What this is saying is that there should be a drastic rethink in the way that local infrastructure provision is funded. In no other country are residential house builders expected to provide this, and the result of doing so is to reduce the quality and value for money of the houses and the of estates themselves. The builders are commercial enterprises so in order to maintain their profit margin, they skimp on overpriced homes and do not offer up estate land for adoption. They also are less willing to provide their quota of affordable homes as they are already stumping up millions for roads, schools and community facilities.
What has this got to do with estate charges? Well, the open spaces on new build estates required by the Town and Country planning act are public areas for the benefit of the whole local community. These areas are being “provided” via section 106 agreements in the same way as other infrastructure. However ownership remains in private hands, and long term maintenance is not funded by the whole community, just the home owners on the estate. Government has sat by whilst this model has grown and done nothing to protect home owners interests. Although there is talk of estate service charge disputes being heard by the First Tier Lands Tribunal, this has not been enacted. It is HorNet’s view that it would not be of much practical help due to the cost and stress involved in taking a case to court. The current court fee is £400, roughly equivalent to a years charges, and that’s just to get started! If there is to be a redress scheme, it needs to be affordable and accessible to the lay person. This is something we shall be saying in response to another consultation on improving redress in housing, and the more of us who fill it in the louder our voice will be, so here is the link https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-consumer-redress-in-housing
Please take the time to fill it in. You need only do the parts you feel are relevant, or if it is easier, just write an email to the address on the page.