PARK EDGE CLOSE, ROUNDHAY, LEEDS
Park Edge Close is a group of 45 houses built on the site of a large family residence on the edge of Roundhay Park, designed by Architects Pearce Bottomley of Leeds for the Housing Corporation in 1968-72 for which they received a Commendation. Whilst in short terraced groups and of the same floor area for each 3- or 4- bedroom size all are different and enjoy the best aspect of each position with the least area of joint party walls and where Living and Bedrooms rarely abut in adjacent houses and are separated by service rooms for least noise transmission. The irregular plan enables the outside ‘patio’ spaces to be fairly private and originally screens were built to shield where overlooking was unavoidable. In November 1982 after ten years of Housing Association rental management the capital was repaid by the sale of each house and a garage to the subscribing tenants with the small balance retained as capital for Park Edge Management Company Limited which was registered with a Share capital of one hundred Ordinary Shares of £1, each house owner having one Share with the balance held by the Company. The Company employs a professional Company Secretary and Auditors and is managed by a Board of Directors of resident shareholders appointed annually by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting when reports, accounts and budgets are presented to Members. All residents and their families are encouraged to attend this formal Meeting and to nominate Directors, but voting is restricted to the nominal shareholder of each house, or one of joint shareholders.
Each Shareholder owns the Freehold of his or her House and Garage, including the land on which it stands and the ‘Patio’ of nine flags measuring 9′-0″ x 6′-0″ (2750 x 1885mm) nom.
The remainder of the common land of the Estate is owned in common by the Company for the benefit of all Members and residents for mutual access and enjoyment and it is responsible to its Members for its reasonable maintenance. The access road and pavement, lay-by and turning space defined by the tarmacadam finish, are adopted by Leeds City Council which also maintains the street lighting and the amenity lighting beyond. The remaining approaches, concrete aprons to Garages, footpaths and steps are the responsibility of the Company.
In the early years of the Company a Special General Meeting was called to consider whether an individual freeholder could acquire any further land extending his or her property to take in areas seen as unlikely to be of any use or benefit to others, for extended ‘Patios,’ conservatories, front porches or outbuildings, and after due debate and consideration it became clear that this would be inequitable, confusing and potentially lead to unsightly additions and the Meeting confirmed a substantial majority view that so such land could be acquired. Two instances have since occurred where a freeholder has attempted to extend by building on Company land without notice and both have involved legal action expensive to the Company and other freeholders resulting in rental payments and situations which have proved unsatisfactory to all parties involved. Some individual landscaping adjoining houses, extensions of paving and small retaining walls, reversible and at no cost or risk to the Company, have been noted and licensed with the clear understanding that the Company retains ownership of the land and has the right to recover and restore it with any special costs charged to the owner concerned should the landscaping become neglected or the conditions affect an adjoining house.
Park Edge Close is within Roundhay Conservation Area and Planning Consent is required for any alterations involving a visible change, with restrictions on what may be permissible development elsewhere. Original trees are protected and managed but none is individually protected.
The Company is currently managed administratively by
Adair Paxton, 1st floor, sanderson house, 22 Station Road, Horsforth, Leeds, ls185nt, who also provide a Company Secretary, secretarial, legal and auditing services. The Company Secretary is Mr Paul Winn. (our accountant).
The Directors of Park Edge Management Company for 2019 are as follows:
Mr. Harry Andrews, Ms. Karin Brooks and Ms. Amy Mapp.
Each house has an individual roof, excepting the few with ‘flying freeholds,’ and its maintenance is the responsibility of each owner. Flat roofs have a suspect reputation but here they are soundly designed with the optimum insulation and vapour barrier and have shown no design faults. The original finish of three built-up layers of bituminous felt with a mineral protection against external fire had a service life of 20-25 years and most have been renewed, now with glass fibre-based or proprietary reinforced felts with a service life of 30-35 years. This is an economical and reliable maintenance item if carried out by a reputable Contractor but a hazard if patched over old material or left without a fire-rated top sheet or mineral finish.
The formed gutters are in some houses of shallow fall and hold water, not in itself a problem but they do collect sludge and leaf mould as can be seen on the lower garages. Initially the Company arranged an annual sweeping in late Autumn by a Roofing Contractor who would advise individual householders if he foresaw any maintenance repairs for which he quoted directly. With more new roofs and some complaints of intrusion this was discontinued some years ago but Owners are advised to have their gutters swept and outlets cleared regularly in their own interests. Roofs should not be walked on in frosty weather when any unsecured felt will be brittle and may crack.
A brief note on the original roof layers.
Built up roofing finishes using British Standard materials, now glass fibre based, laid in hot bitumen in three layers with the top layer having Class A fire surface protection has a life expectancy of 20-25 years when properly laid. A superior top layer such as ‘Derbigum’ should serve 35 years but is expensive.
The weakest point in the roofs at Park Edge Close and Gledhow is the original aluminium edge trim, the only option in 1970 when built, since the metal expands and contracts more than the felt and results in tears at joints. Any re-roofing should include replacing the metal with glass-fibre resin trim which has the same coefficient of expansion as the roof finish.
The fire rating of top layer felts is almost standard today and essential to avoid spread of fire between houses and possible burning from falling fireworks. The need for applied gravel chippings is not now essential, making sweeping and inspection easier.
The weakest point is the sealing at the rainwater dished outlet to the internal plastics downpipe where the layers must be bonded under and over the flanges and a circular gasket sealed under the grating which serves to keep out leaves and debris. This and the gutter should be swept clean at least once a year, ideally after leaf fall, and perhaps again in Spring. This involves care in keeping away from the edge of the roof in case of loss of balance. The finish should NOT be walked upon in frosty weather since the material is brittle when very cold
Gardening and Landscape Maintenance
This is the Company’s greatest expense, Residents highest expectations and the subject of most complaints received by the Directors. Clearly there has to be an economic compromise and the objective is to maintain a neat appearance of the grassed surroundings during the Summer and pruning of shrubs and bushes, clearance of leaves and seasonal maintenance over the yearly cycle. We expect the Landscape Contractor to have supervisory skills in gardening and to use appropriate machinery but the labour is inevitably unskilled if economical tenders are to be obtained. Recently we have suffered from poorly set mowers, indiscriminate weedkiller used to define lawn edges instead of trimming and the soiling of house and garage doors from careless use of blowers intended to make leaf collection easier. Some years ago Directors drew up a Specification in conjunction with the Contractor employed at the time to quantify this work but it has become ignored in favour of a rudimentary shortlist of tasks as used by Harewood Housing applicable to other sites. In tendering for the next Contract we shall revert to our own.
Residents are encouraged to assist in keeping up the attractive setting by maintaining the tidiness of the areas around their houses, planting of beds and boxes and the maintenance and pruning implicit, although experience leads us to discourage the planting of shrubs, the ubiquitous leylandii and trees whose roots may damage the drainage and cable installations which serve us all and are expensive to repair or replace. The mature trees are inspected every three years and advised crown thinning and attention put in hand with the agreement of the Council and some trees at risk have been removed with replacements planted as required, none close to buildings.
The Company facilitated the installation of a cable network to all houses whilst it was being provided locally. Each house has a dedicated connection for television and telephone services provided by Ntl. Anyone wishing to take up this connection should contact Ntl direct.
The Estate used to have a communal TV and satellite aerial system with amplifier but this became unreliable, costly to maintain and increasingly obsolescent and after vandals damage and a survey of the few remaining users it has been cut off and the equipment will be removed, with a saving of the electricity it used.
Roads and paths
The entrance road is public but all other areas, paths and steps are the responsibility of the Company and at intervals maintenance work is put in hand to conserve them, with earlier attention to anything which appears dangerously hazardous. The paths are wide and steps long and shallow, with handrails only to normal flights. The Company has considered its liability for disabled access legislation and finds it is not a ‘service provider’ in the sense intended to cover buildings to which the public may demand access provisions. The roads and paths are therefore no different from any other roads and paths serving houses elsewhere. Alterations may be made to suit a known disabled person or assisted wheelchair where it is comparatively easy to do and if anyone finds a particular need where the Company can reasonably help every effort will be made to assist. These houses were not designed with the disabled in mind and whilst the designed stairs will take a stairlift and some aids can be fitted the door openings and toilets spaces are insufficient for conversion for wheelchair users alone.
The houses are served by a combined system of foul and rainwater drainage to the public sewer in the access road. The Council has installed and maintains surface water drainage to the road.
The private system for which Yorkshire Water (Tel. 03451242424) takes responsibility for shared drains (since 2011) also collects the outfall from the houses at “Woodbourne” on Park Avenue. The layout is recorded on drawings and is generally comprehensive and of correct falls and sizes for normal household use. The main runs are of pitch fibre pipes which were common at the time and have the advantage of long runs with fewer joints where failures usually occur and are more flexible than brittle stoneware. They are no longer produced following the availability of heavy duty plastics and vitreous clay with flexible joints and any replacements have to be jointed in. Surveys where troubles have occurred show some distortion of pipes from circular to elliptical section owing to early ground settlement but this does not affect the flow and is not a defect to warrant replacement. The other common problem is root intrusion from shrubs, ivy and ground cover planting and some replacements have had to be made, with the removal of unwise planting to prevent a repeat failure. Some inspection manholes show minor root growth but here can be trimmed and treated with a deterrent. To avoid unnecessary risks to the drainage system it should not be abused by flushing disposable nappies, kitchen tissues, newspaper, plastics and the like down W.C. fittings. Tradesmen and ‘do-it-yourself’ workers should ensure that no cement or plaster washings, soil, surplus paint or chemicals are ever poured down gullies into the drainage system:- the original builders used their full allowance!
The arrangements for disposal of household refuse from Park Edge Close is conditioned by a Covenant within the Conveyance of which all purchasers will have been advised prior to completion and all Owners will have signed to observe. All houses have a designed fire-resisting enclosure for standard dustbins within the curtilage of the freehold with an external door, and it is not an option to remove this or take the space into the house for another purpose.
It is a covenanted requirement that all refuse is placed within this, except that the bags and surplus may be placed immediately outside on the day of the collection. The agreement with Leeds City Council is that Park Edge Close will have a ‘black bag’ collection service and not ‘wheelie bins’ which they consider unsuitable for the steps and gradients here. The purpose of the Covenant is to protect Residents from the unsightliness and obstruction of outside bins in this tightly planned estate. We also suffer from foxes, squirrels and scavenging birds which scatter accessible refuse in search of scraps, and from this aspect Residents are strongly requested not to put out food to encourage them further.
The Estate was designed to the Planning requirements of the period with a garage for each of the 45 houses and parking space for some 20 more for additional and visitors cars. There is space for more in front of some of the garages where obstruction is not a problem and for visitors known to the householder. In thirty years times have changed, more houses have more than one car and with some houses now owned for letting by the room with the use of the garage withheld the spaces are over-committed at night and at weekends, with parking restricting the access road and garage accesses, sometimes with vehicles parked with wheels on the footpaths to the inconvenience of pedestrians, particularly the elderly. Residents and their visitors and tradesmen are requested to park with consideration and if obstructing a garage door or parked cars even for a short time to leave a note on their windscreens as to where they may be contacted.
Abandoned cars have been a problem recently, usually by a non-resident and often for some time until someone notices, and on the public road these have been removed by the Council. There are concerns for safety of unserviced cars whose brakes may fail on a slope, as has happened in the past, that abandoned cars attract vandals and are likely be set on fire, and that such cars not on the public highway are unlikely to be insured against these or other risks. After debate at the last AGM and following legal advice on the Company’s right and the correct procedure it was resolved that any car parked on the Company’s land must be taxed and insured, just as if it were on the public road, and if a written request for the removal of any such car deemed to be abandoned is ignored the Company will arrange for its removal for scrap or to the Council or private pound on due notice to the owner where known or by notice affixed to the car where in any doubt. Where the car proves to belong to a Resident any expense incurred will be charged to the shareholder of the house concerned. A generous period of grace has been allowed for voluntary action and verbal assurances but in association with the Council’s local clean up initiative in the New Year the Company will take action to clear the remaining two cars.
These essential services have to be paid for and prudent budgeting over the years has kept these low in comparison with similar Estates. The Directors are looking ahead to seek economies in administration and if any Shareholder can offer any expertise, experience or willingness to become involved he or she would be welcomed.
The current charge is £35 per calendar month payable by Standing Order on the First day of each Month. Mandate forms and details are available from a Director on request.
Any arrears will be charged and notified in due course and are payable on demand. Any unpaid arrears will become a charge on the Property which will not be able to be conveyed after sale until settled in full. On any sale or change of ownership of a house the Owner on the 1st of the month will be responsible for making the payment for that month and any aggregation agreement must be made between the parties concerned. Registration of Title to any of the properties and the relevant Share Certificate cannot be completed until any debts or matters of covenants are resolved.
Park Edge Close remains a pleasant and convenient place with the opportunities of living in a friendly and varied neighbourhood and with the economies of joint services for some of the essentials. The covenants and implicit minor restrictions are for the obvious benefit of all Residents and should not be a problem for those who would choose to live here.
The Directors are readily available for any queries or problems which may arise.