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Advertising feature - Grove Park

IT'S getting on for 20 years since Colin Crickmore purchased his first residential park, back in 1990. Since then he has added three more to his stable, including the acquisition in 2001 with his son James, of the prestigious Plumtree Mobile Home Park in Marham, Norfolk. But it is to the Crickmore Parks Grove Mobile Home Park in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire that we paid a visit this month.

The market town and inland port of Wisbech, which lies 24 miles to the north east of Peterborough, is known as ‘The capital of the Fens’, and famed for its beautiful Georgian architecture. In the 18th Century, when Wisbech prospered as a wealthy port in a rich agricultural area, landowners and merchants built their houses along the banks of the tidal River Nene, which runs through the town.

Facing each other across the water, North Brink and South Brink are among the finest Georgian streets in England. They have changed little over the years, TV and film companies making use of them for period productions.

Wisbech once also boasted its own Norman Castle, built around 1068, replaced by a Bishop’s Palace in 1478, by Thurloe’s Mansion in the 17th century, and the present Regency Villa, which is still called Wisbech Castle.

But Wisbech is not all history and architecture... The High Street and Market Place have the usual selection of well-known high street stores, there’s a traditional market on Thursdays and Saturdays, a great farmers’ market on alternate Fridays, and a packed diary of local events – such as the Rose Fair – throughout the year.


Ideally placed just down the road from the river’s North Brink is Grove Mobile Home Park – a short walk into the country, yet a stone’s throw from Wisbech town centre.

Walking around the Grove in the sunshine, Parks Manager John Jarmaine filled in some details. The Crickmores acquired the Grove four years ago and totally redeveloped it. Everything was taken out – including the services – so all was brand new from day one.

Whenever a park has been taken on, John explained, the number of plots has always been reduced, in order to be able to offer a bigger area to the residents. And though the park is laid out as two straight avenues, there’s absolutely no impression of it being cramped – indeed, a visitors’ parking area was considered but not taken up, in order to free up room for bigger driveways, for visitors to be able to park at the side of the homes. The infrastructure is good, with a wide tarmac roadway, fire and lighting points.


There are 39 plots at Grove Park, mostly Omar Homes and one Tingdene, and at the time of going to press, a 40ft x 20ft Stately-Albion Tredegar had been ordered – another new model to bring variety to the park. The homes come with garage and shed spaces.

Walking along the avenue, I could see that the houses are mostly gravelled to the front, but can be turfed if the home owner prefers. The park is peaceful, tidy and beautifully turned out, with residents taking an obvious pride in both their homes and gardens, tubs and pots brimming with bedding plants, and well maintained hedging and shrubs. There are also two pretty areas of plantings, one at each end of the park, looked after by two enthusiastic residents who volunteered for the job.

A post box and telephone are located just outside the park, although BT cabling was laid in ready for connection, when the park was first taken on.

The residents feel safe and secure in more ways than one – they operate their own Neighbourhood Watch scheme, with one of them acting as co-ordinator, in regular touch with the police. There are also a plumber and an electrician always on call for any domestic emergency.


Another advantage to consider is that Crickmore Parks operates a part exchange scheme, so any would-be Grove resident can have the hassle of selling their house or bungalow taken out of their hands.

And John adds (with caution) that things seem to be picking up, with more people visiting their show homes, and going off to have their houses valued with a view to moving to a Crickmore park.

So, with financial and daily security assured, and the Grove being situated where it is, John points out that it has all the advantages of living a stone’s throw from town, but with the peace and quiet of the countryside. And, certainly, talking to the residents, they would agree wholeheartedly that in moving to the Grove; they not only bought a beautiful home in a beautiful spot, but the perfect retirement lifestyle as well.


Elaine and John Comb are a contented – and very talented – couple. Now living at the Grove in an Omar Burwell home, they’ve never been happier.

They came to Wisbech to retire. “We never saw each other,” says Elaine, “and we were living in a noisy part of Slough, so moving here was just fantastic.”
John says they moved to Wisbech and the Grove for several reasons. “One was the price – we also knew the area because we’d come to buy plants at two big plant auctions nearby.” And looking at the couples’ rhododendrons, it comes as no surprise that John is a keen gardener, and keeps three allotments!

They’d looked at several parks, and found the Grove through this magazine. “The show home had a lovely feel about it. I walked in and said, ‘I don’t want to go home’,” says Elaine. “The area is flat, too – important to me for health reasons.”

Their Omar home is inviting and full of surprises – Elaine’s impressive collection of thimbles, for example, and both Elaine and John make greetings cards, John’s enhanced by charming watercolour paintings. John is also a keen photographer, with four beautiful framed pictures on the wall.

Another advantage of Grove life, say John and Elaine, is the difference in running costs. “When I received our first lot of bills here, I was amazed. We lived in a 1930s terraced house in Slough, and our bills were dramatically higher there.”


Sylvia and Malcolm Collins are the newcomers to the Grove, having moved to Wisbech in March this year. It was a big decision for them, as they uprooted from Scotland.

Said Sylvia, “We’d been looking for more than two years, both on the internet and in Park & Holiday Homes magazine. Malcolm had been ill, so we felt if we were going to do it; it had got to be now or never. It was just taking the plunge to do it, but we wanted to be nearer the family, who live in Hertfordshire, and near Rugby – and this is such a nice area.”

“What made this park stand out from the rest,” says Malcolm, “is that it’s so convenient for town, and yet just a little bit apart from it.” Although they are still sussing out the area, Malcolm goes on that they already love the Grove Park lifestyle and their Omar Oulton home, and it suits them that people are of a similar age to them.

And so friendly, as Sylvia explains: “Everybody is lovely and has made us feel so welcome. I’ve kept all our cards which people popped through the door, and they come round to see how we are.”

They both agreed, though, that the best thing that moving to Wisbech has been the help given to them by Parks’ Manager John Jarmaine. “There was no hard pressure on us to buy the home. He let us make up our own minds, took us into town and left us for an hour to have a look round the shops because we didn’t know Wisbech. He was so helpful, and he came round a couple of days after we moved and took our boxes and packing rubbish away, without our asking.”

So early days yet for Sylvia and Malcolm, with lots still to do and explore but Grove life is already looking good!


At the time of writing, there was a Stately-Albion Tredegar 40x20 2-bed on the market at £110,000, fully furnished throughout with fitted kitchen, UVPC windows and doors, double glazing.


• Local amenities: Milk and newspapers delivered on site. All basic requirements in Wisbech, including Somerfield, Rainbow, Asda, Iceland Foods, and Tesco (2 miles away).
• Health: There are five GP’s surgeries, including one on North Brink. The hospital in Wisbech treats minor injuries; otherwise it’s Kings Lynn for A&E. There are five dentists and six opticians in Wisbech.
• Public Transport: Buses to Peterborough, Kings Lynn, Long Sutton, Downham Market.
• Eating and Drinking: Plenty of choice, including Chinese, Italian, fish and chips, White Lion Hotel, South Brink and the Rose and Crown Hotel, Market Place.
• Entertainment: Angles Theatre, Wisbech. 18th Peckover House (NT property) on North Brink. Varied programmes at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange and Kings Lynn Arts Centre (16 miles).
• Sports: Wisbech and District Indoor Bowls Club, Hudson Leisure Centre with swimming pool (with 50+ sessions), sports hall and fitness studio.


Ancient and modern - Peterborough is 24 miles from Wisbech and at the heart of the modern city is Peterborough Cathedral, the resting place of Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, also Flag Fen Bronze Age site a little way out of the city. See www.peterborough.gov.uk

Blooming great
- If flowers take your fancy, there are fields of them at the Spalding Flower Parade and Festival every May. The three-day festival has stunning tulip displays, marching bands and music.

Meet Oliver
- Ely is 23 miles south of Wisbech and, like Peterborough, boasts a fine Cathedral (with a unique octagonal tower), and which was closed for 10 years under Cromwell’s reign! Enjoy a boat trip on the Great Ouse, visit Cromwell’s house or explore the cafés and antique shops.

Get binoculars
- For sun and sea, Hunstanton is only 30 miles away and has one of the best beaches in Norfolk – and the area is great for bird watching. Four miles to the south is Snettisham Nature Reserve where you can view thousands of wading birds.


Magazine Lane, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE13 1LF Tel: 01223 424280 Email: [email protected] Website: www.crickmoreparks.co.uk

•Ground rent is £109.77 a month
•Council tax is Band A
•Electricity is direct from supplier
•Natural Gas (mains) is direct from supplier
•Water/sewerage is on a meter, billed quarterly
•Pets welcome
•Over 55s, no resident children

This feature was published in the August 2009 issue of Park & Holiday Homes magazine. 

Park & Holiday Homes magazine offers reprints of all homes and parks we've reviewed in our magazine. To view our latest index of reviews see our current issue
click here.

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