The news, the information and the facts about where you live from your Bakers Mill Community Association (BMCA).
Hi. At the AGM last year it became obvious that not everyone knew what was happening on the Estate. So this year we will be publishing this news update regularly.
What Happened in 2015?
A Health and Safety inspection of the play area found that several pieces of equipment were unsafe. To replace the faulty equipment would have upped everyone’s service charges. As few people who live here use the play area, it was agreed that the unsafe equipment would be removed. The area has been reseeded with grass and safety bark has been laid around the two pieces of play equipment that are safe to use.
Homes and Watson
As many of you will know the estate voted to replace OM (the previous management company) with Homes & Watson (H&W) in 2014. We are really pleased with the result. There is a good working relationship between H&W and the BMCA. The annual cost of maintaining the estate has dropped from £17,467 to £8,957 (ye 06.15) and this year Phil Orford (Finance and Management Sub-Committee) spent a lot of time examining exactly what residents were paying and why. There is an extraordinary amount of work involved with this, but we feel it will be worth it.
Double Yellow Lines
After a number of years, these are finally in place. The result is fewer cars parking on the corner by the railway crossing, which has made the corner a lot, lot safer. There are also fewer cars parked opposite the entrance to Bakers Court. So, we hope you all agree, this is a success and was worth the wait. We would like to thank Peter Philpott (Leasehold Sub-Committee) for championing this and being patient and persistent. There are still some cars that park in both these places, but so far the local community officers are being really helpful with enforcement.
Ongoing in 2016
Parking In and Outside Meadow Court
Hash lines have helped with parking inside Meadow Court. Unfortunately cars still park across the entrance to Bakers Court, despite the double yellow lines. This can result in a substantial cost that is charged to residents of Bakers Court as the refuse lorry cannot collect the rubbish and a second collection has to be arranged and there is a charge for this service. So we are thinking about what more we can do to stop this problem.
Flat Roofs and Stairwells
The state of the flat roofs above the stairwells in Bakers Court has been on ongoing issue for some time now. BMCA feels Barratt Homes should be responsible for this, so Peter is pursuing this with them.
Barratt Homes Owes The Estate Money
H&W discovered that Barratt Homes owed money going back to when the development was first built – £15,646 we believe at this time. Barratt Homes has indicated that they will pay if we can give evidence from OM (the previous estate management company) that the money is still outstanding. Peter Philpott (Leasehold Sub-Committee) is pursuing this with the help of H&W.
Wild Flower Area
An exciting project for the grounds is to plant a wild flower area. A very generous donation has been received from a household on the estate to help fund this. Phil Orford and Anne Offord (Grounds Sub-Committee) will be meeting the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as apparently wild flower areas are challenging to get right and to sustain. So a trial area will be planted this Spring between the footpath and the Mill Race. Before we can plant elsewhere we need to get licence from the Environment Agency to spray the nettle growth. This month oxslips, cowslips and primroses will be planted near to the riverbank. Keep a look out for the fritillaries that were planted there last year and will hopefully flower this Spring.
Many of you may have noticed that the Mill Race needs to be cleared regularly. In the past this has been done by volunteers, but this had to stop due to health, safety and insurance considerations. So the clearing is currently being done by Green Blue Marine and IDC Greenspace. BMCA would like to reduce the costs, and also like to establish proof of responsibility. We are told it is up to the estate to manage this, but no legal proof has been given. So we are chatting to Barratt Homes to see if we can get clarification.
In 2015 we chatted to the River Stour Trust about the debris that flows into the Mill Race when they clear the reeds next to the weir. We suggested that a grill be placed in front of the culvert (under the road) during the cutting season (a few days each year) but the Trust don’t feel the culvert (under the road) should be blocked, even for a short time. So we are thinking about what to do next.
Residents have given different views on how they want the Mill Race managed. Everyone loves the wildlife, so we have always tried to manage the estate in a wildlife friendly way, but some residents have told us they want the Mill Race banks to be kept neater. Others protested when steps were taken to do this. So the plan is to contact you all this year and find out what you want. So please be having a think. Everyone loves the wildlife on the estate but we will need your help in deciding the balance between wild and tidy.
Did You Know…
There is a culvert that runs all the way from the Mill Race, under the green and Bakers Court. The culvert exits at the pond next to the Baker’s home, where it is so large that the Bakers have a photo showing a boat inside it. For some time the BMCA have been trying to establish who is responsible for regular inspections and maintenance. Getting an answer is proving difficult but as many of you will know, we love nothing better than a good challenge!
Did You Know…
There is a web site that tells you all about Bakers Mill, the Community Association and what is happening. Every time the BMCA meets they post minutes on the website. Details of social events planned are posted – and photos of past ones. So if you want to know more just go to www.bakersmill.co.uk.
Meet The Committee
Hi. I have lived on the estate since 2010 in one of the houses at the end. Chatting to people, I realised that many didn’t know the history of the estate, what was happening and what the Bakers Mill Community Association do. So I asked the committee if I could help with this and had an eager reply. So you will be hearing a lot more from me this year about what’s happening, what’s planned and about the beautiful place we live in. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.