structural and rendered the building to be unsafe. Every effort is being made to find a quick solution, but because of building regulations this could take a little time.
Window and Gutter cleaning
The subject of cleaning windows and guttering was revisited as Tolroy is willing to provide a service on a bi-monthly basis at a cost of £27.50 plus VAT. Many owners believe it is part of their lease for JFH to clean the gutters. Over the years CMOA has looked at the various leases in use and have yet to find a clause categorically stating cleaning of gutters is the responsibility of the Lessor (JFH), therefore the responsibility lies with the Lessee.
Tolroy have now introduced pedal cars for under 5’s
The Tolroy group also discussed the new grading system and expressed their disappointment that the measurement applied was largely subjective.
Moving of items
A subject that has been visited many times concerning the removal of owner’s property to another unit. A suggestion was made for the site to maintain a log to record the whereabouts of any item moved to ensure that it is safely returned. The matter will be taken up with Kevin.
Action -Christopher Nell
A request was made for a new inventory to be issued to Tolroy owners. The Secretary advised the meeting that JFH do not now have an official Inventory for properties let through them. This was addressed at the Spring meeting 2012 and confirmed again at the AGM 2012.
St. Ives – Anne Earl, Sandie Newberry and Ted Hand – please refer to site report
Ted Hand reported back to the meeting on behalf of St. Ives. The main points raised reflected the progress made by the St. Ives representatives adopting a proactive approach by working with the manager and helping to address issues quickly that are of concern to members. St. Ives report contains more details. As reported in the AGM Minutes the team now meets with the manager every 6 months. The arrangement has been welcomed by Martyn Fowler and has his full support.
As with Tolroy, St. Ives suffered storm damage with falling trees one of which damaged the main water supply, causing loss of water to the site for some time. A temporary supply was quickly up and running.
A great deal of work has been carried to improve the overall appearance of St. Ives. The club house has been redecorated, with new carpets and ceiling fitted. Also the road system is much improved.
St. Ives has suffered in the last few years due to visitor dissatisfaction and poor reviews on the likes of “TripAdvisor”. To reflect the improvements, positive action is now to combat adverse publicity by seeking visitor satisfaction in the form of a questionnaire (see sample attached) and acting on the feedback. Pat Jennings at Ilfracombe investigates adverse comments posted on TripAdvisor and responds to them. He has been able to persuade TripAdvisor to remove comments that have been wholly untrue. Members are asked to ensure that their own visitors are encouraged to report positively on TripAdvisor.
Kenegie – Paul Hunter and Barrie Hockley – please refer to site report
The main discussion of the side meeting for Kenegie members was a further update on the proposed buyout process. A separate report giving full details is included with these Minutes for Kenegie owners only.
Barrie Hockley reported back to the meeting on other issues that were of concern to Kenegie members. The site report contains more detailed information.
Owners are experiencing communication delays with the Tolroy management, with emails and telephone messages not being responded to quickly enough. The Secretary will follow this up with JFH.
Action – David Lappin
The second half of the main entrance road is in a poor state of repair and should be resurfaced, however some patching has been done but this is only superficial and is unlikely to survive the season.
Kenegie now has a full time gardener who is quite busy dealing with the backlog of work, but is making improvements.
Patios and white lining
So far the patios and white lining work have yet to be completed. The work has not been undertaken for the past two years. The Secretary addressed this issue with Kevin Waite in November and was assured that it would be completed. It is acknowledged that adverse weather may have caused a delay to the programme. The Secretary will again take this matter up with JFH.
Action – David Lappin
Some work is being carried out on the street lighting to replace support poles damaged during the winter storms and replacing failed lighting.
Madam Chairman decided to bring AOB forward at this point in order to appraise the meeting with topics discussed at the earlier committee meeting.
Tolroy end of season party
Last year Kevin hosted an end of season party for Tolroy owners. CMOA AGM had been set to take place two weeks later, which left Tolroy members with a dilemma to either attend the AGM or Tolroy party, but not both. The outcome being the Tolroy party was not fully supported. Kevin is intending to run it as an annual event and this year include Kenegie. The committee agreed to put a number of options to the meeting and seek a vote.
Move AGM to the last Sunday morning of the season allowing Tolroy and Kenegie members to attend the party hosted by Kevin.
Maintain present AGM date (two weeks after close down)
AGM to take place on Saturday at the end of the season, thereby allowing Tolroy and Kenegie members to attend the party.
85% of members present voted in favour of option 1.
Celebrating 25 years
The committee recommended to the meeting that CMOA should celebrate 25 years in existence in 2016.
Madam Chairman put forward a proposal to organise an event during the early part of 2016 at say a hotel providing a sit down meal, entertainment and possibly overnight accommodation.
Madam Chairman asked for show of hands for those in favour and this was carried by acclaim.
A couple of committee members have agreed to look for a suitable venue and will report back to members at the AGM.
Members of CMOA are becoming concerned that some owners are now letting their properties on a long term basis. CMOA committee would like to remind all owners of the rules and regulations that apply to all and contravening them could impact on other owners adversely.
- Properties in general do not have residential status and can only be let as holiday accommodation for maximum of 28 consecutive days to any one renter.
- Any property let for longer would deem the owner to be a landlord and would be subject to laws affecting landlords
- If the owner claims business rates then letting for longer than 28 days would contravene the conditions of eligibility.
- Properties cannot be used or allow to be used for any trade or business whatsoever.
There were no other points raised for discussion by the meeting. Madam Chairman thanked everybody for their input and contribution and helping her get through this first meeting in the chair and declared the meeting closed at 16.50 pm. A round of applause ensued to thank and congratulate Madam Chairman
As a result of the vote taken by the meeting the AGM will now be held on Sunday 2nd November at Perran View. All members (including St. Ives and Perran View) will be invited to an end of season party hosted by Kevin and Carenza Waite at Tolroy Manor on Saturday 1st November. Further details will be supplied with the AGM notices.