Cornish Manor Owners’ Associatio
Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 25th March 2012 at the
Village De Vere Hotel Swindon
Present Jean Tolchard Chairman
Michael O’Neill Vice Chairman/Membership Secretary
David Lappin Secretary
Trevor Healing Treasurer
Site Representatives Paul Hunter, Barrie Hockley, Liz Ashenden,
Sandie Newberry, Ted Hand, Christopher Nell,
Paul Bennett, Simon Arkell, Robert Crowe
Attendance 45 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked all for attending and making the effort to travel in spite of ever rising costs.
Minutes The Minutes of the Annual General meeting held on Saturday 12th November 2011 were received and approved as a true and proper record by the meeting. Madam Chairman signed off the Minutes after seeking approval from the meeting.
The Secretary reported back to the meeting on issues raised at the AGM.
The standard of cleaning continues to be a problem, which has been recognised by Gavin, Perran View manager. Gavin has promised to make every effort to improve the standard of cleaning this season and will closely monitor the situation.
Fire and Safety update
The programme to install linked hard wired Smoke detectors and emergency lighting is still in the process of completion on all sites except Tolroy. JFH must the complete the programme before the end of the season when an inspection will be carried out by the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. An interim audit has been carried out at St. Ives. The delay to the programme is partly the work load but also delays by some owners giving consent to the installation.
Thumb turn locks
Again the programme is running behind schedule on some sites, but will be completed before the deadline.
Annual checks on Safety equipment
It is now 12 months since Smoke detectors and emergency lighting tec. has been in operation at Tolroy Manor and therefore it needs to be checked for correct operation before the start of the new season. The checking process is relatively straightforward; however time consuming as the emergency lighting unit has to run for a period of 3 hours on its own support battery. JFH do not have the manpower or time available to ensure that the task is carried out correctly and safely, therefore Tolroy management have employed a qualified electrician to carry out this work and issue the appropriate certificate as verification. The cost for the service is £30. The test can be carried out by owners, but the owner must ensure that it has been carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and provide documentary evidence to JFH management. It is essential that the emergency lighting is run for 3 hours on its own battery. Anything less will shorten the battery life causing possible failure in a real emergency.
Please note the above is only applicable to owners who let through JFH letting scheme, however all owners are responsible for the safety of their guests.
It is likely that the other sites will adopt a similar approach at the end of this year.
Honesty Envelope Scheme
As reported at the AGM, the scheme finally got underway at Kenegie. The feedback from Heather was it had a produced a small amount of money to pay towards breakages/damage, which was duly credited to owners accounts. But whether the scheme has had any serious effect in reducing damage etc., is difficult to establish and quantify, nevertheless time will tell. To this end the scheme is being extended to all sites and the Secretary asks owners to establish that the “tent” card is in the property during the season and feedback any comments good or bad.
Service Providers booklet
The Secretary delayed issuing the annual Service Providers booklet because as it has been running a number of years some of the Providers may no longer exist or their contact details may have changed. Members were asked to update or verify the information originally supplied to ensure that the booklet was accurate. Some members have done so and new providers have also been added to the list. Members are asked to inform the Secretary of any changes they are aware of. New Service Providers booklet enclosed with Minutes.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s)
An addendum was enclosed with the AGM Minutes advising of a change in the ruling of dwelling requiring an EPC. The type of holiday property on JFH sites does not now require an EPC, however as previously advised owners may wish to have their property tested as it highlights areas where energy can be saved. The certificate is valid for 10 years and the law could change again during this time.
Meeting with Martyn Fowler
What has now become an annual event, the Chairman and Secretary met with Martyn on Tuesday 21 February at Ilfracombe.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and resolve issues raised by members.
The economic downturn of the past few years has resulted in fewer bookings for all in the main. JFH are always looking for ways to improve their marketing and market share. Pat Jennings has now retired from the role. Martyn and his son Ollie with the help of an advertising agent have now revamped JFH marketing strategy. A new brochure has been produced with a much simpler and straight forward pricing tariff. Also short breaks are included at 60% of the weekly tariff. At the time of the meeting bookings so far this year are 9% up on last year.
Owners who let through JFH are aware that they have been opted in to short breaks, but can opt out if they wish. As mentioned in previous Minutes there is evidence that short breaks can be of benefit to owners as they can turn into longer lets with the opportunity of repeat bookings.
From time to time JFH offer special deals starting as little as £10, which clearly would be uneconomic to owners. Assurance was sought and given that these offers would only be for JFH own properties.
The company is very aware of the damage that adverse publicity causes when visitors post disparaging remarks on websites such as “Tripadvisor”. Every effort is being made to improve facilities and the service they provide. To help combat the negative comments visitors are urged to comment favourably if they have enjoyed their stay and experience on a JFH site. Unfortunately a dog with a bad name tends to stick for some time.
The opportunity was taken to remind JFH of the on-going effort and continued investment that owners make in their properties to raise the standards for visitors to enjoy and to maintain those standards. A case was brought to Martyn’s attention of a shower unit having to be replaced in a recently refurbished bathroom. The new shower unit was left in working order but had been badly installed and spoilt the décor of the bathroom. The owner was not aware of the quality of the work, but it did bring complaints from visitors to the property and possibly comments on the likes of “Tripadvisor”. If possible owners are advised to appoint their own trusted tradesperson whenever possible.
JFH have appointed a new company to design a new website. They hope to have the new one running initially for a trial period toward the end of the year before going live in January 2013. The change will most likely result in new passwords for owner’s own booking portal. The present system is run by two companies, the main site and one for owner’s bookings. This leads to problems whenever a fault occurs and each company blames the other. The new site should alleviate this. It is strongly advised that owners check their bookings with Ifracombe before letting it out to others or setting off to their property thinking that it is vacant.
JFH would like to incentivise and reward all owners regardless of how they let and use their property. For a trial period only a VIP card will be issued to each owner and will entitle the owner to a 10% discount on all purchases made on site and will cover meals, drinks and merchandise. The exception being purchases from any on-site shops, which are run on a franchise basis.
It was emphasised that the discount is for the owner only and not for the card to be passed on to owners visitors, friends etc. If the scheme is abused then it will be quickly dropped.
Several members at the AGM requested that JFH accounts i.e. statements, invoices etc. be made easier to read and more user friendly. The Secretary discussed the matter with Laura Baucher JFH accountant. Due to the type of accounts package in use on their computer system, it is not possible to change the layout of the statement or invoice. The main problem for owner’s, appears to be the bottom line “Amount Due”. The figure indicated for those who use the letting scheme does not make it clear as to whether it is a debit or a credit for the owner!! The key sign is a “minus” in front of the amount due. This means the owner is in credit and will be paid that amount by JFH.
Chairman’s report – see attached
The Chairman’s report covers most of the topics that were discussed in detail at the meeting. She also referred to owner’s behaviour towards JFH management and staff. An incident did occur which caused unnecessary upset. The Chairman wishes to emphasise to members to refer matters that owners feel they cannot resolve to their respective site representatives or the Secretary rather than cause upset for themselves and others. JFH staff do try to do a good job to the best of their ability.
The Treasurer reported to the meeting the current financial position. Cash in bank £800 and the contingency fund on deposit stands at £18,000. The end of year account will show a profit of some £600. This covers losses made in the previous two years of £514 mainly due to the setting up of CMOA website.
The Treasurer took the opportunity to remind members that subscription renewals were now due and he was introducing alternative methods to pay rather than relying on the traditional cheque. He also advised that the password to access the members portal will change on Tuesday 2nd May. The new password will be on the payment receipt.
At the AGM a proposal was made by a member and carried by the meeting for the committee to be reimbursed for travelling expenses incurred on behalf of the association. The committee duly discussed the issue and decided that they represent fellow owners on a voluntary basis then no remuneration was necessary. It was agreed that if a committee member was required to travel on a special assignment on behalf of CMOA, then suitable expenses would be reimbursed. A member raised a question as to what current expenses are paid. The Secretary replied that all costs for postage, printing and stationery etc. were paid for by CMOA.
Subscription payments methods
Members have asked if they can pay their annual subscription online. The Treasurer is pleased to announce that the facility is now available to all members. Each member has been issued with a membership number which must be quoted whenever a payment is made.
Bank details have been issued with the membership number.
Payments methods are:-
- *Online quoting membership number
- *Annual online payment- set up automatic annual payment similar to Standing Order
- Standing Order Mandate – instruct bank to set up annual payment
When making online payments it is not possible to use the full title of CMOA as the system is restricted to 18 characters which includes spaces. The user will receive an error message
Example – payee “Cornish Manor Owners’ Association” needs to be abbreviated to say “Cornish Manor Own” that equals 17 characters.
The Treasurer hopes that life will be simpler for us all and he won’t have to remind members who have forgotten to pay.
CMOA website password change
The password to access the members section will change on Tuesday 2nd May. The new password will be issued by the Treasurer on receipt of payment. To keep in touch members are asked to renew their subscription before the changeover date.
The bedcovers provided by JFH are rather colourful to say the least and Madam Chairman took the opportunity at the meeting with Martyn Fowler to address the issue. Most owners have updated the décor of properties to reflect the age we live in and using the current JFH bedcovers completely distorts and ruins the colour co-ordination. Martyn agreed with the point raised and will provide neutral bedding in the future. Unfortunately it is not something that can be achieved overnight, so the changeover will be on a site by site basis and during the next few years the programme will be completed. It has not yet been decided which site will benefit first.
CMOA celebration – November 2012
To celebrate 21 years as an association JFH have kindly agreed to allow CMOA members the use of Tolroy Manor to hold an evening function with music and entertainment on Saturday 3rd November 2012. The committee would like the occasion to be a memorable one for all members to enjoy. An organising committee has now been established and represented by volunteers from the four sites. The evening function will be the same day as the AGM. Members will be informed of the arrangements later in the year. Please check CMOA members portal for updates.
At the last meeting members were advised that the Holiday Industry through “Visit England” were mounting a campaign to petition the government to reduce VAT to 5%, which would be in line with most EU member countries. To do so 100,000 signatures are required to force a debate in parliament, so, so far 188 have been registered. Quite a few short of target!!
JFH are continuing to invest and this year 17 new lodges will be installed
The site has for the last few years been seen as the poor relation, seeing little investment, whilst a buyer has been sought including CMOA. Heather and Paul have now settled in at Kenegie and are full of good ideas to get Kenegie back on the map. JFH are now seeking planning permission to install 16 Lodges during the winter period 2012/13 subject to planning permission being granted. The additional accommodation will provide extra revenue for the site which can then be used to improve facilities and provide extra marketing. The downside is that the existing Tennis court will disappear to accommodate the Lodges and provide parking spaces.
Ian Read Chairman of the Honicombe Owners Group gave a very interesting an informative talk at our AGM last November on the problems the group were encountering at Honicombe. The latest situation is that as a group they have now come to an agreed price to purchase the site from its present owners. When complete the owners will manage and run the site themselves with the support of Hoseasons and others to market the site for holiday purposes.
Kenegie -Paul Hunter and Barrie Hockley -see site report
After receiving the information to develop Kenegie by installing some 16 Lodges, members expressed their concern at losing the Tennis court, which instead of adding to existing facilities would reduce the limited facilities even further. They also expressed concern as to whether the sewerage and electricity services would cope. The Secretary advised that this was flagged up to JFH and assurance was given that it would be taken care of. The meeting also expressed concern about adequate parking spaces during the high season and potential overcrowding of the swimming pool. The Secretary will raise the concerns with JFH.
The meeting was disappointed at the length of time it is taking to renew the roof on the Summer House. They are aware of some of the technical issues as the building is listed. However it is hoped that it will be completed before the main season gets underway. As it stands it doesn’t make the site attractive and is causing excessive wear and tear on the access road as vehicles have to use it to both enter and exit part of the site.
Action: David Lappin
St. Ives – Sandie Newberry, Liz Ashenden and Ted Hands -see site report
Members present acknowledged that the site has greatly improved in appearance and staff morale is high even though they are under pressure and undermanned at times. To continue with improvements owners would like to see an improvement in disabled facilities, particularly changing facilities in the swimming pool area and general ease of mobility around the site. They would also like to see improvements to the children’s play area and consider the present facilities are inadequate for such a large site. It is considered that St. Ives unique position with easy access to St. Ives town and extensive beaches for surfing, that the marketing should reflect and enhance these advantages.
Action: David Lappin
Perran View– Paul Bennett and John Youdel-see site reports.
Members present are anxious to see an improvement that has been promised by Gavin in the standard of cleaning. The reception area is still a cause for concern as it needs a complete revamp or even a rebuild. Some of the showers in the pool changing area are not functioning correctly and the overall facilities are not ideal. The problem of furniture and vacuum cleaners migrating to other properties is an on-going problem. Owners are not informed whenever emergency repairs are carried out. The window cleaning service appears to have stopped. Owners would also like a new and up to date inventory list to be provided. The present list includes such things as Rolling Pins, Baking bowls etc., which are not used by today’s visitor.
Action: David Lappin
Tolroy Manor– Christopher Nell, Simon Arkell and Robert Crowe -see site report
Members present are pleased that the new manager Kevin Waite is settling in and has already made some very good improvements to the children’s play area, restaurant and tennis court etc. Unfortunately the exterior painting carried out by contractors is not to a good standard. As reported by the Perran group, owners would like the inventory list updated. Concern was also expressed by some owners of bookings being moved from one property to another, leaving the original owner without the letting income and possibly a bill for cleaning. The standard of cleaning was poor last year, it is hoped the new manager will address that this season.
Action: David Lappin
A general discussion took place and a number of questions were raised.
Problem with members booking portal on JFH site and were they aware?. The Secretary replied that they were aware and were trying to fix it, but owners should always check with Ilfracombe to verify bookings. As explained earlier the problem to affect a fix is exacerbated by JFH having two website providers. It is hoped the new website will remove these problems and the booking portal will truly reflect actual bookings.
Future of site if sold?
A member raised the question of a JFH site changing hands and how they would stand. The Secretary replied that any new owners would have to undertake all the responsibilities of running a holiday park and honour all contractual obligations to owners. Inevitably there would be legal issues and this is where CMOA contingency fund and legal support would come in.
A member remarked that he could not recall any investment in Perran. Madam Chairman replied that the entrance to the site was brought to JFH attention and expenditure to improve it was authorised. A question of health and Safety was then raised due to a manhole cover being broken and raised and despite being reported remained that way and was clearly a safety hazard. The Secretary strongly advised all owners to report any hazard to the management in writing and also take a photograph if possible. The nature of the hazard can then be forwarded to any committee member, if not dealt with within a reasonable amount of time. JFH as a company has a duty of care and responsibility for all people using their sites and facilities.
The Secretary advised the meeting of yet another change in legislation affecting the type of mattress required. New mattresses now have to conform to BS 7177 medium hazard (crib 5) standard. Most mattresses available for domestic use conform to BS7177 light use standard. Members were advised that when replacing mattresses they should be to the new standard; however they may be difficult to obtain through normal retail outlets as they are used by the hotel industry. Perhaps the first port of call is to JFH.
The Secretary informed the meeting that members were making greater use of the forum, but would like to see it used more extensively. Members have the freedom to “tweet” whenever they wish on topics which are of concern to them. Examples given of a member using a cleaner on Perran and the cleaner is looking for more work and owners wishing to sell their property can also broadcast to a wider audience of fellow owners who may have friends and relatives wishing to purchase. The list is endless and it’s free.