June 2016

Homes & Watson

The owner of Homes and Watson has decided to retire and has therefore sold his company to HML Ashton Chater.  You should be receiving a letter from HML explaining more, but in the meantime we shall be monitoring the new company closely.  Our contract renewal with H&W is February 2017 and we expect our current Terms & Conditions to remain unchanged until then.  Lee Prentice (Chairman) has spoken with Head of Property Management, a meeting with him and the committee at Bakers Mill is being arranged for late July. We have also been assured that we will be keeping our current property manager.

Be Careful

Small pieces of concrete have been seen falling off the roof edgings of Bakers Court .  They are not very big, but we are very concerned that if these fell on someone they could cause injury.  We understand it is wear due to the          concrete cracking and then falling out.  Peter Philpott (Leaseholders Sub-committee Chair) contacted Barrett Homes who have agreed to repair the roof edging.  This work is planned to start early July and last around 4 weeks.  In the meantime, though, please be careful near the building.

Theft At Bakers Court

All the locks on the bin and cycle stored were broken at Bakers Court and at least one bike was stolen.  Hopefully this was a one-off event, but if you do see anything  suspicious please do report it.  We may not have a Neighbourhood Watch  representative on the estate but we can still keep an eye out and report suspicious behaviour to the police.  The cycles are visible from the path and we will investigate whether anything can be done to make them less noticeable to passers by.

Flowers, Wildlife and Plants

The gardeners have completed the pruning on the river bank and have started   coppicing the willows—the plan is to coppice some of these regularly now.  The log piles that encourage the wildlife we all love so much have been rebuilt and a bed of nettles left for them—the other nettles have been strimmed.
Dog roses and buddleias have been planted in mill race and perennial flowers  seeded in front of Hawthorn hedge.  You won’t see the main benefit of the flowers here this year as they will be cut to strengthen and give the plants the best chance of settling.  Some of BMCA funds was used to pay for this—so a big thank you to everyone who donated  money.

Volunteers Wanted for the Grounds

The gardeners do a fantastic job of looking after the grounds, but there is more we would love to do.  So we are wondering whether we could get some volunteers to help with a few bits and bobs, mainly weeding and tidying up.  We need to check there are no insurance issues with this, but if you are interested please let me know (news@bakersmill.co.uk) or knock on the door of 83 Dove House Meadow.

 Communal Ground

Recently children were playing in the entrance to Bakers Court, because their parents had been informed that they could not play on the communal green.  We would just like to confirm that everyone on the estate has full access to the communal green, as do visitors to the estate.  The greens are for everyone.  Obviously children need to be considerate of owner’s parked cars and be careful of the dangers of the river/mill race.

The Moving Boulder

The boulder that was placed in Meadow Court to protect the planting is being moved around – we obviously have some super strong people on the estate.   Unfortunately this, and bikes being driven over the plants, means that the plants residents have paid for to brighten up the parking area are getting damaged. The boulder is to be         removed and bollards placed in 2 shrub beds to prevent further damage.

Estate Agents Boards

Recently many estate agency boards have been erected on communal land.  Just to remind everyone the lease does not allow estate agency boards to be erected on this land and so they will be removed.  Agency boards can only be displayed where the land is owned as a Freehold.  So if you would like to display an agency board be careful where the boards are placed.

Rubbish in Meadow Court

As you know there is an ongoing challenge with the rubbish not being collected at  Meadow Court.  The committee has spoken to the relevant people such as the police, the highways authority and refuse authority.  We are hopeful that there will be a way to resolve this with their help.  There has been a general problem with litter in the Court, so new litter bins are being installed later this year, which we hope will help.

Did You Know?

Originally the estate was managed by OM Property Management, but most people felt that the residents were not getting good value for money.  So the Committee investigated what could be done and got the support of a majority of residents to move to another management company—Homes and Watson.  The result has been a reduction in resident’s monthly bills, and greater control over the estate maintenance and decoration.

I have to say, that even by my standards, the above is a British understatement of the year.  It took years to get the facts on who exactly employed OM Property Management (this was amazingly difficult to confirm), find out what was legally required to change, contact residents and get a majority vote agreeing to change the management  company, investigate replacement management companies, employ Homes and Watson, and get to where we are today.


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