Archive for Maintenance Contributions

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, the committee has never opposed any previous planning applications, and 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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AGM 20th June 2018 – Chair’s Report

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

AGM     20th June 2018   –   Report of Committee Chair

At last year’s AGM you, as residents, set the following priorities for 2017/18.   These were identical to the priorities set in 2016/17.

  •       Develop a strategic approach to issues of empty & derelict properties in the park;
  •       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;
  •       Consider holding a ‘Clear up Egerton Park Day’.

Derelict Properties & Sites

Throughout 2017/18 we continued to meet with Moira McLaughlin, Councillor for Rock Ferry ward; Councillor George Davies, Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet member for Housing & Community Safety; and staff from the housing department at Wirral Borough Council.   The committee remains frustrated that because all the derelict sites are privately owned there is no “quick fix”.   You will also be aware that number 77 has now been destroyed by fire and the owner is awaiting a decision on its potential demolition.   At a recent meeting with our councillors and local authority it was agreed that they will now explore any available legal options to enforce the development of derelict sites.   Beyond that there has been little progress.

The Residents’ Association Funds

We have (again) carried out a regular and consistent campaign throughout 2017/18 to encourage those households that do not pay towards the work of the residents’ association that they should do so.   Every non-paying household has received invoices and reminder letters and we have responded to a range of individual queries and complaints from those who do not wish to pay.   We have continued to develop an effective database of all households’ contribution history and can tell at a glance who has paid, who is in arrears and have a complete history of contributions back to 2005.   The percentage of households paying their fees has gradually increased again this year and the majority now pay but there is still more work to do.   We propose that this remains a priority for 2018/19.

Road Repairs/Resurfacing Issues

Once again we have carried out a significant number of road repairs to both the north and south drives in the park.   By and large the road is probably better than it has been for a long time – some say it’s better than many council roads which are full of potholes!   In June 2017 we carried out £4,260 worth of road repairs and in April 2018 we carried out a further £2,730.   We hope to carry out further repairs this year before the onset of autumn.

Ongoing Vigilance and Surveillance of Planning Applications

The committee has continued to monitor any and all planning applications throughout the year although they have been few and far between.   We currently know of no major plans affecting the park.

Reporting of Anti-social Behaviour and Other Nuisance Issues

The committee remains vigilant about these issues and maintains regular contact with police community support officers and local councillors but there does not appear to have been any increase in the amount of anti-social incidents this year.   Occasionally there is some fly-tipping and we warned of a number of young people entering derelict properties, especially number 77 and this did indeed result in the arson on that property last year.

We ask all residents to remain vigilant and to report any matters of concern to the relevant authorities as and when they arise including Wirral Council’s “Street Scene” department, your local councillors and the police.   As always, the committee is happy to be kept informed of any issues but we have no special influence and rely on residents themselves to take appropriate action with the relevant department when a concern arises.   We had previously considered installing some CCTV cameras in the park but this was put on hold pending a survey of residents which we have not yet undertaken.   This will not progress unless residents are in favour.

Keep Residents Informed via Newsletters and Occasional Emails

The committee has continued to produce quarterly newsletters and our website  continues to have numerous visits throughout the year.   In addition to hand delivering the newsletters, we have posted onto the site information about a whole host of issues as well as uploading our newsletters, articles and pictures about Egerton Park history.   This seems to be very popular and we will continue to do this.   Numerous residents have used the site to contact us via email to raise our awareness on everything from local crime concerns to nuisance issues and to ask general questions or make suggestions to the committee.   If we do not currently have your email address please use the reply box below to send it to us with a note of what number you live at.

Consider Holding a ‘Clear up Egerton Park Day’

This issue has again slipped down our agenda so let us know your views at the AGM about resurrecting it.

The Committee’s Planned Priorities for 2018/19

We propose that these remain the same as in 2017/18 as above (subject to residents’ agreement at the AGM).

Once again we all owe a debt of gratitude to residents who pay towards the upkeep of the park and to the residents’ committee for their work throughout the year.

After last year’s AGM our treasurer stepped down and we were unable to find a replacement so I have been undertaking that role as well as chair.   We would really like to attract more committee members, and especially a treasurer, so if you can count to ten and think you could help us please get in touch.   We currently hold meetings about 6 times a year and it is not too onerous or time-consuming, so if you are interested in joining the committee please let us know.

Chair, Egerton Park Residents’ Association         –         May 2018

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Non-Payer Campaign – Eg Pk News (Spring 2018)

There is a decreasing number of householders who still do not pay towards our maintenance fund.   At the time of printing 85% of houses, 42% of flats, and 100% of residential homes had contributed this financial year.   This is a significant improvement since we started our campaign and our patience, persistence, and what we consider to be a reasonable approach, is continuing to be effective.   We delivered a reminder invoice to all non-payers on 9th February and this included letters to all absentee owners of multiple occupancy properties; a copy of this letter can be found on our website.   Using the Land Registry website, we continue in our work of establishing details of owners of properties who do not pay, and we have a comprehensive database which is updated weekly with details of all residents’ payment histories.

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Overdue Maintenance Fees Letter and Invoice – 09/02/2018

The following letter was delivered or posted on Friday 9th February to all those households which, so far this financial year (01/04/2017 to 31/03/2018) have not contributed to the road maintenance fund.   Where indicated in red, personal details were used as relevant to the property and owner.   Slightly modified letters were sent to commercial properties.

Dear ………………………,

ROAD MAINTENANCE INVOICE REMINDER – nn Egerton Park

Although we delivered an invoice to you dated dd/mm/2017, you have not yet made any contribution to the upkeep of the road for the financial year 01/04/17 to 31/03/18, and your payment is now overdue.   This is set annually at the Egerton Park Residents’ Association AGM and has remained the same since 2006.   Overleaf is a duplicate invoice for this financial year with details of how to pay.   If you think we are mistaken, please contact us to correct our records.

The road in Egerton Park is unadopted by the council, and the owner of each property is legally responsible for its upkeep along their frontage.   For this reason Egerton Park Residents’ Association was established in 2005, and it was agreed that each individual household should pay £60 a year, or £5 a month, towards maintaining the road and other items of infrastructure.   However, we are reliant on property owners paying their fees when due in order to continue to maintain the road.   Most owners are happy to contribute what amounts to only £1.15 a week – less than the price of a cup of coffee – to make the park safer for all of us.   Those who do not pay towards the maintenance fund would not be covered by our public liability insurance if an accident were to occur outside their property.

The majority of Egerton Park residents and owners contribute to the road repairs.   This means that you are leaving your neighbours to pay for road works on your behalf.   The road needs to be maintained in a good state or property values will fall, and there must be good access for refuse collections, deliveries, pedestrians and the emergency services.

Householders who have contributed £5 a month/£60 a year since the fund was established have paid a total of £720, though there are others who have paid much more.   Since you bought your property in year, we have received £…………….., most recently £……..…..… on ………..…………….… for ………………………………….…………………………………….

Your payments are in arrears and overdue.   However, we will waive your outstanding arrears if you start to make and continue regular contributions, whether it be by yearly payment or monthly standing order.   If this happens we will treat your account as up to date.

In the last 3 years we have spent £15,470 in order to maintain the road in a reasonable state.   Together we can make a difference but without your support we cannot.

Yours sincerely,

The Committee,

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

 

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Maintenance Fund – Eg Pk News (Christmas 2017)

On 11th September we delivered invoices to those properties whose owners require a reminder when their annual contribution for the road repairs is due.   In addition, we continue to write to those residents who do not regularly contribute, requesting that they commence payment so that the cost of repairs is shared fairly by all those who live in the park.   This has produced new payments and is well worth the persistence and effort from your committee.

This year the committee has also started to contact property owners who do not live in the park, including those of multiple occupancy properties.   We have used the HM Land Registry website to search for the relevant information.   We are individualising the letters, pointing out where road repairs have been completed outside their properties, and also mentioning specific problems relating to individual addresses such as litter and bins.   There are now two examples of property owners/managers who have taken direct action to clear up areas around bins since receiving our letters.   The majority of these owners have also never previously contributed towards our fund.   This campaign is producing some positive results and, in particular, we received a significant sum from the owner of two adjoining large buildings.   This now means that in a number of cases we no longer need to invoice individual tenants in some of the larger multi-occupancy properties because we are contacting owners directly.

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Road Repairs Letter and Invoice – 11/09/2017

The following letter was delivered on Monday, 11th September, to all those households in Egerton Park which, so far this financial year (01/04/17 – 31/03/18), have not contributed to the road maintenance fund.

Dear Egerton Park Neighbour

at     ………………………………………………………………………….

ROAD MAINTENANCE FEES

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 £8820 has been spent by the residents’ association on repairs, £4260 of which was in June of this year.   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.   If you are a tenant, please pass this letter to your landlord.

Your payment for the financial year 01/04/17 to 31/03/18 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 01/04/17.   Please pay the amount in accordance with the instructions on the invoice by 11/10/17.

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 faithfully,

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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Letters to Absentee Landlords and Owners – Eg Pk News (Summer 2017)

You will note that only 28% of flat dwellers in the park contribute towards our maintenance fund.   There may be a number of reasons for this – some may be dependent on benefits or live in the park temporarily or for a short period.   The committee has therefore decided on a different approach and we are in the process of systematically identifying the absentee owners and landlords of these properties, and then writing to them with information about the residents’ association and our road maintenance fund.   We have requested they commence payments to our fund reflecting the size of their properties, the number of tenants and hence the amount of wear and tear caused to the road.   Invoices, due to be delivered in September, will also be sent directly to them rather than to individual tenants.   We have also highlighted that they are not covered by our insurance if an accident were to occur on the road outside their properties if they do not contribute.   We will keep you posted!

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