Minutes of Meeting 16th May 2022

NOTES OF AN AW2 AND NIGHTINGALES OWNERS AND RESIDENTS MEETING

HELD AT COLDEAST MANSION ON 16TH MAY 2022 AT 1830

WELCOMEAllan Duncan (Chair of Coldeast Drive Residents’ Association} welcomed our friends and neighbours and the two representatives from the AW1 Committee who had been invited to attend as guests.

To respect everyone’s privacy. A list of attendees is not being published.

Laura Hayles, representing ERMC was in ‘virtual attendance’ via Zoom to answer questions from residents.

Allan had received apologies from all three of our local Councillors as a Council Meeting was being held at the same time. However, they have asked to be kept updated and offered any assistance we may need.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL FIND A ‘CDRA FACT CHECK’ COMMENTS AFTER THE RESPONSES THAT ERMC HAVE GIVEN TO THE VARIOUS QUESTIONS AND QUERIES. THESE ARE BASED ON CONVERSATIONS, EMAILS, ETC FROM ERMC THAT MAY WELL CHALLENGE THE ANSWERS GIVEN BY ERMC AT THE MEETING.

INTRODUCTIONSThe Committee Members of the Coldeast Drive Residents’ Association were introduced by Allan -Diana Hindle (Diana organises the Social Events for the Residents), Stuart Kimber, Tony Amber, Sue Clifford, and Tom Middleditch.

ERMC PROVIDED AN UPDATE ON THE GARDENING TENDERING PROCESSLaura stated that no companies had responded to the first request to tender, so they had to find new companies and were now in the process of retendering. They had received a tender from one of the first companies approached, but it was too late, and the company were being asked to retender. The closing date for the receipt of the tenders would be 12th June.

Laura stated that the Committee would have sight of all the tenders received and would be consulted on the final decision. She also agreed to send the Committee details of the companies that were in the tendering process.

CDRA FACT CHECK:  In fact, only four companies were approached to tender initially (including the ERMC Rangers). One company had contacted ERMC with some questions regarding the process and also asked to visit the site to assess the required work. This company received no response from ERMC – in fact, Stuart contacted them and arranged the site visit. They sent their tender in before ERMC claim they asked for retenders. One of the other companies ERMC say they contacted does not, in fact, exist. The other company refused to tender due to past experience of dealing with ERMC.

We will ensure that Laura keeps to her word, and we will insist on seeing and vetting the entire process.

ERMC AND THE RESIDENTS TO DISCUSS THE CURRENT STATE OF THE GARDENINGSome residents had specific complaints with the standard of the gardening, including lack of weed control, some gardens being missed, and paths overgrown with weeds (especially on Nightingales), etc. Laura made notes of these specific complaints and promised to investigate and report back. Both Stuart and Diana made notes of the complaints and will follow up to ensure that corrective action is taken.

Laura was asked why a team based on the Isle of Wight were employed when their gardeners did not arrive on site until approximately 10 a.m. and left at approximately 3.30 p.m. Laura stated that the team visited the site at least 50% more times than a local team would, to ensure that the hours on site were comparative. When asked about the cost of transport from and to the IOW, she stated that their cost is not passed on in the gardening costs.

Overall, the residents felt that the gardeners were hard working and helpful but lacked the time and expertise to provide an acceptable service.

Stuart asked which Gardening Specification the gardeners were working to. He and Allan has seen and agreed a new and more sensible Specification, which was not only to be used for the tendering process, but also followed by the Rangers immediately. Laura replied that the gardeners were following the old Specification, but all the tendering companies were to follow the new Specification. Laura agreed to send Stuart the Specification being sent out to the tendering companies. 

CDRA FACT CHECK:  In fact, the ERMC ‘Rangers’ were forced upon the Estate, despite protests by the Committee. At a meeting with Allan and Stuart, Glenn stated that he, and he alone, would decide who the gardening contract is given to. Naturally, he has since denied saying this.

ERMC formed The Rangers as a result of receiving a grant from the IOW, with the stipulation that new jobs had to be created and filled by IOW residents – hence the Rangers are based there.

It is extremely hard to believe that ERMC is a philanthropic organisation that can afford to write of a cost of travel of approximately £100 per visit. We are investigating their accounts as we believe that the costs may be recouped; somewhere else.

In addition, by increasing the number of visits by the gardeners, it increases the hours charged and the costs will include their travelling time. It is extremely difficult to understand how these additional costs will result in a price reduction.

Once Stuart receives confirmation of the Gardening Specification and checks it, we will publish it on our website.

ERMC TO GIVE AN UPDATE ON COLDEAST DRIVELaura reported that the Management Company had not responded to their quote for weed removal from Coldeast Drive, despite several reminders. It was her belief that they would not agree to the work until just before the road it adopted.

CDRA FACT CHECK:  Laura is correct, we are in close contact with both FBC and HCC and believe the adoption of Coldeast Drive may happen early next year. We will keep residents updated.

THE MANAGEMENT COMPANY FOR ADMIRALS WOOD:  Laura stated that ERMC have quarterly meetings with the Management Board, and it was the Directors who blocked ERMC from attending. She stated that the Board consist of representatives from Millers (Natalie Drummond), Lynden Homes and Homes England. She also stated that all owners on Admirals Wood are members of the Management Company. 

CDRA FACT CHECK:  In fact, there are no representatives from Lynden Homes or Homes England and there have been none for some considerable time. Also, Natalie Drummond (the representative from Millers) is not a director, she is a secretary. We are trying to investigate this and will report back if we can find some real facts.

We will also take advice on what exactly the implications are of the owners on Admirals Wood being members of the Management Company

OUTSTANDING SERVICE CHARGE PAYMENTS: Laura stated that 50+ residents were in arrears with their Service Charges which resulted in a limit on the work ERMC could undertake, including replanting. She said that letters had been sent to the residents chasing the outstanding amounts and the deadline for payments is at the end of this week.

Tom asked why ERMC had to reduce their services as the figures he had been given proved that the debtor amount was the same as last year and services were not reduced then. Laura said she would send details to him.

A resident queried why his Service Charge payment was changed from Annually to Quarterly without his consent. Laura could offer no explanation, but said he was entitled to change it back to Quarterly and suggested he talk to the Accounts Department.

Another resident asked why her two cheques in payment of the Service Charge had not been acknowledged by a receipt, despite many requests. Laura said she would investigate and report back.

CDRA FACT CHECK:  In fact, Allan had been putting pressure on ERMC regarding the debtor situation for over 3 years. It is apparent that ERMC had no Credit Control systems and that the Accounts Section head had left the Company ‘suddenly.’   We will keep pressure on ERMC as non-payment and inefficiency both have an adverse effect on the services we are paying for.

The questions on changing the payment times and the non-acknowledgement receipt highlight the problems.

NON-WORKING LAMPOSTS ON NIGHTINGALES:  Residents reported that the lampposts in front of number 3 and number 37 Jellicoe were not working as there was no electricity supply. It was also reported that the first lamppost on Jellicoe, just off Coldeast Drive was not working. Laura said she was unaware of these problems but would report them and ensure action is taken.

CDRA FACT CHECK:  In fact, these defects have been reported numerous times. We will follow up to ensure that, finally, action is taken as there are potential health and Safety Issues.

JUBILEE PARTY AT COLDEAST MANSION:   Diana handed out the ‘leaflets; giving details of a Jubilee party the CDRA had arranged with Coldeast Mansion on Saturday 4th June from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. All Admirals Wood residents, friends and family members are more than welcome to this free event. It is a family friendly event giving all the opportunity to relax and meet up with your friends and neighbours.

Diana has published a copy of the ‘invite’ on Admirals Wood Facebook page. There will be free tombola, kids’ lucky dip, a Jubilee fancy dress competition for children, live music and other fun and games all designed for the family.

CONCLUSION:  Allan thanked everyone for coming to this first General Residents’ Meeting and hoped that both the AW1 and AW2 Residents’ Associations could work closer together on specific projects in the future.