24/07/2019
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Residential park: How to choose the right one for you

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Factors to consider when picking a residential park that’s ideal for your needs and tastes – your guide starts here. And we discover parks where sport, community activities and village ambience are hugely important.

It’s easy to say that choosing a residential park is purely a matter of personal preference and not much help.

There are hundreds of residential parks across the country and each of them offers something different. If you’re looking for a permanent residence, the location of the park will probably be top of your priority list.

The choice will normally come down to coastal or countryside but, for many, residential park homes located in villages and surrounded by a rural landscape, close to the sea, could make the perfect choice. This combines the benefits of rural life with good local amenities and services.

More than the location

garden party in a residential park

While location might be the most important factor, there are other things to consider when buying a residential park home. For residential parks, community activities and the facilities on the park are massively important. This could be your ‘forever home’, so it’s vital that you feel comfortable and fit in.

Once you’ve settled on the right location and factored in the ingredients that match your needs then the list of potential parks comes down from hundreds to dozens. Then you can start to dig deeper.

Narrow the list down to about 10 favourites and go to visit them all. Ideally, stay in the area for a few days so you can get a feel for the place and decide if it’s really what you’re looking for.

Many people choose to retire to residential parks in areas of the country where they’ve enjoyed holidays in the past. This is completely understandable, but it’s not quite as simple as that. As many expats discover when they retire to Spain, what makes a great holiday destination doesn’t necessarily make a great place to live.

A residential park in a remote outpost of Cornwall, say, would be perfect for a week-long escape, where you can switch off from the daily grind and recharge your batteries. But, before moving to somewhere out in the sticks, you need to consider the practical realities.

Before you buy, make sure you know exactly where a park home is in relation to essential services. Where is the nearest supermarket? Is there a doctors’ surgery nearby? And, what’s the broadband like in the locality?

Residential park homes located in thriving villages but surrounded by a rural landscape could make the perfect choice. As well as knowing you are never far from amenities, you may benefit from good public transport links. Being reliant on your own car isn’t always perfect, and knowing that you could easily get around by bus or train may be useful.

Open days

A way of getting a first-hand impression of what a park is like is to attend an open day. These are often primarily a way of showing off the homes to buy, but they are also an invaluable way to find out if the park is right for you, allowing you to explore, check out the facilities and meet existing residents.

Residential park rules

Residential park rules

Every residential park home estate has its own rules and it is useful to find out from the park owner what these are. There are rules that regulate everything from the height of fences and the dimensions of garden sheds to disposal of rubbish. Many are common sense, such as noise restrictions, speed limits and parking limitations, none of which would discourage most people from moving in.

But, others might affect your decision. For example, almost all parks have rules on the age of residents – some parks won’t let you move in if you are under 50 years old, while others have a minimum age of 55, others 45. Limits on pets are also commonplace. Some parks let one dog, others two. Some don’t let any pets at all – obviously these are a no-no for animal lovers.

Community spirit

For most parks, community spirit is part of the whole living experience. The best parks are like mini-villages, where homeowners can enjoy a range of activities, join clubs and take part in a variety of social events. Importantly, these are usually organised by the residents themselves.

An example of this is Laird Estates’ Warren Park in Shropshire. Set in landscaped grounds, Warren Park enjoys views over countryside. Just as critical as the surroundings and location is the sense of community on this park.

In Shropshire: barbecues, A garden competition, and more

Community spirit

Barbecues take place on the communal green at Warren Park, and one of the highlights of the calendar is the annual garden party in the summer. Among other things, the event plays host to the annual Best Garden competition, which encourages residents to indulge in a spot of friendly rivalry as well as enjoying the exercise and satisfaction of creating a beautiful foliar haven outside their home.

Site owner Bill Laird is proud of the village ambience here. “Warren Park is a great example of community living. As well as the annual Best Garden Award, we also hold a charity raffle and a barbecue. We are now in our fourth year of this event, and it’s been a huge success. So much so that the residents have started hosting a park barbecue on our large communal park green once a month, throughout the spring and summer.

“They have also hosted coffee mornings for great causes, and a large group got together and arranged a Christmas meal last year. We create an almost old-fashioned village atmosphere on all of our parks, where everybody can join in as much or as little as they decide – and everybody is looking out for each other.”

In Berkshire: dancing, darts and bowls

If you really want to throw yourself into park life, look for somewhere with a community centre that hosts social events and activities. At Warfield Park in Berkshire, for example, there’s a thriving community association, run by residents.

The list of activities is extensive, including darts, line-dancing, pilates, tai chi, table tennis, gardening, singing and bowls. Gardening Club Secretary Jim Claridge said the club helps add to the camaraderie among people living on the park. “The Garden Club certainly adds to the community spirit, although it is only one of a large number of societies catering for all interests.”

As well as the weekly classes, the community association organises regular coffee mornings, Saturday night social events and frequent day trips. The park also has a hairdresser’s salon and a beauty salon. It’s all about fostering that community feeling, and involving all the residents who want to take part in what goes on.

When you started reading this article choosing a residential park might have seemed a bit overwhelming. Or, it might have seemed a simple choice. Either way, with this guide in your mind, it should be easier to find the right residential park for you in the UK.

Use this quick checklist to remind yourself of what you need

Residential park checklist

  • Is it in the right location?
  • What amenities and facilities does it have?
  • What is the community spirit like?
  • How close it to local services?

Armed with guide, now take a look at our residential park and park home reviews here!

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