RESIDENTS of an upmarket housing estate on the outskirts of Llanelli said they faced rising management fees, and have urged Carmarthenshire Council to adopt the roads.
Joan Adams, of Machynys East Residents’ Association, told a meeting of full council: “We are freeholders effectively sitting on a leasehold island. We just don’t think that is fair.”
Mrs Adams said the overwhelming majority of the 226 residents in Machynys East had signed the petition she presented to the council, which called on it to overturn a previous decision and adopt the roads.
She said residents were in dispute with a property management company, Remus, which she claimed took over the management of open spaces at the estate “with no notice” last October.
Mrs Adams said residents were worried they would be billed for street lighting on top of an annual management charge, and wondered if roads on the estate were up to standard before being handed over to the management company.
She added: “We understand that in the original (planning) documentation going back to 2007, it was the intention that these roads would be adopted (by the council).
“Part of our petition is to understand why there was that change from the original intention.”
Mrs Adams said estate developer Persimmon argued that house buyers preferred private estates.
“But as new buyers, our opinions were not sought on this,” she said.
“We don’t want to live on a private estate. We want to live on an estate adopted by the authority.”
Executive board member for environment, councillor Hazel Evans, said she would ensure a report was drawn up looking into the matter.
Councillor Carl Harris said he knew of another estate in the county whose roads had not been adopted 28 years after they were built.
He described the situation as a “minefield”, which affected all council areas.
Councillor Tina Higgins said the council should look into all unfinished housing estates in Carmarthenshire, while councillor Sharen Davies said the role of solicitors during the conveyancing process needed scrutiny.
The council heard that a Welsh Government working group was investigating the leasehold sector.
Councillor Ken Lloyd suggested that money was held back from developers until estate infrastructure was completed and adopted.
“Frankly it’s a disgrace,” said Cllr Lloyd.
Remus said it was responsible for certain areas at Machynys East, but that it had not taken over the roads yet.
A Remus spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the issues residents have but unfortunately they fall outside of these areas, and are either demised to the individual property or outside of the management boundaries.”
She added: “The roads and sewers will need to be completed to an adoptable standard before Remus takes handover.”
She also said Remus had taken over the public spaces from October 3, with residents notified on October 5, and that representatives from the company had previously had meetings with the residents’ association.
The spokeswoman said two failed lighting columns had been logged with the developer, while a map for a third had been replaced.
“I confirm that to date no expenditure has been made,” she said.
Photo: The course at Machynys Peninsula Golf Club, near Llanelli (Creative Commons/Simon Mortimer)