Make a Difference

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Together We Can Make a Difference

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The Future of the Residents’ Association – 02/11/2018

Please note the letter below, dated Friday 2nd November and delivered to all residents of Egerton Park over that weekend, concerning the future of the residents’ association and of the committee.
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Personal details have been removed for reasons of security.

Dear Egerton Park Resident,

The Future of the Residents’ Association

At the AGM of the Egerton Park Residents’ Association in June this year, the committee made those who attended aware of the fact that the Residents’ Committee needs more help.   Being on the committee is not a very time-consuming task but often there are tasks that fall to a small number of people.   I have been Chair of the committee for 13 years and most of the current committee members have also served for many years.   I plan to move from the park within the next 5 years and some committee members are in poor health so change will need to happen.

At the AGM we pointed these issues out and made it clear that if we cannot get more volunteers on the committee we may have to close the Residents’ Association down.   We think the best option is to ask for more volunteers now, remind people later in the year and then, if by the 2019 AGM we have no “new blood” on the committee, we will spend the final reserves of the association (which is a limited company) on the road surface and then wind up the company by September 2019.

That would be a shame and would undermine all the useful work we have undertaken over the years on the pillars, the traffic islands, the drains and particularly the road surface but we cannot continue as we are.

The committee currently meets about 6 times a year for 2 hours and distributes a newsletter about 4 times per year.   In particular we need a treasurer as well as help with the newsletter, website and emails, but any resident who wants to help out in any capacity is welcome.   If you are interested please email us on _ _ _ _ _@_ _ _ _ _ or contact me on my personal mobile _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

Please don’t let the park go into decline again.   Your quality of life and property value will almost certainly suffer without an active residents’ association.

Kind regards,

Chair

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

Information about the residents’ association can be found on our website under the page entitled Facts and FAQs.

 

If you would like to help then please contact us using the reply box below, giving us your Egerton Park address and contact details.

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Wirral Local Plan – October 2018

The following letter was sent via email to Wirral Council by our chair.   Personal details have been removed for security.

25th October 2018

Dear Sirs,

Wirral Local Plan – Our Response to the Public Consultation

The Egerton Park Residents’ Association is a not-for-profit limited company owned and managed by residents in Egerton Park.   Our road is un-adopted by the Local Authority and therefore responsibility for its upkeep and maintenance is undertaken by us.   We represent about 200 households within the park and its numerous cul-de-sacs.

Further to the public consultation on the Area Plan, the Egerton Park Residents’ Association committee has met and discussed the proposals contained within the plan.

We note that there are a number of proposals relating to sites within Egerton Park, most notably a number of derelict sites owned mostly, but not exclusively by Salisbury Developments Ltd.

We have the following observations and suggestions to make:

1.  We are unsure as to the status of the numerous sites and the Local Authority’s proposals.   As privately owned land it is not clear how or if the Council can insist that the sites are brought into use other than by a compulsory purchase order or some other lawful authority.

2.  We have been in dialogue with elected members George Davies and Moira McLaughlin and also with David Ball, Assistant Director: Major Growth Projects and Housing Delivery on numerous occasions over several years to request that the Council initiates steps to force the owners of several derelict sites in Egerton Park into their use for residential properties.   To date, after several years of trying we have made little progress.   We therefore broadly welcome the Area plan.

3.   For the avoidance of doubt we welcome any steps to bring brownfield sites in Egerton Park into use for residential property.

4.   We have a number of concerns about developments in Egerton Park.   In particular, the infrastructure is Victorian and privately-owned (by the Residents’ Association) including the entrance pillars and the un-adopted road surface and is maintained solely by us as property owners and residents.   Large scale development, for example for commercial use, blocks of flats or apartments will put undue and unsustainable pressure on traffic flow and highway maintenance.

5.  The park is already home to several Houses in Multi Occupation and to several nursing and residential homes.   Any continued growth of that type of development will further dilute the residential nature of our estate, increase the transient population who tend to take no interest in our community and who typically do not pay fees towards the upkeep of the road and other infrastructure, insisting that they are tenants not property owners.

6.   There has been a Tree Preservation Order relating to the park in force since the early 1970’s but it is frequently flouted by developers and, although incidents are reported to the Council no enforcement action ever seems to follow.  In any new proposed developments we would like to see the TPO upheld and specified within any planning approvals.

7.   As the road is un-adopted any damage to the road surface caused by demolition or construction traffic will almost inevitably fall to the Residents’ Committee (with our limited funds).  We would therefore request that any housing developments are conditional upon the developers making good the road surface upon completion and to a standard acceptable to the Council’s highways department in consultation with ourselves.

8.   We would further request that any new properties built in Egerton Park are made subject to a covenant that the owner or occupier must pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the road and infrastructure which is set annually at the AGM of the residents’ association (currently £5 per month).

I reiterate that the residents and committee of Egerton Park are fully supportive of a process of residential development of the derelict sites in Egerton Park and its surroundings.   Indeed we have been campaigning for this for several years.   However, this is an un-adopted, Victorian, enclosed “residential” estate in a suburb and, as such needs special consideration to ensure that any development is compatible with the current housing stock and is sustainable in the longer term.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Sincerely 

Chair.

For and on behalf of Egerton Park Residents’ Association.

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Road Maintenance Fees Letter and Invoice – 30/09/2018

The following letter, personal to each property and owner, was delivered on Sunday 30th September to those households in Egerton Park which, so far this financial year (01/04/2018 to 31/03/2019), have not contributed to the road maintenance fund.

Many thanks to those residents who on the day helped with the delivery.

 

Dear ………………….…..,

ROAD MAINTENANCE FEES   –   Egerton Park address

As you will be aware, the road in Egerton Park is unadopted and is therefore not maintained by the council.   All home owners are legally responsible for its upkeep along their frontage.   Since April 2016 a total of £11,550 has been spent by the residents’ association on repairs, £2730 of which was in April of this year; another £5000 worth of work is expected to be done this autumn.   However, we are reliant on property owners paying their fees when due in order to continue to maintain the road and infrastructure.

Our records indicate that you have not made any contribution to the upkeep of the road this financial year.   If you believe that we are mistaken, please contact us so that we can check our records again.   Tenants are asked to pass this letter to the owner of the property.

Your payment for the financial year 01/04/18 to 31/03/19 is now due.   This is set annually at the Egerton Park Residents’ Association AGM and has been fixed at a minimum of £5 per month or £60 per year for each individual household within a property since 2006.

This maintenance fee includes a contribution towards our private roads insurance as without this payment you, the owner, would be liable if an accident were to occur on a section of road for which you are responsible.

On the reverse of this letter is an invoice for £60 representing the annual fees due since 01/04/18.   Please pay the amount in accordance with the instructions on the invoice by 30/10/18.

Over the year £60 works out at £1.15 per week – less than the cost of a cup of coffee.   Although this is loose change, we need every penny so that we can keep our road and its surroundings safe to walk and drive on, and looking like an area that people care about.

Together we can make a difference but without your support we cannot.

We look forward to receiving your contribution towards the cost of maintaining the road.

Yours sincerely,

The Committee

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

Further information about the residents’ association and how your money is spent can be found on our website under the page entitled Facts and FAQs.

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Bygone Rock Ferry – 8th Sept 2018

Bygone Rock Ferry 08-09-2018

 

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Brownfield Sites 42/44, 46/48 & 77 Egerton Park – 19th July 2018

The following message was emailed to our list of contacts on 19th July.   If you wish to be added to our contacts, please use the reply box below giving us your email address, name and house number, and we will reply to you.

“Residents will be interested to know that Wirral Council have identified a list of brownfield sites where more homes could be built, in order to meet government targets.   The 91 sites identified include 42-44, 46-48 and 77 Egerton Park.   Councillor George Davies stated that it was the council’s policy to make use of ‘brownfield sites’, protecting as much of the green belt as possible.   The residents’ committee have met with Councillor Davies and council officials several times over the past two years and have been lobbying for development of these sites which finally appears to have borne fruit.

“There are still questions to be asked about what type of developments will take place, and the committee will be keen to ensure that any developer ensures that any damage to the road surface is repaired before they complete the sites.   Nonetheless, the residents’ committee welcomes this news and hopes that the council will follow through on their proposals in due course.

“Watch this space!

“For more information –

Full list of locations where MORE Wirral homes could be built to hit government targets

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Minutes of AGM – 20th June 2018

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

Minutes of Annual General Meeting

held at The Lauries, Birkenhead

at 7pm on Wednesday 20th June 2018

Attendance:       11 residents plus 5 committee members.

Apologies:          1 apology

1. Welcome and Introductions

The chair and treasurer’s reports had been circulated prior to the meeting.   It was the committee’s intention that an informal style of meeting should encourage discussion and debate from those present.

2. Derelict Properties

The chair reported on meetings that had taken place over the last 12 months with councillors and representatives of the council’s housing department.   These meetings have produced little progress as the council has no powers in respect of private owners of properties.   However, key changes in planning law mean that councils now have to meet targets regarding building on ‘brownfield’ sites, so we wait with interest to see if this has any impact on the sites in Egerton Park.

One resident asked – if a new application was to be submitted to develop one of the derelict/empty properties/sites, what would be the council’s position in light of the highway department’s previous opposition to such developments?   The committee were unable to comment as we have no idea what the response of planning or highways might be to future applications.   All we can do is to monitor applications and keep residents informed.   The chair also confirmed that, contrary to a commonly held misconception, with respect to 42-44, 46-48 and 77, the committee has never opposed any previous planning applications.   A previous application to demolish 77 and replace it with houses was opposed by the planning department, NOT the committee or residents.   Finally, it has not been possible to establish the intentions of the owner of 4 of these properties despite communication by email.

As a way forward, residents suggested a petition to all residents.   However, this would require the involvement of many more residents to assist in this, the current committee not having sufficient manpower to undertake such a time consuming exercise.   Other suggestions included lobbying our local MP Frank Field, and/or emailing the owner of the derelict properties requesting an update.   The committee will continue to check the planning website for any new planning applications and will keep residents informed by emailing those residents for whom we have contact details.

ACTION: the committee to seek a meeting with local MP Frank Field to discuss residents’ concerns over derelict sites.

3. Road Maintenance

All present agreed that the road is now in a better state than it has been for some time and that repairs appear to be holding out well against cold weather.   The committee will continue to ask residents to assist us by identifying particular patches that need work, and will continue in our policy of repairing larger patches as opposed to individual potholes.   Residents commented on the particularly good patch that has been repaired at the top entrance and the use of good quality tarmac.

A resident suggested an increase in contributions to fund future repairs, however, it was agreed that it would be unfair to expect those residents who already contribute, to subsidize to an even greater extent, those who do not pay.

4. Drains and Infrastructure

i) Drains – residents reported that a number of gullies are blocked and some have disappeared or been concreted over.    As a consequence sections of the park, particularly towards the Byrne Avenue end, are prone to flooding.   One drain has been cleared (paid for out of the maintenance fund) and the chair has requested a quote from the same drainage company for all gullies, including those in the closes, to be cleared.   It was also noted that council road sweepers rarely sweep the road in the park and that, unless this is done regularly, the drains will soon block up again.   In conclusion, our only option is to do the best we can in the circumstances and use the maintenance fund to clear gullies if and when necessary.

There followed a discussion about the council’s responsibility for certain services and their refusal/avoidance in offering these services to residents of Egerton Park because of its unadopted road status.   This is despite the fact that residents do not pay a reduced rate of community charge.   This issue has come up in relation to surface water drains, fly tipping, fallen trees, and lighting.   Also it was noted that the road sweeper should clean around the park once a month but it is certainly nowhere near as regular as this.

ACTION: The committee to seek some clarification about residents’ entitlement to council services as full payers of the community charge.   To be raised with Frank Field MP.

ii) Entrance Pillars – these require some repair work and the chair will attempt to complete this work in the summer months.   Any offer of help with this would be welcome!

iii) Lighting in Delyn Close – one resident raised concerns about the lack of lighting in Delyn Close.   The committee had previously done a lot of work on this issue, including meetings with the council, and had proposed a solution in terms of contributing towards the cost of installing lights, but residents of the close had not attended a meeting where this proposal was to have been discussed.   Residents of Delyn Close are free to raise this issue again if it is causing concern.

5. Anti-social Behaviour

One resident reported sighting youths in his driveway and another reported a burglary in the last 12 months but these occurrences, fortunately, are now quite rare in the park.   It is worth reminding residents to take more care during the summer months when windows are left open, which could lead to an increase in opportunistic thefts.   Residents should also let the committee know of any such incidents so that we can send out an email alert to residents.

6. Traffic Issues

The park already has speed bumps and we have previously replaced old and damaged 10mph speed signs.   It is difficult to see what more can be done to stop some vehicles travelling at excessive speeds in the park.   Parked cars continue to be a problem particularly visitors to Salisbury House.

ACTION: the committee to look at possibilities regarding enforcement of parking restrictions on the road.

7. Committee Membership

The committee consists of just 4 regular members who undertake most of the work.   Two of these members are directors of the residents’ association.   Current committee members have been doing this work, sometimes in excess of 10 years, and are not getting any younger.   We are desperately in need of volunteers to help and contribute new ideas, and with a view to taking on some of the committee tasks and to support its work, or there is a very real danger that the current committee will fold.

ACTION: the future of the residents’ committee should be a priority for 2018/2019, with a letter to go to all residents making clear the situation if the committee should fold.

8. Action Plan/Priorities for 2018/2019

·        Future of the residents’ committee should be a priority for 2018/2019, with a letter to go to all residents making clear the situation if the committee should fold;

·        Develop a strategic approach to issues of empty & derelict properties in the park – to seek a meeting with local MP Frank Field;

·        Continue to pursue households that do not pay towards the residents’ association funds;

·        Continue with road repair/resurfacing;

·        Ongoing vigilance and surveillance of planning applications;

·        Reporting of anti-social behaviour and other nuisance issues;

·        Keep residents informed via newsletters and occasional emails;

·        To look at possibilities regarding enforcement of parking restrictions on the road;

·        To seek some clarification about residents’ entitlement to council services as full payers of the community charge.   To be raised with Frank Field MP.

9. Any Other Business

i) Lettering on Pillars – the committee to explore options for road name signs to be fixed to the entrance pillars.

ii) Grass Cutting – a request to fund grass cutting of the verge at the entrance to Delyn Close has been refused.   As this could not possibly be a one off payment, it was felt after discussion that this was not a good use of residents’ contributions.   A question was raised as to why this has recently become a problem?   How was this issue dealt with previously?

The chair thanked all those for attending and for their support to the committee, and also thanked the committee for all their hard work over the last 12 months.

The meeting closed at 8.40pm.

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Alert to all Residents – 7th July 2018

We have received information from a resident in the park about finding strange markings on a shed and downspout.   On contact with the police it is clear that these markings are used by thieves to communicate with each other and let each other know which properties are easiest to break into, and those which are not worth burgling.   There is information about this online and it was first highlighted by Lanarkshire Police in 2015.   A search for ‘burglar symbols’ will give you more detail.
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‘Meanings include ‘alarmed house’, ‘previously burgled’, ‘good target’, and ‘vulnerable occupant’.
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If you see any signs on your own property or anywhere in the park, the police should be contacted immediately and forensic officers are already investigating the case identified by our resident.
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We do not have everyone’s email addresses so please pass this message on to neighbours and particularly if you are aware of more vulnerable residents.   We do not want to over react and cause unnecessary alarm but felt it was important to keep residents informed.
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The committee would also like to know of any further incidents so we can see the bigger picture and have a view as to whether this is just an isolated incident or a more worrying trend.

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