One Hunts Grove

"One Hunts Grove" sums up our strategy to resolve the issues created by the imposition of a management company by Crest Nicholson.

"One Hunts Grove" means all residents having equal rights, equal access to community facilities, and contributing equally for maintenance through their existing council tax.


The Status

The original planning permission (2010) for Hunts Grove designated all open spaces, parks, community buildings, allotments, and sports pitches would be adopted by Stroud District Council. A "commuted sum" of £1.9m was agreed to be transferred by the developer to the council at the time of adoption, basically covering up to 10 years of maintenance costs.

In 2015 Crest Nicholson applied to Stroud District Council for a Section-73 planning variation (S.15/1498/VAR) to change various conditions of the original planning permission. One of these changes was to introduce an estate management company to transfer the community assets instead of adoption by the local authority. This was approved in 2017 at which time Hunts Grove residents actually became aware of it.

At this point, only homes in Phase One had been constructed and those residents started a campaign to fight the imposition of the management company. In summary, the residents sought a legal opinion on this which proved the fact that it would be illegal to impose a management company on Phase One residents retrospectively, therefore the district council and Crest Nicholson were forced to back down. The Section-73 variation still had power over the future phases 2,3, and 4 though.

The Issues Created

The Parish Council finds the issues created by forcing a management company onto the community unfair and unsustainable in the long term. This council (Hunts Grove Parish Council) was formed in 2021 following a community governance review and one of the major factors in that campaign was to take control and try and solve these issues.

  • Open spaces, sports pitches, allotments, community building, etc are part of the Hunts Grove masterplan specifically to serve all residents of Hunts Grove equally;
  • Under current arrangements, only a fraction of residents is liable for the management and maintenance costs arising from these community assets through the management company's annual service charges. 
    • Will only management company residents have first access to lease an allotment or book a party at the community building? The parish council has asked Crest Nicholson but received no reply on this.
    • If all residents are to be allowed equal access, then how is that fair for the residents liable for the costs?
  • Management and maintenance are by a for-profit managing agent remotely based in Peterborough!  The contract awarded by Crest Nicholson guarantees approximately £80 profit per property per year through the annual service charges, before any actual maintenance work is even done at Hunts Grove;
  • The management company creates a situation known nationally as "Fleecehold" whereby buyers believe they are buying a freehold property, however, substantial powers are retained by an estate management company (such as Preim Ltd / Hunts Grove Management Company Ltd). These powers are enforced by an "Estate Rent Charge" placed on the deeds to the freehold property that enables the management company to charge any fees it wishes, for any services it wishes, charges for "sales packs" when buying or selling the property, charges to remortgage or change mortgage provider and also the power to stop the sale of your property.

The Solution

Your Parish Council (and the residents association previously) have been trying to negotiate with the developer Crest Nicholson to transfer all open spaces and amenities to the Parish Council rather than the management company. 

Parish Council adoption means:

  • Abolishing the management company and annual service charges;
  • Local control and contact for residents;
  • The Parish Council is a government agency, totally non-profit, saving management company residents at least £80 per year;
  • All funding will come through the existing council tax mechanism, meaning all residents will have equal access to community amenities and contribute towards maintenance equally;


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