RS Hill & Sons

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by RS Hill & Sons's best practice article

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 RS Hill & Sons is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.rshill.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | RS HILL & SONS
Owner Ashwin Hill
The rolling Meon Valley
downs of West Tisted
RS Hill and Sons is a family-run business with a diverse range
of income streams. From farming to residential mobile
home parks, they have been in business since 1936. Based
in Fareham, Hampshire, they have evolved from an initial farm
through different variations and are still going strong almost
85 years after their inception. Ashwin Hill is the owner of the
company and explains their uniquehistory.
The evolution of our business
We are a diverse business with a variety of different branches. We offer a
communications service, run a farm in Hampshire and also own and maintain
18 residential mobile home parks with a total of 800 homes. We were started
in 1936 by my father with the establishment of our farm. Since childhood, my
brother Bill and I have worked around the farm, becoming acquainted with this
central and foundational part of our company. In the 1950s, we began to allow
caravans onto our farm. To support and capitalise on this new opportunity, we
began to run a Calor Gas franchise that served these caravans.
After the death of my father in 1970, my brother and I began to run the
company. In the 1960s, we were forced to move the caravans due to a lack of
space, and this sparked our initial interest in the purchase of residential mobile
home sites. This concept became realised with the purchase of two parks
inHampshire.
FACTS ABOUT
RS HILL & SONS
»Owner: Ashwin Hill
»Founded in 1936
»Based in Fareham, Hampshire
»Services: Residential mobile
home parks, communications
and farming
»No. of employees: 45
RS Hill & Sons
29RS HILL & SONS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
As a child, I was fascinated with CB
radios, and this passion developed
into our communications service.
Both our Calor franchise and the
communications service grew and
prospered, allowing us to purchase
further mobile home parks. The
sale of one of these franchises in
the 1990s allowed us to purchase a
3,000-acre farming estate. Following
the death of my brother in 1997,
I continued to run the business. I
sold the Calor franchise in order to
concentrate on our mobile homes,
building this part of our company
and adding further parks. As the
significance of our other business has
waned, we are focusing increasingly
on this side of our company.
Most of our homes are sold as
permanent residences, although
some are available to rent. We
always endeavour to provide concise
and clear advice to anyone who is
considering purchasing a home, and
we aim to match the customer to
their perfect home. All of our parks
are primarily aimed at people over
55 years of age, specifically those
who are retired or semi-retired. Every
one of our estates adheres to the
conditions of the Mobile Homes Act.
Our sites have wardens, many of
whom, for operational reasons, live
within the parks. These wardens are
responsible for ensuring the safety
and comfort of all of our residents,
and they perform this role to a very
high standard.
We are proud to be a member of
the British Holiday & Home Parks
Association. This is a professional
organisation that helps to support
park owners by providing advice and
direction on conservation initiatives
and park management processes.
They also provide crucial information
about new legislation that affects
businesses such as ours. We are also
a member of the National Caravan
Council, which serves a crucial role
in advising park owners on the latest
technological advancements within
the sector.
Expanding our mobile home
business
We are always searching to add to and
develop our existing range of mobile
home parks. While we are always
seeking to purchase established sites,
we are also committed to improving
and expanding the ones we already
own. We have recently received
planning permission that will allow
us to build a further 14 homes on
one of our sites. Work on the farm is
Oaklands Park in
Warmwell, Dorset
All of our parks
are primarily
aimed at people
over 55 years of
age, specifically
those who are
retired or semi-
retired
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | RS HILL & SONS
always ongoing, and we have recently
decided to rent out unused space to
local businesses to try to maximise
our revenue and efficiency. We have
targeted several vacant properties on
the site, which could be converted
into more-permanent residences. We
are also looking to lease some of our
extra storage space to microbreweries,
a thriving new sector in the
Hampshirearea.
The challenges of restrictive
legislation
One of the main challenges that we
face is restrictive legislation. Even if
designed with good intentions, these
laws often hamper and restrict our
level of control. A key part of this
issue was the introduction of the
updated Mobile Homes Act 2013.
Designed to try to prevent rogue
park owners from taking advantage
of residents, the act had unforeseen
consequences. Due to this new
legislation, we are no longer able to
vet potential customers to ensure that
they adhere to our strict standards.
These standards were designed to
ensure that our communities are safe
and enjoyable for all.
Similarly, we used to be able to
approve the sale of our homes, but
this is no longer the case. Again,
this change was designed with good
intentions but has severely impacted
our ability to ensure a high level of
comfort and security for our residents.
We have attempted to adapt our
business model to respond to these
new changes, but this is a very
difficultprocess.
Further legislation could be even more
damaging. In Wales, a new law has
been enforced that aims to decrease
the percentage of the sale price that
park owners receive when one of
their residences is sold. Currently, this
percentage stands at ten per cent.
This new legislation will reduce this
commission by one per cent a year over
a period of five years. The commission
we receive from these sales constitutes
roughly ten per cent of our total
turnover, and the loss of this income
stream will be highly damaging for us.
Brexit also threatens our farming
income. With the possible removal
of the subsidies we receive from
the EU, our farm is likely to become
unsustainable financially. The advance
of technology has also threatened
our communications services. One of
the key features we offer is tracking
services for commercial vehicles and
public transport, something that is
increasingly being added to these
vehicles as standard.
Looking ahead, we hope to continue
to develop and grow our residential
business. As our other services
decline, increasing emphasis is being
placed on this part of our company.
We hope to prosper for many years
to come, continuing the legacy my
father started almost 85 years ago.
While we are
always seeking
to purchase
established
sites, we are
also
committed to
improving and
expanding the
ones we
already own
Doug Houston, company
accountant at his desk

www.rshill.co.uk

This article was sponsored by RS Hill & Sons. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy