Letter from BVT regarding enforcement

  • The LVCA has been in discussions with BVT regarding the future shape of the Stewardship scheme. We are aware of the high levels of discontent amongst some residents with the scheme and that some would like to see the scheme scrapped. Realistically, we don't think there is a legal route to achieve this. However, we have a meeting, with an Independent Facilitator on the 20th October to discuss the future shape of the scheme. We would like to gauge the sentiments of the residents about the possible options. Please click here to give use your vote!

Jim Weir

Jim Weir
Staff member
Admin
Oct 1, 2017
92
16
8
3 Church Croft, Lawley Village
#1
Sorry I haven't have time to respond to some of the points raised. We were on holiday until last week and I have a lot of work commitments at present. Many people have commented on the BVT letter and I have been asked for my take on it.

My take on the letter is this. Last year, we asked for more residents to come forward and participate in the process and engage with the Stewardship Scheme. We wanted it to be more resident lead, have more resident involvement and we resisted a proposal by BVT merge the management committee with other Telford based services. We also engaged with Lucy Allan and the Developers and sought to develop a direct relationship with the Developers to address our concerns. Since then, we have had a significantly higher number of residents come forward and we now have more than 15 resident representatives. We have had a higher level of engagement with the Design Guide and Covenants, we had over 80 appear at the public meeting with the developers. There have been significant advances. The Resident Reps for the first time voted against the budget for next year and the budget is still not approved. We made a presentation to the board and although we have not yet had a formal reply (the next meeting is next week), the Trustees of BVT were responsive to our points and I think the "mood music" is very different.

BVT scrapped the proposal to merge the new committees, agreed to the proposal to significantly increase resident representatives, agreed to opening the meetings to the public. TWC and the developers have agreed a timeframe for the adoption of different phases and residents have had letters outlining these. The developers have agreed to provide a point of contact/liaison, we have worked more closely with the Parish Council and residents created this website to enable us to discuss issues and the Developers agreed to engage with it, so we can communicate directly. We saw an example of that when the snow damage caused problems, with Persimmon responding quickly and directly.

There are lots of issues we need to address over the coming years, how we spend the money, service standards, value for money, etc. But one of the issues that residents have repeatedly complained about on Facebook, in communications with reps and in meetings is that BVT have covenants and rules which are not enforced. Our argument to BVT was this. Residents wanted input into the rules about what the rules should be, but once they are agreed and established, that we expect BVT to enforce them. The letter maps out the mechanism for their enforcement.

Everyone who lives in Lawley and pays the Stewardship Agreement, signed an agreement to live by the rules set out in the TP1. In most communities, this is managed by a commercial company, and anyone who has read the news in the last year will have read about abuse by many of these management companies imposing ridiculous rules and charges, often motivated by profit rather than to benefit the community. I have looked at a lot examples of communities similar to ours, in order to argue our points at the last board meeting. That research lead me to the conclusion that we should NOT seek to replace BVT. I have been a strongly critical of BVT, but I do believe that we are being heard, the Trustees want to find a way to make this work and that they are trying to engage with us constructively. I think they have heard that we are in a very different position to both Bournville Village and Lightmoor and that this requires a difference approach.

We cannot have it both ways. We cannot say to BVT, "you are useless, you don't take any action" and then deny them the tools they need to enforce the rules. We can influence how they are enforced, we can discuss the levels, we can discuss the rules... but we cannot get rid of Stewardship. Virtually every new large scale development in the country has Stewardship covenants. We have in BVT, a benign body which wants to get it right. They have not done a good job of it so far, and I feel that this was made worse by the way the Developers have managed things too. But both have heard us, responded positively and for that reason, I think we should continue this progress and engage.

If you want to make alternative suggestions to the ideas put forward in the letter, feel free to post them on here or email your reps. We will discuss them and if we need to make changes we will, but I think now we need to engage constructively. I think they are listening and the alternatives to BVT are not as palatable as you think, especially if a commercial company was appointed in their place.