Latest insights from our experts

Posted 27 January 2015
by Paul Kelly

Tozers parklaw newsletter – winter 2015

Grainne StauntonMeet our parks lawyers
Succession planning is a key issue for many parks. Gráinne Staunton heads up the team at Tozers which help parks to plan for the next generation.

“As many parks have diversified as they have grown, it has become all the more important to plan ahead. Many of my clients are concerned to hear about the routine refusal by the Revenue of Business Relief for parks which receive a substantial part of their income from pitch fees. I can use my expertise to advise park owners on the current shape of your business and simple changes to maximise the likelihood of successfully claiming this all-important relief.

Why not come and talk to me on the Tozers stand at the BHHPA conference next week about how I can help you and your business?

You can also learn about our ‘Succession Planning Service’ for park owners. We will offer, for a fixed fee, a review of your business and personal circumstances from an Inheritance Tax perspective and an evaluation of whether your current Wills achieve what you would like, culminating in a report setting out how you could maximise the available reliefs on your death by lifetime planning or by Will.

I look forward to seeing you there!”

Consumer credit – what do you need to do?
On 1 April 2014 consumer credit regulation transferred from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA issued interim permissions to licence holders and all holders have now been informed of the date by which their application has to be made. Many of the early starters are finding the process involved and time consuming!

If you do not know, we advise you to check now when your application has to be made and start collating the information required, which is extensive.

We can help you decide what permission you need and to prepare some of the key documents to support your application.

Who owns your website?
Your website is full of content but how much of this belongs to you?

A website has many elements – domain name, business name, logo, text, data, imagery, any audio material and the overall layout, colour and font. Each of these may be protected by separate copyrights.

We can advise on whether the copyright in the important material on your website is actually yours and what you can do if any of it is not!

We can also help you with contracts for your employees and contractors (such as a photographer or IT consultant) to make sure that your business owns the copyright in their work for you.

Think before you Tweet
Mr Laws was a manager responsible for 100 Game Retail stores. He set up a personal profile on Twitter where he followed the individual stores to monitor the behaviour of employees. They in turn, followed him.

Mr Law’s manager described many of his tweets as “intimidating, racist and anti-disability” and offensive “to other groups of people including … the A & E Department, Newcastle [football] supporters [and] the police”.

Even though these posts were on a personal account, Mr Laws was dismissed for gross misconduct. This dismissal was upheld on appeal because his connection to the company was obvious from the fact that colleagues followed him and identified him as an employee.

Employees’ behaviour outside the workplace can affect an employer’s reputation but requires careful handling. We can help you introduce a policy which sets out clear expectations and also to address any concerns which might arise.

An increase in planning enforcement action?
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced a new “Planning Enforcement Fund” to help Councils pay for enforcement action against unauthorised development.

The fund is intended to help Councils to bring expensive cases to address serious breaches of planning rules, such as allowing permanent residential use on a holiday park.

To reduce the risk of enforcement action park owners should take stock of the planning situation on their park and where possible seek to regularise breaches of planning control. We can advise you on your options.

Some of the breaches may now be immune from enforcement action. We can help you regularise them with an application for a certificate of lawful use or development.

Pitch improvements on residential parks – when is it reasonable to withhold your consent?
In Cullen -v- Ball, the homeowner submitted a plan which detailed a proposal to erect a porch with dimensions of 1.65m in length by 1.2m in width. The plan showed that the porch would not be erected within the separation distance.

The park owner withheld their consent on the grounds that they would be in breach of the site licence, which contained maximum measurements of 2m x 1m.

In fact these measurements only applied to sheds in the separation space. Accordingly the Tribunal said that the park owner’s refusal to consent to the proposed porch was unreasonable because there would be no breach of the park’s site licence conditions.

The Tribunal did not have the power to order the park owner to provide consent. However they ruled that if the homeowner were to build the proposed porch it would not be a breach of the terms of their Written Agreement.

Whether or not to agree to building works on a pitch is a tricky subject. We can talk it through with you.

Pitch Fee Reviews – new procedures for Welsh Residential Parks
Since 1 October 2014 Welsh residential parks have been required to send two documents to start the pitch fee review process and must use the consumer prices index figure rather than the retail prices index figure for any inflation-linked adjustment. Other factors which may be relevant on some reviews will be any deterioration in the condition of the park, any decrease in the amenity of the park or adjoining land owned by the park owner and any reduction in services provided by the park owner.

We can help parks getting to grips with these changes by reviewing or preparing forms for you on a fixed fee basis.

Further parklaw advice
If these issues could affect you and you want advice please contact the parks team on 01392 207020 or email parks@tozers.co.uk

Want to know more?

Request a call back or ask us a question using our quick-contact form.
Alternatively you can call us on 01392 207020.

About the author

Paul Kelly

Partner

Paul is the managing partner of the firm