Cornish Manor Owners’ Association
Minutes of Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 26th April 2009 at De Veres Hotel Swindon
Present Jean Tolchard Chairman
David Lappin Secretary
Trevor Healing Treasurer
John Youdell, Liz Ashenden, Site Representatives
Barrie Hockley, Patrick Rooney
Minutes The Minutes of the meeting held on Saturday 8th November 2008 at Perran View Cornwall were received and approved as a true and proper record and duly signed by Madam Chairman.
Madam Chairman opened the meeting at 2pm and thanked Members attending. Madam Chairman noted that the attendance figure was only 44 as against the larger attendances achieved at the November meeting.
A meeting took place on Friday 20th February at Sandy Glade (one of JFH sites) with Martyn Fowler and attended by Madam Chairman and Secretary. The meetings which are now an annual event are proving to be more productive in addressing and resolving issues than just exchanging letters.
Issues discussed were those raised at the November meeting.
A lengthy and protracted discussion took place as to why members considered it vital that a deposit scheme should be operated by JFH. Martyn Fowler although sympathetic explained in detail the technical reasons why a scheme could not be operated in the way members wanted. He did however have no objection in putting notices in houses reminding visitors against damage, theft and general care. The notice could also make the visitor aware of paying for any damage caused.
The proposal was for CMOA members to provide their own wording and JFH would arrange for printing and distribution. At this point the Secretary asked the meeting to give some thought to the wording and let the committee have their suggestions. All members are invited to submit suggestions.
The idea of an “honesty box” was discussed at length, mainly as to how it would work and who would benefit. The Secretary agreed that the mechanics would have to be talked through with JFH, however the wording of the notice should give the impression to any errant visitor that the system is strongly policed.
Members letting through JFH are dissatisfied at some point with quality of cleaning. Martyn Fowler readily accepted that it is an ongoing problem. JFH have therefore decided this year to change the way cleaning is paid for. Traditionally Cleaners have been paid on an hourly basis. The system as we understand is to pay per unit cleaned and to a standard as determined by JFH. If a unit is not cleaned to the required standard no payment will be made. It is hoped that an overall improvement will be achieved with fewer complaints from visitors and owners alike. We will wait and see!!
The changes in commission charges/admin fees etc. have by and large eroded net profit for owners letting through the JFH scheme, even with the reduction of cleaning/linen charges and abolition of the facilities levy. Martyn Fowler was cognisant of the situation and suggested that JFH will next year reposition the business in the market by raising letting and accommodation charges.
Last year the billing system for electricity consumption was changed from an accrual system to end of year billing. As a number of members preferred the original system of levying estimated usage costs over the letting period and making the final adjustment to the last income payment, this was put to Martyn Fowler and he agreed that they would revert back to the old system.
- Ives members at the November meeting proposed a range of activities to attract visitors during the off peak season. These suggestions were put to JFH. As it happens, a Country and Western weekend was trialled at Sandy Glade, and was a success. Martyn Fowler is now keen to offer themed weeks on sites which have suitable facilities.
Each year the issue of cleaning gutters is raised and was raised again with Martyn Fowler. He explained that due to stringent Health and Safety regulation staff could no longer carry out the task on two storey and above properties. The service can be provided but would have to be carried out by a specialist contractor and there would probably be a charge. Costs are not known at this stage. A debate took place as to who would stand the cost. Some members stated that their Lease included the cleaning of gutters and therefore it was the responsibility of JFH. Madam Chairman pointed out that Leases vary and cover different conditions. She also advised the meeting of the exercise carried out to investigate all Leases issued, which unfortunately could not be achieved. The matter will be pursued by the Secretary.
Members asked for clarification on enforcing ‘No Smoking’ in holiday accommodation. The Secretary investigated the legal position and the findings are as follows. “if the accommodation is self contained and there are no public areas then the smoking laws do not apply” It does not however prevent owners displaying “No Smoking or Thank you for not smoking signs”
Energy Performance Certificates
A number of members raised the issue of having Energy Performance Certificates for Holiday properties. The Secretary checked the position with Penwith District Council now Cornwall Council, who stated that a certificate was not required under the present legislation for short term holiday accommodation properties. It is only required if the property is going to be let on a tenancy agreement, in which case the owner would become the landlord and therefore responsible for its energy efficiency. The foregoing has also been confirmed by one of our members who checked with Communities and Local Government and received written confirmation. Their website is www.communities.gov.uk
Chairman’s report See attached
Madam Chairman took the opportunity to address a recent situation of an owner(s) being abusive to JFH staff and allegedly using foul language. Clearly there is no case for such behaviour and the correct procedure of addressing any grievance is with the appropriate manager. Madam Chairman trusted that in this instance it was not a CMOA member.
Treasurer’s report See financial statement attached
The Treasurer highlighted a few areas of the accounts, stating that there was a net increase in subscriptions which was in line with an increasing membership. Interest on CMOA deposit account had fallen as a result of the bank rate falling to 0.5%. He commented that the current account was higher than normal as he had to hold back funds for the development of the website.
The accounts were received by the meeting. Proposed by Richard Ashenden and seconded by John Youdell
One member queried as why the Association was holding £17,000 on deposit. The Treasurer went on to explain the historical reason for the fund and that it is there to support any legal issues the Association may have in the future and for a special projects members wish to embark upon such as setting up a website.
Election of Officers
With the exception of the Vice Chairman all committee members agreed to stand for re-election but would willingly stand down in favour of new blood.
- Patrick Rooney informed the meeting that owners on Honicombe have now formed their own Association – Honicombe Owners Group (HOG) and now represent 60 out of 68 properties and as a result will no longer be part of CMOA. Madam Chairman wished the new group well and every success for the future.
Patrick agreed to stand for election to represent St. Ives.
The following were voted in by acclaim.
Chairman Jean Tolchard
Vice Chair and Membership Secretary Mike O’Neill
Secretary David Lappin
Treasurer Trevor Healing
Perran View John Youdell
St. Ives Liz Ashenden,
Tolroy Manor Les Rose
Kenegie Manor Paul Hunter
Perran View (John Youdell) Copy report attached
There were no contentious issues raised by the Perran group. Generally they were satisfied with the condition of the site. They were pleased with the solutions offered by JFH for the forthcoming Digital TV switchover and also looking forward to using CMOA’s new website.
St. Ives (Liz Ashenden)
The main issue for the St. Ives group is making contact with the Park Manager. The group commented that the manager was quite skilful in mounting a disappearing act when she was most needed.
Tolroy Manor (Les Rose and Simon Arkell) copy reports attached
In the absence of Tolroy representatives Madam Chairman reported back on behalf of the group.
A range of issues were addressed by the group, which included the following:
Painting and Gutter cleaning. The properties were painted last year, but there is still some remedial work to be carried out by the contractors which has yet to be done. Members were asked to check Leases to see if cleaning gutters was the responsibility of JFH.
Recognition of property upgrading. Many owners have invested heavily to upgrade properties, i.e. new kitchens and bathrooms etc. and feel a rating system should be applied which would reflect in the letting charges applied by JFH.
Re-development of Hayle. Members expressed concern that in the light of the current economic downturn the much needed re-development would not find itself a victim!
Fencing of site. Recently the fencing around the site has been renewed and members congratulated JFH for a good job well done.
Squash Courts. This facility is not used often as Squash is no longer a fashionable sport. Members would like to see it put to better use by converting it say for Badminton or Skittles.
- As there is no pathway for pedestrians coming out of Tolroy and encountering a busy main road, it is considered dangerous particularly for children. Madam Chairman asked that the Secretary write to Cornwall Council on the point. The Secretary replied that he has already done so but the response was negative, he will however try again with the new Authority.
Deposit scheme. Mrs Mary Gee Tolroy Manager is apparently in favour of a deposit scheme, if this is the case it needs to be followed through in conjunction with the proposed notice and honesty box scheme
Notices in properties. It was agreed with JFH that private ownership notices be reissued for properties because over the years many had disappeared. It appears this programme has not been completed. The Secretary will pursue the matter again.
Themed Weeks. Members wish to extend the proposed list of activities to include “Old Time” events. It was uncertain whether this event was for visitors or themselves!
Action: David Lappin
Kenegie Manor (Barrie Hockley) copy report attached
Issues raised by the group included the following:
Change of Management. Kenegie now has to share management with Tolroy, which makes it difficult for owners to have direct contact. They also feel Kenegie is not getting the care and attention it deserves as the manager can’t be in two places at once.
Grounds. The grass was not cut until the middle of April which was well into the grass growing season. The grounds are in need of attention with a growing list of work to be done, however as the gardener splits his time between Kenegie and Tolroy it is difficult to see how the work is going to kept in check.
Potholes. A perennial problem for Kenegie as each year the potholes are patched over but are not good enough to withstand vehicles, so each year the potholes grow in size and so does the problem. The potholes are not just a problem for vehicles but also present a safety hazard for pedestrians.
Tennis Courts. Kenegie does not enjoy many facilities but is fortunate to have a Tennis Court. Unfortunately the court has been neglected over the years and is in poor condition, which is not an attractive facility for a holiday maker.
Lighting. Most of the previous lighting issues have been addressed, but the problem lies with continual maintenance. As the site is not manned after hours, the staff are not aware of the failure of lighting triggered by PIR’s during the dark hours, thus presenting a safety hazard.
- Again because of sharing management with Tolroy, Reception has limited opening times. Members are concerned that this may have adverse effects on visitors during their stay and particularly during the peak summer season
- Staffing and opening of the Bar is also seen as an increasing visitor dissatisfaction problem as the season progresses.
Action: David Lappin
Following requests from a number of members suggesting that subscription payments by Standing Order would be more convenient. The Treasurer put the suggestion to the meeting and the consensus was after some discussion and debate that setting up a system would be difficult to manage and not worth pursuing. The Treasurer stated he was happy with the existing arrangements even though he still had to chase some members for payment each year.
All owners have now been supplied with a list of options from JFH to enable a smooth transition from Analogue to Digital TV reception. The list is comprehensive and covers all known situations. It is important that members complete and return the forms ASAP as JFH have to order the relevant equipment which may be subject to a lead time.
Important dates for the switchover are:
Wednesday 8 July 2009– BBC2 Transmission on analogue will cease.
Wednesday 5 August 2009 – All analogue transmissions will cease.
There will be the inevitable teething problems, but to minimise them, members are advised, where possible, to check Digital reception before switchover.
The aerial distribution systems vary on each JFH site as does the quality of reception. Unfortunately digital reception does not have the same tolerance as analogue in accepting poor signals. The picture is either perfect or it breaks up and is then lost completely. he good news is that once the analogue transmitter is turned off, the
signal will be boosted and hopefully overcome picture drop-out on fringe systems.
The Secretary launched CMOA’s own website to the meeting by providing a live on-line demonstration. Members can now access the site on www.cornishmanor.co.uk at any time.
The site provides information for prospective members, who are current owners on a JFH site or intending to purchase a property. There is also a dedicated members section which is accessed with a user name and password. Details will be sent out by the Treasurer to members with paid-up subscriptions. Access will be valid for one year, when a new password will be issued on renewal. The Members section has a message board and the Secretary will use it to keep members informed of any important information throughout the year. The section will also carry a copy of the last Minutes and the Service Providers list. The Minutes and associated attachments will continue to be posted to members in the usual way.
A link to JFH website has also been provided for members, who use the JFH letting scheme, to access the booking on their property. Access is by password and customer number. JFH will issue a customer number to owners using the letting scheme.
To login for the first time, it is necessary to use the box that requires the following
- Customer Number provided by JFH
- Post Code Your own home post code
- E-mail address.
Once logged in, a user password will be sent to you by e-mail and used for all subsequent login’s
Owners letting through the scheme recently received a letter informing them that all future bookings during the letting season must be requested in writing. This has now been rescinded and members can revert back to the system of booking by phone, however owners must ensure that the booking has been confirmed in writing by JFH booking office before going to your property. It is advisable to take the confirmation form with you. There have been a number of instances when owners have arrived at their properties to find it has already been let and the owners have not been able to provide proof of their booking. Naturally this has led to disagreements.
The proposed sale of Kenegie was discussed in detail by the Secretary and Treasurer. The Secretary brought the meeting up to date with events so far and reiterated the reason JFH wanted to sell. Kenegie does not fit into their marketing position, in that the company concentrates on large Caravan sites which provide profitable facilities. The recent staffing changes, which some members see as a cost cutting exercise aimed at Kenegie alone is being shared by other JFH sites. CMOA have received operating costs for 2008 from JFH. The Treasurer said that the information did not reveal the true picture as to whether Kenegie was a viable stand alone concern or not. Vital staffing costs were amongst others omitted and therefore he could not recommend purchase or otherwise at this stage. After further discussion the Secretary suggested that if members wanted to pursue it, it was vital that one member take charge of the project. Mr Chris Townsend volunteered to negotiate directly with JFH and to recruit a sub-committee if he wished. The Secretary will write to JFH to introduce Mr Chris Townsend. It was agreed that he would report back to members at the next meeting.
A proposal was made at the last meeting to change the date of AGM to November as traditionally more members are able to attend. The CMOA constitution has been checked by committee members and it appears that no changes are necessary if the AGM is moved. Madam Chairman asked for a show of hands and the majority were in favour, however the vote could not be carried by the meeting as a quorum did not exist. A voting paper will now go to all members outlining the proposal and reason for change.
A short discussion took place over the changes in business Rates for those members who claim them. 2010 will see a significant change in the way Business Rates are calculated. The Government implemented a 5% increase in April 2009. The new rate together with the increase in Local Council tax raised the increase to about 13%. The business community applied pressure to the Government to defer their increase. As a result the increase can now be spread over 3 years, 2% in 2009 and 3% over 2010/11. The change will not come into effect until July 09 when business rate payers can opt for the deferment, providing they haven’t already paid for this year in full. Councils will be writing to all Business Rate payers.
As there was no other business Madam Chairman closed the meeting and again thanked all for attending and wished them a safe journey home.
The next meeting is Saturday 7th November 2009 – TBA