Cranbrook residents unhappy about “estate rent charges” and council taxes

“Cranbrook Town Council

LETTER FROM BLENHEIMS ESTATE & ASSET MANAGEMENT

Blenheims Estate & Asset Management are in the Younghayes Centre this afternoon until 4:00pm in a public drop-in session to answer residents’ queries

Today we have received a number of messages from residents who received a letter from Blenheims Estate & Asset Management regarding the estate rent charge in Cranbrook.

Every household in Cranbrook entered into a private contract with their developer agreeing the annual payment of the estate rent charge at the time of purchasing their homes. Housing association tenants pay the contribution via their rents. The charge is in addition to the council tax.

The estate rent charge covers the maintenance of communal areas in Cranbrook before those are transferred from private into public ownership, including the management of the Country Park, road maintenance, litter picking, bin emptying, maintenance of play parks and street lighting.

The council tax covers payments to Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Cranbrook Town Council, Devon & Cornwall Police and the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. Devon County Council is responsible for services across the whole Devon, e.g. highways construction and maintenance, education, transport, public safety, social care, waste disposal, recycling centres and trading standards. East Devon District Council is responsible for services including rubbish collections, recycling, housing and planning.

Cranbrook Town Council works to resolve issues affecting the town and to championing improvements to its existing and future infrastructure, including revisions to Phases 1 and 2, street scene, landscaping, play areas, the Country Park and the train station. It also manages the Younghayes Centre, commissions a youth service, helps fund community organisations, develops the town archive and, since April 2016, has achieved e.g.

– successful trial of an electronic prescriptions system following liaison with the Pharmacy and the broadband infrastructure provider IFNL
– delivery of the traffic management/crossing facility when the Cranbrook Education Campus closed its on-site drop-off and pick-up facility in liaison with the school and the Consortium
– delivery of initiatives including a dog fouling education campaign, station artwork competition, Cranbrook Discovery Trail
– hosting/co-hosting of events including public defibrillator training on 15 May 2016, the Queen’s Birthday Picnic on 11 June 2016, First Cranbrook Fun Run on 17 September 2016, Cycle Sunday 2 October 2016, Community Fun Day on 11 March 2017, Annual Meeting of the Town on 3 April 2017
– delivery of bus shelters
– retention of car parking spaces on the Westbury show home car park
– removal of dog bins and replacement with bigger general bins

The Town Council recognises residents’ concerns about the potential double-payment of the estate rent charge and the council tax but as we tried to explain above, the two charges cover some very different items and the Town Council is maintaining a constant dialogue with all partner organisations regarding the potential reduction in the estate rent charge moving forward.”