Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 19th March 2017
at the Village Hotel Swindon
Present Liz Ashenden Chairman
David Lappin Secretary
Arthur Saunders Treasurer
Site Representatives Ted Hand Christopher Nell
Attendance 42 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked all for attending.
Madam Chairman asked those present if they had received a copy of the AGM Minutes and if so, did they reflect a true and proper record. This was proposed by Mr Mike O’Neill and seconded by Mr W Pollock.
Shortly before the Spring meeting, Madam Chairman and the Secretary visited Ilfracombe for a pre-season meeting with Martyn Fowler. This took place on Tuesday 28th February and another meeting attended by the Secretary with Edward Newbold at Kenegie Manor was held on Friday 17th February.
The Secretary announced a solution has now been found to provide owners, who allow pets, with an income statement. The delay has been caused due to the intransigence of their IT Company in Australia, who are unwilling to make the necessary changes to the accounting package. JFH has now agreed to produce a manual statement of pet income at the end of the season. JFH wish to assure owners that all monies charged for pets that they are aware of is passed on to owners and is included in the gross rental/letting charge.
Important Message – Honesty Scheme Notice
Last year JFH kindly reprinted and re-introduced the honesty scheme notice through the managers. Each property let through JFH was provided with an “Important Message” notice. Unfortunately the person who arranged the printing was a little bit overzealous and emblazoned it with the John Fowler logo which gave the impression that it was a company message and not the message intended as private owners.
Martyn has now acknowledged this and has agreed to a re-issue the notice.
Please refer to revised notice attached.
The meeting was informed that other outstanding matters would be addressed under “plans for 2017” on the agenda.
Madam Chairman opened her address by reporting on the annual meeting held at Ilfracombe.
A range of topics were discussed from outstanding issues to future plans and the relocation of JFH head office now that Ilfracombe Holiday Park is under new ownership. The money raised from the sale has put the company in a good financial position and when the opportunity presents itself the company will invest in another holiday park.
Madam Chairman also highlighted that member’s concerns are addressed at the meeting and solutions sought, however it is not always possible to achieve a solution, particularly where high costs are concerned. Whilst it easy to criticise because all member’s concerns are not being addressed immediately, there is a structured plan in place to systematically implement improvements. It must be remembered that most concerns are common to JFH and owners alike by wanting site improvements for all.
Madam Chairman then addressed her favourite topic of effective communication by members to site reps and vice versa. For example use of the CMOA website forum. Not just for moans and groans but to report about the good things that are happening on each site.
The Treasure reported that a number of members still hadn’t paid for the current year. He had a couple of payments he could not identify as there was no membership number or name. He reminded members making payments online or by standing order to please quote their membership number. This number is quoted on renewal notice and payment receipt. The Treasurer also asked members to confirm their telephone number and email address are correct. He will be asking members to confirm details via the renewal form and payment receipt.
The Treasurer then informed the meeting of the current cash balances held by CMOA.
The current cash balances are as follows:
NatWest A/c. £ 1,065.00
Co-op Bank £18,328.00
The Treasurer repeated his call for a volunteer to audit CMOA accounts. Mr Mike O’Neill kindly volunteered.
JFH Accounts – Surcharge
CMOA was informed by JFH that the Surcharge system is a standard accounting system used by most holiday parks in the UK. It was introduced when VAT came into force on 1st April 1973. All businesses with a turnover, at the time, of £5000 were required to register. This system presented the holiday park industry with a problem as they were in the main acting as selling agents for private holiday home owners on the parks. Some of the owners would also have to register for VAT if they were running a business. This meant letting tariffs for private properties would be different for non- registered and VAT registered owners.
The example used by JFH was:
- Letting tariff for owner not VAT registered = £100
- Letting tariff for owners VAT registered = £110 to include VAT.
For marketing and administration this was not viable or practical. The industry then agreed with HRMC an alternative accounting for VAT in the business to allow the same letting charge to be used for VAT and non -VAT owners. It is important to note that is not charged on property renting, including self-catering. However as the Holiday Park owner was acting as an agent, the VAT registered owner was entitled to charge the agent VAT. Owners do not in reality raise invoices to the agent, so they pay the owners VAT on the letting. The VAT registered owner then has to pay the VAT to HRMC.
Initially VAT registered owners will receive a greater letting income than the non-VAT registered owner, but because the VAT has to be paid to HRMC then the system for both owners is considered to be tax neutral. No winners – no losers. The “Surcharge” column on owner’s statements is used for this purpose.
The above has been verified by a qualified accountant and former HMRC Tax Inspector.
JFH acquired Perran, Tolroy, St. Ives and Kenegie from the receiver in 1998. The accounting system then did not employ the surcharge system but accounted for VAT in higher commission and service charges.
The system remained in place until 2007 when JFH amalgamated it with their accounts.
Charges prior to 2007
- Commission 22%
- Leisure Club charge £16.00 per week
- Linen charge £16.50 per week
- Cleaning charge £13.00 per week
- Commission charge reduced to 18%
- Leisure Club – No charge
- Linen and Cleaning combined charge reduced to £25.00 (saving £3.50)
- Surcharge applied (reflecting the VAT rate of 17.50% at that time)
VAT rate reduced to 15% – Surcharge applied at 15%
VAT rate returns to 17.5% – Surcharge applied at 17.5%
April 2011 to 2017
VAT rate increases to 20% – Surcharge applied at 20%
The term “Surcharge” is confusing for most owners, but this appears to be a standard in the Holiday Park industry. Staff at JFH have added to the confusion by trying to give their own interpretation. Kenegie owners have been led to believe that the surcharge is the VAT element of the gross letting charge as it is printed on their letting income statement.
The Secretary advised the meeting that JFH were willing to review the current accounting system and remove the surcharge format. To do this, charges in other areas would have to be adjusted.
- Commission charge would be increased
- Leisure Club charge would be re-introduced
- Cleaning & Linen charges would increase
If the changes were made JFH assured CMOA that owners and the company’s income would remain the same.
A general discussion then took place, with some members requesting further clarification. There was no general support to change the existing system.
Proposals were put forward to employ a specialist accountant and another put forward by Ted Hand was to use a free service offered by HRMC.
The Secretary then reminded members present as to where VAT is applied.
- VAT is charged for all goods and services supplied by JFH and MJL (Kenegie) at 20%
- VAT is not charged on Rentals/Lettings
- Electricity and Gas is provided by the utility company and is a metered supply to the consumer i.e. property owner. The VAT rate is 5%.
- Water and Sewage is provided as a service VAT is 20%
Council Tax Payers
For owners who pay the normal Council Tax they are entitled to a refund of £50 from Southern Water. The money is claimed by JFH and MJL and credited to owner’s accounts.
The subject was covered in the AGM minutes November 2013. Details can be found on CMOA website under FAQ’s. Enter “water rates” in search box to find details.
Subscriptions –Paying by Debit/Credit card
Banks are closing their doors, cheques are disappearing and sending cash in the post is not recommended. These all present obstacles for CMOA and members ease of paying their annual subscription. As mentioned by the Treasurer in his report, CMOA has added another payment facility in addition to the ones already available.
- Online banking payment
- Online standing order payment
- Paper standing order mandate for members own bank.
Now to make it even simpler and easier for renewal of subscriptions and for new members to join, payment can now be made via CMOA website home page using Debit or Credit card.
The service is provided by PayPal but members do not have to have a PayPal account to use it. It is open to all.
The Secretary then provided an online demonstration for members present.
- PayPal payment section is located at the bottom of the home page. (scroll down to bottom)
- Click on number of properties owned and then click on PayPal button.
- Click on “check out as a guest” if you don’t already have a PayPal account.
- Enter details as for normal online payment.
- When complete the next box will show “Instruction for supplier”. Please enter your membership number in the box. It makes it easier for the Treasurer to identify the payment.
There is a £1.00 administration charge by PayPal for using this service.
All members are urged to pay on the renewal date of the 1st April or soon after. Without funds the association cannot function and it is very time consuming and costly to keep chasing members for payment. It is important to remember that the Treasurer gives his time for free as do all committee members.
Access to CMOA website
The password will be changed on Tuesday 2nd May 2017. The Treasurer will advise members who have paid.
JFH Plans 2017
The Secretary provided details of plans and proposals as supplied by JFH.
- Perran View is no longer up for sale and has now been completely removed from the market.
- Tolroy will not be put up for sale.
- Bookings to date are 15% up on last year. It is envisaged to level out at about 5% increase by the end of the letting season.
Following a failed attempt last year a new company has been commissioned to install Wi-Fi systems on the sites. Sandy Glade will be the first site and an installation is underway. If successful then work will continue until all sites have a full Wi-Fi service.
A target list has been drawn up based upon existing broadband speeds and distribution issues.
To date there are no plans for Tolroy, Perran or St. Ives this year. St. Ives will probably be one of the first for 2018 although it is recognised that there are some technical issues to overcome in achieving 100% accessibility for all properties on the site such as trees.
Owners Booking Portal
The history of previous year’s bookings on the portal was lost due apparently to properties, in particular Caravans, being regraded. The regrading is completed at the beginning of the new season and this is causing a problem with the computer software and booking history being removed for all owners using JFH booking system.
The Secretary then demonstrated the booking portal online for members to see that the service has now been restored. The only exception is for an owner who has had the property regraded. There will be no booking history as the system will see it as new letting property.
Kenegie Plans 2017
The Secretary reported the following for Kenegie.
- Advance bookings are going well 10-15% up on last year.
- Concerned about reliance on Hoseasons for bookings. More direct marketing required.
- A small retail shop is to be opened by Easter catering for swimming pool items and last minute essentials for visitors.
- Wi-Fi – scheduled to be installed during May. Full details for Kenegie members at side meeting.
- Owners Portal – Full details for members at side meeting.
Judith Hassel – Please refer to report attached.
Judith Hassel reported back that whilst Perran owners were pleased the site was being retained by JFH and the continued good work by Matt, Amanda and staff, there were still some areas of concern requiring attention.
- Car Park – The approach area and car park is in a poor state of repair and presents the wrong image to an incoming holiday maker.
- External damp issues on properties – Due to poor drainage external walls are constantly damp with algae and mould building up. Owners are concerned that the damp will egress into their properties.
- Road Lighting is subject to constant failures, particularly around the areas that have speed bumps, thus causing a safety hazard.
Action: Judith Hassel and David Lappin.
Christopher Nell – Please refer to report attached.
Christopher Nell reported back on behalf of Tolroy and addressed some of the points raised.
- Red fire extinguisher boxes have now been installed at strategic locations. The lids are alarmed and will trigger the site fire alarm system when opened.
- Seagulls continue to be a problem. Gavin is in talks with an organisation used by Cornwall Council, who will now be able to remove nests and discourage the birds from using Tolroy as their home.
- Gutters & Window cleaning. Gavin will be writing to owners to arrange for the work to be done.
- Gold rated properties and Pets. Question was raised as to whether a gold rated property could allow pets. If an owner qualifies as Gold and wishes to take pets, then Ilfracombe need to be informed and they will arrange bookings accordingly.
- Important Message notice – it was felt that in some properties the notice was placed above eye height, particularly on the Trevithick properties.
- A number of owners have now installed the “Dry Air” units and low wattage panel heaters. This has resulted in less moisture in the circulating air with an increase in temperature particularly in the colder winter period and the removal of damp odours, mould and mildew.
Ted Hand – please refer to report attached.
Ted Hand reported back on behalf of St. Ives and raised the following points
- The condition of the road network is a cause for concern and distracts from the excellent improvement to the grounds on St. IvesThe management has reconstructed cleaning and maintenance schedules in order to achieve higher standards. CMOA reps will monitor the progress.
- A service has been offered by a CMOA member to provide a regular window cleaning service for their properties. Full details in site report and on members’ forum.
- Members proposed that refuse bins should be located in bays away from properties where possible so that odour and Seagulls would not impair a visitor’s enjoyment.
Kaye O’Neill and Joy Polgase – Please refer to reports attached.
Kaye O’Neill chaired the meeting and the Secretary reported to members on the meeting held with Ed Newbold on 17th February at Kenegie.
A target date has been set for the middle of May, however as owners wishing to participate in subscribing to the service have not yet been invited to do so, there is some doubt in achieving a Wi-Fi service by May.
Ed Newbold is keen to provide a small shop service on site before Easter as a priority.
Arrangements were made with Ed Newbold to launch the long awaited owners’ portal at the Spring meeting today. The Secretary explained he tried to contact him for an update, but he was not available due to dealing with urgent family business. Further attempts will be made to seek clarification.
Owners who let through Kenegie letting scheme were advised to have a visitor’s book so they can cross refer occupancy to their booking statement. Also to ascertain as far as possible number of days occupied and letting income received against letting tariff in the brochure. The difference, if any, should be no more than 15% of the brochure price.
Pressure washing of common walkway areas and patios has been promised to be completed this spring.
Car Parking Numbers
Following an incident last year the repainting of car parking numbers has also been promised.
A number of owners have complained about poor TV reception causing picture break-up or loss of service. Ed Newbold was unclear as to who was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the CATV systems on site. The Secretary advised him it is part of the site services and contributed to by owners through the maintenance levy charge.
Some owners have complained the grassed areas around their property are not being cut on a regular basis. The emphasis appears to be on areas that can clearly be seen from the roadway and areas out of sight are being left.
Members present pointed out that Old Court painting had not been completed as was promised last year.
The Secretary confirmed he would follow up on all outstanding issues.
There were no particular additional issues members wanted to discuss at the point, as it seems the main meeting had covered most.
Mrs Kafetz informed those present that she a couple concert tickets available Saturday 8th April in the Penzance area. If anyone is interested please go to the forum listed under “General” for full details.
The Secretary announced the update of the “Service Providers” list on CMOA website, having received a number of new recommendations from members. If any member wishes to recommend or is aware that an existing provider is no longer trading, please contact the Secretary. It was emphasised that the list has proved to be of great value to members, but it must be kept up to date to continue its worth.
The AGM will be held on Saturday 11th November 2017 at Perran View.