Colin, you started Frenton Farm 50 years ago what made you start the site, and do you still enjoy doing it? Well I used to caravan and I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought I'd set up my own site and give something back.
As you say, I've been running it for 50 years and really enjoy doing it. We're based right in the middle of Cornwall, halfway between the two coasts, so we get a lot of touring caravans and not so many motorhomes.
The caravans generally stay for a week or two and I have a lot of repeat customers some of whom have become good friends. In fact, one family come for a couple of weeks every year and help me complete all the jobs around the cl that I can't do because I'm now restricted to my mobility scooter.
How has this year (2019) been? It started off badly, but I think it's going to pick up and in fact be better than 2018 perhaps because of Brexit.
Would you say your CL is a profitable business or do you run it as a hobby? It's definitely a hobby for me and I doubt I make any money from it. In fact, it may run as a loss, I'm not really sure. I keep running it because I like meeting people and if we didn't have the CL we might not see anyone in this part of Cornwall from one week to the next.
You only charge £13 a night and you're a popular site is that enough? Well, I think it's fair, but I don't like putting my prices up because I've got lots of regular customers and that's what they expect. However, I am concerned about costs rising - particularly electricity. Everyone seems to have electric heating now rather than gas and of course that increases our running costs. For caravans visiting us in the winter, I'm going to start charging them at £10 a night plus the electricity, which they will pay at cost. I can do this as I have 2 hardstanding pitches with metered EHU. I think this is a fair way to charge.
Will you be upgrading your facilities or investing further? For some weird reason, the club Field Officer insisted that I add an extra Elsan point to my CL last year which cost a considerable amount which I need to recover, so I now have two chemical disposal points one CL with just 5 vans.
The photographs on your Club page are good, have you updated them recently? To be honest we haven't. I'm not really very good with computers at my age and although we have an excellent aerial shot of the CL which I use on my Facebook page, I can't work out how to get that over to the club to put on my club website page. In fact, communication with the club always seems to be very slow and difficult. I asked them for a couple of new signs over a month ago and I've yet to get a response.
How do you find the Facebook group? Yes, it's very useful informative. I enjoy reading all the trials and tribulations from others although I don't contribute many comments I'm surprised that rateable values haven't been more discussed. I'm pretty sure that business rates will rear their ugly head for CL owners in the future.
This interview was conducted in June 2019