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Sandycove Holiday Homes Ltd

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06
May

2020

Ongoing Public Health Situation

Information last updated 06/05/2020 @ 1255


With May now upon us and over a month having passed since the Government directive to close, we have continued to carry out park maintenance and improvements – making the most of some fine weather. We have also been faced with some unexpected challenges in relation to the Coronavirus lockdown, in particular the publishing of some ambiguous consumer advice and the resulting spike in administrative duties.

To clarify the current situation, our parks remain closed to all caravan owners. Despite rumours that have reached us, no one is staying in, or is permitted to stay in their caravans. We have had owners call to the park to collect items they have deemed essential, but unfortunately there have been a few who have chosen to ignore Government Regulations, travelling in order to use their caravan and the park for recreational purposes. This has forced us into the position that any visits to the park for the purposes of accessing a caravan will be by prior appointment only, time limited and limited to two adults maximum. Anyone who is on the park without permission or prior arrangement will be asked to leave immediately.

With regard to Pitch Fees, we are aware of the advice that is being published – including Consumer Advice on NIDirect.gov.uk, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) advice and travel journalist/broadcaster Simon Calder. The position is clear and has been confirmed by legal advisors and the caravan park trade body, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association; there is no legal obligation to refund Pitch Fees, and they remain payable in line with the Pitch Licence Agreement. Any withholding of Pitch Fees would be considered a breach of that contract.

However, we do recognise the annoyance and financial difficulties that the Government restrictions have caused, especially to those key workers who would have used their caravans for rest and recuperation. We will be considering what goodwill measures we can take when the Government mandated closure is no longer in effect, so that we may reflect the period of closure in our calculations. Our calculations will be taking into consideration factors like reduced waste collections, and also the fact that caravan sales have stopped. It is an accepted fact that caravan sales subsidise pitch fees across the entire UK Holiday Parks Industry.

When we can re-open and sales can resume, we will be putting in place some astonishing offers exclusively for our existing customers. We think these will definitely be worth considering, if travel is to be reduced in the future. Alongside the re-opening of our business, we would anticipate that some new precautionary measures will be introduced, to compliment those already in place – this is to protect both our customers and staff. We will keep you informed.

Despite having had no indication or timetable from our Government as to when we may open the parks, we are aware of the timetable for the Republic of Ireland which has indicated that Holiday Caravan Parks maybe permitted to be open on a limited occupancy basis (or number of people per square metre) in Phase 4 of their easing of restrictions, on 20th July. We hope that we are permitted to be open sooner than that, and are actively keeping an eye on advice and actions being taken by the devolved Governments within the UK. Additionally, we have regular updates and communication with the trade body – the British Holiday and Home Parks Association.



With the current restrictions on movement imposed by the Government we have all been limited in our usual sources of information. Many of us are relying much more on the internet and it is important that we use sources that we can trust. It is sensible to know the source of the information in order to check the accuracy of what we are receiving online. Unfortunately and sadly there have been various scams, rumours and misinformation spread that have sought to exploit those who are more vulnerable. This is a downside of the various Social Networks that we use to keep in contact with other. Another downside is the platform that people believe it gives them to insult, attack and defame others. Such actions are a waste of time and energy, especially in difficult times as these. Remember to be kind.

We have decided to focus on our direct communication with our customers, it is for this reason that we will not be providing our updates through Social Media but directly to you via post or more preferably e-mail. Many of you have already provided your e-mail addresses and will have already received the update, but if you haven’t please send us an email. If you did not receive the text message that we sent, please include your up-to-date mobile number. Send the email to info@sandycove.co.uk (or tap/click here) with the following information.

Subject: Contact info.

Body:
My caravan is on
Park: XXXXXXX
My pitch/account number is: XXXXXXX
My mobile number is: XXXXXXX

We have an update ready to go out and providing these details will also help us to update you more regularly.


Our Holiday Parks have now been forced to close by Government.

The guidance published last night on this link confirms the businesses and premises which must now shut and must remain closed including:

‘Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses'

Those on the parks who can go home, must go home, except for people staying in their caravan as an “interim abode where their primary residence is not available”. We understand that this advice is not precise but If there is any reason why you cannot leave, you need to communicate that to us immediately in writing and preferably by e-mail to info@sandycove.co.uk, including any supporting evidence, such as exemption letters.

It is anticipated that the police will soon be visiting our Holiday Parks, as they have done elsewhere in Northern Ireland to ensure compliance with the Government direction. If anyone is found to be breaching the guidance without adequate reason, the Police will have the powers to act.

Compliance with the Government’s guidance should help us to be ready to resume business just as soon as the crisis passes.

Understandably there have been and will be enquiries regarding the payment/refund/reallocation of Site Fees but we need to prioritise, and we are taking urgent steps to protect our customers, staff and business. When the park is safely closed for business, we will provide further updates. Electric supply will remain on, and caravans remain connected to services.

We can barely believe the current situation we find ourselves in. It is an extremely emotional time, I’m sure many of you have experienced similar in your own place of work. Some of our staff have returned home already, some have stayed to help with the close down – these include several who are in the ‘at risk’ category. Our staff have gone ’above and beyond’ and done all that they could possibly do to keep the Parks open, but we have to admit defeat. We see daily how important your caravan is to you. It’s your ‘bolthole’, your ‘escape’ and what keeps you ‘sane’. We see how being able to stay in your caravan brings so many physical and mental health benefits. We are aware how disappointed and devastated both our customers and staff are but if we pull together, we can be back soon.

For the first time ever, through the troubled history of our Country, we now face being closed by the Government. We are absolutely devastated.

Stay safe and healthy and we look forward to seeing you back soon.



Previous statements - Now superseded by above statement



Unfortunately, as infection rates of COVID-19 are continuing to rise, more stringent measures are required to combat this.

The advice published regularly by the Government is escalating, in an attempt to ensure people act in a responsible way to protect themselves, others, and the NHS.

The latest advice suggests that people should avoid travelling unless it is essential.

It goes on to specifically say:
“Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.”

This advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-essential-travel-guidance

Whilst the Government has not decided that caravan and holiday parks should close it is clear that travelling to them must be avoided.

We are taking into consideration many factors in our decision to keep the parks open, these include:
  • The observance of Social Distancing measures.
  • Caravan owners already on-site staying in their caravans.
  • The proximity of caravan owners’ primary residences to their nearest hospital, and the choice of hospital would remain the same at the park.
  • Caravan owners preventing visitors (non-owners) to their caravans.
  • The risk of community infection being reduced and easier to manage at their caravan in comparison to their primary residence.
  • Reduced public transport services to and from our parks.

If any of these considerations are being ignored, then this increases the likelihood of spread of COVID-19. If a caravan park is identified as being a place where people have been infected, it is likely to be closed by the Government.

It should be noted that all Councils in Northern Ireland have closed their Caravan Parks (both Static and Touring) and will be asking those already staying to leave the sites.

We are therefore implementing the following policies with immediate effect;
  • All non-utility outside contractors are no longer permitted on any of our parks until further notice.
  • Our Park Wardens will be monitoring caravan occupancy including the number of cars parked at caravans.
  • Overnight parking at the car park on Ballyferris Holiday Park is prohibited until further notice.
  • Our administration will be monitoring the barrier access system for multiple entrance/exit events.

We stress that we do not wish to introduce new Park Rules to compel park users to adhere to Government advice on Social Distancing, but we will have no hesitation in doing so if necessary, to keep the parks open.

Sadly, our staff have also received an unacceptable level of abuse, intimidation and aggression. Some of this behaviour has even been received from visitors (non-owners) to caravans. Much of the abuse stems from the lack of services due to overdue accounts. Any abuse, intimidation or aggression is unacceptable and will result in immediate exclusion from the park.

If you are already at your caravan you must adhere to social distancing measures. If you are not at your caravan, you should act responsibly – follow the Government’s advice and avoid travelling to our Parks.

Telephone: 028 4275 8200
Email: info@sandycove.co.uk



Social Distancing
Sandycove Holiday Homes Ltd are strictly following guidelines provided by Government.

Whilst we are doing our upmost to keep parks open we would ask that all customers visiting their caravans adhere to SOCIAL DISTANCING guidelines.

All Parks are currently open but our Head Office and Park Offices remain closed - we would ask customers to respect this. Abuse of staff will NOT be tolerated. We understand that customers & staff are worried but negative comments and speculation are not helpful.

We will be advising customers of developments as we receive these from Government.

As our only means of updating customers quickly to this fast evolving situation is through our website and social media we would ask that you share this information with people who may not have access to this information.

Our Contact Details are as follows:
Telephone: 028 4275 8200
Email: info@sandycove.co.uk



Sandycove Holiday Homes are strictly following the guidance provided by our Government. As a result of this evolving advice, we have unfortunately taken the unprecedented decision to close our Head Office and Park Offices to customers and the general public. This is not only to protect our staff but also our caravan community; many of whom are within the ‘at risk’ group. We apologise for any inconvenience caused at this very difficult time.

At this time our parks remain open but this will be reviewed regularly and in accordance with Government advice.

Please be advised:
  • Office staff will be able to answer queries, organise jobs and take payments via email, telephone or post.
  • If you require Gas please telephone the office.
  • Please respect all other customers and staff on the park and isolate yourselves as much as possible.
  • Wash hands regularly and use hand sanitiser frequently.
  • The play parks and play areas are closed until further notice.
  • Please inform us if you suspect your symptoms may be Covid-19.
  • Caravans are still available for viewings but please contact the office first.

We would encourage the responsible use of your caravan and ask that you restrict its use to those in your immediate household.

Telephone: 028 4275 8200
Email: info@sandycove.co.uk
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