Address

Gowerton Community Council

Clerk to the Council


2 Castle Street, Loughor,

Swansea SA4 6TU

 

Tel: 01792 415987

 

or email direct: info@gowertoncc.org.uk

 

You can also contact us using our online contact form.

News

Review of Parliamentary Constituencies in Wales

 

See our response to the proposals in the news section of the website

Elba Ground Rent Increase... What is the latest?

 

 

URGENT UPDATE

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN

and

NEXT STEPS

 

We have produced a Final Offer Breakdown explaining the concessions and bulk purchase discounts work and a Next Steps update explaining what to fill in and where to send your paperwork to.

Please follow this link to where you will get up to date information http://gowertongroundrent.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

 

Residents Meeting 7th & 8th April

 

The Action Group are holding 2 meetings on Tuesday 7th April and Wednesday 8th April at 7.00pm at the Conservative Club in Sterry Road, Gowerton

 

At these meetings we will discuss the Councils proposals which all leaseholders who are not on a fixed ground rent will have already received by letter.

 

It is clear from the letter and our own dealings with the Council that there is no further scope for movement on their part in respect of the revised annual ground rent figure of £400.

 

We are however still negotiating in respect of the freehold purchase price and also the Council’s legal and surveyors' costs for dealing with volume purchases of the freehold.

 

We expect to able to provide more detailed information on the freehold purchase price and Councils legal fees at these meetings.

 

Our local surveyor adviser, Mr Rob Cowley, will attend the meetings to provide guidance on the Council’s offer and answer questions from affected leaseholders.

 

We cannot over-emphasise the importance of attending these meetings in order to fully understand the situation and be able to make a fully informed decision

 

We must continue to remind and urge leaseholders not to respond to the Council’s letter until after the meetings, so that the ongoing negotiations can be concluded and to enable you to make a more informed decision about how to proceed.

 

The Action Group

  

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Update - 31/3/2015

By now those leaseholders who are not on a fixed ground rent should have received a letter from the Council putting forward proposals in relation to resolving the dispute.

It is clear from the letter and our own dealings with the Council that there is no further scope for movement on their part in respect of the revised annual ground rent figure of £400. In other words, they are not prepared to reduce this figure any further through negotiations.

However, negotiations are still ongoing in respect of the freehold purchase price and the Council’s legal and surveyors' costs for dealing with volume purchases of the freehold.

The Action Group is urgently arranging a residents meeting to discuss the Council’s proposals. Details of the date and venue will be confirmed via the usual channels as soon as possible but we are aiming for an evening next week, following the Easter weekend.

We are hopeful that by that time the ongoing negotiations will have concluded and we will be in a position to outline the Council’s final position.

Our local surveyor adviser, Mr Rob Cowley, will attend the meeting to provide guidance on the Council’s offer and answer questions from affected leaseholders.

In the meantime, we would urge leaseholders not to respond to the Council’s letter until after the meeting, so that the ongoing negotiations can be concluded and to enable you to make an informed decision about how to proceed.

 

The Action Group

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

 

Residents Updates

 

29th March 2015

 

The City and County of Swansea will be sending out letters to Elba Leaseholders on Monday 30th March.

 

These letters will includes a more detailed explanation of their revised £400 ground rent proposal with the option of review by Leasehold Valuation Tribunal if you do not agree with this offer.

 

The Action Group are arranging a date for a Resident Meeting ASAP.

 

Our advice remains the same as always:

 

Individual action by leaseholders is likely to be divisive and will weaken our overall position and we must continue to act as a group.

 

We ask that leaseholders refrain from responding individually to any correspondence which they receive from the Council until after the Residents Meeting.

 

The Action Group

 

 

 

NEW UPDATE

 

 

We understand that during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting the Elba ground rent proposals were discussed in closed session.

 

It appears very probable that CCS will write to Leaseholders to issue a revised ground rent offer of £400 around the end of March with the option of review by Leasehold Valuation Tribunal if you do not agree with this revised offer.

 

Please remember that we are still in negotiation on a Surveyor to Surveyor basis with the CCS and we cannot know the outcome until those negotiations are complete

.

It remains as important as ever that we continue to act as a group at this point. As before, individual action by leaseholders is likely to be divisive and will weaken our overall position.

 

We would also suggest that leaseholders refrain from responding individually to any correspondence which they may receive from the Council until our negotiations are complete.

 

When negotiations are completed we will hold Surgeries to provide feedback on those negotiations and any advice received.

 

The Action Group

____________________________________________

 

On 31st January we advised you all that our Specialist barrister Mr Douglas Readings had previously provided advice to Lliw Valley in 1995 and was prevented from acting any further for either party due to a conflict of interest.

 

We have subsequently been in negotiation with Mr Readings regarding this situation and we are pleased to confirm that he has agreed to provide a full refund of his fees.

 

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Update - 2/3/2015

 

As it’s been a little while since our last update, we wanted to keep residents informed of the present position regarding our discussions with the City & County of Swansea.

 

We met with Council Leader, Rob Stewart and relevant officers of the Council on the 12th February, to discuss our respective positions on the various figures in issue eg the ground rent amount and freehold purchase price.

 

At that meeting it was agreed that our respective surveyors would go away and discuss the figures between themselves, to see if any common ground could be found for resolving this dispute, without referral to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.  If any common ground could be found, the surveyors would then report back to their respective sides with possible recommendations for settlement.

 

At that point, we would need to call another residents’ meeting to discuss our surveyor’s recommendations and hopefully agree a co-ordinated way forward.

 

Those discussions between the surveyors are already underway and ongoing at this time, but we anticipate them concluding shortly.

 

Once they have concluded, we will issue another update, giving details of any further residents’ meeting.

 

In the meantime, we would urge residents to remain calm.  We are doing everything we can to bring this matter to a conclusion and hope to have further substantive news for you soon.

 

The Action Group

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Residents Update

26th January 2015

 

We held surgeries Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st January to update fellow Leaseholders on our discussions with City and County of Swansea on Friday 16th January.

 

As agreed with Leaseholders on 4th December, we had disclosed our Barristers opinion to the City and County of Swansea and during the meeting on 16th January expected to receive a detailed response to this advice.

 

City and County of Swansea did not provided a detailed response, verbally rejected elements of our Barristers opinion and refused to improve their £400 informal offer closer to the £200 - £250 advised by our Barrister.

 

Leaseholders took the opportunity to ask questions during the meeting and the meeting finished a unanimous vote to reject the CCS’s informal offer and continue to make every attempt to negotiate.

 

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of acting as a group at this point, as individual action by leaseholders is likely to be divisive and will weaken our overall position.

 

We would also suggest that leaseholders refrain from responding individually to any correspondence which they may receive from the Council following the Surgeries on the 20th and 21st

 

The Action Group

 

 

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Update - 15/1/2015

 

We want to update fellow leaseholders on the current position in our dealings with the City & County of Swansea.

 

As agreed during our last public meeting on 4th December our Barristers Opinion was disclosed to the City & County of Swansea and the Action Group will be meeting with Council representatives this Friday afternoon, the 16th January.

 

We understand that the purpose of this meeting is to confirm both sides’ respective positions and discuss how we should then progress.

 

To feed back the outcome of the meeting, we have decided to hold 2 surgeries next week at 7:00pm on Tuesday, 20th and Wednesday, 21st January, at the Conservative Club, Sterry Road, Gowerton.

 

We must stress the importance to all affected leaseholders of attending these surgeries if at all possible, so that we can discuss our and the Council’s positions, gauge your own views on those and, ultimately, maintain a united front in dealing with this matter. 

 

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of acting as a group at this point, as individual action by leaseholders is likely to be divisive and will weaken our overall position. 

 

We would also suggest that leaseholders refrain from responding individually to any correspondence which they may receive from the Council following the meeting on the 16th.

 

The Action Group 

 

 

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Update - 31/12/2014

 

We wanted to update residents on developments since the closed residents’ meeting at the start of December.

 

Our barrister’s Opinion was emailed to the City & County of Swansea the day after the meeting, 5th December 2014.  Although we have received an acknowledgment from the local authority we are yet to receive a substantive response.

 

Given the intervening Christmas/New Year period we felt that it would be unrealistic to chase them before now.  However, we will be chasing them on Friday for progress.

 

Please be assured that, as Elba leaseholders ourselves, we fully appreciate that this dispute is a source of anxiety and concern for all of us and the sooner it is resolved the sooner we can get on with our lives.  

 

We will of course keep you updated as to further progress via the usual channels.

 

In the meantime we take this opportunity of wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

 

The Action Group

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute

Update – 8/12/14

 

As residents will be aware from our previous update on 28th November 2014, we recently received the Opinion of our barrister, Mr Douglas Readings, regarding the ongoing ground rent dispute.

 

Mr Readings Opinion is favourable to our case and consists of 2 limbs.

 

Firstly, he refers to recent case law involving similar disputes in Birmingham and Cardiff.  In both cases the Upper Tribunal of the Lands Chamber interpreted ‘open market value’ to mean the value which the open market would pay as ground rent for a given plot of land.  As no such market exists, expert valuation advice has to be considered.  In the case of the Elba estate our chartered surveyor expert takes the view that the market would not pay more than £200 - £250 by way of ground rent for the relevant plots.

 

Secondly, our barrister refers to paragraph 5 of the Fourth Schedule to our leases.  This contains a proviso which specifically prevents any increase in the ground rent at review, where such an increase would “prevent, preclude or fetter” the tenants’ right to purchase their freehold.  Mr Readings is of the view that increasing the ground rent above £250 would “prevent, preclude or fetter” tenants on the Elba from purchasing their freeholds and would therefore conflict with this paragraph.

 

Obviously the above is merely a summary and the full text of the Opinion is available for those who have contributed to the legal advice fund.  If you would like a copy please contact the Action Group through our existing channels.  

 

At a closed meeting for contributing residents last Thursday the 4th December, the Action Group recommended disclosure of the Opinion to the City & County of Swansea.  A vote was held at the meeting and an overwhelming majority voted in favour of that course of action.

 

Accordingly the Opinion was disclosed to the City & County of Swansea the following day, Friday 5th December.

 

We have invited the Council to meet with us again as soon as possible to agree on how best to progress negotiations.  We have also indicated that, based on our barrister’s Opinion, the revised proposals put forward by the Council during our last meeting with them in October, are unacceptable.

 

The Action Group

Update 28th November 2014

 

RESIDENTS MEETING

 

Thursday 4th December 2014

Gowerton Comprehensive School Sports Hall

7:00pm - 8:00pm

 

The Action Group are pleased to confirm that we have yesterday received the written advice of our Barrister, Mr David Readings. Whilst we are unable to divulge the content of the advice in an open forum at this stage, we can say that it is favourable to our case.

 

The Action Group would now like to arrange a further Closed Meeting to summarise the content of the advice and seek approval to disclose the advice to the City and County of Swansea and therefore pursue further negotiations.

This Meeting has been arranged for Thursday 4th December 2014 at Gowerton Comprehensive School Sports Hall between 7:00pm - 8:00pm

As stated at the previous meeting, this meeting to discuss the Barristers advice will only be open to households who have contributed to the legal advice fund.

Affected residents who have not already done so, will have the opportunity of paying their contribution at the meeting if they wish to attend. However, to ease the administrative burden for the Action Group on the night it would be preferable if those residents could arrange to do so before the 4th December 2014

You can contact the Action Group at ground.rent.info@gmail.com if you wish to contribute.

As before we ask that attendees bring appropriate identification e.g. utility bill showing name and address so that we can confirm you are a Contributing Householder

The Action Group

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute 

Update 

4th November 2014

 

Just a brief update regarding the present position.

 

Instructions have now been sent by our chartered surveyor, Edward Rutledge, to our barrister, Mr Douglas Readings and they have already discussed the case together at length.

 

We understand that Mr Readings' initial views were positive although we will obviously need to await his detailed written Advice before being able to consider the overall strengths of our case and how to respond to the Council's revised proposals.

 

We are hoping to have that written Advice within the next 14 days or so but, given the significance and the financial value of the issues at stake, Mr Readings will want to ensure that his advice is both comprehensive and accurate.

 

Nevertheless, based on his initial feedback the Action Group are cautiously optimistic at this stage.

 

As soon as the barrister's written Advice is received we will contact affected residents to arrange a closed meeting for those who have contributed to the cost of obtaining professional advice.

 

In the meantime we appreciate your patience.

 

The Action Group

 

 

 

Elba Ground Rent Dispute - Update 22/10/2014

 

We wanted to provide a brief update on the present position following the meeting with residents at Gowerton Comprehensive School on Friday 3rd October 2014.

 

Since the meeting, detailed and comprehensive documentation regarding the dispute has been submitted to our Chartered Surveyor, Mr Edward Rutledge, for his advice and that of our barrister, Mr Douglas Readings.

 

These documents include additional papers that have only recently been received by the Action Group but which, in our view, provide considerable assistance. 

 

The Action Group will let affected residents know as soon as we have a timescale for receiving the legal advice.  Rest assured that we are working hard to obtain this as soon as possible, so that we can consider the Council’s recent revised proposals.

 

For those who could not attend the meeting or are otherwise unaware of the detail of the revised proposals, please contact the Action Group for further information.

 

We fully appreciate that residents are anxious for progress but we would urge patience at this crucial time.  It is imperative that we obtain best advice before going back to the Council with our views, as this will maximise our chances of a favourable outcome.

 

Likewise we would urge residents not to take any independent action regarding the Council’s revised offer.  Now more than ever we must remain united. 

 

Some may think that their own interests would be served by accepting the Council’s offer, for example in purchasing their freehold, but this would only weaken our overall bargaining position. 

 

If that leads to a poorer outcome this is likely to have a negative effect on house values on the estate irrespective of whether they are leasehold or freehold properties.

 

We have a much better chance to negotiate the best deal for all residents if we remain united. 

 

For that reason we would ask all affected residents to sit tight until we have received legal advice and are in a position to proceed collectively.

 

The Action Group

 

 

 

RESIDENTS MEETING

Friday 3rd October

Gowerton Comprehensive School

SPORTS HALL

6:30pm - 8:30pm

 

Dear Elba Resident,

 

Further to our recent Facebook and blog update the Action Group held initial talks on the 1st October with the City & County of Swansea regarding the ground rent review.  At the meeting revised proposals were put forward by the Council.

 

In order to provide details of these revised proposals to the residents of the Elba estate a meeting has been organised for this Friday the 3rd October 2014 at Gowerton Comprehensive School SPORTS HALL at 6.30 - 8.30pm.

 

The school have asked that attendees do not park within the school grounds and use the Park Road access.  The Action Group extends its thanks to the school for providing these facilities at such short notice and free of charge.

 

As the details to be discussed are confidential the meeting will only be open to residents and homeowners on the Elba estate.  We would therefore ask attendees to bring appropriate identification confirming that status e.g. utility bill showing name and address.

 

The Elba Action Group

2nd October 2014 

 

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Resident Update


1st October 2014

 

A delegation from the Action Group met with representatives of the City and County of Swansea earlier this evening (1st October) to discuss the ground rent review currently affecting the estate.

 

At the meeting revised proposals were put forward by the council on an informal basis.

 

The Action Group recognises that residents will want to know the detail of these proposals as soon as possible. However this information is sensitive and the Action Group feels it would be inappropriate to disclose it on a public forum. 

 

The Action Group take the view that this information should only be disclosed to residents whilst negotiations are ongoing. Wider disclosure at this stage could prejudice the residents' position.

 

Therefore the Action Group believe that the fastest way to get this information to the residents in a confidential way is to arrange an urgent meeting. This will be a closed meeting open only to residents/homeowners of the Elba estate.

 

The Action Group is in the process of arranging a venue and a date and will provide further information as soon as possible on this and our other channels of communication.

 

We are hoping to hold the meeting in the next 48 hrs and would ask the residents to bear with us in the meantime.

 

The Action Group

1st October 2014