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Everything posted by andrewcooley

  1. The Middlewich Boat Share Show is at Kings Lock Boatyard, Middlewich next weekend, 5th and 6th September 2015. There will be 17 shared ownership narrowboats on view, all with shares available and managed by one or other of the three main companies, BCBM, Carefree Cruising and Ownashare. Share asking prices range from £1,200 to £9,995 with launch years from 2000 to 2015. It would be great to see you there - Pippa and I will be manning the welcome desk.
  2. It's been announced that as from today, BCBM will be looking after the management of all the syndicate boats currently managed by ABC Boat Share. Owners in all the syndicates managed by BCBM will get considerable benefits and discounts as a result of the two companies teaming up. Fuller details are here.
  3. Parking and admission was always free at previous single company shared ownership shows at Braunston (Ownerships and BCBM). More than half of the available boat spaces (max 20) are now spoken for. Each of the four companies has a 'quota' of 5 boats. If any of the companies hasn't filled its quota by the end of February, then boats managed by the other companies will fill the remaining places - one company already has a waiting list. There will be no space available for self-managed boats. There's more information about the show on boatshare4u.co.uk. We're doing some of the admin, so that there is no risk of the event being seen as one company's show with others taking part. All four management companies are on an equal footing. We're also now on Twitter so please follow @boatshare4u Tweets relating to the show use the hash tag #BoatShareShow.
  4. For the first time ever, all four of the main boat management companies - ABC Boat Share, BCBM, Carefree Cruising and Ownashare - will be joining forces to put on The Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on Saturday 12th (10 to 5) and Sunday 13th (10 to 4) April 2014. Admission and car parking free. More information here
  5. boatshare4u.co.uk is an independent source of information on shared ownership narrowboats, including a list of about 220 boats in shared ownership and a searchable list of nearly 100 shares available from management companies. The site does not itself offer shares for sale.
  6. Hopefully we're near the end of this. I have now received a copy of the draft final report and notice of creditors' meeting on 5th July. I'm a member of the liquidation committee and should have received it from them. They say they sent it to me, but it didn't get to me until another creditor kindly forwarded it. There are some serious inconsistencies, errors and omissions in the report. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to tell you what they are because of the confidentiality statement at the beginning. Why this should be confidential, goodness alone knows. I have emailed Jamie Taylor, the liquidator, pointing these out. I have also said that I could not vote in favour of either motion at the meeting - final liquidation and discharging the liquidators - unless the issues I have raised are resolved satisfactorily. These issues involve inconsistency in wording that gives potential for misunderstanding and also the omission of important figures about receipts and disbursements. I shall be attending the meeting on 5th July. If anyone would like me to act as their proxy, there is a form here. If you are a creditor of Ownerships Ltd. in compulsory liquidation and you want me to be your proxy, please print off and complete the form - without specifying whether you want me to vote for or against the motions as that decision needs to be made when the issues have been addressed. Then please send it to Jamie Taylor, Begbies-Traynor (Central) LLP, The Old Exchange, 234 Southchurch Road, Southend on Sea SS1 2EG. PS In relation to points earlier in this thread, the liquidators did threaten to seize boats to secure payment for their potential claim. In the end, although a few syndicates did pay up, the liquidators failed to validate their potential claim and issued a disclaimer. In fact the shares were 'bought back' using owners' contributions paid into a client account and there was no evidence that any company money had been used for the purpose. There was evidence that the company 'dipped into' this fund to the extent that there was nothing left when the company ceased trading.
  7. I think that is a really key point - you have to make a judgement about the other boat and the experience/competence of the person at the tiller. If you've watched it zig-zagging towards you, you'll probably want to give a bit more than 3" clearance!
  8. It has been a long struggle and we've continually been up against the argument that insolvency law overrides everything else. Essentially the liquidators' solicitor has said that the client funds and the trading account were intermingled so the fact that shares were bought back using a fund made up of owners' contributions is irrelevant. That's why tracking down and getting details of this client account are so important. In fact the liquidators had just given up their attempt to extract money from the remaining syndicate members to pay their fees and their soliitor's latest advice was to 'disclaim' the shares. This would mean that they took no further action and the shares became vested in the crown. It would also mean that syndicates could effectively do what they liked with them - but it would not actually amount to a formal acceptance that the liquidators did not have title. If this client account shows what I hope it will, the liquidators may have no option but to admit that they don't have title. That would be a much better outcome for syndicates. There is a lot of discussion about this - and links to the extensive correspondence - on the ex-Ownerships forum, starting here. It goes on a bit, though! It's now nearly two years since Ownerships stopped trading.
  9. If you used to own a share in one of the Ownerships boats and you used the 'buy back scheme' to sell your share, you may be able to help. I've now had confirmation that the liquidators are at last getting details of the 'Ownerships Number Two Clients Account' which was used to buy back shares. What we now need is as many records of buy back transactions as possible to match with the bank statements and help prove that the bought back shares were owned collectively by all the contributing owners to the scheme and not by the company itself. Ownerships always said it did not own shares, but the liquidators don't believe that. If you sold a share back and can let me have any record of the transaction (rough date and value) that would be a great help. Please email me rather than posting the details. With this sort of information and the bank details, we may be able to resolve the whole issue of the buy back shares at the meeting of the liquidation committee next Thursday 26th April. That would make things a lot better for the remaining owners. Thanks for any help you can give.
  10. I've just heard that the liquidators have replied to some owners to say the details have been requested. Thanks to anyone who helped to make it happen.
  11. No, a request from individuals - even as a group - won't do. The Ownerships agreement says that, in the event of liquidation, the company will make the account details available to contributing owners, but 'the company' now no longer exists except in the form of the liquidators. They should have discovered this account nearly 12 months ago, failed to do so and then acted on the basis that it didn't exist. It should not have been down to owners to do the research to actually find it. It is the liquidators who had the many boxes of documents. So please do email. It is not interfering - simply asking the liquidators to obtain some information so that the liquidation committee can make an informed decision. The owners are not in a position to mount a legal action and, of course, it affects many syndicates who are not involved in any way with BCBM. The worst affected that I know about has 4 of these shares, so the boat has been running with only 8 owners paying all the costs for about two years now. If we can't get the liquidators to obtain this information by 26th, it could be another 6 months before the matter can be resolved.
  12. Please can you send an email to Laura Sibun (Laura.Sibun@begbies-traynor.com). She's an administrator with Begbies-Traynor, the liquidators for Ownerships Ltd. Please can you ask her to get the details of a client account from Barclays Bank in time for a meeting of the liquidation committee next Thursday 26th April. The account is the Ownerships Clients Number Two Account, held by Barclays Bank, High Street, Coventry, sort code 20-23-55 a/c number 40022454 and the bank is happy to release the details to the liquidators - they have a standard procedure for doing so. The reason is that these details could prove exactly who owns the boat shares that were 'bought back' by an Ownerships scheme. The scheme involved owners making contributions to this fund in exchange for reduced management costs, and the fund was used to buy back shares when syndicate members wanted to move on. The liquidators have consistently denied the existence of this account until I tracked it down last week. I've spoken to the account manager, who is happy to release the details to the liquidators - but obviously won't release them to me as an individual. Because the liquidators did not believe this account existed, they claimed that they owned these shares, asked syndicates (who are also creditors) to pay £1,000 for each of them (there were 42!) and even threatened to get a court order to seize the whole boats, sell them, deduct their fees and costs and hand back any change! The details of this account could prove conclusively that the shares belonged collectively to the contributing owners and are not assets to which the liquidators have any title. This would mean that the costs incurred by the syndicates could be set against any value, so that the shares would now belong to the syndicates with no outstanding threat or claim against them. It could bring two years of hassle and worry to a permanent end. So please do help if you can by emailing Laura Sibun and asking her to get the details from the bank. It really doesn't matter if you have nothing to do with Ownerships Ltd. - it's simply a matter of helping to get the facts out in the open. Thanks for your help.
  13. That does seem contradictory to what has been said before, ie one vote per licence. Both Alan Fincher and I have identified in previous postings where the commitment to one vote per licence has been made. Unfortunately, though, the same sources say that you can only vote in one category and imply that the category is pre-determined, essentially that your vote will be in the category with the smaller electorate.
  14. In the shared ownership sector, special 'school holiday' shares attract a premium and generally sell faster, so there are certainly some families out there wanting to spend more time on the canals with their children.
  15. I don't agree that it is a 'weird anomaly.' One person carries the responsibility for compliance with the licence conditions, regardless of how many people jointly own the boat. The alternative is a different, commercial licence. Let's consider the case of shared ownership boats. Most of those we (BCBM) manage have syndicates of at least 12 families - one has 15. Should all those people have a vote? That would probably add at least another 2,500 to the electorate - possibly as many as 5,000 - all with some priorities in common. I don't really believe that single owners of private boats would be very happy if other boats with the same sort of licence had up to 30 votes. In practice, shared ownership boats have one owner as the single licence holder, they operate under a private licence and only those who own the boat and their friends and family can use the boat - there is no hiring. If a boat is available for hire, it has to have a commercial licence, the safety certificate conditions are different and the insurance basis is different. In this election, hirers are not represented directly, only the hire boat operators through the 'boating business' constituency.
  16. That's a pity as shows and open days provide ideal opportunities for prospective owners to see and compare boats. If it's of any interest - and space permitting - the BCBM Boat Share Shows are open to any shared ownership boat with a share being offered through BCBM Boat Share. A brokerage fee is only payable if BCBM Boat Share actually sells the share, so the only up front cost is a £50 deposit.
  17. You may also need an anti-vandal key - you certainly will if you go up the Wolverhampton flight and through Birmingham. This key undoes the lock mechanisms where they have to be kept locked to stop some bright spark opening the paddles and draining the flight and/or pounds. If you're doing this for the first time, you might consider taking you first day to get some boat handling training. It can make all the difference to your confidence, safety and enjoyment, especially if you are going on the Severn.
  18. According to the Trust's ‘FIRST DECISIONS, EARLY THOUGHTS AND STATEMENTS OF INTENT’, Appendix B, paragraph 5.1.1 it's one vote per licence. So shared ownership boats each get one vote as there is only one licence. An individual with more than one licence should get as many votes as he or she has licences. It's also worth bearing in mind that the Council is not the executive body and will not be directly involved in the operations of the Trust. To quote from the explanation on Waterscape, "The council will have the power to appoint or dismiss the Trustees. While Trustees are responsible for determining policy and strategy, Council will have an important role in helping to shape policy, raising and debating issues, providing guidance, perspective and a sounding board for Trustees."
  19. Please do say all that to ERS - customerservices@electoralreform.co.uk. They need to know - and their philosophy is certainly not to put obstacles in the way of fair voting! Our licence holder's pack hasn't arrived yet. She rang ERS today and they said to give it till Monday. Why it's coming by post I don't know, as the BW database holds her email address.
  20. Just to put the record straight, shared ownership boaters do have the opportunity to be represented. Their boats are licensed as private boats, and the licence holder has a vote. I know two of the candidates have a shared ownership background - John Cowan and Peter Scott
  21. Flyers about both March Boat Share Shows are now available from the BCBM offices at Nantwich and Braunston and for download. A5 sized, they're ideal for putting in the car or boat window to encourage folks to come along and discover the joys of shared ownership boating.
  22. According to the Trust's ‘FIRST DECISIONS, EARLY THOUGHTS AND STATEMENTS OF INTENT’, Appendix B, paragraph 5.1.1 it's one vote per licence. So shared ownership boats have just the one licence holder vote, which puts them on the same footing as single owner boats. If you hold two distinct licences but have only been sent one voting pack, I suggest you contact Electoral Reform Services straight away. Does anyone know which organization is nominating the fifth private boater member? According to the 'STATEMENTS OF INTENT' it's "1 member nominated by an organisation that is representative of a substantial number of boaters that use waterways but who are not individual licence holders." Would these be hirers, shared ownership owners and/or canoeists - and who would represent this group without overlapping another constituency?
  23. The boats now attending the Nantwich Boat Share Show on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March include: Black Watch Broadsword Champion Cotonwood Dawn Chorus Dawn Treader Enterprise First Dawn (probably) Rowington Sometimes Swallow Viceroy Willoughby It would be great to see you there.
  24. Three Boat Share Shows are being put on by BCBM this year: Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March at Nantwich Canal Centre Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March at Braunston Marina - the second annual BCBM Boat Share Show Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August at Nantwich Canal Centre. BCBM took over the Braunston event after the collapse of Ownerships Ltd. and held their first Annual Boat Share Show last March, when more than 30 shares found new owners. A second, smaller event in Nantwich last August resulted in another 15 new families taking advantage of shared ownership to get more boating for their money than by hiring. The events are free. Each will have a dozen or more shared ownership narrowboats for visitors to see. All the boats on view will have shares for sale. Owners will be on board to answer questions and the BCBM team will be there to provide all the information about how it all works and what it costs. There will be a mixture of ex-Ownerships, ex-Challenger and newly commissioned BCBM boats to compare, with share prices from around £2,500 to £10,000 for a 1/12 or 8% share offering 3 or 4 weeks boating each year.
  25. How kind. We were all a bit busy last year, and this year looks like being the same. I'm supposed to be retired and just working part time, but.... Correction accepted - I didn't check the numbers. I'm sure the work force at Heritage are splendid, but the owners - along with another yard - did try to persuade other marinas to adopt the same unhelpful and aggressive line. Fortunately they refused. That episode left a very unpleasant taste.
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