The Langdale Owners' Club

Langdale Owners’ Club v Langdale Leisure Ltd

What’s the difference between Langdale Owners Club, Langdale Owners Plc and Langdale Leisure Limited? In fact, who are they all?!

It appears from the Guest Questionnaires that some Owners are unaware or unclear that ‘Langdale’ is made up of several different entities, and of the relationship between these and the Owners.  To better understand this it may help to explain the entities involved and a little of the Langdale history.

  • Langdale Owners Club (LOC) – under the constitution everyone who owns a timeshare week at Langdale automatically becomes a member of the club
  • Langdale Owners Plc (LOP) – is a holding company which wholly owns LLL.  All its shareholders are timeshare owners at Langdale.
  • Langdale Leisure Limited (LLL) – is the trading company which operates the entire business run on the Langdale estate, and is a subsidiary company of LOP

In the 1990’s the Langdale business (which was run by LLL) and the estate freehold was owned by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries.  They felt it didn’t fit with their other business interests and offered to sell the estate to the lodge owners.  Langdale Owners Plc was formed and all Langdale Owners Club members were invited to invest in LOP.  In return they were given a share in LOP. Owners were only allowed to invest sufficient to purchase one share for each timeshare week they owned.  The funds raised by Owner investments, when added to a bank loan, enabled LOP to purchase the Langdale business and the estate freehold.  They therefore purchased LLL, the trading company.

Those who invested to buy the site, approximately 20 years ago, are some way off seeing their investment returned in purely financial terms, but they didn’t make the investment for financial return, they made it for the benefit of ALL Owners (whether they are shareholders or not).  Many companies pay dividends to their shareholders.  Some companies give their shareholders special offers and/or discounts in addition to, or instead of, paying dividends, e.g. M&S send their shareholders vouchers annually.  In the early years following the purchase of the Langdale estate by LOP the shareholders received no financial return for their investment.  In recent years LOP has chosen to make a contribution to the payment made by Shareholders for their management fee.

Shareholders only retain their share while they retain their timeshare week as the shares are linked to the timeshare weeks.  In theory, a lodge with a share is more valuable.  In reality this is debatable as many purchasers don’t understand or appreciate the value of a share.  Many of the current shareholders didn’t invest in the purchase of the estate.  Like me, they simply bought a week that has a share attached, with little (if any) knowledge of what it means.
If LOP shareholders were not LOC members the situation for Owners might be very different.  The shareholders might be more concerned with financial returns than with the operation, maintenance and development of the Langdale Estate.  As it is, all LOP shareholders are Langdale timeshare owners, they are therefore as concerned with the operation of the timeshare as they are with the wider business of LOP.

When thinking about what happens at Langdale it’s helpful to know that LOP, not the timeshare owners, provide the funding for the operation, maintenance and development of the on-site facilities – the Hotel (including the leisure facilities – pool, Jacuzzi etc.), Brimstone, Wainwright’s, the Langdale Spa and Stove.  They could not do this if the shareholders didn’t support the plans and funding.  Recent developments (Brimstone, Stove, Spa) have been made to safeguard the future of the business, which (hopefully) means that LOP will continue in business and continue to look after the Langdale estate.  The facilities, owned by LOP, are available for hotel guests and timeshare residents (owners and renters) to use, but they are part of a business and are operated as such. Owners contribute nothing to these facilities, unless they choose to use them.

LOP recognises that LOC members are key customers.  They kindly allow timeshare residents to use the leisure facilities free of charge.  We are very fortunate here as many timeshare sites are operated by companies which charge the Owners for use of such facilities.  LOP also introduced the Owners’ Privilege card, which gives ALL Owners (not just shareholders) significant discounts towards on-site and off-site facilities.

There is a very good working relationship between LOC, LOP and LLL, built up over the last 20 years by many people passionate about Langdale, several of whom have given significantly of their own time for no reward.  One of the ways in which this is demonstrated is via the contractual service charge due from LOC to LOP for the services they provide (e.g. maintenance of the properties and the grounds).  Contractually LOP can charge ‘15% on costs’, although they currently charge significantly less than this.  (All Owners sign up to the contractual agreement when they purchase their timeshare week.)

LOC are purely concerned with matters relating to the timeshare properties and their owners.  They are not involved in the development, provision, maintenance or operation of any of the on-site facilities.  Maintenance, Housekeeping and refurbishment of the timeshare properties is carried out by LLL, at the request of LOC Committee and in accordance with the constitution of the club, and paid for by the Owners through the annual maintenance fee.  The fee is set by the Committee and is the same for every Owner, depending only upon the property they own.  The role of the Committee is to work with LLL to ensure the timeshare part of the business is run in the best interests of ALL Owners.

It is in the interests of all Owners, both shareholders and non-shareholders, that LOP is successful as it owns and looks after the Langdale Estate.  It is only the shareholders however who can directly influence LOP.

Jill Walker

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