NRA chief executive Andrew Mercer has confirmed that the association is considering whether to convert Bisley’s Caravan Site 7 into another set of serviced caravan pitches similar to the new Spencer Site.
Speaking at the NRA’s annual general meeting last week, Mercer said: “Site 7 is the hot favourite for the next one for redevelopment.”
An NRA member – identified only in the meeting minutes as Howson, a Site 7 caravan owner – had asked Mercer whether the drainage and ablution block on Site 7 would be upgraded. Mercer answered his question by explaining that the entire site could be redeveloped along similar lines to Site 4, which is now known as Spencer Site.
Confirming that the redevelopment of Site 7 would start “next year”, Mercer said:
“The next development – we are looking to deliver the serviced pitches at a capital cost of £4-5k. Our plans are something like this; we found selling expensive caravans a very
challenging experience, we’ve decided that on the next development we would prefer to give
people the option to buy their caravan, to a standard that is acceptable to us and we are
looking to provide pitches that provide hard standing for the car and the van, foul drainage,
mains water and main electricity.”
According to Mercer, the NRA spent £334,000 on developing Site 7 and received £188,000 from tenants – giving a net cost of “about £146k.” The RPI-linked ground rent is expected to yield the NRA at least £50,850 per year.
The Spencer Site offer means tenants must buy one of three NRA-approved caravan designs from Regal Holiday Homes. List prices for the vans ranged from £24,000 to £34,000 in a letter dated February 2015 which is available on the NRA website (PDF, 288kB). Ground rent alone is £2,000/year and the NRA letter discloses another £1,500 in upfront costs when tenants move in. The rent does not include utilities consumed by caravan users.
Howson asked Mercer about the cost of the new vans: “Are they going to be half the price?”
“Quite so,” Mercer replied.
The chief exec also declared that 25 out of the 26 pitches on Spencer Site had been let, adding that he hoped the final pitch would be let by the end of the Imperial Meeting – which would let him keep the £5 bet that he made when UKSN interviewed him a few months ago.
Mercer contacted UK Shooting News to say: “We have not confirmed the redevelopment of site 7 – and have yet to finalise a camp-wide development plan that will include accommodation and caravan sites. I expect to publish plans later this year. The Bisley rumour mill does enjoy a good chunter but it is sometimes helpful to remind members of the facts!”
Accordingly, this blog post has been tweaked to make it clear that the NRA is looking at clearing Site 7, and has not actually stated it will go ahead just yet.