Cornish Manor Owners’ Association Newsletter November 2020
A warm welcome to all members to this second edition of a Newsletter for 2020.
As 2020 draws to a close, it will be a year that will not only go down in history, but for most
people one to forget. There is now a green light on the horizon and it is hoped business can get back to normal soon. The Spring Meeting and AGM have not been possible, however it is hoped to resume CMOA meetings in the spring of 2021 with an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The meeting will be run on AGM format to comply with the constitution and enable the election of officers etc.
Message from our Chairman – Ted Hand
Dear Fellow CMOA Members:
I hope you and your families are all safe and well in these very challenging and
difficult times. It has now been a few months since I last communicated with you all. However, here we are just a few weeks from the end of the year and despite the restrictions placed on all our lives with Covid-19, time seems to have flown by. Sadly, we have once again had to cancel our CMOA AGM meeting, which should have taken place at Perran, on 8th November 2020. As a result of us all being unable to meet, David has put together this newsletter. Obviously, this newsletter cannot replace in any way the human
interaction and fellowship the meeting would have provided for everyone. However, I hope you will find it interesting and informative and a way to for you to keep up to date with all things CMOA, in 2021.
The pandemic has affected the whole of the world and has had a devastating effect on all people’s lives in some form or another. The UK hospitality industry has not been sheltered from the effects of Covid-19. In fact, as you will be all too well aware the holiday business has been very severely affected. The loss of business in all sectors of the hospitality industry has regrettably
resulted in business closures, job losses and impacted on communities. This has naturally had an impact on us as owners, resulting in a sizeable chunk of the season being lost and inevitably our guest bookings and finances being affected. Fortunately, the holiday business reopened on the 4th of July and was able to continue without further interruption to the end of the season on 31st October. Hopefully, the four months of trading resulted in all of you making a small profit or at least breaking even.
On the upside, with people being unable to travel abroad, there has been a huge demand for staycations. As I am sure you will be aware, during parts of August, Cornwall was full and there was not any accommodation available to book. Fortunately, the weather was lovely throughout the summer. Hopefully, this will encourage repeat business with guests wanting to come back again in the same numbers in 2021. This would perhaps go some way to offset any losses and auger well for the future for us as owners.
CMOA has been working behind the scenes on behalf of the membership and has secured concessions from JFH and MJL. Full details are in this Newsletter.
How has the year panned out?
At the start of the lockdown it was feared that the season would be a write -off with little income and bills to face.
When the green light was given for parks to reopen on the 4th July and staycation booking demand reported by the media was high, then there was some visible light on the horizon.
Site Owner Income Number of Average per
(Gross) Owners Letting Owner (Gross) %Variance
2019 267,130 35 7632
2020 233,143 35 6661 -12.72%
2019 733,249 67 10,944
2020 493,613 64 7,713 -29,52%
2019 633,407 65 9,745
2020 406,341 60 6,772 -30.50%
2019 368,411 38 9,695
2020 314,795 42 7,495 -22.69%
Although the average gross income across the 4 sites was 24% down on last year most owners were able to cover the fixed costs and perhaps produce a small profit.
Owners who claim business rates were given a helping hand in the form of a grant from the Government’s business rates Covid-19 relief scheme. There is further help available to cover Lockdown 2 for business rate payers. For further information and how to claim, please go to “Latest News” section on CMOA website.
JFH and MJL have also provided some financial help for owners due to the lockdown.
JFH agreed to reduce the ground rent by 50% for 3 months. The saving for most owners equated to circa £50, whilst Lodge owners who pay a higher pitch rent enjoyed a greater benefit.
MJL (Kenegie Manor) owners were credited with circa £75.00 for water & sewage charge.
During July and August staycation attracted a different type of holiday maker, one who was perhaps more used to a sun holiday in say Spain and couldn’t quite get to grips with a Self-Catering holiday in the UK, expecting for instance a daily cleaning service to be available, leaving more work for the cleaners and more damage for owners.
Help for the Hospitality sector
The Chancellor reduced VAT for the sector to 5% effective from 12th July to 31st March 2021.
Owners pay 20% for services and goods provided by JFH and MJL. With a little persuasion JFH agreed to apply the reduced 5% to the following charges:
- Ground Rent
- Service Charge
- Facilities/Management Charge.
Owners on JFH sites have been credited with the difference.
MJL are unwilling at this time to apply the reduced 5% VAT.
Further thoughts from the Chairman:
The situation with Covid-19 has also had a massive financial effect on John Fowler Holidays Ltd and Kenegie. Due to their businesses being unable to trade, staff had to be furloughed and sadly in some instances, staff had to be made redundant. However, despite investment plans and programmes being somewhat curtailed and paused during the pandemic, optimistic planning for the future by the park owners is still ongoing and will happen sometime in the future. Clearly, to get back to pre-Covid-19 levels, the implementation of some of the already planned
developments will take longer than the park owners and management would have wished.
Had the meeting taken place, not only was I looking forward to seeing you all again, but also to take the opportunity to reiterate what I said in the previous newsletter about the future of our CMOA. Next year is a big milestone in the history of the CMOA. It will be thirty years since like-minded owners formed the CMOA. To mark the occasion, we are hoping to hold some kind of special event. Should it not being possible to hold a CMOA meeting next spring, any ideas or suggestions you may have to mark the 30th birthday of the CMOA are most welcome.
Over the thirty years of our CMOA, numerous benefits have been secured on behalf of us as members.
Perhaps, one of the weaknesses of the CMOA over the years has been not to have promoted to the full, what those achievements have been. It is purely my personal opinion given the challenges and changes that will happen in the hospitality industry, that our CMOA will become more
important than ever for us as owners. One thing is for sure there is going to be a different way of life and doing business going forward. Much has been achieved, but there is still much to do. I believe together we can meet the challenges of the different world and achieve so much more as members of a strong ‘Our CMOA’.
As the saying goes – unity is strength. I do believe that there is unity within our CMOA. I am sure all of us buy in to what our CMOA has done, is doing and wants to achieve.
If I could change one thing in my tenure as chairman, it would be to have a more bottom up rather than top down CMOA. What do I mean by that? I would like to see greater involvement from all members. The site reps play a very important role in working closely with the management at the various sites. I can only speak from my personal experience as a rep. At St Ives there is a twice annual meeting with the manager, one before the season starts and one near the end. Successive managers have found these meetings so useful and invaluable. They were able to understand concerns and what the owners want in terms of the distinct, common and general elements/issues at their site. The meetings give the manager the opportunity to outline what is within their capability or remit. Outputs from the meetings which they were unable to decide upon or action, would be referred up to John Fowler Holidays Ltd, for the senior management to evaluate and decide.
The outputs and actions from the meetings are minuted and sent to the CMOA secretary. The outputs help to feed into the broader agenda for discussion at the meetings between the CMOA and Dr Martyn Fowler. Of course, all of this was dependent on owners feeding the site reps with issues that would be common to all owners at St Ives. Therefore, our involvement with our site reps is vital to shaping policy at our locations.
Currently, there is an under representation of site reps. The role of site rep is vital to achieving progress for owners at all John Fowler sites and Kenegie Manor. However, I do feel that there may be a bit of a misconception that the role of the site rep requires a big workload in time and effort. Let me assure you this is not the case. In fact, it is quite the opposite and does not require a great deal of our precious time. That said, it does not underscore the importance of the role and the difference the site reps can make for owners and site management alike in shaping the policy/operation of their specific site. Therefore, I make this appeal to you, please, please come forward and become a site rep or volunteer for a specific committee role within our CMOA and help secure a strong future for our CMOA.
We cannot do it without each other. Some of you may remember the picture below from a previous presentation, but it is at this time more relevant and important than ever for our CMOA.
Owners Booking Portal JFH
The Portal has recently been updated and revamped and now enables all owners to access:
- Owners can update their address and contact details
- Bookings – owners can view their bookings in two ways, a calendar view and the detailed view as they currently have. They will automatically be able to see current, previous and next year’s bookings. They will be able to cancel their own bookings and request a booking for themselves as they currently do.
- Statements – all owners will be able to see their statement ledger online in real time. They will also be able to make payments against their statement through the portal. They will also be able to view and download any invoices that have been raised against their account.
- All owners will be able to order and pay for things like gas bottles and services such as cleaning, servicing, safety checks, etc.
- Communications – all owners will be able to view any communication that has been sent out to them through the booking system.
- Documents – all owners will be able to view any documents that are stored such as their letting agreement, insurance documents, etc.
As from January all communication with owners will be via the portal, it is therefore essential that JFH has the owners email address. If in doubt, please notify JFH Head Office.
Plans for 2021
Due to the lockdown at the beginning of the season most of the plans for 2020 were put on hold.
The site will see the installation of Lodges over the next few years starting during the winter of 2022. The Lodges will be phased in over a 3 year period and will increase the economic viability enabling further investment for the benefit of visitors and owners alike.
The plan to demolish and replace the main building is still in progress, but is subject to planning approval, which has been delayed due to Covid-19. It is hoped that planning approval will be obtained over the winter period, together with approval for further Lodges to be installed. It is hoped work will be underway by the winter of 2022/23.
The site will be overhauled as part of this process.
As previously reported on there are considerable technical difficulties with Wi-Fi distribution on St. Ives, so in conjunction with the re-build plans, it is intended to provide a fibre optic cable solution enabling each property/lodge to connect to high speed broadband.
There are no major changes planned for 2021, but the programme of work established by Gavin will continue.
Kenegie management would like all owners to replace the free-standing electric heaters, which are proving to be a potential fire hazard, with fixed wall mounted heaters.
A new inventory list reflecting todays requirement for self-catering guests will be issued to owners who let through the Kenegie Letting scheme.
During the winter shut down the bar/restaurant area will be refurbished and should be ready for the half-term opening in February 2021.
Owners still do not have access to a booking portal even though it has been promised on many occasions.
A personal experience of the secretary Martyn Dale
2020, a year not to be forgotten but not one to be remembered. It started normally enough,
winter works all done by the end of February and feeling optimistic about the new season when that persistent storyline on the news about “corona” virus (along with jokes about beer and fizzy pop) suddenly became deadly serious. It was spreading fast, people were dying and a total lockdown was the only way forward and so it began.
Being a `glass half full` person I felt sure that it could not go on for too long if only from an economic view point, it was bound to end by the summer and we would be able to replace the cancelled bookings and earn some income, in the meantime the unseasonably glorious weather was there to be enjoyed.
At the end of June the government announced that from the 4th July people could stay away from their homes and holiday parks could re-open. Not needing telling twice and to salvage a week of our planned two weeks holiday we arrived at Tolroy Manor at 12.15 a.m. on the 4th and after some sleep were able to witness the effect of the lockdown.
All the staff had been furloughed except for the manager who had worked like a Trojan to try and keep nature under control (with limited success) but over the next few days the newly returned staff worked tirelessly to restore the park to its normal well-kept appearance.
We were also able to see at first hand the measures put in place by JFH to deep clean and sanitise all the accommodation as and when
necessary, all the measures put in place to conform to the new guidelines and laws which I feel sure went a long way to giving visitors the confidence to make bookings.
Add to this the problems associated with going abroad and I am pleased to say that Tolroy Manor has been fully booked until the end of October.
For next year we must hope that the government`s measures succeed, common sense will prevail, a vaccine is developed and although some will invariably rush back to the airports there will be many who have found that this country and Cornwall have much to offer and help to make 2021 a bumper year for those of us with a vested interest in helping them to enjoy their holiday.
Treasurers report—Arthur Saunders
The accounts show a loss for the year of £14.00. This is due to a fall in the number of members of around 17 from the previous year resulting in lower subscription receipts.
The Spring Meeting in Swindon this year was cancelled due to Covid 19; this had
however been paid for and we had a mixture of refund and a credit to use against next year’s meeting. This reduced costs by £478.50 significantly reducing the loss for the year.
The current bank balances are as follows:
National Westminster Current Account £1,204.18
National Westminster Savings Account £18,432.63
Please refer to year end accounts 2020 included with the Newsletter.
It was decided to move the savings away from Britannia Building Society after we encountered
problems accessing the account.
There are still some members who have not paid for the current year. If you are paying by bank transfer please make certain that your name and membership number are clearly shown so that I can send you your receipt and sticker.
If you are in the process of selling your property, or have sold, please use the “Contact Us” section, front page of CMOA website, so that we can remove you from the distribution list and if possible provide contact details of the new owner so that we can hopefully recruit them.
A big thank you goes to Jana Britton for auditing CMOA Accounts
This year has witnessed the departure of Kevin and Carenza – St. Ives and Matt at Tolroy Manor. Having spent many years with JFH, they have decided to move on to pastures new.
Between them they have managed all four sites and provided support to CMOA and its members. CMOA wishes them every happiness and success in their future endeavours and now offers a warm welcome to:
Darren Rowe – St. Ives
Paul Miller – Tolroy Manor
Darren Rowe comes to St. Ives with a wealth of experience in Holiday Park management that has been gained in the industry.
Paul Miller has been with JFH for a number of years – initially on the entertainment side before moving over to management under the guidance of Gavin.
There may still be a number of long-term members who will remember John Eymor, who sadly died on 9th November 2020 aged 95 years.
He and his wife Beryl bought one of the A-frame Woodland Lodges on St Ives when they were newly built in 1992 and became members of CMOA soon afterwards. He was at that time a semi-retired builder in Windsor but they later moved to Ludgven, from where he could keep an eye on his property.
He was not one to stand up and make speeches, but being a down-to-earth, very knowledgeable and personable character, he was ideally placed to chat to the staff and generally keep abreast of what was going on on the park (and all the relevant gossip!) He kept Pat Davis, who was the site Rep well informed ahead of the meetings and was known to stand on the committee briefly after Pat died in 1997.
John and Beryl later moved back to Windsor and finally sold the Lodge in 2016 when they moved to West Sussex.
His early life was full and colourful. He was an ex- Royal Marine and had been involved on D-Day. He had also been a keen sportsman in a range of different sports.
Our warmest wishes go to Beryl and the family.
30 Years young 2021
The inauguration of the association was in in 1991and next year it will be 30 years in the making.
During that time our predecessors have achieved many benefits for members and owners that we still enjoy today. The association was formed to protect owner’s interests because the parks owners were victims of the deep recession at the time and the sites were being managed by the receivers/administrators.
Committee members, who have given their time freely continued to look after members interests and as situations evolve they rise to the challenge.
Some of those achievements are listed below:
- Securing electricity at the standard domestic rate with no uplift or handling charge by the site.
- Securing the right for owners to arrange their own contents and building insurance.
- Informing members of the existence of business rates
- Removal of the surcharge
- Temporary VAT reduction – JFH sites
- Helping owners resolve issues affecting them.
- Assisting owners in the sale of their property.
- Helping new owners to buy.
The list goes on, but none of this can be achieved without the support and backing of owners like you.
The association invested a few years ago in its own web-site. The site now contains a wealth of information and endeavours to keep members fully informed on matters applicable to holiday home ownership and it is freely available to all members 24/7.
As mentioned by the Chairman, CMOA would like to mark this milestone in the association’s history and your ideas and thoughts as to how it is commemorated are most welcome.
To do so, please use the CMOA website “Contact Us” section for your suggestions.
A closing message from our Chairman is to wish you and your family an early Merry
Christmas and a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Stay safe and well and I look forward to seeing you all in 2021.