Tag Archives: St Edwards Park

Questions about your latest Service Charges 2023/24?

Ask your questions below

This post is provided so you can ask questions about your latest service charges in St Edwards Park, Cheddleton. Please let your neighbours know about it although it is referred to in your Service Charge Notification letter.

Comments will be moderated so there may be a delay in posting your question and it appearing. The questions and answers will be added to the FAQ format below.

If your question is of a more personal nature eg there is a repair you need, please email Block@castle-estates.co.uk directly. By all means copy us in on the email if you have been waiting more than a month.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve received my charges by email. Why do they need to be sent by post too? Surely, it saves money to not post them?

The Law requires a certain format and delivery of Service Charges to owners. They are required by (obviously an old) Law to go out by mail.

Rather than raise any queries after the final version of the invoice is released would it not be better for Castle Estates to release a draft version for discussion and agreement then the final version would be released?

The Service Charges are budgeted for the coming year. The Directors spend a lot of time on these taking into account planned and potential reasonable maintenance requirements based on historic costs and/or obtained quotes.

The actual costs are then produced in a set of accounts. These are released during the following year and any adjustments are made (invoice / credit note) on your account.

The Lease has a number of legal requirements which the Management Company / Service Provider must provide.

Members are quite welcome to ask queries and/or clarification. It is worth bearing in mind that an individual property’s charges are related to the given ‘House’ e.g. Gough, Boucher so they are not all the same.

My charges have gone down again this year 🙂 Will they suddenly shoot up again?

A number of large maintenance works have either now been completed or should be completed this Spring. For example, all the communal areas have now been painted. The external windows and doors will be started after Easter. The rendering is due to be cleaned and repaired where needed around the same time.

These will be repeated on a 5 year cycle. You will notice some charges for ‘reserves’ which will be used to mitigate these large cyclical, site wide, maintenance costs.

When is the AGM?

The AGM is on Sunday 21st May at the Rugby Club at 4 PM

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME: IT IS 4 PM

If I want to put myself forward as a Volunteer director this year – what do I need to do?

Last year it was put back in the Articles that the Directors resign each year and they and/or new Directors (7) are voted in.

So, what does it involve? You obviously need to let others know about you and how you think you can help. Learning from this year we would say:

  • It would better suit someone who was part-time employed or retired.
  • It can take, on average, 2 hours a week , sometimes more depending if you are arranging / working with contractors on site (it can take an hour and half to take a contractor round all the apartments blocks) . You may occasionally visit an owner if there is a query that is better sorted face to face.
  • More representation from owners of the apartments would be great as that will give a larger knowledge-base of Lease intricacies from the point of view of the owners most supported by the volunteer Management Company. Also, you are around to see how works are going and check up on work completed.
  • You don’t have to have ‘director’ experience to volunteer for this role. You just need to care about our Park and respect the people who live here.
  • • If you don’t know much about the Leases and Articles of Association, there are people willing to help with this.

There are a couple of bollards down on the main roads – why haven’t they been fixed?

I have reported them to the council and they have told me they are ‘not a priority’. They do still have them ‘live’, however, as they emailed me about 6 weeks ago to tell me they are still not a priority!

Directors Update Question and Answer Session

St Edwards Park Management Co Ltd

Welcome

  • Introduction to directors
  • Register for members wanting email communications
  • Outline of meeting

Activities since AGM

General

Installation of intercom systems complete.

Grounds maintenance update – New tenders asked for and to be agreed.

Gutters cleaned and will be reviewed annually (repairs still ongoing).

Fire safety inspections and remedial work for each block though Malloy still to be actioned.

Paving slab replacement underway – will continue into next year.

10 year plan initiated and being reviewed.

Internal decorating underway and will be finished before Christmas apart from St Edwards Hall & Martin House (s) which require Section 20 notices and will be started in the new year.

Website completed and launched, no charge. Notifications are posted here for communication from the Directors. There is also a Nature Blog there where Members can post pictures and sightings from around the Park. www.stedwardspark.org

Please use the Block Email address Block@castle-estates.co.uk to report work needed doing in the Park. Random posts on Facebook are not usually helpful as they are not monitored by directors but the formal emails are. The directors can be emailed through the website too if you have something that has been reported and not being dealt with.

Outstanding Works/Issues

External decorating – update – New quotes are being sort and will be agreed in the new year.

Summerhouses  and grant – update – STILL waiting for response from council.

Internet Connections – ongoing with solicitors.

Grounds maintenance contract – For retender and decision in new year.

2023-24 Budget

Galbraith and missing funds – a local solicitor has taken this on on a no win no fee basis.

Answers to pre-submitted questions

Please can you tell when the bollards that have been knocked down on the speed restriction areas will be replaced? Some have been down for years now. Thanks

A director was in touch with the Council earlier in year with a picture. They sent someone out and said it/they were not a priority! They do still have it on their list though as I have since received an update telling me it still wasn’t a priority!

Re the grass areas behind Pebworth House, Amsden House and the bottom of Willow Drive, between the 2 summerhouses.  This area always seems to be a bit neglected now.  The gardeners are not clearing the leaves from here properly, they’re leaving them spread halfway across the grass rather than blowing them under the trees to leave the grass clear like Linc used to do. There won’t be any grass left if this carries on as the leaves are really thick now.       Also the paths leading off to both summerhouses are now almost indistinguishable from the grass, as the moss has been left to completely cover the tarmac. This needs to be sorted as well please.

We have had a very long Autumn (since August!) and as we live in woodlands there are a profusion of leaves around, dropping 24/7. Partly agree, but some areas have had to take priority when the contractors are on site, for example, the main pathways and the roadway at the top of Villa / Birchtree.

Yes, the leaves may still be blowing around even as they are being cleared, however, there is now a problem as leaves have been blown under the trees for so long. In theory, this is fine, but now we have the problem of a thick mat of soggy, gooey leaves that are now allowing them to break down and feed the soil; insects can’t penetrate them either.

The natural way is actually to let Nature sort them but moving  leaves form one area to another just moves the problem. Along with other work, the Contractors are removing these prolific mats of matter and taking them off site, not just dumping under bushes. Therefore, it may look more like a woodland area than normal but gradually the build-up is being cleared from all the Park.

Window cleaning. If you walk down any street, in any town, you really cannot see if people have their windows cleaned or not.   We suggest the window cleaning contract is terminated, and then it’s up to individual owners whether they get their windows cleaned.      In actual fact, quite a number of owners, including us, do pay a different window cleaner privately!

This cost is a very small amount per property. It does cater for members who work, as well as those that have first or second floor properties! The Maintenance costs are not meant to cover every eventuality of owning a property, so members are quite within their rights to get further cleaning done to suit their preferences. We are, however, trying make sure that when contracts are renewed that we are still getting the best service and value for money.

Internal Common area cleaning. Could this possibly be done by the owners, if not a large area to clean? The cleaners that I see go in the communal entrance next door to us, for 2 apartments, are literally in there for no more than 2 minutes. An extortionate cost!

A number of owners work and other properties are rented out so this may not be practical. The cleaners come every week, and it can seem that it is a high cost for a lot of money (but cost is spread per property) but members are generally happy with the service. The cost is shared between all parties as per the terms of the lease.

Again, we are trying to make sure that when contracts are renewed that we are still getting the best service and value for money. We are doing this within the constraints of being working volunteers, but we are residents too.

Communal electricity.   Not sure if all properties pay for this, or if it’s just split between the apartments with communal areas. Could the directors please confirm?  Due to the energy price rises, the heaters could be limited to a reasonable temperature, rather than set on maximum as does happen. The foyer’s don’t need to be like a sauna. A simple tweak like this could save a lot…whether that be for all of us or just those with a communal area?

The cost is shared between all properties with or without a communal entrance as per the terms of the lease. A vast amount of time has been spent making sure all blocks are being read of the correct meter. A lot of charges in the past have been estimates, but the directors are trying to read the meters more often so that actual costs are submitted. It can be an issue as some properties are rented and there is no incentive for them to switch the heaters down/off, but it is/will be for their owners! Please feel free to pop in for time to time and turn down if you feel it is excessive.

Gardeners. Without going through all the negatives, with the tendering process happening now, please could we take on a gardener who is basically on site full time, Monday to Friday! As we can all see now unfortunately, this is what the estate actually needs to keep it looking beautiful through all the seasons!

The rough cost for the current contract is around £40,000. If we had someone here every week it would be twice that.

Large site contracts like ours are normally carried out fortnightly. Different members have different ideas about what it means to have our home beautiful. We have to remember we are woodlands and that there are lots of parts of the site that are being looked after that someone over another side may not even realise.

HOWEVER, the current contractors have brought in Sue, who comes in every Monday & Tuesday, each week, to do the ‘down on the ground’ weeding and gardening. This is a game changer that they are doing as part of their existing terms.

Can something be done regarding the excessive lighting around the park at night.  Either dim the lights or have them on timers or sensors – they are affecting people’s sleep.

Sorry this has not been looked into yet, will add it to a Block maintenance email.

Recalculation of block energy bills.  When I spoke with the management company, they said that many blocks had overpaid by quite a large amount – when is this due to be refunded to our account?

The accounts for last year are in their final stages with the auditors and should be with members soon. Please also see above about electricity meters. 

Clarification of the use of paths/communal areas.  A while back I brought up a concern with the billing systems which seems to have maintenance of the parks and a lot of the pathways only paid by the development owners, not the estate.  Please can this be clarified and if so perhaps moved onto the estate charges as everyone on the estate uses and has access to these.

Grounds maintenance is covered by law under the terms of the Lease with percentage costs from Estate, Development and Apartments. It is, therefore, covered by all members in the park.

Dog fouling.  Please can some bins or doggy bag dispensers be placed around the estate to stop people from leaving dog waste on the pavements and pathways.  It’s disgusting, disrespectful and unhygienic. 

This can be a problem from time to time, even for other dog owners. There are bins paid for by the council around the Park that are emptied daily. A good suggestion about placing bags around the estate, but that could become an issue in its self with or tops them up (volunteer or more money) and possibly with them blowing around.

Not picking up after your dog is not acceptable. If anyone sees a dog on its own fouling (or with an owner), please report them. Members are welcome to write to the council about more dog bins being installed.

Windows.  Can a clarification be made as to who is responsible for paying to replace or mend rotten window frames which has happened due to a lack of upkeep by the previous management companies?  

Yes, under the terms of the lease the resident is responsible for the quality of the actual windows and window frames. The maintenance costs only cover the outside painting of the windows. If you have a particularly bad problem with an outside cill or frame, for now, please report it to Block/Castle as we are aware that when the External Painting contract starts around April, we cannot paint damaged wood. We are going to take a view on the woodwork, without prejudice but in good faith.

Open forum for Questions – these matters were raised by members.

Parking on the paths is dangerous and not permitted. This has become an increasing problem especially as vans and lorries on the Estate are now doing it, as evidenced by me asking one lorry to just park on the road when they next moved, he said “the cars are doing it.” This would need to be reported to the council.

Members Overdue Payments: The terms of the lease allow for charging of interest and costs in sending out overdue paperwork. Please note that monthly direct debit is available. We will be charging properties for outstanding invoices.

Matters brought up for referral to Block

Cleaning and/or repainting of the white paving slabs where bays are marked out for parking.

Cleaning of the Bin Stores.

St Edwards Hospital History – From Mr Selwyn Burton, Villa Road, Cheddleton

Selwyn Burton from Villa Road is sharing newspaper article about psychiatric nurse recruitment at St Edwards Hospital. His dad, Stan, and 2 Uncles all worked there. This article is from 1968.

Nursing is a rewarding career

Electric Treatment at St Edwards Asylum Hospital, Cheddleton, 1968
Advertisement for Nurses, St Edwards Park Hospital, Cheddleton, 1968. Picture showing latest psychiatric electrical treatment. Stan Burton, Selwyn’s dad, is on the far right of the picture.

‘Better Selection of student nurses…’

Quite a lot of this page from 1968 is given to recruiting nurses to work in St. Edward’s Hospital. They acknowledge that there is a ‘better selection of student nurses than ever before’. To qualify you would have needed:

  • 2 ‘O’ levels or 3 CSE grade 1 passes;
  • or, success in the General Nursing council’s Educational Test.

Five ‘O’ levels and a ‘couple of A Levels’ will get you an’unlimited career in psychiatric nursing’! It is not all down to qualifications you have to have a good personality too.

…it is important to have understanding, emotional stability, moral integrity and a general desire to contribute to the well-being of the patient.

Mr JJ Leonard, principle tutor at St Edwards

“Female dominance at the top of the profession…has now vanished…”

“The top jobs are now open to both male and female. The female dominance at the top of the nursing hierarchy has now vanished and there is even more scope for the conscientious young man.” ” Psychiatric nursing has a great deal to offer to men in that they are guarantee, once fully trained, a secure job for life without the threat of unemployment or redundancy. Over 30,000 men are in professional nursing, most of them being in the psychiatric hospitals. “

1968 newspaper recruitment for St Edwards Park Hospital, Cheddleton

Psychiatric Hospital, St. Edwards’s Hospital, Cheddleton

Offers an ‘absorbing profession with excellent career prospects’.

1974 newspaper- three generations with the Burton brothers, Cheddleton
1974 newspaper- threeBurton brothers, Cheddleton. Stan became a charge nurse in April 1967, followed by John in November 1970 and now Graham in May 1974.

August & September ’22 Nature Sighting Around St. Edwards Park 

What a good start to our wildlife reporting.

Do you love nature – walking in the woods and looking for wildlife?

Please add in the comments sightings of any wildlife you’ve seen – where and what. Hopefully, you can add pictures to share. 

Tell us what you’ve seen, a description of where and who you are. This will all help towards providing the best environments to meet the needs of our wildlife and the members of our park.

Directors Update – 26.07.2022

Date of meeting 29.06.2022

We considered a quote for jet washing the Park. It was only for the paving stones on paths, not drive ways or tarmacked areas. We all agreed £8,000 was too much money and asked for more quotes.

The gutters have now been cleared and members would have seen the ‘cherry picker’ machine on site. Assessment was made of gutter repairs, missing slates, growing plants and re-pointing. Quotes for these have now been received and will be considered this week. It is difficult to do both jobs at once because the contractor doesn’t know what they are going to find and/or which equipment and tools they need with them in the confined space of the basket on the picker. We will see if anything can be done differently on the next rotation in 2 years time.

Quotes have been received for replacing broken paving slabs to commence after all the repairs to the gutters and rooves has been completed.

There is damp in one of the stair wells in St. Edwards Hall. Gaining access to apartments to examine and repair has proved difficult but is still being pursued.

The starting of the external painting is taking longer than we would all like. It should have started at the beginning of the year but with the change of management board, the contractor took on other work to fill the gap in his diary. We should have more about this this week as our next meeting is 29.7.2022.

Garden Contractor – we met with them earlier this month and they advised a gardener was joining the team to tackle all the smaller items on the estate e.g. weeding, pruning etc. This is starting to make a real difference. The query over Wall Lane Terrace has still not been resolved.

Website additions continue to be made: www.stedwardspark.org . Further suggestions for additional pages were: historical information about the hospital, downloads of formal documentation/ members area, woodland and nature spotting blog where members and their family can record and share nature sightings. This will also help form a record of wildlife on the Park to help with the grant received for the woodland area. With the paperwork available to us, we believe the matters in relation to the previous grant over 5 years were met and work carried out. The existing grant is paid annually 2021-2025. A few of the directors are starting to work with this and the grant maker with a view to determining exactly what is required, record wildlife species, establish a bird watching area, put up bird boxes in the autumn. We may be looking for some help with this from members.

Summer-Houses – It was noted that the council meeting on 26 July 2022 was to consider the grant, CM confirmed that the regeneration officer required no further information.
To enable the surveyors to complete their report, a builder would be needed to confirm the roof construction of the summerhouses, as they were all different. The roof would need to be peeled back and tiles take down baseboards from the eaves. It was agreed that a quote to repair the first summerhouse would be sought to determine
whether to proceed regardless, this was approved unanimously.
It was also agreed that a display board showing the history of St Edwards Park in the first summer-house would be a useful addition.

Date of next meeting: 29th July 2022.