Cornwall has many Park Home communities, occupied by over 3,400 residents across the county. This is twice the average for the whole South West region.
Park homes are usually restricted to occupancy by people over the age of 55 and are promoted as an ideal retirement option. Residents may be ‘downsizing’ or require a cheaper alternative to conventional housing due to restricted means.They are small and potentially easy to maintain whilst offering a sense of community and a safe environment.
However a high proportion of park home residents are considered vulnerable and may be in receipt of means-tested benefits and/or disability related benefits. The inadequacies of some park homes in terms of poor energy efficiency, reliance on expensive forms of heating and restrictions imposed by site owners can exacerbate the difficulties faced by these vulnerable people.
Issues with Park Homes
- Not considered a permanent residence so do not have to meet building regulation standards.
- Energy Performance Certificates cannot be provided for park homes so prospective purchasers cannot compare the energy efficiency of park homes to conventionally built properties.
- Park homes are built to last approximately 25 years, yet some are a lot older. Those built before 1996 have a particularly poor level of insulation.
- Residents have limited access to competitively priced forms of heat. Bulk LPG, bottled gas and oil are the usual heating options.
- Utilities are often purchased through a site owner and residents may be restricted to a single supplier and unable to shop around for the best price.
- Permission is required for any alterations to properties which complicates improvement works.
- Park homes are often poorly insulated. For example a thin layer of mineral wool is used when constructed. This sags over time in the walls and becomes ineffective.
- Roofs are either flat and therefore uninsulated, or pitched with fragile access and hence difficult to treat for heat loss
Insulating your park home means you will be able to enjoy:
- A warmer, less draughty home.
- Reduced condensation and mould on internal walls.
- Improved soundproofing.
- A reduction of your heating bills of up to 40%.
- A refreshed external appearance of your home. The weatherproof finish also reduces the need for repainting and maintenance.
Community Energy Plus Park Homes Project
Between January 2013 and April 2014, Community Energy Plus delivered a project funded by Cornwall Council which improved the energy efficiency of 60 park homes in Cornwall.
Tremarle Home Park Residents Mr & Mrs Nutter are among those to have benefitted from the scheme:
“Last winter we were spending £50 a week on bottled gas because the heat escaped so quickly. We were too frightened to set our thermostat any higher than 18 degrees because of the cost, even though we felt the cold and it was affecting our health. We are very pleased with the end result, our home looks like new again and we are not facing the coming winter with trepidation which we would have been if the work had not been carried out. An added bonus of this system is that it makes our home a lot quieter, winter will be cosy!”
Mr & Mrs Nutter, Camborne