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

Phase 1/2 Estates Update

A meeting between the CRCG, RMC, POD Management & Bellway was due to take place today (30th September) to undertake a final inspection of the site with a view to handover of the last Phase 1/2 areas that will become the responsibility of the RMC (via POD Management). Concerns raised by residents about the state of the nursery site were also due to be discussed.

Unfortunately much of the work due to be progressed by Bellway had not yet been completed and as such the meeting has been re-scheduled for the end of October. I have however received confirmation that the rubbish in the central communal area will be collected and cleared tomorrow (1st October).

POD Management are preparing to lead a tender process for grounds maintenance in line with the Service Specification that was produced by PBA Consulting in conjunction with the CRCG and Bellway earlier in the year. This is a very robust and detailed document that will enable the RMC & POD Management to hold future contractors to account and to monitor service delivery more effectively.

The issue of the water level in the lake (and therefore the non-functioning fountain) has yet to be resolved and at this point in time there is no confirmed position as to why the water level has remained so low, despite plenty of rainfall. The surrounding drainage gulleys which feed that lake have been checked for blockages and there is still a belief that the drop in water level is linked to the draining of the main lake where Marden Homes are building. Investigations are continuing so that the fountain can be restored to its former glory.

I will provide a further update following the re-scheduled meeting with Bellway however both the RMC & POD are clear that we will only accept responsibility for land that has been properly prepared and signed off as not requiring any further remedial work.

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 Mobilisation Update

It has been 2 weeks since POD Management commenced services as the new Managing Agent. The majority of mobilisation tasks have been completed although there have been delays due to DJC Property Management not providing details of financial balances to be transferred, although this has now been completed.

Service Charge Budgets
The RMC & POD Management had planned to distribute new Service Charge Budgets & associated invoices by mid-August. Unfortunately due to the delay in POD Management receiving the necessary financial details and balances from DJC Property Management, there will be a further delay in getting the Service Charge information out to residents.

The new budgets will be distributed at the earliest opportunity but certainly no later than the end of August.

Estate Issues & Concerns
All issues that have been logged via the CRCG website are now live on the POD Management system. RMC directors have access to the system and can track progress to ensure that the issues are being dealt with. The key priority for POD has been to transfer the financial balances from DJC (which has proved to be a painful process) to enable Service Charge invoices to be sent out.

As such the majority of issues have not yet been dealt with however the position will be fully reviewed at a meeting due to take place on 22nd August. Please continue to log issues at:

https://channels.community/log-a-concern/

Landscaping Dilapidations
A meeting is to be held on 22nd August between POD, the RMC and Bellway to determine what is outstanding and how Bellway will address the areas still in need of being brought up to standard.

Bellway have asked that POD to give them a price for taking on the newly prepared areas to ensure they are in a suitable state for on-going maintenance at which point the areas will transfer to the RMC. This will also be discussed at the meeting on 22nd August. All existing dilapidation items have been added to POD systems for audit purposes.

Ongoing Mobilisation
POD have been asked to provide updates on a weekly basis until RMC Directors are satisfied that all core mobilisation tasks have been completed.

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! 🙂

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

Estates: Log A Concern

Dear Residents,

As you will be aware, POD Management commence delivering their service for us on 1st August 2019. Over the coming weeks, POD will be implementing a live system whereby RMC Directors will be able to view and track progress of issues that have been raised. Residents will also ultimately have access to an overview of the status of issues to provide assurance that they are being managed appropriately in a timely fashion.

However for the next two months, whilst the handover of management takes place, estate related issues should be raised via the CRCG website ‘Log A Concern’ page.

This will ensure there is a robust audit trail and that during on-going mobilisation, RMC Directors can check that all issues raised are appropriately logged by POD on their system and are being dealt with accordingly. Once POD’s systems are fully up and running, issues will be logged directly with POD and as such there should be no need for doing so via the CRCG website.

POD Management may need to contact you in relation to a logged issue and you will note that the website form now asks for contact details to be submitted. Any personal information submitted will be held by POD Management only for the purpose of formally recording, dealing with and resolving estate management issues raised.

Please note that all issues relating to your property must be resolved through the normal channels (generally Bellway Customer Care) and any submissions of this nature will not be logged!

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! 🙂