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Will This Plan Work?


Pavb2
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Hi all I live in Ireland but work in the uk coming over to the midlands every other week using Birmingham as my base. I recently gave up my rented apartment in bham as I couldn't justify the expense so this has led me to consider the option of a caravan. Please bear with with me as I have a few questions to see if this idea will work:

 

Are there sites in the midlands area I could put my caravan on all year round

Should I buy new, ex demo, or second hand I have a bmw 320 diesel towing capacity 1600kg

I would like a 4 berth,fixed bed, preferebly separate shower

Budget £5k to £13k

 

The idea is me and my wife would then go touring in the summer months

 

What do people think any advice gratefully received

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Welcome.

Not many sites will accept vans all year round - best to have some fixed abode address even if a family or friend.

We often use as a guide 85% of a car's declared kerbweight as max for the van - often labelled as MTPLM.

 

We all love our vans but all the time would be restrictive for us - not enough space for everyday living. Also with insulation and heating, it still could be cold in winter.

Having said all that, there are others doing what you want to do. Finding a site is paramount.

Budget is good. Does your wife work or will she be stuck in the van with no transport daytime?

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Hi wispman no the caravan will only be for myself in the evenings after finishing work during the week. I do have my parents address in bham where I'm staying at the moment not ideal as I really want to give them their own space back

 

I will be going home to our house and wife in Ireland for weekend and one week on one week off hence this idea.

 

I agree finding a site is paramount and the first step as the whole plan falls apart if I can't find somewhere.

Edited by Pavb2
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There will be sites, there are in cornwall charging £70 per week inc electric to give you an idea of cost.

 

I would have thought a new van would be unnecessarily expensive and difficult to deal with any warranty issues given your situation and the time you will be splitting between home and 2nd home. I'd go for a good quality 2nd hand van personally thats been well maintained - check the service history and the CRiS register (like a HPI check)

 

Have a look at http://www. caravanfinder. co. uk/caravan_layouts. html?berth=4&layout=FB where you can search for the layout you want.

 

I agree you'll want a fixed bed and separate shower room, you might also want the large fridge freezer, and personally I prefer a proper shower room with a normal toilet rather than the small toilet and small shower cubicle on opposite sides of the van or the all in one toilet/shower combo at the side of the bed in essentially what is a cupboard - you'll see them - you have to walk through the shower tray to sit on the pan.

 

You'll need on onboard tank for the winter to make life easier, heating should be no problem - we have no issues in the winter as the van is well insulated and I would expect most in your budget to be the same but worth checking - we use a portable fan heater that warms the van in about 15 mins and has a digital thermostat - don't use gas as you've paid for electric, and it's better than the fitted blown air, given your budget you will find vans with alde wet radiators which everyone swears by but is pricey to run on gas if you intend touring on non ehu sites so I'm told.

 

You'll need to switch to propane if the van has butane (propane is good all year round), we use 1 x 6kg propane every 6 months at a cost of c.£21, if you need to change over when you find a van it is cheap to do so.

 

Give some consideration to maintenance costs and servicing both on purchase and annually, you'll need to rotate your tyres every 8 weeks which is a quick job to keep your tyres in good order - check their age when buying second hand - no more than 5 years as you don't know how they've been treated.

 

Also give some consideration to all the bits and bobs you may need to buy, both essential (aquaroll etc) and gadget driven (tv, mifi, sky box and dish? Etc), I'd allow £1000 on top of the purchase price for stuff you didn't know you couldn't live without!

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I did this for four month over the coldest winter for 100 years, was as snug as a bug. I went on to buy a second caravan so I could still tour near home, but was made redundant before really getting into the plan. Sold the second van now. Good luck.

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Yes there are sites - Marston Caravan Site at Kingsbury is full all year - technically, all year round won't be permitted but that's either overlooked or got round simply by using another site for a month. As you plan to go touring in the summer it shouldn't be an issue. You need to search the Interweb for seasonal caravan sites that are open all year.

 

You can even do it with Caravan Club CLs (5-van sites) by alternating between 2 such CLs every 28 days - or even at main Club sites by alternating every 21 days.

2015 VW Touareg 3. 0 V6 TDI + 2013 Lunar Clubman ES

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Yes Marston Caravan Site (a mile from where I live) appears to have long term caravanner's, There is also a camping and caravan site at Kingsbury water park. Both sites near M42 so easy commute Birmingham area.

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You could also try cathederal grange in Lichfield they give a discount for workers and the site is half full of them all year round,

It is only £14 a night normally.

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We lived in our 4 berth, side dinette, end wash room Bailey Champagne for four months a couple of years ago whilst we refurbed our bungalow. We found we had sufficient space for two of us without being crowded. We usually go away for 3-4 weeks at a time anyway.

 

We've been on Caravan Club sites where its obvious that people are using their vans as temporary accommodation during the week and either going home at weekends or towing the van away for a day or two and then bringing it back again.

 

I'd suggest that an end washroom was a must unless you can find a site with adequate shower & toilet facilities. However you might find trotting off to the shower block every morning a bit irksome just before you scuttle off to work, especially if you have to wait to use the facilities. A fixed bed layout might suit you better to keep the sleeping area a bit separate from the lounge/living space.

 

A van built in the last few years will have all the mod cons that you need for a comfortable stay and most if not all will have insulation & heating that will cope with the worst that our weather can throw at us - we've been away when it's been -15 outside and been toasty warm.

 

A wet central heating system (like ALDE) will heat the fabric of the van but is a bit slower to get to temperature whereas a blown air system is a bit more responsive. Don't forget to drain down the fresh water system in the winter if you are leaving the van for a few days.

 

Propane, rather than butane for your gas supply if you are going to use it throughout the winter and a site with electricity included would be better than one without.

2018 S-Max Titanium 2. 0 Tdci (177. 54bhp,180ps,132kw) Powershift + 2015 Unicorn III Cadz, Ventura Marlin porch awning

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Hi wispman no the caravan will only be for myself in the evenings after finishing work during the week. I do have my parents address in bham where I'm staying at the moment not ideal as I really want to give them their own space back

 

I will be going home to our house and wife in Ireland for weekend and one week on one week off hence this idea.

 

I agree finding a site is paramount and the first step as the whole plan falls apart if I can't find somewhere.

I know of some near Worcester, but that may be a bit far for you to travel.

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Brilliant advice here thanks so much I took a trip to marston and cathedral grange both nice for different reasons and suitable for my project so that's the first peg in the ground.

 

Next I need to look at a caravan. 4 berth fixed bed (separate shower?) Given the time of year should I go for an ex demo and what make would be the most suitable?dealer or buy private. ?

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many years ago while in business,I had a contract for 2 yrs in Scotland. My wife said it would be a great idea to

try it in the caravan.

We had 2 winters in Scotland & were warm as toast in our Bessacar cameo with rear bathroom/fixed bed/alde heating

sky tv etc with our full length awning we had plenty of storage space,

I must say we thoroughly enjoyed it & when the contract finished we decided to stick with the van for all our future jobs.

Over 10 yrs we saved a fortune in hotel bills,& more importantly we had a ball.

We have many happy memories of those days & would recommend it to anyone. ;):):D

van Bessacar 625 towed by Mercedes M class 3. 2 cdi.

we do 6mths at home (winter) 6mths touring (summer)

Retired & loving it.--------- :D Adventure before Dementia. :P

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I would look for a Site with storage facilities that will site your van, that way you will end up paying less as the weeks you are not there you will only be paying storage rather than site fees.

 

Where we keep ours they offer this facility so that you can turn up with your van already on pitch

Bailey Pageant Bretagne Series 6 - LR Discovery Td5 Auto

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Thanks Andy

 

There weren't too many places in the midlands that would even consider long term. the two sites I looked at wouldn't do storage also might be a bit messy as I'm doing one week on and one week off but I agree there would be a saving of £70 per fortnight. Ultimately though I'm still potentially better off financially doing it this way than in my apartment

Edited by Pavb2
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Brilliant advice here thanks so much I took a trip to marston and cathedral grange both nice for different reasons and suitable for my project so that's the first peg in the ground.

 

Next I need to look at a caravan. 4 berth fixed bed (separate shower?) Given the time of year should I go for an ex demo and what make would be the most suitable?dealer or buy private. ?

Buy a cheapish basic caravan with most of the facilities like shower and toilet to see how you get on in a caravan. If you find you are comfortable with it, then invest in a bigger and better caravan.

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If its week on week off putting the van in and out of storage would prove to be a pain I think especially if youa re all set up . We have a Bailey Pegasus Verona end bathroom and fixed bed

Edited by Hells9369

Cleaning the House while the kids are at home is like clearing snow with it still snowing

VW Touareg + Bailey Verona = Happy Family :)

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Chapel lane won't do long term but I had a look at a few Swifts in Broad lane. New ones are lovely but I think a bit out of my price range.

 

Might wait until after the NEC show in Oct as there might be some good part exs available. What do people think

Edited by Pavb2
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I think deep into autumn is a good time anyway, there were some good private deals around when I was looking to buy - from those sellers trying to sell privately to beat the part ex price offered before picking their new van up - depends how quickly you're looking to put your plan into action

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No good for the part ex crowd then, they don't pick their vans up till spring mostly, still, tis the time of year that some will be looking to sell after the season has finished (apart from us hardy winter vanner types!) , quite a short timescale you've got but I'm sure you'll spot something that takes your fancy.

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Saw a swift fairway 460 year 2008 for £8750 is this a good deal? seems to be in good condition

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Pavb, I've come late to this conversation because I've read it but I see that you're not buying until Mid October.

 

I stayed on a site recently which may be of interest to you. It was only 1. 5 miles from the M1/M6/A14 interchange, (that's junction 19 of the M1) so very easy to get into Birmingham up the M6 and anywhere else really via the M1 if you're going north or south and the A14 if you're heading east.

 

I've just had a look at the website and the site is open all year although you can't use it as a permanent residence and have to vacate your plot for at least 28 days per year. There were a lot of seasonal pitches there when we went last month, possibly commuters because from a tourist point of view there's nothing to do in the area!

 

The only thing - there are no toilets or showers on the site, so you would need a caravan with a good shower room, but if you're going to be living on it you probably will anyway. The site do serviced seasonal pitches with direct water supply so you wouldn't have to worry about constantly filling an aquaroll.

 

Its called Stanford Hall Caravan Park http://stanfordhallcaravanpark. co. uk/

 

Regarding a caravan, I would get the biggest that your car will comfortably tow as you'll spend a great deal more time living in it than you will towing it. Alde central heating will heat the whole van evenly including the shower room, it doesn't take up any room so you get a chest of drawers or a cupboard in the centre of the van where a blown air heater would be, and it is thermostatically controlled so it will come on automatically if the temperature drops. I would get a four berth fixed bed with an end shower room, it's the most comfortable and practical layout in my opinion for two adults. (I've got a Bailey Unicorn Valencia). Look at caravans on autotrader, caravanfinder and other websites, narrow it down to models you like then read reviews. Then go to dealers and start viewing them, don't be tempted to go to a dealer and just buy one they have in stock that you like the look of. Also, as you'll be using it a lot buy it from a dealer who offers a one year guarantee if you can. You're buying at the right time of year so should get a good deal but don't pay the asking price from a dealer. I decided what model I wanted and phoned several dealers offering a lot less than they were advertising at. I ended up paying £16,100 for a caravan advertised at £18,995

 

I would also get a full size awning if you're going to be living in it. I'd get an Isabella because they're the Rolls Royce of awnings and if it's going to be left up you need something solid. Look at the Isabella website and see which model is designed for season pitches then try to find a second hand one, there are a lot for sale on ebay because they never wear out. I think that awnings for seasonal pitching usually have steel poles, they're heavier than aluminium or carbon fibre but they withstand high winds.

 

Hope that's been of some help, good luck.

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Hi Pavb, I've come late to this conversation because I've read it but I see that you're not buying until Mid October.

 

I stayed on a site recently which may be of interest to you. It was only 1. 5 miles from the M1/M6/A14 interchange, (that's junction 19 of the M1) so very easy to get into Birmingham up the M6 and anywhere else really via the M1 if you're going north or south and the A14 if you're heading east.

 

I've just had a look at the website and the site is open all year although you can't use it as a permanent residence and have to vacate your plot for at least 28 days per year. There were a lot of seasonal pitches there when we went last month, possibly commuters because from a tourist point of view there's nothing to do in the area!

 

The only thing - there are no toilets or showers on the site, so you would need a caravan with a good shower room, but if you're going to be living on it you probably will anyway. The site do serviced seasonal pitches with direct water supply so you wouldn't have to worry about constantly filling an aquaroll.

 

Its called Stanford Hall Caravan Park http://stanfordhallcaravanpark. co. uk/

 

Regarding a caravan, I would get the biggest that your car will comfortably tow as you'll spend a great deal more time living in it than you will towing it. Alde central heating will heat the whole van evenly including the shower room, it doesn't take up any room so you get a chest of drawers or a cupboard in the centre of the van where a blown air heater would be, and it is thermostatically controlled so it will come on automatically if the temperature drops. I would get a four berth fixed bed with an end shower room, it's the most comfortable and practical layout in my opinion for two adults. (I've got a Bailey Unicorn Valencia). Look at caravans on autotrader, caravanfinder and other websites, narrow it down to models you like then read reviews. Then go to dealers and start viewing them, don't be tempted to go to a dealer and just buy one they have in stock that you like the look of. Also, as you'll be using it a lot buy it from a dealer who offers a one year guarantee if you can. You're buying at the right time of year so should get a good deal but don't pay the asking price from a dealer. I decided what model I wanted and phoned several dealers offering a lot less than they were advertising at. I ended up paying £16,100 for a caravan advertised at £18,995

 

I would also get a full size awning if you're going to be living in it. I'd get an Isabella because they're the Rolls Royce of awnings and if it's going to be left up you need something solid. Look at the Isabella website and see which model is designed for season pitches then try to find a second hand one, there are a lot for sale on ebay because they never wear out. I think that awnings for seasonal pitching usually have steel poles, they're heavier than aluminium or carbon fibre but they withstand high winds.

 

Hope that's been of some help, good luck.

Thanks Maisiedoodle that's a fantastic summary and your advice covered everything I need to do. Stanford Hall was very interesting £800 for 78 days but might just be a bit too far outside of bham.

 

If I could get somewhere similar closer to bham, at the moment I have a quote for £70 per week which I'm not sure I can justify as I don't think I'll be in the caravan for more than 14 days per month that's why Stanford hall would and may still be ideal.

 

I can buy at any time really it's just a case of committing to a site and then making that leap

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply some excellent advice there.

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Yeah Stanford Hall is a bit far out, although as it's on the M6 it shouldn't be a slow journey, do you work in the centre of Birmingham?

 

There are lots of caravan site websites, UKCS. co. uk is a good one, you probably know it. Another one is pitchup. com and of course there are the Caravan Club website and the Caravan and Camping Club website - if you're a member of either of those clubs I think you'll get a discount if you stay on one of their sites so it might be worth joining. If you're staying over the winter it's worth offering less than the site is asking, if they think you'll go elsewhere and they'll have an empty pitch for the season they'll probably accept. The worst that can happen is that they'll refuse and you'll have to pay the price they're asking.


. ...........in my post above the website i put in has changed, I put UKCS. co. uk


. ..........it's done it again, with gaps this time . ......... UKCS . co. uk


AARRrrggghhh. ....................... UK Campsite . co . uk


(but without any spaces) I wonder why it keeps changing it and adding asterisks?

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