Holiday Park Closures, Pitch Fees and Rates: COVID-19 coronavirus

Posted 27 March by Dan Ellacott

We’re currently getting lots of questions about pitch fees and rates in the face of park closures across the UK.

The implications of the virus will mean different things for different businesses. Some will invariably fall on harder times than others. Some smaller parks without clubs, bars and restaurants may find it easier to ‘weather the storm’. Larger operations with bigger overheads may not have so much room for manoeuvre. A lot will ultimately depend on how quickly we can beat this thing.

If people across the UK pay attention to guidelines and stay away the restrictions may be softened when they are reviewed in the coming weeks. However, if for any reason the closures of caravan parks (and other businesses) continue for longer, the effects will be harder hitting.

The government have introduced measures to help mitigate against the financial impact of the virus, but these won’t be quickly felt and business owners across the UK are struggling to interpret some of the information from HMRC.

Our advice is to pay your pitch fees - not only do you need to fulfil your contractual obligations but it’s important to recognise the importance of the park continuing as a business. Whilst we recognise the frustration that people have with making a payment for a facility that they can’t use, we will come out the other side of this and once we have, this will be the time to discuss with park owners what they can offer customers in the of compensation.

Indeed, until then we won’t know how long the closed period will be and what the effect is. Looking at how China is lifting the draconian measures in place, it will hopefully only be a matter of weeks in the UK as long as we can collectively ‘flatten the curve’.

The business rates ‘holiday’ announced by the chancellor will help all businesses to cope, but the facility will only serve to smooth the financial burden that companies will be suffering whilst they try to make it through the next few months and across the year.

It also means tough times for you – the caravan owner – and we understand that for many of our members having to find money to pay pitch fees in these times of uncertainty is a difficult call.

Speak to your park owner – are there any payment options to assist you? Can you switch to a monthly payment? Could you pay half now half later? Most businesses are being flexible during these difficult times and we’re already hearing some positive ideas such as extending opening seasons or adding extra on agreements.

We remain open at NACO HQ albeit that we’re on a more limited number of staff – both to ensure their safety, and to take on board the Gov’s advice about necessary travel and work.

Once the dust settles we’ll look at ways people can tackle their parks for recompense. Please be considerate of the team – we don’t have all the answers, and we don’t have any magic wands. Thank you and stay safe.

In summary…

Currently there is no guidance on how the parks will address:

-Reductions

-Discounts

-Refunds

Please continue to follow our socials for any updates as and when we have them available.