Cranbrook: “Estate rent charges”: another developer cash cow?

There is much controversy in Cranbrook, where householders are hit with a double whammy: “estate rent charges” AND council tax.

In an effort to clear up confusion, the town council offered an explanation for the difference between the two:

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.

Now Owl, being a cynic thinks: Why would developers want to transfer the management of the country park, road maintenance, litter picking, bin emptying, maintenance of play parks and street lighting to the town, district or county councils when they can get the money them from residents AND charge administration fees and overheads on these same costs? An extra 25%-40% is a ball-park figure for such extra costs, which do not have to be explained.

As an example, should roads be handed over to DCC and developers wreck them with plant and machinery movements, digging trenches, etc the DEVELOPERS would have to pay those costs.

More worryingly, why would they want to transfer the country park management to the district council when, if they hold on to it long enough, they might gain legal ownership of it and get permission to build on it (flood plains can be raised …). Owl is no lawyer, but bets developers know their rights down to the last crossed t and the last dotted i.

Also, the county, district and town councils will likely drag their heels as, once taken into public ownership, costs will necessarily have to be passed on to council taxes. Both sides therefore benefit from the status quo, the only losers being residents.

Owl recalls that police could not stop boy racers in Cranbrook because roads had not been adopted by Devon County Council so were private land. Is this still the case?

With all these worries, no wonder town councillors are dropping out at an alarming rate.

7 thoughts on “Cranbrook: “Estate rent charges”: another developer cash cow?

  1. The estate rent charge is something that all of us agreed to when purchasing our properties in Cranbrook. It was part of the paperwork we had to sign from the solicitors during the purchasing process. What we need to do as a community is to stop complaining about it and work together to ensure we are holding Cranbrook Limited accountable for what we are paying for. We also need to ensure we are only been charged for the fully completed areas to be maintained and not the ones that are still been built, as it is my understanding that the rent charge is only for the maintainance of the public areas that are at an adoptable standard.

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  2. I may be looking at this the wrong way. But the article says that all the things Bleinhams are going to charge us for are before the council adopts us. Does that mean once we’re adopted these ridiculous charges will be dropped?

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    • The costs are taken over by the town, district or county council and will inevitably be reflected in higher council tax rises or precept rises in the case of the town council. However, those of the county snd district will be shared with everyone in Devon (county) and East Devon (district) respectively, but those taken over by the town will be shared only by the all the people of the town.

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    • Yes if it has been adopted by another statutory body or council we won’t be paying for it in the rent charge. We would then pay for it in our council tax . Effectively we would still be paying for the maintainance of these areas just would be paying a different body. If it was our town council dotting it we would pay for it in our town precept on he council tax. If east devon district adopt it we would pay for it in that part of the council tax but of course the cost would then be spread cross all the the east devon council tax payers rather than just our town.

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  3. Pingback: Cranbrook: “Estate rent charges”: another developer cash cow? | Deirdre Dee Coaching
  4. I was given a Rentcharge Deed when completing my purchase so I know it has to be paid. The deed is a very legally written document ie open to interpretation . It contains all the duties of the various parties including providing accounts,estimates and other procedural tasks none of which have been done in my four years living here. Blenheims are the second administrators but I thought that such changes had to be agreed by all parties not just presented as a fait accompli. Also interest is payable at 4% over base rate for all late payments. This whole situation should be properly explained by representatives of Hallam Land, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey not just suddenly resurrected out of the blue by someone we have never heard of.

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  5. Re police taking action on unadopted roads – they are not barred from doing so for most offences (excise duty may be different) and any suggestion that they are prohibited from doing so is ill-founded. The test used to be whether public had an unrestricted right of access at the time- same goes for car parks, pubs and council.

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