Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 18th March 2018
at the Village Hotel Swindon
Present Liz Ashenden Chairman
David Lappin Secretary
Arthur Saunders Treasurer
Site Representative Christopher Nell
Attendance 24 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked everyone sincerely for braving the snowy weather conditions and coming to the spring meeting today and also thanked those who had intended to be there but unable to make the journey sending their apologies.
Madam Chairman called for a proposer and seconder to verify Minutes of the AGM held at Perran View November 2017. Approval of the minutes was proposed by Simon Arkell and seconded by Julie Hailstone.
Shortly before the Spring meeting, Madam Chairman and the Secretary visited the new JFH offices at Barnstaple for the annual meeting with Martyn Fowler. This meeting was held on Thursday 22nd February and was followed by another meeting with Ed Newbold at Kenegie Manor on Friday 23rd February.
The long running campaign to provide owners who allow pets to receive a statement of bookings and earnings has now been accomplished. The owners concerned received statements at the end of last season 2017. This process will now continue. It is intended that Kenegie owners who allow pets will also receive a statement of income. The format has yet to be decided.
The Secretary took the opportunity to inform members present of a new “Pet Charter” which has been introduced at Kenegie. The A5 leaflet lists a series of do’s and don’ts steps and is issued to visitors with pets on arrival. Please see sample attached. The Secretary will try to get JFH to produce a similar charter reflecting the procedure on all JFH sites.
Welcome to our Holiday home
In an effort to reduce damage and breakages caused by visitors CMOA has tried to communicate to visitors that they are using a privately owned property and that we want them to respect and look after it during their stay. In the absence of a deposit scheme there is no way of recompense and the owner has to incur any costs. JFH kindly distributed “Important Message” notices to sites but unfortunately due to the prominence of the John Fowler logo, it gave the impression the property was owned by the company. A new message titled
“Welcome to our Holiday home” should have been distributed at the beginning of last season 2017. Due to an admin mix up, it failed to take place. The new version will be in place during the next weeks which will clearly identify the property as being privately owned. Please see attached sample.
Last year breakages/damage increased on Kenegie Manor, so management have taken a different road this year and are issuing a leaflet reminder to visitors on arrival that they are using a privately owned property or one that is owned by the park owners. Please see attached.
Madam Chairman opened her address by thanking members attending for braving the snowy conditions to get here today. She also confirmed the annual meetings that take place with Martyn Fowler and Edward Newbold and that all concerns raised by members are addressed. It is not always possible to get definitive answers at these meetings, but Madam Chairman assured all members that matters raised are followed through and answers/findings reported back.
Madam Chairman was disappointed to report the lack of representatives on the sites and an apparent apathy amongst the membership to volunteer. If full use of the association is to be made, then we need everyone to use their eyes and ears and then communicate – not just moans and groans, but also the good things that occur. CMOA website forum is ideal for this and members are actively encouraged to make use of it.
Please refer to Chairman’s full report.
Last year our membership total was 182, slightly down on the previous year.
The letters for subscription renewal were sent out at the beginning of March and I am pleased to report that I have received over 60 renewals so far for 2017/18 with another 30+ paying by standing order around the 1st April. Membership fees have remained at the same levels as last year. Renewal notices have only been sent to members who have not set up a standing order mandate in order to avoid duplication of payments this year. Reminder letters will be sent out about the middle of April to those who have not paid so far.
Please note, if you are paying direct into the bank account that you make certain that your name and membership number are clearly quoted so that the payment can be easily identified and therefore allocated to you. Your receipt, website password and window sticker will then be sent out.
The current cash balances are as follows:
Nat. West A/c. £ 1,276.91
Britannia B.S. £18,350.38
JFH Owners – Account Changes
The issue of the surcharge and its understanding has caused a lot of disquiet and discontent with owners, in particular owners who have purchased since 2007. Despite efforts to explain and clarify its existence the accounts are not considered to be open and transparent. This message has been put emphatically to Martyn Fowler. Today I was hoping to present to members an outline of what the revamped accounts would like. Unfortunately JFH have not got that far and have assured CMOA that they will be working on it during this financial year.
The format is likely to be:
- Adjusting the commission charge
- Facilities charge for all
Some other adjustments may be required, but the net effect should not change the net letting amount to owners.
JFH Plans 2018
The Company has now relocated its head office to Barnstaple after disposal of the Ilfracombe site to another Holiday operator.
The move has enabled them to upgrade and invest in high tech IT systems, which not only cater for today’s needs but for new technology as it comes along.
The sales team now have large display monitors showing:
- Calls waiting
- Time spent on each call
- Holiday bookings made
Having access to this data focuses the sales team on achieving maximum conversion of booking enquiries to firm holiday bookings. Good news for owners who let through the letting scheme.
Bookings are up so far on last year following the trend of previous years.
The investment in IT will allow JFH to change its pricing system to suit market demands better. The example provided was as demand for various types of holiday accommodation
increased, then the selling prices would also be automatically increased. The Secretary explained the system used by budget airlines was similar.
Refurbishment of JFH properties will continue in order to meet today’s visitor expectations Owners who let though JFH will also be encouraged to continue to update their properties.
Older buildings on St. Ives are being replaced with Lodges. Programme to be completed next year.
One JFH site opened for February half term. JFH is testing the market and has no plans to roll it out to other sites at present.
The Secretary took the opportunity to remind owners that if at some point JFH did wish to open in February; members wishing to take bookings would have to ensure they have a 12 month use on their property. Most properties were issued with a 10 month planning regulation with some having 8 months. Details of how to apply for 12 months and costs are on CMOA website.
Inventory – Crockery – cooking utensils etc.
A new list is being put together to reflect current requirements (no rolling pins or baking bowls).
Modern Crockery designs and associated costs will be available.
At this point the Secretary addressed the costs incurred in replacing broken/damaged items with members complaining that they are being overcharged. The issue was raised with JFH as to what the company’s mark-up on replacement items was. The company responded by stating it did not operate a fixed mark-up percentage as it depends on the item. A number of examples were given:
- Items supplied from the company’s stock will attract a small handling charge; however as the company buys in bulk the item will probably be cheaper than the standard retail price.
- Items purchased locally will also be subject to a handling charge to cover fuel and administration.
- Larger refurbishment/improvement items such as the cladding programme for properties on Perran View are suppled at cost.
It has to be remembered that any item supplied by the company will be subject to VAT at 20%.
All bedding is now or in process of being changed to white/cream linen.
Madam Chairman explained to members present what it consisted of and how it was being implemented.
Matt Mitchell, Perran View manager has been promoted to run a larger site at Widemouth. Amanda his former number 2 has now taken the reins.
JFH Property Buy-Back
Some members may be aware that are JFH buying owners properties. The company policy is to increase its own rental stock when holiday demand is increasing and to sell stock if the holiday market is in decline. The type of property they are willing to purchase will depend on how it fits into their requirements. However, the policy is only to make an offer, if the property has been on the market for some time and is proving difficult to sell. It is important for members to know that if they wish to sell and are approached by a buyer, that they know who the potential buyer is. If it is a company (JFH), then the sale could be classed as commercial, in which case the legal and conveyancing fees are likely to be far higher than a normal private transaction.
Kenegie 2018 Plans
Bookings continue to improve and are 17% up on last year so far.
The Park now opens for the half term break in February and owners who let through the Kenegie letting scheme are encouraged to make their properties available and take advantage of the extra bookings. February bookings are 12% up on last year (2017). Owners wishing to participate must ensure that they have 12 month usage permission from Cornwall Council.
The promised Wi-Fi distribution system did not materialise in 2017 due to issues with BT Openreach. Work is now underway and should be up and running in the near future.
A pet charter for guests bringing pets along is now in operation. Each guest with a pet is given a copy of the charter on arrival.
MJL owners of Kenegie are keen to increase their investment as funds allow. They will continue to improve the grounds including maintaining access roads in good repair.
Policy on use of Holiday homes – Cornwall Council
The Council has formulated a usage policy for holiday homes and was due to publish this in February 2018 but this has now been delayed.
One area that is being looked at is the number of owners claiming business rates. The council has complained to central government thatis losing out on income due to business rates being in the main zero for self-catering holiday homes. An exercise has been carried on one site and it is estimated the council is losing £60k a year in council tax receipts due to business rates being claimed by owners not entitled to do so.
Business Rates compliance
In order to ensure compliance with business rates criteria, owners letting properties must ensure the following:
Number of days property available = 210 days – 30 weeks
Number of days to be let = 105 days – (15 weeks)
Owners letting through JFH or MJL should automatically qualify. Owners who let privately must keep a record of bookings for inspection at all times. Letting to friends and family does not count unless a charge is made.
Due to the adverse weather conditions resulting in fewer members being able to attend the meeting, the side meetings were abandoned and the meeting reconvened following the Tea/Coffee break.
Madam Chairman asked for matters specific to each site to be addressed.
Christopher Nell reported on Tolroy:
- The Manor House has now been repainted and gives a good impression to visitors.
- Lighting has been replaced around the site.
- The Carvery area has been re-carpeted, which makes it look much more appealing to diners.
- The squash court roof has now been replaced – confirmed by Gavin Lewis site Manager.
- New tarmac has been laid to repair damaged road surfaces and also part of the car park has been tarmacked.
- Spikes to prevent seagulls nesting have been fitted to properties on Strawberry Hill.
- The cold winter has caused problems with burst pipes and flooding. The site management does not hold keys to some properties nor have a contact address. Some of the properties have suffered water damage. The owners will not be aware until they make their next visit. All owners who let privately are asked to supply keys or a contact address in case of emergency.
Please refer to site report for full details.
Secretary reported on Kenegie
Owners Booking Portal
Assurance was given by Ed Newbold at the meeting with the Chairman and Secretary that the portal would soon be available, which would hopefully contain booking price information. The Secretary expressed disappointment that the portal is still not available despite promises 2 years running.
The updated situation is that BT Openreach has now completed the connections, but further technical issues now exist on the distribution side, despite being assured everything was in place pending BT connection.
Patios and common paved areas have finally been jet washed, which has improved the appearance and safety.
Some owners have complained of areas being unlit during the closed season. Lighting has been switched off to save money during this time. It was pointed out that this policy presented health and safety issues and the management did have a duty of care. The policy will be reviewed before next winter’s closure. There are other lighting issues around the site due to faulty or damaged underground cables. Also some lighting runs off solar panels, which does not produce enough power to sustain lighting during the winter. These problems are being addressed.
The programme of numbering car parking places has been completed for Park Bungalows and Old Court will be completed by the end of the year.
There have been complaints about the frequency of grass cutting immediately in front of houses. It is understood the grass in these areas is cut on a 3 weekly cycle. This will be changed to every 2 weeks (weather permitting).
Glenn Bramwell – deceased
Many owners on Kenegie will have personally known or knew of the late Glenn Bramwell. Glenn was associated with Kenegie for many years going back to the time when Domain Leisure owned the site. He provided many services for owners as well as his core skills as an expert plumber. He will be sadly missed by many, however Kenegie management together with CMOA wish to keep his memory alive by installing a commemorative bench seat in one of his favourite spots on Kenegie.
The cost is likely to be in the region of £400.00 and donations from those who knew him as well as any owner on Kenegie will be most welcome. There are approx. 100 privately owned properties on Kenegie, so a relatively small donation form each owners would soon raise the amount needed. Kenegie management will write to all owners with further details on cost and how to donate.
A question was raised about responsibility of cleaning gutters and replacing rotten woodwork on the fascia’s. The Secretary commented that CMOA had addressed this subject many times before. As there is no wording in the lease to state that is the lessor’s responsibility for cleaning and repair other than painting of facia boards etc., it becomes the owner’s responsibility as being part of the building structure. It was recognised that gutters have been cleaned under different management in the past.
Madam Chairman reported on St. Ives and referred to Ted Hand’s report of 21st February.
As previously mentioned the programme of replacing older chalets with Lodges is ongoing.
Maintaining cleaning standards is an issue for St. Ives. A recruitment drive is under way to attract locally based cleaning staff.
Moisture and condensation
As dry air units have proved to be successful in controlling damp and mould etc. a policy decision has been taken on St. Ives for all properties let through JFH to be fitted with a unit.
Water and Electricity charges
Complaints have been received from some owners, who believe they are being overcharged for water and electricity.
Water/sewage is charged as a percentage of the ground rent and is not based on usage. CMOA will ascertain the calculations used from JFH.
Southwest Water charges more than any other water company in the UK. Full Council Tax payers receive a £50.00 yearly rebate from the Company.
Action: D Lappin
This utility is a metred supply and charged on a per unit consumed basis. The unit cost is determined by the energy supplier and not by JFH. The more energy consumed by paying guests etc. the higher the cost.
Ted Hand has successfully persuaded First Bus to begin the bus service earlier in the season at Easter to Penzance and St. Ives.
Please refer to St. Ives report dated 21st February 2018 for further information. Copy attached.
Secretary support by John Youdell reported on Perran View
A report was compiled by Judith Hassell
Judith reported that the site continues to improve visually. Matt has moved up the JFH ladder and Amanda has now taken the reins and is continuing with the improvements.
A section of the entrance car park has now been resurfaced and is in the process of being lined for parking bays. Further sections will be completed over the next couple of winters.
Cladding and painting of properties is now underway. All JFH properties front facades are being cladded. The service is being offered to all owners at cost price. The cladding is very durable and a long life and virtually maintenance free. It is intended to clad the rear of properties once this programme is complete.
A new standardised inventory is available covering crockery, utensils etc.
Re-equip 2 Bed property = £200.00
3 Bed property = £230.00
For further details please contact Amanda.
Please refer to full report attached
Kenegie owners would also like a bus service as it already passes the front entrance going between Penzance and St. Ives. The Secretary stated he had addressed this with Ed Newbold who was also keen for the service. There are many city dwellers who do not possess their own transport, but have the same desire to holiday at the likes of Kenegie. It was agreed that MJL will write to First Bus requesting a bus stop and CMOA will support it. The Secretary will ask Ted Hand for his assistance.
The Secretary appealed for help with the agenda, stating it was put together some 2 months earlier and needed to be interesting and informative and to avoid revisiting subjects that had been discussed many times. He asked members to provide topics for the agenda and to let him know in advance of the next meeting.
A list of Service Providers was put together by members a number of years ago. The list contains trades people etc. that members have used and recommend to others. However like any list/directory it has to be kept up to date and only CMOA members can do this. The Secretary will issue an update form for members use with the minutes.
CMOA Website – Password
A new password will be issued by the Treasurer with payment receipts and will be effective on Tuesday 1st May 2018.
Members are asked to log-on as soon as the password is received. Once logged on please save the password on your PC, Tablet or phone. This will remove the need of having to remember it and also providing easy access to the site, in particular to use the forum to record your experience and findings whenever you or friends and family visit the site.
The AGM 2018 will be held at Tolroy Manor on Saturday 3rd November. As this is the last day of the holiday season, members arriving on the Saturday are requested to inform their site so that their properties can be cleaned early. Members on the letting scheme intending to arrive earlier should book their property out for themselves.
Madam Chairman closed the meeting thanking again all for their support in attending and wishing them a safe journey home.