Please share this update with as many residents as possible.
Today is the day of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Hunts Grove Management Company. The AGM will be hosted by Preim Limited from 6 pm at the school. All management company members should have received an invitation letter from Preim.
We encourage as many residents as possible to go along and participate. Some Parish Councillors will be there as they are also management company members, however the Parish Council itself is not connected to Preim or participating.
Slow Progress, Campaign to Abolish Management Company Continues
On behalf of the vast majority of residents, the Parish Council continues all efforts to abolish the management company altogether and manage the village maintenance and facilities (when they arrive!) locally and fairly.
In addition to all the factors residents have stated previously, i.e. high admin fees, only part of the village contributing via service charges, many additional fees for selling or remortgaging, risk of repossession if in dispute, lack of maintenance the last few years, how will Phase 1 be given access to village amenities, etc, we now understand from recent social media posts that some residents have found their property “un-mortgageable” due to the management company provisions in their “freehold” property deeds, requiring paying fees of several hundred pounds to resolve. This is an unacceptable situation.
The Parish Council is still fighting to replace the management company entirely, with funding coming from the council tax rather than the high service charges. We expect to reduce the overall annual costs substantially as there will be no “agents fee / profit” to be paid – currently £80 per property per year (as part of the service charge). All services would be managed by the Parish Council, under the control of local residents.
Whilst we haven’t had a lot to communicate regarding our management company campaign these last few months, it is no indication of the substantial efforts behind the scenes. The lack of updates and detail is in part due to the fact that we wish to discuss matters in good faith with the parties involved and give appropriate time for that. It is fair to say that progress has been going very slowly as well.
The First Areas Are Being Handed Over to Preim
Preim has been charging residents annual service charges for more than 3 years now without being responsible for anything at Hunts Grove. The Parish Council has been very critical of this and has tried to raise awareness of this shocking situation with other stakeholders. We estimate that more than £140,000 has been collected during this time, with no services provided on-site whatsoever other than printing bills!
The Parish Council understands that this situation changed in June with Preim accepting the first areas of public open space on Phase 2 of the village. We are sure Preim will provide a full update at the AGM.
Sign Our Petition!
At the time of writing, 562 residents have signed our change.org petition. If you haven’t already signed, today would be a good day to add your support at https://www.huntsgrove-pc.gov.uk/campaign-to-abolish-management-company.php
The Latest: There are currently three main discussions going on in parallel:
- The Parish Council is lobbying Crest Nicholson at the highest possible levels to integrate the Parish Council as the transfer partner in its management strategy for the complete village, rather than a management company based in Peterborough. The Parish Council has put forward its own strategy and transition plan “One Hunts Grove,” to resolve the current issues of fairness and excessive costs, and future issues already on the horizon, such as how allotments will be allocated, costs for using the community building, etc. This is based on a proven case-study of a council in Devon that has undergone the same transition already 3-4 years ago. The other two parties to the current legal agreements (landowner Colethrop Farm Limited) and Stroud District Council are supportive of this plan – only Crest Nicholson is blocking this. Discussions continue;
- (We haven’t announced this before) The political representatives of Hunts Grove at all levels of government (District Councillors, Cllr Mark Ryder, Cllr Gill Oxley, Cllr Dave Mossman, County Cllr Stephen Davies, and Member of Parliament Siobhan Baillie) have signed a letter to Stroud District Council Chief Executive Kathy O’Leary in June of this year. The letter calls on the District Council (in its responsibility of assessing the Hunts Grove Open Spaces & Facilities Management Strategy) and on behalf of its residents to reject the current developer plans and/or seek the means to involve the local community in any strategy moving forward.
Failure to secure a new strategy with either of the two initiatives above risks the village being split down the middle with some paying and others not. Some having access to facilities, and others do not. Management by a remote third-party company rather than people who actually live here and care what the maintenance standards are.
This brings us to the third and final discussion:
- Adoption of Phase 1 – Phase 1 is not within the management company area as these homes were completed on the original planning permission from 2007-2009 when there was a Section-106 agreement in place for the District Council to adopt the parks and open spaces. In line with our maintenance strategy for the village, the Parish Council has been in discussions to adopt the Phase 1 play parks, Acorn Park, SuDS Ponds, and Hunts Grove Woods. These discussions are between Hunts Grove Parish Council, Crest Nicholson, and Stroud District Council. We are currently completing surveys of final remedial works required before transfer and holding meetings every 3 weeks or so to progress the final issues. The target is to transfer at the end of December if possible. The Parish Council team is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the adoption of Phase 1 in the case that the overall management company discussions fail – we feel it would be unfair for all residents to contribute to Phase 1 maintenance when many of the residents will also be paying the management company service charge.
The Parish Council will not be voting on a final decision regarding Phase 1 until probably September or October, however, we have given notice of the impact to Crest Nicholson and Stroud District Council.
We remain hopeful that all parties can find a new strategy and agreement to sort out this mess!