Whalesborough Holiday Cottage Complex, Spa and Bistro
From cows to cottages!
On the outskirts of Bude lies the five star Whalesborough Holiday Cottage complex, spa and bistro.
Owned by cousins; James and Fraser Proudfoot and other family members, with James’ wife Sharron at their side to help run the business it is a far cry from its original role which was a 500 acre dairy farm.
The family’s first venture into holiday lets started in 1981 when they converted an old barn and ran the holiday
cottage alongside the dairy farm. From here James saw the opportunity for a complete lifestyle change and in 2004 decided to sell the cows and milk quota. Over the years more houses and a new spa facility have been added. Today, there are 21 holiday cottages.
Meeting the demands of guests
With the arrival of more people on the site, more facilities were required. The Weir Bistro was built in 2011 and the spa and pool were expanded and now includes four treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym and a function room. Their proximity to the coast has also been a huge bonus, with guests being able to go to the beach using the tracks across their 500 acres of grass and arable land which is managed under the Countryside Stewardship scheme.
Overcoming the trials and tribulations
In the beginning, trying to secure funding from the banks when the country was in a recession was very hard. Haines Watts stepped in and created sound business plans, which enabled them to get the necessary loans.
Raising additional funds for new developments has always been tricky, but the family have implemented innovative methods for achieving this, such as selling off the freehold of the holiday lets but charging a management fee to run the booking, housekeeping and maintenance processes for the property owners.
One of the biggest challenges they had to overcome is moving away from working with animals to working with people, and the sheer scariness of doing something which is so different from farming. However, the family have no regrets and welcome the new experiences that running the complex now brings.
Building for the future
There are plans in place to build a further 26 houses over the next few years. They have also made the complex as sustainable as possible and have installed wood chip boilers to provide hot water and heating for all the properties. They have also erected a wind turbine to provide the electricity and the indoor swimming pool is heated by a wood pellet boiler.
The family’s association with Haines Watts goes back a long way to when they had the dairy farm. Vince Edwards advised the family when they sold the herd and milk quota and the tax implications of the sale. The firm has continued to advise the family providing a range of services including helping them to receive thousands of pounds in unclaimed capital allowances, providing advice on CGT, succession planning and IHT.
James Proudfoot: “Haines Watts are superb accountants who offer relevant and practical advice. They are always available to discuss things and are a great sounding board. Having the team in Launceston is so handy but we have also made good use of some of their specialist advisors from other parts of the country”.