As part of the ongoing landscaping remedial works, many of the small trees which form boundary hedgerows are being replaced. This is a significant undertaking with preparation and planting due to take place over the next couple of weeks.
The new hedgerow ‘whips’ are young trees of approximately 0.5-1.0 m in height and 2–3 years old that have been grown specifically for planting out. They will generally be supported by canes to ensure they remain in place and upright as they grow.
It is important that the newly planted areas are not interfered with as the tree ‘whips’ need to become properly established over the coming months and as such it is asked that children are advised not to play in these areas and especially not to remove the supporting canes.
The remedial works are being undertaken at no cost to residents. However the gardeners will be providing photographic evidence once the planting has been completed and the cost of repairing any damage to these areas subsequent to the work being signed off will fall to residents via the service charge we all pay.
Estate Management: Remedial Works
Members of the Community Group Committee met with Bellway, DJC and a Channels Estate representative on 22nd November to undertake an inspection of the on-going remedial works, specifically in relation to soft landscaping.
Due to over-running civil engineering works, we have missed a key window for undertaking some key landscaping work (e.g. grass re-seeding), and it became apparent that a number of areas will not be ready for sign off and handover until Spring 2019. There is also a great deal of work required in relation to weed treatment that needs to take place during the winter months and this also needs to be completed prior to sign off.
Committee Members are meeting with Bellway on Friday 30th November to specifically discuss the on-going management of the remedial works and to ensure that all necessary work continues to be carried out at no additional cost to residents.
Residents should have received notification from DJC (Housing Association tenants may receive notification directly from their Housing Association) of the Service Charge for the period 1st January 2019 to 30th June 2019. Please note that this is merely the second half of the annual charge notified in June this year and there have been no changes to the chargeable amount.
Committee Members will begin discussions with DJC early in the new year about how future service charges are calculated so that residents can be clear where the money is being targeted and to ensure there is transparency that we are paying a fair price for the services received.
Parish Counncil Boundaries
There have been 59 responses to the survey in relation to Parish Council boundaries. Whilst the vast majority (96%) feel that we should fall within the Little Waltham Parish, we will need 250 electors willing to sign a petition before the City Council (and indeed the Little Waltham Parish Council) will consider progressing a Community Governance Review.
Please complete the survey if you haven’t done so and encourage anyone else you know to do the same!
Exploratory work is on-going to determine whether we can expand Neighbourhood Watch across the development (there is currently a ‘watch’ set up for Jigger Gardens), what this might involve and whether there is the desire from residents to get involved.
There is some useful information on the Chelmsford Neighbourhood Watch website which is worth a read.
Following a meeting with the site team yesterday, it appears that there are more issues with lamp posts than previously expected. Based on the latest information, and excluding the current building site area, there are 12 lamp posts which are not connected (or are connected but not working) and 3 lamp posts that are missing and which need to be installed.
The diagram below shows the current position:
The site team are working with the various sub-contractors to expedite this however it is unlikely that all lights will be on and fully functional until the end of December. As it has been noted that the entrance to Fairway Drive is particularly dark, this area will be prioritised:
Further updates will be posted as and when new information becomes available and if you believe that any lamp post flagged as operational not to be working, do report this via the Log A Concern page on the website.
We have been in contact with Royal Mail and understand that there must be a post box within 1/2 mile of all properties. As such the Royal Mail Post Box Team have raised a work order to investigate the possibility of installing a post box on our part of the development.
Currently Royal Mail have proposed at post box at the following location:
This would appear to be a sensible location as it is central to Aqua Verde and Eagle Rise and will be easy for Royal Mail to access for collections etc.
Thanks to Melanie Williamson who has been liaising with Royal Mail to progress this 🙂
DJC Property Management, on behalf of the over-arching Channels Management Company, have created a website which is designed to provide updates and information in relation to all matters which impact on the channels site including setting out the approach and responsibilities for the on-going management and maintenance of the wider development.
It appears that the website is still partly under development however it should be a useful resource in understanding the progress of key site-wide issues such as the public open spaces and ecology.
Our own website, which is specifically for matters relating to Phase 1/2 (Bellway) will obviously continue. If there is key information posted to the site-wide website that is specific to Phase 1/2, it will also be posted on this website to ensure as much coverage as possible.
Please be aware that corrective boundary works are due to take place in front of and adjacent to Plot 119 from Thursday the 8th of November 2018.
The duration of works is likely to be seven working days however the time period may well be extended as it is a ‘hand dig’ operation due to the complexity of the services/utilities around this area.
There have been many hours spent over the last month, working with both Bellway and DJC Property Management, in producing a Remedial Works Plan that can be robustly monitored to ensure that all of the estates & landscaping issues are resolved in line with expectations.
As many of the remedial works are nearing completion, we will hold a number of ‘handover’ meetings with both Bellway & DJC, the first of which is to take place on 22nd November.
Areas that have been flagged as complete will be inspected by senior Bellway executives and members of the Community Group. For areas that are not yet managed by DJC, and on the basis there are no outstanding issues to resolve, sign off will trigger the process of handing over the land to DJC for on-going management. For areas that are already managed by DJC, sign off will confirm that the land is fit for purpose for on-going management by DJC in line with the budget that has been set.
There have unfortunately been some unforeseen issues with connection of a number of lamp posts and we are awaiting a further update, although most of Fairway Drive should now be connected. Remedial landscaping works around Niblick Green have also been delayed as Bellway is awaiting confirmation from Highways as to whether the tarmac path (leading to the boundary with Countryside) needs to be completely pulled up and re-laid.
You may also have noticed a number of blue dots and markings on the roads across the development. This is as a result of an extensive highways snagging programme currently underway so wherever you see these, it means remedial work will be required. The snagging process is being undertaken to a far more detailed level than even we flagged and currently circa 40% of the development has been checked. Once the final highways snagging report has been completed, we will have a better idea of where and when works will be taking place however all of it is planned for completion by mid-December.
We are in constant contact with both Bellway & DJC and further updates will be posted in relation to progress. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to use the Contact Form on the website and as always if you have any specific concerns in relation to estate management, you can log them here.
Channels Residents Community Group
Please see below a letter from Bellway in relation to some minor works across the development which will require access to electricity wall meter cupboards on the outside of properties.
“In accordance with our approval process with Chelmsford City Council we have been asked to undertake an audit check of our completed properties. Whilst this is taking place our electrical meter installer will be implementing an additional requirement from the Council to install a seal to the bottom of the electricity wall meter cupboard.
Works to be undertaken over the course of the next few weeks will only take a few minutes and we hope this will not cause you any inconvenience.”
The full letter can be viewed and/or downloaded as a pdf file:
If you do have any questions, we ask that you forward them using the contact form via this website with your name, plot number and e-mail address as this will ensure that everything can be collated and sent to Bellway in an managed way.
Channels Residents Community Group
There will be works starting imminently to connect a number of lamp posts across the development. This will be undertaken in stages so as to minimise disruption and the site team will do their best make residents aware of works taking place near to them. For now the diagram below indicates planned works over the next couple of days:
If you have any concerns, ensure you continue to log them so that we can raise if necessary with Bellway.
Channels Residents Community Group
You will have noticed significant estates works being undertaken around the development recently and we met with Bellway again on Tuesday 9th October to discuss progress. Whilst there is a generic over-arching plan, we expressed concern at the lack of a detailed schedule of works and as such a decision was taken to use our issues/snagging list as the basis for managing and monitoring the ongoing remedial work. The list has been turned into a Project Plan which will include detailed tangible actions, estimated completion dates and reasons for slippage where appropriate.
We have requested that the Project Plan is reviewed and fully updated by close of play Friday 19th October however it is important to note however that some remedial work will be undertaken at specific times to ensure the best possible outcome. For example, new and replacement trees will be planted during November.
You will have also noticed that a number of new Street Name Signs have been installed during the last week which are now council ‘approved’ and this should assist with visitors, delivery drivers and emergency services being able to find their way around. We are however aware that some of the signage on Aqua Verde is still not consistent with that on Eagle Rise and this has been raised.
Whilst the new Street Name Signs have all been installed in line with the conveyance plan, 35 of them were on private land and in many cases no warning was given to residents, either in advance or when works began. Bellway have confirmed that under no circumstances are ground workers to enter or carry out works on private property in the future without the owner’s prior written consent.
Bellway have advised that connection of lamp posts will take longer that initially planned. A number of Lamp posts are having to be re-ducted and UK Power Networks are having to adjoin the lamp posts across the site individually. Unfortunately areas of block paving across the site will have to be dug up and works will take place in sections to avoid as much disturbance to residents as possible. A more detailed plan will be provided imminently so that residents can be informed of when & where each section of work will take place.
It is also important to note that we have agreed with Bellway no remedial work can be signed off for handover without involvement of the Community Group. As residents will become responsible for all communal land once Bellway leave the site, we need to ensure that it is in a ‘fit for purpose’ state before taking ownership.
As always, if there are estates related concerns that you do not believe are being addressed, ensure you log them so we can review and if necessary add to the Project Plan.
Channels Residents Community Group