The Long Read: Marlie Farm Holiday Park
It doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t make sense..
Marlie Farm Holiday Park (New Romney, Kent) was purchased by Harts Holiday Camps Limited on the 29/03/1990, according to the land register.
However, Harts Holiday Camps Ltd started it’s life as Cinque Port Leisure Limited (below left), on the 1st March 1991. It changed its name to Hart Holiday Camps Limited on the 30th April 1991 (below right). How could either company have purchased Marlie Farm Holiday Park when neither of them even existed at the time of purchase. Neither of them came into existence until a year after the purchase, according to documents lodged at Companies House.
But that’s not the only thing that is remarkable about Marlie Farm Holiday Park. The Company on the land registry deed Hart Holiday Camps Ltd is a dormant company. This company does not sell Holiday Homes, it simply owns the land.
Hart Holiday Camps Limited is owned by Park Holidays Uk Ltd, Glovers House, Glovers End, Bexhill-On-Sea, England, TN39 5ES.
This is the brand which owns 29 holiday camp sites around the UK. However, Park Holidays UK Ltd is owned by Cp EquityCo Ltd. They in turn are owned by Tiger Group Limited who are owned by, Tiger Bidco Ltd who are owned by, Tiger Midco Limited who are owned by Tiger DebtCo Limited who are owned by Tiger TopCo 1 Limited . That is a eight-storey-high corporate tower. Now in Tiger Topco 1 Limited latest set of accounts, lodged on the 18th Sept 2018 at Companies House, it states at Note 26:
However, according to Companies House, the person of significant control of Tiger TopCo 1 Limited is Tiger Vi Investments Sarl, 6d Route De Treves, L-2633 Senningerberg, Luxembourg. Now a Signatory for the company in Luxembourg is Stéphane Lachance (pictured below) Senior Vice President of Maple Fiduciary, who we have met before in Oct 2017. Stephane specialises in private equity funds
Now coming back to Intermediate Capital Group Plc, which according to Tiger TopCo 1 Limited, accounts, is the ultimate parent company and controlling party based in the City of London – they are a private equity company.
Private equity firms are known for their extensive use of debt financing to purchase companies, which they restructure and attempt to resell for a higher value.
Debt financing reduces corporate taxation burdens and is one of the principal ways in which private equity firms make business more profitable for investors.
The chiefs running the show take annual fees, typically 2% of the value invested, plus a cut, say 20%, of any of the profits before returning the rest of the pool to the outside investors (this formula is sometimes known as the 2 and 20).
Now if you have made that tax efficient via Luxembourg then of course the chiefs will probably get more of that 2 and 20, as will the other outside investors receive higher financial returns and all very very legal.
(For a good read about why Private Equity isn’t really great, take a read of Chapter 9 of The Finance Curse by Nicholas Shaxson.)
Now of Course Marlie Farm Holiday Park has been in the local news lately.
The BBC filmed undercover at a [Marlie Farm] Holiday Park site, where it was suggested to a potential “buyer” that caravans could be permanent homes – which would have been in breach of its own licence.
Now Folkestone and Hythe District Council have made it very clear that caravans cannot be “a person’s sole or main place of residence” and said it was “worrying and disappointing to hear that buyers may be being misled“.
Now Park Holidays do say a Caravan on one of their sites cannot be your main residential address on their website
However, they do also say on their website
When can I use my holiday home?
– Miscellaneous, Ownership
You can visit as often as you like during the ownership season – weekends, weeks or longer periods. We will give you the opening and closing dates for the park you are interested in. Ownership seasons vary by park but are from 9 -11.5 months.
One should always read the small print if one is to purchase a static home as that’s where the devil is, in the detail. Consumer purchases though are regulated by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 but what about those who may rent?
Now how many people may live on Marlie Farm Holiday Park and are, or ever have been, in receipt of Housing Benefit paid by the Council?
What about the other 28 sites across the country?
Surely this would not be possible, as F&HDC have said caravans cannot be “a person’s sole or main place of residence“.
Does an assured shorthold tenancy make it “a person’s sole or main place of residence?”
We know of people who have had their rent paid, by their respective Councils, for living on Caravan Sites, not Marlie Farm, we add, but others in our district and in the North of Kent.
“Main residence” is not defined in law, but over the years there have been a number of tribunal/court cases (see details below) to decide what is and is not a sole or main residence. The council makes a decision on which property is the sole or main residence; areas that will be taken into account are based upon judgements from these tribunal/court cases. Factors that are considered include the following (this is not an exhaustive list):
in accommodation provided with employment
within your rights to occupy the property
at which residence you are registered with a doctor/dentist
where the majority of your possessions are kept
where you return to during periods of leave or at the end of employment
your long-term intentions
whether you are already regarded as mainly resident elsewhere for Council Tax purposes
where you are registered to vote
membership of clubs and other social activities
where you receive post
which property you regard as your main residence
how you split your time between your residences
at which residence your partner/dependants live
from which residence your children attend school
at which residence you spend time with your family
Length of time is not the only factor to be considered in determining sole or main residence, as is made clear in CODNER v WILTSHIRE VALUATION AND COMMUNITY CHARGE TRIBUNAL HC (RVR 1994 169).
COX v LONDON SOUTH WEST VALUATION TRIBUNAL (HIGH COURT 1994)
The taxpayer spent time at two dwellings. The High Court concluded that the sole or main residence was the home where the wife/partner and family resided.
SUMEGHOVA v McMAHON (2002) CA (RVR 2003 8)
This judgment does not concern council tax; it was in respect of a landlord’s appeal under the Protection from Eviction Act. The Court of Appeal held that a place where a person slept was of the uppermost importance in determining whether it was his main residence. In some cases, the place where a person slept may not prove decisive but nevertheless it was a factor which was likely to influence a court very considerably.
Of course, there are other cases and legal advice should be sought if you find your self in such a predicament, that being you do not know which of your homes is your main residence.
So back to the beginning. What we’d like to know is, how could Marlie Farm have been bought by a company that didn’t exist?
How many, if any, housing benefit payments have been made by F&HDC to any tenant or paid direct to a landlord, who occupies a caravan on a regulated site in the district?
Does an assured shorthold tenancy constitute “a person’s sole or main residence” given that where a person slept was of the uppermost importance in determining whether it was his main residence?
And what will the true owners do about the staff the BBC and F&HDC have alleged may have misled buyers?
Was it company policy to misled buyers across all 29 sites? Or was it simply rogue salespersons, based wholly and soley at Marlie Farm New Romney? We’ll leave you to mull that over.
The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime.
No of the above constitutes legal advice and we cannot be held responsible for any reliance on it.
A wonderful read and very useful information. Thank you
Another excellent article.