This Year's Lively AGM

20 March 201710:14

A call to publicly name and shame Darras Hall residents who fail to pay the obligatory rent to the Estate Committee was made at this year’s Annual General Meeting. 

Several residents said that the Committee should publish the names and addresses of offenders on this website, and that the worst non-payers should be taken to court to force them to pay. 

There was also a call to take similar action against residents in breach of covenant, which the chairman said is under consideration.  This is where developers simply plough ahead regardless of the rules and regulations that restrict the type or scale of developments, much to the annoyance of other residents who do comply. 

In the case of rent arrears, however, although there are currently more than 120 residents who have yet to pay this year’s rent, some had valid reasons, even though they are ultimately not acceptable.  Some residents live elsewhere and rent their properties to tenants, whilst others may be hospitalised or in long-term residential care.  Nonetheless, all are actively pursued to collect funds for the benefit of all residents, with legal proceedings and ultimately court action being the last resort. 

The Chairman reported that this year’s much-publicised dispute with one family over a building compliance issue had cost many thousands of pounds in legal fees but that the Committee’s finances remained healthy. 

Several residents raised concerns that were not within the remit of the Committee, although the Chairman said that they would all be taken up and forwarded to the relevant authority. 

  • Builders were accused of damaging pavements by parking lorries on them, and also of contaminating streams or water courses with waste liquids.
  • Flooding was being caused to neighbours’ gardens by excessive hard landscaping and extremely long driveways on some of the so-called mansions that interfere with water courses.  Some residents said that this is now a particular problem on Darras Road and that the Environment Agency should monitor all new building work very carefully in future.
  • There was also the issue of brick walls that are increasingly replacing hedges, which in the opinion of some residents are ruining the rural Garden Village aspect of the Estate.  The Chairman pointed out that this is something over which the Committee does have power, and that clarification of the relevant Byelaw has been carried out to avoid any doubt among developers in future.
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The barrage of applications to build new housing estates on greenbelt land surrounding Darras Hall was also a matter of concern to residents, some of whom voiced fears about its impact upon existing residents.

The Chairman said that representations by the Committee had already been made to the relevant authorities on behalf of residents, as is also the case with the proposed rebuilding of Darras Hall First School. 

Two new members were welcomed to the Committee, and it was announced that the annual rent charge will remain unchanged at £32 for 2017.