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!
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!