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Residents on new Cwmbran estate ask for council tax reduction in dispute over management fees

Residents on a new Cwmbran estate have asked Torfaen Council to become responsible for the recreation areas by their homes as they are unhappy paying £140 a year to a management company.

The Parc Celyn development in St Dials is on the site of the former police training college. When it was built it was a condition of planning approval that the council would not be responsible for any of the maintenance for landscaping or recreation areas. This would fall to a management company who would then recoup the costs from residents.

An agreement was approved in February 2021 with residents being billed £140 a year.

Councillor Elizabeth Haynes, St Dials Ward, presented the petition at last week’s full Torfaen Council meeting. She said it has been started by a residents and given to her to present to the council for a response.

Cllr Haynes said: “It currently has 220 signatures. The petition reads ‘We the undersigned wish to bring to the council’s attention a totally unacceptable situation at the Park Celyn development in Cwmbran.

“It is our understanding that the development was granted under the provision that the builder, Taylor Wimpey, should provide public recreational areas for the general public usage. These public recreation areas will not be adopted by Torfaen Council and instead, the management and upkeep responsibility of them have been passed to a management company, Remus , who passed the costs onto the residents of the development currently at around £140 per house per year.

a children's play park
The park and multi-use games area on the Parc Celyn estate

“We are already experiencing many incidents of anti-social behaviour occurring late into the evening including drinking, drugs and noise, many being people from outside of the development. The situation is totally unacceptable to many residents as we already pay full council tax to cover public areas

“We argue that if the council is unwilling to manage these areas and expect us to burden the cost then the council should consider a tax reduction for the local residents as we are unfairly paying twice for the same facilities and we consider this a great inequality and total unfairness on the council’s part

“We would like to draw your attention to the fact that there are a number of housing associations areas in Wales where public land has been transferred over from the council. Some research shows us that no housing association tenant pays any additional charge towards publicly accessible land owned by the housing association. What is the difference here?

“We ask that the council adopt the publicly accessible recreation areas on the development.”

A Torfaen Council spokesperson said: “The Council are currently considering the petition and a report will go to full Council in due course.”

The introduction to the site management plan from Remus says:

“We have been instructed by Taylor Wimpey South Wales (“The Developer”) to manage the site on behalf of the residents in order to keep the site maintained to a high standard in years to come. By offering this service you can be assured that the development will be managed and maintained to the highest standard as we know how important it is to our clients.

“Remus Management Limited is the Management Company which is a party to the TP1s/Leases on the
development and is responsible for the management and maintenance of un-adopted public open spaces,
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)- Attenuation Tanks, Play Areas including the Multi Use Games
Area ( MUGA) , ecological areas and the sprinkler pump and pipework maintenance on the development.

“Each dwelling sold on the development will have an ongoing commitment to contribute to the management company allowing the upkeep of the development in perpetuity. Each successor in title to the property will be
required to contribute to the upkeep of the development by agreeing to relevant covenants and undertakings in their lease or TP1.”

Remus also maintains grassed areas and hedgerows at Parc Celyn. For the park areas the plan says:

“Recreational Equipment – Regarding the play park areas, multi-use games area and the fitness equipment, there will be a weekly visual inspection of the play equipment with any repairs noted to be undertaken immediately with any equipment effected to be taped off with warning tape until the repair can be effected.

“At the same time as the inspections the play area will be litter picked and the waste bin emptied. In accordance with the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive and RoSPA the play equipment will further be subject to an annual inspection by a suitably qualified person.”

Cwmbran Life contacted Remus for a comment last week.

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Posted inNews

Residents on new Cwmbran estate ask for council tax reduction in dispute over management fees

a children's park
Residents on the the Parc Celyn estate pay £140 to a management company for the parks and recreation areas on the estate