2019/20 Service Charges

Service Charge Demands for the period 1st July-31st December 2019 have now been raised. Notifications for privately owned properties were sent directly to residents week commencing 7th October however tenants of both Colne Housing and CHP will receive notifications via those organisations respectively. As such there will be a short delay before tenants have confirmation of the updated charges that form part of their tenancy agreements.

As previously advised there has been an increase in the Service Charge, primarily to reflect the fact that the previous Grounds Maintenance budget for RMC responsible land was not set at the right level to comply with strict on-going planning conditions. The value for Grounds Maintenance still remains a best estimate and will be confirmed over the next few months once a procurement exercise for this element of service has been undertaken by POD Management on behalf of the RMC. The procurement will facilitate delivery of the detailed Service Specification that was produced jointly by Bellway, the RMC & the CRCG earlier in the year to ensure that planning conditions could be satisfied.

It is important to note that the Service Charge Budget currently includes a value for site-wide costs at the same level as that notified in 2018/19. We believe that there should be a credit due for 2018/19 and indeed that the costs for 2019/20 should be lower on the basis many of the open spaces are not yet available for residents to access. However until the on-going detailed investigation into site-wide costs has been completed, it is considered prudent to provide for the same level of budget.

Notwithstanding the above position, and due to the on-going concerns about transparency in relation to site-wide costs, POD have been instructed not to make any payment until the aforementioned investigation has been concluded.

The summary schedule of costs and letter that has been sent to residents of privately owned properties can be viewed from the Service Charges Page.

Andrew Wright, Interim Director
Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company Ltd

2019/20 Service Charges

Please be advised that POD Management will be sending out service charge demands to residents for the period 1st July 2019 to 31st December 2019 within the next few days.

Residents are obligated, as stated in their deeds, to pay an appropriate fee for upkeep of the estate (which residents will ultimately own) in perpetuity whilst they remain the owners of their properties. The council will not take on any responsibility for the communal areas. There is also an obligation for residents, as part of planning conditions, to contribute to the upkeep of site-wide estate areas.

The service charge notice has been issued later than planned because as previously noted, it took far longer than expected to obtain information necessary from the previous managing agent.

The 2019/20 service charge estimates and supporting information will be posted on the website in due course.

Andrew Wright, Interim Director
Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company Ltd

POD Service Commencement

Dear Residents,

POD Management officially commenced their service today. All private residents should have already received a Welcome Letter and a unique reference to log contact details onto the POD system.

Housing Association tenants may not have received letters yet as currently all correspondence has to go via the Housing Associations. We will be looking to agree with the Housing Associations that POD can send correspondence in relation to estate management directly to properties in the future.

There is some new information on the website which explains the responsibilities of, and differences between, the Residents Management Company, the Managing Agent (POD) and the CRCG.

Don’t forget to log issues via the CRCG website for the time being as notified on 25th July however there is no need to log issues in relation to Highways as everything is already logged and being worked on with Bellway with a view to resolution by the end of August. The City Council is watching progress to ensure all planning requirements are adhered to.

I will be working closely with POD over the coming weeks to assist with the ongoing mobilisation and to ensure key issues identified are addressed. I am confident that a new era working in partnership with POD Management will be far more productive than that with the previous managing agent! ๐Ÿ™‚

Andrew Wright, Interim Director
Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company Ltd

Managing Agent Update

Further to the update posted on 12th June 2019, RMC Directors have now formally appointed POD Management to undertake day to day management, grounds maintenance and company secretarial services at Eagle Rise and Aqua Verde.

POD Management has a significant amount of mobilisation work to undertake over the course of the next month and require a formal point of liaison on a day to day basis. As such an interim RMC Director has been appointed, in line the company Articles of Association, to work with them and to instruct DJC where necessary to facilitate a smooth handover.

It is important to note that the interim director appointment is a temporary measure to ensure there is appropriate oversight in relation to mobilisation and handover. The appointee will automatically stand down when the formal process of wider director appointments takes place and the individual will need to put themselves forward in line with that process at the appropriate time.

Andrew Wright, who is a prominent member of the Channels Residents Community Group and who has worked closely with RMC Directors over the last year on both management of DJC and procurement of POD Management, has been duly appointed as an interim Director.

Residents will receive a letter from RMC Directors in due course formally confirming everything that has been posted via this website in relation to procurement of the new managing agent and residents will also start receiving correspondence from POD Management over the coming weeks as handover from DJC takes place.

Further information & updates will be posted via this website as mobilisation progresses so please do sign up to receive notification of updates and also encourage anyone that has not yet signed up to do so as we are aware that not everyone is a member, nor wants to be a member, of the Bellway at Channels Facebook Group.

Bellway at Channels is about to enter a new era! ๐Ÿ™‚

New Managing Agent

Please find some important information in relation to the procurement of a new managing agent to replace DJC.

Although all residents will receive this information formally from RMC Directors, as the partnership with DJC has just over one month left to run it was felt that residents should know the position at the earliest opportunity.

Parking Issues & Covenants

Dear Residents,

Further to the on-going debate about commercial vehicles, parking, restrictive covenants and the enforcement of them, it is important to note that the Community Group Committee has no power or mandate to make any decisions in this regard and it is our Resident Management Company Directors that would need to consider and determine what, if any, action should be taken.

The Community Group has however attempted to engage with the incumbent managing agent to assist in finding solutions to some of the parking concerns that have been raised by residents over recent months. This has largely been where cars and vans have been parked in locations that are unsafe or that potentially block access to emergency vehicles (which has happened on one occasion).

Unfortunately DJC were not prepared to assist given the emotions that often accompany parking concerns and as such the Community Group will look to work alongside the RMC with the new managing agent, once appointed, to consider ways of dealing with issues that cause concern for residents.

One of the proposed approaches is to hold regular โ€˜town hallโ€™ style meetings which residents can attend and air views on key topics that affect the development so that we can collectively, as a community, determine the best way to deal with any problems that arise, parking or otherwise.

It is important to note that there are indeed a number of restrictive covenants that residents signed up to as part of their property purchase which are legally binding and which all residents are obligated to comply with. The new managing agent will also be asked to assist the RMC in determining the extent to which the covenants should be policed, including the need to provide more clarity in relation to the wording of them. For reference, the covenants can be found here.

Ultimately there is a need to ensure that the community as a whole is happy and the covenants need to work for us, not against us! ๐Ÿ™‚

Estate Management Update

Most residents will be aware that the contract with DJC Property Management Ltd for management services at Channels (Aqua Verde and Eagle Rise) has been terminated and as such DJC will cease to provide any services on the development from the end of July. DJC provides managed services (landscape maintenance, communal cleaning etc.) for which residents pay an annual Service Charge fee. They also act as Company Secretary for the Channels (Chelmsford) Management Company (“CCMC”).

The decision to terminate the contract was taken by CCMC Directors in response to numerous concerns and complaints raised by residents over the last year. The Directors of both CCMC and DJC have worked hard to try to improve matters for many months but unfortunately were unable to reach agreement on what is an acceptable level of service and consequently have agreed to part company.

The Directors of CCMC have invited a shortlist of contractors to tender for the management, landscaping and company secretarial services and each will be asked to present their proposals on Friday 10th May. A detailed information pack and specification has been put together to ensure that all companies are bidding on the same basis.

The Channels Residents Community Group has been assisting CCMC Directors with the above process and has recommended that residents should be able to submit their ideas, thoughts and suggestions for consideration by CCMC Directors.

If you would like to submit suggestions, or any other feedback, please do so using the online form below, no later than close of play on Friday 3rd May. All responses will be collated, considered by CCMC Directors and used in preparation for when contractors present their proposals on 10th May.

Please note that due to the tight time-frames that are being worked to, you will not receive a personalised response however all feedback will be collated, considered by CCMC Directors and used in preparation for when contractors present their proposals in May. Your details will not be kept for any other purpose.