‘We’re absolute beginners,’ crooned the late, great David Bowie on one of his most popular and arresting hit songs. While the androgynous artist may not have had park homes on his mind when he penned these lyrics, he was right about one thing: when it comes to learning about something new, nothing’s easy.
Dipping a maiden toe into the previously uncharted waters of mobile home living can, therefore, be both exciting and daunting. Let’s face it: when you’re out of your comfort zone, you can sometimes need a bit of a helping hand. That’s why we’re refreshing and rebooting our popular Beginners’ Guide to Park Home Living for 2017. Our comprehensive 32-page guide, kindly sponsored once more by Tingdene Parks, boasts an Aladdin’s Cave of essential information for the uninitiated... as well as plenty of pointers, real life stories and advice for those who already live the dream on a UK park site. Turn to page 47 and let the fun begin. You never know, your ‘golden years’ may be just about to begin!
For those after help and advice on day-to-day park home matters, don’t fret - we’ve got that well and truly covered, too!
We’ve got a fantastic piece on dewinterizing your park home and getting it ready for the spring and summer months ahead. Now that the worst excesses of cold appear to have disappeared, we’re all probably safe to turn off, or at least turn down, the thermostats on our central heating systems, and plan for kinder, more clement seasons. (If you were unsure, or wavering, Npower and British Gas’s proposed fuel bill hikes have probably made the final decision for you anyway!) Turn to page 79 for all our expert tips!
Many park home residents’ minds also start to turn to their annual pitch fee increases at this time of year, too. With Retail Prices Index (RPI) figures on something of an alarming rise, there’s never been a better time to ensure you fully understand how these increases are calculated and when they can be applied. The Leasehold Advisory Service’s specialist park homes team lend their time and expertise to this specialist issue on page 107.
Finally, we’ve also brought you lots more new homes to inspect and great parks to explore. Enjoy this cracker of an issue!
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our great reader offer of 9 FREE Hardy Fuchsias worth £20 plus a great magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
Ahead of the hotly anticipated Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, which takes place at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC), from 21 to 26 February, we’ve got a very special March issue that will whet your appetite for all things show-related!
As well as an indispensible show preview that details everything you’ll ever need to know to help you prepare for this bacchanalian mid-winter orgy of outdoor living, we also offer you a fun run-through of all the best homes, parks and related specialist suppliers and services at the event (turn to page 42). What could be better than that?
Among the parks featured in our show special, we turn the spotlight on luminaries like Sunningdale and Peaklands parks, both in Derbyshire. These stunning parks occupy enviable locations very close to the NEC. They both boast representatives at the show and both have fabulous new homes for sale. Why not pop along to the event and find out more?
You could even visit both sites, along with the scores of other park options with a presence at the NEC, while you’re there!
Away from the bright lights and delights of Birmingham’s finest indoor exhibition arena, look out for park stories on blue riband sites in Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Cheshire and Cambridgeshire (from page 10).
We’ve also got a fascinating company profile on David Light Park Homes - a long established and well respected park operator that has been making a concerted expansion effort in recent months. The company is now one of the UK’s largest residential park home owners with a whopping 34 sites in its burgeoning portfolio. Find out the secrets to the company’s success on page 26!
If you want brand new homes, along with information on the best places to find them sited, look no further than your March issue either. This month, we run the rule over the Wessex Cranborne, Homeseeker Seascape and Pathfinder’s fantastic new show-stopper, the Stockholm (from page 28).
We’ve also stuffed our issue with legal help, as we know how much you value it. Don’t miss Neil Miller’s top ten tips for buying a home (page 86), or LEASE’s advice on utility charging (page 91).
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 35 FREE snowdrops worth £21 plus a great magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
There are a couple of really exciting shows that take place at this time of year: the Caravan and Motorhome Show, from Manchester’s Event City, which will be happening as you read this magazine; and February’s Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show at the SECC. It’s with these hotly-anticipated events very much in mind that we’ve curated an issue that’s full of northern soul...
We’ve scoured the north of England and Scotland for the region’s premier residential and holiday park options for your delectation. I hope you’ll agree that we’ve managed to unearth some real pearlers! Whether you’re looking for a picturesque park in the heart of the Lake District, a community site close to the M6 and its major cities, or a relaxing country retreat north of the border, your February edition has the answers. Turn to page 26 to begin your intrepid expedition!
But it’s not just those who’re after the north country that we’re catering for... We’ve also brought you two superb sites in the often underrated county of Shropshire. Did you know that Shropshire is England’s least densely populated county? If you’re after an escape from the rat race and the worst excesses of the ‘modern’ world, our duo of park choices are sure to get your juices flowing (see page 10).
Finally, let’s not forget the magical homes that make the UK’s parks such enticing places. This month we take you on a tour of three select models from Pathfinder, Stately-Albion and relative newcomers, Sovereign. We also get the lowdown on fellow newboys, Red Rose.
Turn to page 60, put the kettle on and enjoy a cuppa while you’re perusing our reviews and profiles and imagine yourself relaxing in one of these super spaces!
There’s plenty there to quicken the pulse and get the heart racing so, to temper all that excitement, we’ve also got some great legal help and advice to ensure you’re correctly clued up.
The Leasehold Advisory Service’s Antony Tregenna explains exactly how to go about forming a Qualifying Residents’ Association - there’s more to it than you might think - and then outlines how you can get your association formally recognised by your site owner (see page 98). Fascinating stuff!
Enjoy the issue!
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of a FREE Potato Growing Kit worth a whopping £23 plus a great magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
The dawning of a new year often brings renewed hope and anticipation for the forthcoming 12 months. I know it’s just an arbitrarily defined date but there’s something about starting anew that galvanizes us into tackling new projects, trying new things or simply addressing long-standing problems. Instead of making hard-to-achieve New Year’s Resolutions that founder within the first few months of 2017, turn to page 51 and read our all-new Suppliers and Services Directory instead! Our comprehensive directory is bigger and better than ever and lists experienced, trustworthy and reliable specialists in many a park home field. These include refurbishment companies, decking and verandah fitters, insurance providers, part-exchange firms and many more.
So, if you spent the lion’s share of 2016 procrastinating over whether to get your park home’s exterior reclad, pondering the best way to replace your ailing garden shed or simply umming and ahhing over who to choose to redecorate your living room - stop right there! Our directory has all the answers you’ll ever need!
But it’s not just our homes and gardens that need maintaining, protecting, updating or overhauling. No, we have to think about bank balances sometimes, too. If you are contemplating living la dolce vita on one of the UK’s premier parks, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge than now. Our special feature examines the landscape of post-Brexit vote Britain and, intriugingly, concludes that park living could see you on the side of the victors. Turn to page 99 to find out why, and how you could benefit.
As well as this, we visit two award-winning parks and get the lowdown from some fantastic people on what it is that makes a park’s social scene special.
Teena Ettridge scooped our inaugural Park Warden of the Year award for her sterling endeavours on Takeley Park, in Hertfordshire (see page 24). Teena tells us all about how she helps the park’s social club committee have more fun, on and off the site! We also travel to Staffordshire to meet big-hearted Peter Blakeway, chairman of Lower Lodge Park’s residents’ association (see page 10). He, too, has won a new PH&HC award: Resident of the Year 2016. This modest and unassuming chap doesn’t think it, but he’s a real park champion and we reveal how inside.
Enjoy the issue!
Alex Melvin, Editor
PS: Don’t miss our reader offer of 20 FREE Perennials worth a whopping £35 plus a great magazine subscription offer if you subscribe for 12 months!
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!