Choosing the right insurance policy for your park home might not be the most glamorous task on your to-do list but it is definitely one of the most important.
While we all enjoy perusing new interior design schemes and thinking about how we can transform our gardens, insurance can sometimes seem like an onerous burden. Trawling online price comparison sites, filling in forms, answering questions via an automated phone service... Let’s be honest, who ever looks forward to this?
But failure to do your homework and research the best specialist park or holiday home insurance firms could be one of the costliest mistakes you’ll ever make.
Fortunately, most of us never need make a claim but, if and when we do, it’s more than a little comforting to know that you’ve selected the right policy from the right insurance company.
If your park home meets a watery end after a flood, or it catches fire and is razed to the ground, it could mean the difference between being homeless and getting a nice, shiny new replacement.
While these are clearly two of the most extreme worst-case scenarios out there, they can and do happen. Just ask one of the many reputable, experienced and specialist insurance firms listed in our A to Z directory on page 58. All of these insurers offer a range of specialist policies at a range of prices to suit your budgets and needs.One thing they all have in common? If you choose a policy with one of the companies listed in our guide, it is sure to provide you with the necessary peace of mind.
But it’s not just insurance that we get to the bottom of in your December issue. We also look at site licence conditions and discover how they can have a big bearing on your day-to-day life. Antony Tregenna, our expert from The Leasehold Advisory Service, and Aimee Hutchinson, from Blacks Solicitors, examine all the implications (see page 94).
On something of a different note, with Chrismas on the way, we also explore how you can make the best of the festive season by saving cash. After getting a few sage tips from our feature on page 53, your bank balance (and stress levels) are set to improve!
Enjoy the issue.
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 3 FREE Peonies and 100g of fertilizer worth £18 plus a great magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
Depressing though it may seem to be thinking about the depths of winter while the sun’s shining and the autumn leaves are still on the trees, it makes a great deal of sense to plan ahead for the coldest months of the year.
That’s why we’re rebooting our popular Winter Directory for 2016 (see page 61). Many park home owners worry about keeping warm on the picturesque, but open, plains of our nation’s best sites. Some also worry about things like insulation levels compared with traditional bricks-and-mortar style housing and, consequently, the potential for higher fuel bills.
However, things are improving. If the outlook was a little chilly in places, it’s definitely starting to warm up now. The beefed up building standards that have been introduced for residential park homes just this month are clear evidence that progress is being made. For instance, insulation levels are much improved in our sector these days. Some diligent manufacturers even exceed the new, more rigorous standards, as we detailed in our feature on BS 3632:2015 in October’s issue. There are even companies like Park Home Chassis Services that will fit your home with an underfloor insulation system so every part of your park home, no matter what age, make or model, feels cosy.
It’s pioneering innovations like these that are helping to drive down fuel costs for park home owners, many of whom get by on limited disposable incomes. (We all know that it’s getting harder and harder to exist on dwindling pension pots and the derisory interest-rates available to most savers.)
In our Winter Directory, we aim to turn the spotlight on all of the specialist park and holiday home companies out there that are offering products, services or even advice, that could make your winter easier to bear. We hope you’ll start reaping the benefits and would love to hear from you if you do!
As well as our directory, there’s plenty more to get excited about this November. We’ve got some superb park sites to showcase in Warwickshire and Somerset, plus new model home reviews on stunners from Prestige, Oakgrove and Tingdene (see page 38). Prestige’s The LookOut really is an eye-catching home that is sure to turn heads, both at shows and events and, more importantly, the parks it is headed for.
Enjoy the issue and keep warm!
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 100 FREE Narcissus worth £28 plus a magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
It gives me great pleasure to officially reveal the winner of our second ‘freefurb’ competition, in association with park home refurbishment specialists, NuVex.
The competition, which was launched in 2015, gives park home owners with a tired or dated property in need of some TLC the chance to win a complete makeover, courtesy of NuVex and the firm’s big-hearted suppliers.
NuVex set up the competition - something new to the industry at the time - in a bid to show the park home community what ‘best practice’ looks like, and to debunk the fallacy that cowboy operators predominate.
The inaugural competition attracted such a high volume of entrants that NuVex - always keen to give something back to needy or deserving park residents - decided to offer another home owner the chance to benefit.
This year’s winner, Pamela Murch, of Briar Bank Park, in Wilstead, Bedfordshire, was delighted to win NuVex’s prize. Her 32-year-old park home was much-loved but desperately needed a new exterior and roof. Pamela, who is in her 80s, was overwhelmed by the radical transformation that NuVex produced for her.
A special word of thanks should also go to Pamela’s park operator, Berkeleyparks, and in particular Yvonne Stewart in the park office for entering Pamela and her home into the competition. This sort of kindness and thoughtful behaviour is undoubtedly one of the hallmarks of a well run park and all of Berkeleyparks’ 51 sites fit into this category. To read about the full extent of NuVex’s ‘freefurb’ and find out how you can enter the third wave, turn to page 70.
Pamela’s good fortune isn’t all there is to savour in your October issue though - far from it. We bring you a whopping nine parks in seven different counties this month, with a particular focus on Dorset with two great residential sites and one holiday option to explore in that county. With such a wide scope to select from, you’re sure to unearth your dream park among our choices. Start at page 10 and let your whistle-stop tour of some of the UK’s premier locations commence!
Another highlight is our industry-wide canvas of reactions to June’s Brexit vote. We wanted to find out what leaving the EU would mean for you and our community; each and every sector of our industry has its say, making for interesting reading (see page 60)!
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 40 FREE tulips worth £17 plus a magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
Well done to Duvall Park Homes, the picturesque park in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, that’s just scooped our prestigious Park of the Year award!
We received a shedload of original and entertaining nominations from readers at parks up and down the UK for the latest edition of our competition, which has been running for almost 20 years.
It’s always fantastic to be able to reward a park that’s both well run and genuinely loved by its residents. Duvall Park Homes certainly ticks all the appropriate boxes on that score, as our in-depth report on the winning park and the trophy presentation on page 10 illustrates.
We had a terrific time celebrating the victory with the park’s owner, Libby Durrant, and the residents when we arrived on site with the good news in July.
Thanks should also go to competition sponsor, Towergate Insurance, who provided the generous prize of £1,000 to be split equally between the resident whose purple prose stood out most to us - Jane Stubbs - and the park’s owners (on the proviso the £500 is spent on the park’s residents).
Adam and Lauren from the Cheltenham-based insurer take up a great deal of their time visiting residents around the UK and sponsoring our award represents the apex of their work in this field. Long may it continue!
But, as we all know, there are lots of other great residential parks in the country. We profile a brace of superb East Anglian sites - Anchor Park, near Snettisham, in Norfolk (see page 18), and Shepherd’s Grove, near Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk (see page 24). Anchor is a gorgeous park and the residents speak in glowing terms about life there.
Shepherd’s Grove, owned by the UK’s biggest residential operator, is another park in a top location. Backed, as it is, by Berkeleyparks, you’d be hard pushed to find better!
Aside from our annual Park of the Year prize, we’ve got a brilliant new competition you can enter. We’ve teamed up with Park Home Insulations to offer one one lucky reader the chance to win up to £6,000 worth of park home insulation products that could help cut your fuel bills by a staggering 65 per cent (see page 67).
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 100 FREE Cottage Garden Alliums worth £34 plus a magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
The dust has now settled following this year’s hugely successful World of Park & Holiday Homes Show, at Stoneleigh Park, in Warwickshire. The event, which takes place every June, is Europe’s biggest dedicated mobile homes show. As ever, the organisers, MPM Events, did a fantastic job bringing together our rich and wide-ranging industry.
This year’s event was the best attended ever; both in terms of exhibitors and show-goers. Well done to Pat and Jo Turner - you really are great hosts! If you’re a member of the trade who missed out on this year’s event, be sure to speak with Pat or Jo to secure your place for 2017. You can contact the Turners on 01789 491451. Don’t delay - we’re sure next season’s shindig will be even more successful (if that’s possible!). There were lots - 50 to be exact - of brilliant park homes and leisure lodges available to view at Stoneleigh Park. Our special review of the event (see page 28), takes you through the best of them. We’ve also got in-depth reviews of two show homes that really caught the eye: the Pathfinder Willow (see page 42) and the Omar Elveden (see page 48). I really loved both homes, for different reasons. I’d be really interested to learn what you think of them, and the other show-stoppers from Stoneleigh too. Why not drop me a line at the below email address and let me know your thoughts.
But it’s not just Stoneleigh that takes the cake in an exciting August issue. Don’t miss our lovely story featuring Marilyn and Derek Barton, who won an exterior cladding refurbishment on their park home worth almost £5,000 (see page 64). The unassuming couple, who entered the competition we ran last year with CNC Park Home Services, said they were ‘utterly gobsmacked’ to take the prize. Well done the Bartons! It just goes to show it’s well worth entering the many competition we regularly run in the issue! Finally, on a more sombre note, it is with great sadness that we report on the death of Colin Saunders, chairman of Saunders Park Homes Ltd (see page 78). Colin was undoubtedly one of the industry’s best known and loved figures - one of the ‘good guys’.On behalf of all the PH&HC team and those that knew him, I’d like to extend our sincerest condolences to his family at this difficult time.
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 36 FREE Pansy Plants, fertilizer and seed worth £25 plus a magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
There’s no doubt about it, the looming EU referendum has caused some prospective property buyers to become a bit jittery. Despite plenty of passion, supported by statistics of dubious quality on both sides, nobody really knows whether we’ll be better off if we stick or twist (economically speaking that is).
With this cloud of uncertainty looming large, is it any wonder that those considering buying have become more cautious? I should know: the expected quick sale of my north London flat has still not materialised. I’ll be very happy when 23 June has been and gone, whether ‘Brexit’ happens or not!
However, amid this turbulent political and economic landscape, the picture in the park and holiday home world has been mercifully brighter.
As I write this, the industry has been gearing up for its big annual event, The World of Park and Holiday Homes Show, at Stoneleigh Park, in Warwickshire. Just after this, there’s the hotly anticipated Royal Highland Show, just outside of Edinburgh. Business is booming in a way that the bricks-and-mortar market could only currently dream about. While the two are clearly linked, a cursory comparision of the mobile home and bricks-and-mortar sectors soon shows why the former is outperforming the latter. The key? Whether the market’s hot or cool, park and holiday homes represent great value, normally selling for tens of thousands of pounds less than equivalent brick-built detached bungalows in any given part of the UK. There are some astonishing bargains to be had - as our July issue focus on Scotland reveals (see page 58). We profile some of the best parks north of the border. There are great deals to be had on new show homes or pre-owned alternatives. We also explore some bargains in England too - Cambridgeshire, Berkshire and Sussex to be precise (from page 26)!
So, if you can live in your dream location for a fraction of the cost of bricks-and-mortar, it means you can probably afford to do a deal on your brick-built home, if you need to sell. (There are also some excellent part-exchange companies in our industry who can help speed things along for you too. In fact, we profile one on page 16.) Throw in the unique community lifestyle you’re buying into and it’s easy to see why our market’s still doing so well!
Alex Melvin, Editor