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

2019/20 Service Charges

Unfortunately there will be a further delay in distributing 2019/20 Service Charge estimates. RMC Directors, in conjunction with the CRCG Committee, have raised a number of questions in relation to the site-wide contributions that we make and as yet satisfactory answers have not been received.

I have outlined the current position in an open letter to all residents which can be viewed and/or downloaded here.

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

Residents Update

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.

Service Charges
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!

https://surveyhero.com/c/ecbb111b

Neighbourhood Watch
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.

New Service Charge Budgets

Dear Residents,

You will have either received, or will be receiving imminently, revised Service Charge Budgets (plus an invoice!) from DJC Property Management which sets out the budget and estimated estate management charges for the year 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019. The updated schedules will be uploaded to the website in due course so that they can be accessed for easy reference.

The main change is a small cost increase in relation to visits from the ecologist which are now taking place once every two weeks. We have a meeting with the ecologist set for 4th July to better understand the requirements that were set out in the original planning conditions, to be clear around what can and cannot be done with the land and to determine why there is a need for increased frequency of visits (leading to the increase in costs).

The next committee meeting for the Community Group is scheduled for Tuesday 26th June and we will post a progress update after this so residents can be kept information about our plan of action.

Don’t forget to continue logging estate management concerns that you would like us to take forward on your behalf.

Andrew Wright
On behalf of the Channels Residents Community Group