Community Charge Summary 2017/18
Foreword Peter Roach, Chief Executive What is the Community Charge and why does it matter? Whether you have lived in Lawley Village for many years or are a new resident, we believe it is important that you are aware of the services you receive in return for the Community Charge that you pay. This is why for the past two years we have sent every resident a copy of the Lawley annual review. We are replacing it this year with this document, which sets out to explain the purpose of the Community Charge and what it pays for. For those of you unaware of the Community Charge, every household in Lawley regardless of its property size or tenure pays this annual charge. It, and the covenants in place in the village, allow us to provide a range of key services that aim to set Lawley apart and make it a special place to live. For example, it pays for an estate management function, which includes the management of building alterations. The careful management of alterations protects the unique identity of the homes and streetscape of Lawley. The Community Charge that you pay also ensures that we can deliver a variety of other quality services which create and maintain a flourishing community in the village. In particular we organise or help to facilitate numerous community events and activities.
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The Community Charge also pays for the maintenance of the open spaces in our ownership. For open spaces not yet in our ownership we seek to liaise with the housebuilders to undertake remedial or maintenance work where needed to protect the visual appearance of the village. I acknowledge this can be a challenge but we do our best. This leaflet explains all of these services in more detail along with a full breakdown of how the charge you pay is spent. We hope you find it informative and we would be keen to hear your feedback, which you can provide by emailing stewardship@bvt org.uk
Passionate about people Developing community spirit We aim to create and sustain flourishing communities where people choose to live and a strong community spirit is at the heart of the thriving village that Lawley is developing into. During 2017 over 100 events and activities were held in Lawley. These included, ‘Estate Date’ events, pop-up shops, resident welcome meetings, an ‘Easter Eggstravaganza’ event, the Lawley 5k Fun Run and the Christmas quiz night. Good stewardship isn’t just about events and activities though. It is also about providing you with opportunities to share in decisions affecting the community and influence the way services are delivered.
Members of the Stewardship team at the Lawley 5k Fun Run which raises money for charity.
There are lots of ways you can get involved including: • Coming to have a chat with us at one of our ‘Estate Date’ events, which take place outside normal office hours • Becoming a resident representative on the Lawley Village Management Committee • Joining Village Voices and taking part in focus groups • Taking part in organising events and activities for Lawley residents. Youngsters enjoying a summer event in the village.
Over the next 12 months we will… Work with you to review how we communicate with you to make sure you are getting the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Welcome 250 new households into the village.
Provide more content in our community newsletters to keep you up-to-date.
I ntroduce a Community Events and Activities Panel for residents to assist the Community team in planning for the future.
There are lots of ways to keep in touch with us too. In addition to the regular newsletters you can follow us on Facebook /BVTLawleyVillage, Twitter @BVT_Lawley or visit our website bvtlawleyvillage.org.uk
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Dedicated to distinctive development Managing your village You tell us that protecting where you live is important and the Stewardship team is dedicated to ensuring the unique character of Lawley is maintained and preserved. We are able to do this using legal powers granted to us by covenants, which can be found in your transfer document or tenancy agreement. The team also work with residents who breach covenants to rectify them before they have a negative impact on the village. A key part of the teams’ work is to support residents who want to make alterations to their homes. We do this by visiting you to discuss designs, consult with neighbours and make decisions referring to the Design Guide.
Members of the Stewardship team picking litter as part of the annual Big Tidy Up.
If you are thinking of altering the external appearance of your home, please read the Guide on our website bvtlawleyvillage.org.uk
Over the last year we have... Processed 94 alteration applications, the most common of which related to satellite dishes and garden alterations.
Carried out over 150 inspections and held 20 ‘Estate Date’ events where you could raise issues with a member of the Estates team out of office hours.
Successfully resolved 119 breaches.
Collected litter amounting to the weight of over 75,000 chocolate bar wrappers.
Over the next 12 months we will... Take ownership of some land from developers in phases 1a, 1b, 4 and 6.
Work with you to review the Design Guide to make sure it is easy to use and understand.
Introduce an online portal to process alteration applications more quickly and in a user-friendly way.
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I mplement a new breach policy with the aim of resolving breaches much more effectively.
Lawley residents at a welcome meeting.
Last year your open spaces and shared areas were maintained by the Lawley Village Developer Group (LVDG). It was their legal and financial responsibility to do this and we know in many cases, the areas were not kept to a satisfactory standard. We have worked as advocates for you, helping to report where work was needed. While we have no legal influence to make changes, we do all we can to encourage developers to carry out this work. In 2018 we will be strengthening the information we provide to you on the progress made with developer issues. To contact a member of the Estates team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01952 898524.
Committed to quality Maintenance of open spaces and shared areas We are committed to making sure the green and open spaces in our ownership in Lawley always look their best.
This operative carries out the following functions to enhance the environment, over and above the responsibilities of the developers.
When land is legally handed over to us, we will carry out the following services:
• Litter picking
• Litter picking
• Leaf collection
• Weed and moss control
• Inspections of courtyards and open spaces, and fault reporting.
• Maintenance of beds, shrubs and trees • Grass-cutting • Supply of road salt and storage bins to courtyards • Inspections of courtyards and open spaces, and fault reporting. At the beginning of the development it was agreed that a service would be provided by an onsite landscape operative.
A member of our landscape team.
In addition the operative also provides a valuable onsite presence, making sure that there is regular face-to-face contact for all residents. This contact also enables you to become familiar with BVT and is a key communication line. It also provides enhanced security for residents, the wider community and construction sites.
One of the many open spaces in Lawley.
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Facts and figures Pie chart explained 1. Staffing costs - 36.7%
This covers the staffing costs associated with the delivery of long term stewardship. It includes estate management staff, staff involved in community development and involvement, and managerial and administration support. In total BVT employ the equivalent of 3.1 full time posts. Direct staffing costs (i.e. wages) and additional costs (such as national insurance and pension contributions) are included.
2. Transfer to Wear and Tear Fund - 22.5%
Wear and Tear Fund (also known as the Reserve Fund) is in place to ensure that large items of future expenditure are catered for. Any interest earned on this is added to the fund.
3. Contribution towards ‘back room’ costs such as invoicing, banking and auditing - 17.9%
This covers some of the ‘back room’ costs such as postage, utilities, debt recovery, invoicing and the provision of IT and telephony systems.
4. Looking after open spaces - 11.2%
his covers the costs of T providing the restricted maintenance of open spaces and shared areas for 30 hours per week across phases 1a, 1b, 3, 4 and 6. It includes litter picking, sweeping, leaf collection, inspection of courtyards and open spaces and fault reporting.
It also covers some of the running costs of the van and any other equipment/materials used as part of the landscape operative’s role.
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5. Resident Community Fund contribution - 6.3%
Administered by BVT, this fund was established in memory of Lawley resident Eileen Hewer and provides grants to fund projects or activities that boost the Lawley area.
6. Community involvement and development activities - 2.6% Covers the cost of delivering community activities and events throughout the year and costs involved in providing involvement opportunities to residents.
7. Direct office running costs - 2.0%
This covers the direct office costs involved in providing stewardship services. This includes printing, postage, stationery costs, and an apportionment of the costs associated with the building which the staff occupy (rates, electricity, etc.)
8. Arrears legal fees - 0.9%
These are the fees incurred by BVT in recovering outstanding Community Charge payments from residents. Where possible, BVT recover these legal costs through the courts and any costs recovered are fed back into long term stewardship. In the 12 month period legal action was taken against 10 residents to recover outstanding community charges, which resulted in four County Court Judgements being issued.
How your money was spent in 2017
Where our money came from
• Community Charge: £340,741 • Ground rents and other additional income: £5,730 Total income: £346,471
How we spent this money
• Staffing costs: £115,875 • Transfer to Wear and Tear Fund: £71,210 • Contribution towards ’back room costs’ such as invoicing, banking and auditing: £56,580 • Looking after open spaces: £35,336 • Resident Community Fund contribution: £19,790 • Community involvement and development activities: £8,160 • Direct office running costs: £6,182 • Arrears legal fees: £2,787 Total expenditure: £315,920 Total surplus: £30,551
Resident representatives will decide at the next committee in June, what to do with the surplus. Options are:
• Credit to the Resident Community Fund • Credit to Wear and Tear Fund • Refund of surplus to residents • Or a combination of these options.
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Cherry Tree House, 1 Lightmoor Way, Lightmoor Village, Telford, TF4 3TX Tel: 01952 898 524 Email: email@example.com
bvt.org.uk / bvtlawleyvillage.org.uk Twitter: @BVT_Lawley Facebook: BVTLawleyVillage
This review was funded by BVT. BVT is a charity and housing association founded by chocolate-maker and philanthropist George Cadbury in 1900. Its vision is to create and sustain flourishing communities where people choose to live and it does this by providing high-quality housing and estate management services across Birmingham and Shropshire.