CASE STUDY 1: Fillybrook
Sutton Hospitality Consultants are proud to present this case study – our fantastic farmland in Dorset which is currently being developed into a brand new five star residential park.
We asked owner Margaret, a few questions, including why she wanted to develop her existing caravan site into an alternative development.
Why use the land for a caravan site and why develop the land?
I moved to the Farm in 1993 with my husband, who sadly passed away in 2000. Paul is now my partner and we both live at the Farm.
The previous owners ran the site as a smallholding with cows, pigs and horses. There was a small, 5 van, all year round, caravan site adjoined.
When we moved in, I kept my own horses, and we continued to run the 5 van site, but demand was high, and we ended up with more than 5 vans for most of the summer but we weren’t complaining!
By 2009, having run the caravan site with around 20 pitches for over 10 years, we applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a 365 day of the year caravan site. It was granted with no restrictions on numbers, except for spacing rules.
Using that decision as a precedent, I applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness for permanent residential Park Homes, which was granted in October 2018.
I continued to run the caravan site, and will do so until I close it in September 2019.
Why I chose Sutton Hospitality Consultants:
Once I had the permission granted, I had to decide how to implement it, and it was obvious that we needed help. We started to do some research into Park Home suppliers and developers, and following my lawful application grant, my solicitors Stephens Scown, who works with Andy Sutton, sent me professional advice on the way forward.
Andy came to see us, and I was impressed by his “get up and go, make it happen” attitude, as I tend to work like that myself. I also have great respect for Stephens Scown who had given me his details. Credibility was paramount, and Andy’s sheer enthusiasm was his strength, and because it was his own business, he was very keen to make it work and enhance his already good reputation in the leisure business.
After our meeting, we decided to engage his services, and to date, I am of the opinion that we definitely made the right decision. He has been on the ball from the start, with a forward plan which is being implemented. He has an excellent team of professional staff and contacts around him.
Whilst Paul and I are no strangers to making developments on site happen, such as completely refurbishing the site toilet block and carrying out extensive works to the agricultural buildings, we have no experience of a Park Home development. Andy has the expertise and contacts we needed. We all have a strong passion and enthusiastic attitudes, and working together, I am very confident that we will have an excellent outcome with our 5 star residential park.
What do I see for the future?
I have very much enjoyed running the caravan site over the years, and meeting so many nice people, many of whom have returned every single year, some since I arrived here back in 1993. I have seen generations of families at our farm, therefore, it was with serious consideration, that I have decided to close down.
I now see the new development as myself and Paul “taking a step back” from the hard work and long hours of the tourism business. As there are only the two of us, and no employees, it has been impossible to go out together from very often, as someone has to be on site, on duty. It will be nice to have a Residential Park, which once set up, will have permanent residents, who do not require someone to be on site all the time.
I see the future for both myself and Paul, being able to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle. I have my horses and dog, Brook, and would like to spend much more time enjoying their company and getting out and about. I am also Chairman of Hurn Parish Council where I work a lot with the community and that can take up a lot of time. Also, a big bonus – we will be able to go out together at any time of the year, whenever we like – that will take some getting used to! For instance, if we both want to go out for the day with the dog to the New Forest Show in July we will be able to go. At the moment, while running the caravan site, that would be impossible as one of us would have to stay behind.
I am very confident that we have a successful future ahead of us at our brand new Farm development, with the help of Sutton Hospitality & the team.