John Bray and Partners

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from John Bray and Partners is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
John Bray manage and let over 300
of the best-located holiday homes
on the north Cornwall coast
John Bray is a Cornish company based in Rock and Port Isaac,
which also services Daymer Bay and Polzeath. What’s unique
about this company is not just the quality of homes, locations
and accommodation they offer, but also the extent of their
integration with the local communities in which they operate.
They’ve learnt that business success in small, more local areas
depends on an ability to be ethical and responsive – sometimes
less necessary in large, faceless cosmopolitan markets. How
this works out in practice is elaborated on by John Bray’s Co-
directors, Alex Roads, Josephine Ashby and Tom O’Donnell.
John Bray services and offering
John Bray carries out two main functions: holiday letting and estate agency
selling, as well as looking after the most premium coastal second homes in north
Cornwall. Different work is required for each of these endeavours. With the holiday
letting, although we are involved every step of the way for our owners, we ensure
our presence isn’t suffocating. Service is crucial here; unlike a faceless company
such as Airbnb, we are here, on site, with a large team performing all of those
cumbersome and time-consuming administrative and maintenance tasks on behalf
of our clients. We are, in other words, a “hands on” type of company – a company
that meets the clients, fixes and repairs and listens and advises.
In short, we are a proper managing holiday letting agency – one that administers
over 7,000 “holiday weeks” every year, dealing with everything from cleaning and
bed changing, to key hand outs, all the way through to sorting out internet issues.
»Co-directors: Alex Roads,
Josephine Ashby and Tom
»Offices in Rock and Port Isaac,
north Cornwall
»Founded in 1971
»Services: Holiday letting and
estate agency
»No. of employees: 30
»Alex Roads is currently chair of
the Holiday Home Association,
the leading trade body in the
UK for self-catering holidays
John Bray, Cornwall
Co-directors Alex Roads,
Josephine Ashby and Tom
Indeed, we even unblock drains and
recommend surf schools and places to
eat. What’s also appreciated is the fact
that we look after the houses when
they are empty in the winter months.
As a niche estate agent, we offer
close and considerate communication
with those seeking to sell and buy.
We recognise that this process can
be stressful and emotional. Selling a
cherished second home with all those
family memories can be as, if not
more, emotional than parting with a
primary home. Our size facilitates this
kind of interaction when required, and
we are in such close proximity to the
properties that circumstances ensure
our intimate involvement in the whole
process, from start to finish – which
brings us on to our distinctive features.
John Bray’s distinctive
It is characteristic of this modern
era that companies regard growth
as a necessity. We are much more
interested in continually striving not to
be bigger, but better. Many years ago,
we put in place boundaries around
where we operated: as far as we’re
concerned, our identity is distinctly
north Cornish. We work in, live in and
intimately know north Cornwall and
that is non-negotiable. Our knowledge
of this area, as well as the locations
and houses within it, is extremely
specialised – it’s a skill that can only
be built only with time and a lot of
experience working in the area.
Because we are locally based, we
are especially careful not to intrude
overly in the goings-on of the
local communities. We need to be
contributors at every level of the
community – not just via employment
and payment of taxes, but in the way
we conduct our business relationships.
Whereas in London, for example,
a business can be confident that
there will always be “other” clients
or contractors to call upon if your
services are poor quality, in our area
there is no anonymity. We therefore
have to ensure that those with whom
we wish to do business also wish
to continue to do business with us.
We have to be understanding of the
needs and preferences of everyone in
Luxury new build
Trelowen in Polzeath
is currently on the
market with John Bray,
As a niche
estate agent, we
offer close and
with those
seeking to sell
and buy
Highlighting best practice
Community is crucial. Not only because
we live here, but also because it is a
large part of why people wish to own
a second home or holiday in the area
(notwithstanding the amazing beaches,
cliffs and estuary). Despite what some
politicians may say to grab a headline,
all second home owners are also a
welcome part of the community. This is
because people who buy second homes
are often wealthy and industrious;
they employ and keep local services
going. Indeed, many of them end up
moving here when they retire. Those
who do often perform a great deal of
charitable work: they help run sports
and community clubs, parish councils
and religious institutions. They engage
completely with local life in an important
and meaningful way – they are
indispensable assets to thecommunity.
John Bray is not immune to local
objections and criticisms, however.
Even so, it is our firm belief that we
must listen to community concerns
with genuinely open ears – and it’s
because of this that our presence in
the community is valued. This is what
we have committed ourselves to ever
since our establishment over 47 years
ago, meaning that our willingness to
listen and co-operate forms a strong
and uncompromising part of ourethos.
We have been lobbying for some
time through the Holiday Home
Association for regulation on the
so-called “tech” holiday letting
companies. We believe that they
too must conform to providing safe
and legal accommodation for their
guests. It is not right for Airbnb to
sell holidays in properties that are fire
risks. In fact, they perform no checks
for their booking guests – none at all.
They do not even check that there is a
smoke detector or carbon monoxide
detector. The law here must be clear:
they have to know and act on their
responsibilities, ensuring that what
they are offering is safe and legal.
The future
We harbour nothing but optimism
for the future. The beauty and quality
of our offering will always do much
of the legwork for us. As a company,
we just have to continue to ensure
that we remain true to our overriding
values: serving our clients, our holiday
guests and our community. In short,
service is at the core of everything
The beauty and
quality of our
offering will
always do
much of the
legwork for us
Second homeowners in
Port Isaac are enticed by
the area’s combination
of beautiful coastlines,
slower pace of life and
award-winning food

This article was sponsored by John Bray and Partners. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.