Formal reports from the Chair, covering all relevant Estate activities, will be produced subsequent to each annual AGM, which is usually held in June. Supplementary reports will appear when specific events or activities occur requiring communication.
(Click on a heading to go directly to that report)
As our wonderful Indian Summer draws to a close and the next set of service charge and foul drainage bills are due, I thought a short summary of Summer activities and jobs to be done over the next six months would be of interest.
Laurel clearance and woodland management have been much in evidence: the woodland walks lined with wood chippings are looking beautiful and the laurel baskets of logs give a very tidy appearance. Thank you once again to all the volunteers who make this possible and who give their time and energy in such good spirit.
The recently planted hedging is all looking very healthy and as it matures, it will help to form the continuous corridor for wildlife around the estate. 500 more hedging plants were delivered on 7th November and were planted that week. Thank you planting volunteers!!
With so much work going on and so much of it being undertaken in-house, health and safety has become ever more important. All volunteers have been/will be issued with high viz jackets, safety goggles and ear protectors and with all the various vehicles and motorised equipment now being utilised, it is imperative that professional work practices are upheld and appropriate risk assessments are carried out.
General repair work carried out over the last period has included stone wall repairs along the bridle path, redressing of various car parks with scalpings, the realignment of the capping stone on the entrance pillar, which was dislodged by a lorry entering and the normal maintenance tasks carried out by Nick Collier and his team. Repair to some of the beach path steps is in hand and a programme of repair work to some of the Estate railings is being scheduled.
We will soon be erecting some new signage to help identify various parts of the Estate for visitors and deliveries. The signs are being made in slate and will be appropriately positioned on walls and pillars with the various owners’ permissions agreed.
OHF and The Gardens have been identified as areas where the exterior of some properties need remedial work. For OHF the recommended solution is either a fungicidal wash to remove the algae or, as a longer-term remedy, the application of Weathershield. The Board can advise and provide suitable guidance if required. Please ensure that any application of colour is in line with the existing scheme and consistent with neighbouring properties.
Finally, an Autumn planting along small sections of the main drive of small daffodil bulbs has been done, so February will have a splash of yellow cheer when entering the Estate! Particular thanks to Jane Gibson and her horticultural team.
Have a great Winter everyone, and please remember to pay us within 28 days and preferably by BACS, as cheques incur bank charges!
A review of summer activities and jobs to be done in the next six months
Laurel clearance and woodland management have been much in evidence. Thank you once again to all the volunteers who make this possible and who give their time and energy in such good spirit. If you would like to join the woodland groups just talk to Mike Hughes and get on his email register.
There has been some concern registered about how many trees are being taken down so some clarification of our policy may be useful:
1 Trees will be felled if there is a danger to any person or property. EDDC will be duly notified.
2 Trees will be felled following consultations with EDDC as and when they become causes for concern and need to come down.
3 Trees will be felled according to a management plan guided by EDDC and The Forestry Commission.
There are few other reasons for Estate trees to be felled.
The thinning of the area close to the Water Tower site falls into category 3 and is part of the plan for that small area. The large sycamore tree that was felled and tidied by the team on 8th October, was one of the last trees to come down in that area. It will now be left alone for a year to see how it develops with a view to planting new trees during the 2016/17 planting season.
Mike has 5 applications in the pipeline for EDDC to come and examine trees under category 2. We await their advice.
We have to expect that winter will bring further unforeseen problems upon which we will need to act. We will always ensure that, no matter how many trees come down, we will always plant more.
The recently planted hedging is all looking very healthy and as it matures, it will help to form the continuous corridor for wildlife around the Estate. 500 more hedging plants are due to be delivered on 7th November and will need to be planted that week – so look out for the email if you are happy to help.
With so much work going on and so much of it being undertaken in-house, health and safety has become ever more important. All volunteers are being issued with high viz jackets, safety goggles and ear protectors. With all the various vehicles and motorised equipment now in use it is imperative that professional work practices are upheld and appropriate risk assessments are carried out.
General repair work carried out over the last period has included stone wall repairs along the bridle path, redressing of various car parks with scalpings, the realignment of the capping stone on the entrance pillar which was dislodged by a lorry entering, and the normal maintenance tasks carried out by Nick Collier and his team.
Repairs to some of the beach path steps is in hand. We will soon be erecting some new signage to help identify various parts of the Estate for visitors and deliveries. The signs are being made in slate and will be appropriately positioned on walls and pillars - thank you to Nick V-S for organising.
Old Home Farm and The Gardens have been identified as areas where the exterior of some properties need remedial work. For OHF the recommended solution is either a fungicidal wash to remove the algae or, as a longer-term remedy, the application of Weathershield. Barry Moore can advise and provide suitable guidance if required.
Please ensure that any application of colour is in line with the existing scheme and consistent with neighbouring properties.
Finally, an Autumn planting along sections of the main drive of small daffodil bulbs will be spearheaded by Jane Gibson and helpers, so February will have a splash of yellow cheer when entering the Estate!
Have a great Autumn!
Judith Ellard, Chair
As we have concluded our first accounting period and approach the first AGM of the new era, I am pleased to be able to give the following account of our activities since the purchase of the estate management company last December.
Your Board of Directors (Robin Daniels, Mary Hansell, Mike Hughes, Barry Moore and myself) have had Board Meetings each month in order to put in place the processes and systems necessary for efficient management of the Estate. Each Director has a defined role and associated responsibilities and a thorough review of the issues facing us now and in the future, has begun in earnest.
In the last few years it has been clear to many of us that aside from the excellent work carried out by Anne and Nick Collier and their team on the Estate much needed maintenance work has been neglected: dangerous trees have not been felled, Estate walls have fallen into a state of disrepair, the filtration plant has become overgrown with brambles and excessive willow, to name but a few. In addition, several maintenance requests from the ROAR committee had not been actioned by the previous management and a number of assurances given had not been delivered.
In an attempt to improve this we have embarked on an active programme of works to bring the Estate back on track. In 2002 an Estate Management Plan was commissioned by the previous owners; written by Nicholas Pearson and Associates and submitted to EDDC as an essential plank for achieving the planning permissions for much of the new build on the Estate. It is a valuable document with its guiding principles remaining equally relevant today and it will be hugely influential in the preparation of our own ongoing Estate Management Plan.
You will have undoubtedly heard a lot about trees in the last several months! ROAR has led tree initiatives, ‘The Rousdoner’ has reported a number of tree related articles and Mike Hughes with the help of Glynis Preshaw and others have made trees a priority on all our agendas. So, in a nutshell, without repeating what others have already said, there are dead or diseased trees that need to come down and new ones that need to be planted and then there is the problem of being overrun with laurel! We are dealing with it.
Since December several large and potentially dangerous trees, condemned by the EDDC Tree Officer, have been felled. The wood has been stored and is being sold to residents for log burners, with all proceeds going to a ‘tree fund’ for replanting. Costs have been kept to a minimum with a huge amount of the work carried out in house. The community is working together to organise family days for attacking the laurel and there is a real sense of shared responsibility emerging from these initiatives. Thank you to everyone who is helping.
The following is a list of some of the works that have been carried out since December last year:
- Redressing of two carparks and verges on Old Home Farm with scalpings
- Installation of a french drain on middle section of estate road where flooding occurred
- Re-siting and bedding in of bollards
- Brambles & willow removed from filtration plant, reeds cropped ready for new Spring growth
- Successful inspection and certificate renewal for filtration plant from Dept. of Environment
- Removal of leylandii in West Lodge car park and preparation for new planting
- Cleaning of front gate pillars and total refurbishment and re-installation of the iron gates
- Work programme started on main bridle path for repair of estate walls
- Cleaning and de-mossing of Stable Courtyard
- Wood chippings laid down on extensive areas of the woodland walks
In addition to the above, a totally new invoicing system has been created with care taken to ensure the process reflects existing procedures. We will continue to get accounts audited every six months and send these out with bills and estimates for the following period. The hand written ledger/cashbook that we inherited will become a museum piece! There are too many names to mention, deserving our genuine thanks and gratitude for the help and time they have devoted to making this venture work. In the best altruistic spirit, when we all take responsibility, everyone benefits.
You will see from your last bills that we have de-registered for VAT. We still have to pay VAT on certain costs and now cannot claim it back. This decision provides us with a small gain overall. Actual costs for the last six-month period are higher than those given in the estimates last October because of the amount of work that has been undertaken. Much of the work has been carried out in house and we should acknowledge that costs necessarily reflect the amount of work completed.
We have taken some real care, expertise and enthusiasm to the task at hand. We all want this Estate to be the best it can be without costing us a fortune. I am confident we have started that journey with a spring in our step!
We would like to request that your service charge and foul drainage bills be paid by BACS/Electronic Banking payment where possible. Please ALWAYS quote your property as a reference when sending payment this way. It significantly reduces costs and the time required to process the payments.
For your information, both bills can be paid directly into the same bank account: Rousdon Estate Management Ltd Sort code: 20-06-05 Account No. 30245968
Judith Ellard, Chair
Some 14 years ago when we first bought our house on the Estate, the concept of owning the entire estate was not even on our radar. Nearly ten years ago when Barry and I persuaded a handful of Rousdon owners to join us and dig deep to purchase the 104 acres that were suddenly 'For Sale' on the Estate, to be honest owning the whole Estate was still a very distant ambition. But here we are at the end of 2014, collective owners and now managers of this beautiful place.
We have only owned it for two months now and the new sense of community is astonishing. If you have a stake in something, you will care about it and so It is fantastic to see groups of people creating Tree Management plans, taking down dead trees and providing logs for sale, we have a team working to ensure the all important filtration plant is working correctly and a maintenance plan to ensure the place works and looks as good as it can.
From here I believe we have a responsibility to keep this place as a living and working estate, to keep it looking beautiful for residents and visitors to enjoy. We encourage those who haven't bought in to Allhallows Ltd to express an interest and we welcome suggestions and ideas from everyone to make appropriate improvements.
Thank you to everyone who is helping. Thank you to all shareholders who trusted our vision back in 2005 to buy the asset. We have achieved so much and now we can enjoy our self managing status and continue to build a community that shares so many common interests.
I believe our original remit still stands the test of time: to own it, to protect it and to love it.
Wishing everyone a very convivial New Year.
Also see: Waste Water Treatment by Director, Mary Hansell
In my role as Director of Allhallows and Rousdon Estate Management, I take responsibility for general site maintenance and safety of the Rousdon Estate.
It has been my intention to be proactive rather than reactive to the necessary Estate works, always with the view of keeping the maintenance and improvement costs reasonable and realistic and negotiating the best value for money from subcontractors.
As reported last month, there are various projects that remain work in progress. Notably and you may have seen various strategically placed piles of gravel, the car parks are the subject of current attention. This project is expected to run into late January or early February. You may also have noticed a number of new concrete stub posts appearing along the main drive. These are designed to encourage drivers to remain on the road and off the verges, which have suffered consistent damage.
One particularly boggy and waterlogged section of the main drive, just past the east road turn off, has has a large french drain installed and I hope that this will solve the perennial winter problem of water ponding in that area.
Don't be alarmed if you notice that the main Estate gates have disappeared! They will be removed on or about 8th January and taken to be refurbished. It is expected that this might take as long as two months to complete.
Mary Blick (Hansell) and I are working together to maintain the Estate Filtration Plant to ensure compliance with current legislation.
Mike Hughes, Director and Glynis Preshaw
Briefing Document: The Future of Trees on Rousdon Estate by Director, Michael Hughes
Just lately it seems that my and Glynis’ sole topic of conversation concerns trees and related matters. For the Estate this is such an important matter as, for many years now, the tree belts have been sorely neglected. Well, we have now begun the difficult task of putting this right.
The first thing we did was to identify those trees that presented the most danger to humans. Accompanied by the East Devon Tree Officer, David Coleman, we roamed the Estate examining as many trees as possible and came up with a list of trees. Some were dangerous and needed immediate attention, some less dangerous but need attention in the near future, and some that were dead and should be removed when time allows.
At the time of writing we have removed three trees that were dangerous due to their condition and proximity to the Estate roads. (The hard work of a team of trusty volunteers has proved invaluable in this regard and their efforts are to be applauded.) The remainder are yet to be dealt with.
The second part of our approach is to take steps to appoint a tree agent who will create a tree plan for the Estate. This is a detailed and complex document that will focus our efforts for the next 5, 10 and 20 years to improve the health of our tree belts. This document is also essential if we are to apply to the Forestry Commission for a felling licence. This will allow us to remove a set amount of trees to help with overall development without having to apply to East Devon every time a tree needs attention. The plan is also necessary if we are to be considered for any grants that might be available.
Having a felling licence does not mean we will slash and burn haphazardly across the Estate. No trees will be removed unless they are dangerous, diseased, or need to be thinned as part of the wider picture. Occasionally one will need removing that has self-seeded in exactly the wrong place (e.g. the ash in the filtration plant), but these strict criteria will apply throughout.
Up to now it seems that it is all about cutting trees down, but we have completed our first new plantings. Thanks to the foresight of Ann and John Broom, who collected seeds and developed saplings, about 15 new Monterey pines have been planted to ultimately replace the group by the side of the Pavilion (Again, the wonderful contribution of volunteers cannot be overstated). The silhouettes of these beautiful trees will continue to paint themselves across the skyline for the next 100-200 years.
This report can only offer a flavour of what we are trying to achieve. If you have any views, questions, expertise, or time and energy to offer, please feel free to chat with Glynis or me. As many of you know, we are only too happy to talk about trees.
Barry Moore Director
Works in hand:
New Gravel for various car parks: The Hillhead quarry from whom we previously sourced the gravel is now closed, Samples from a different quarry are on their way to us with costings. These will be proposed to the Board to approve funding.
Estate Front Gates: The Board has a quotation to remove the two main gates and carry out repairs and repaint off site. This is a substantial cost and will need Board approval.
Main Drive Drains: Instruction was given on 31 October to clean out all drains on the main drive. This will be done annually.
Beach Path: The steel ladder at the base of the old path has been disassembled and removed from site. All ropes going down to the beach on the old path have been removed. Work was completed first week of November.
Speed bumps: The repaintings can be done in house as contractors see the job as too small. Timescale to be agreed when triangular frame is available.
Exterior Estate Walls facing the A3052: In the next few weeks spraying of the walls will be scheduled.
Estate Walls: A quotation for doing this repointing work has been received and approved. For the first phase, repairs will start between now and March 2015 on the wall on the Bridle Path west of the green house and down towards the Paddock. Future repairs will be staggered to absorb the cost and will be communicated in advance.
In addition to the above, the following works have also been completed:
Main Drive: Stone bollards around the main drive have been straightened and reset.
Bridle Path: Stone bollard has been placed in the verge to stop the gas truck driving over grassed area and damaging the lawns.
Rear Mansion Drive: Two bollards placed in verges to protect grassed areas.
Drains: From Bridle Path to Venning cleaned out.
Trees (see following Environment report): We have been instructed by East Devon Tree Officer to fell a number of dangerous trees. This is a legal obligation. So far two have been felled. Costs of felling will be paid for by REM as it is a safety issue which affects all owners.
The Board is in the process of developing a full maintenance programme for the Estate and will progress things where urgency takes priority.
Mike Hughes Director
Report by Glynis Preshaw (Glynis is co-ordinating the development of the Estate's Woodland Management Plan)
On Tuesday 28th October I emailed David Coleman at EDDC to inform him that the purchase by Allhallows was complete. I further advised that we were now in a position to contact him regarding the removal and works to be carried out on some of the trees that were identified by him on our walk along Lovers Walk and the main driveway on Tuesday 17th June.
I received a response from him on 30th October confirming those trees which he considered dangerous and in need of removal. On Sunday 9th November the beech tree by the entrance to Lovers Walk was taken down, this having been originally identified as the tree which was the most serious health and safety risk.
David visited the Estate again to look at the other trees along Lovers Walk that had been identified and also to look at some trees off the main driveway which were potential health and safety risks. Mike and I accompanied him.
As a result of our meeting the following trees have been identified as in need of works and Mike and I have listed them in order of priority.
1. Remove Red Cedar from woods bordering the eastern side of the main drive which is leaning badly. This is an urgent matter as when it falls it will land across the main driveway. I am pleased to report that Mike and his team have taken this tree down..
2. Remove the Beech, close to the Red Cedar which shows serious decay. Again as a matter of urgency. This has been removed.
3. Remove the Beech by the track going towards The Water Tower. The urgency of this will increase as time goes on and more traffic heads towards The Water Tower.
4. Remove the Ash adjacent to the 2 Yews on Lovers Walk. Although not urgent, it needs doing when time allows.
5. Remove the dead Copper Beech from the Main Drive. Not urgent but to be done when we can.
6. Remove the dead Sweet Chestnut from the top end of Lovers Walk. Not urgent but needs doing to reduce the impact of disease residue.
7. There is an Ash on the Main Drive which will need to be removed but it is not urgent. Mike will submit a notification of tree works to David under the 6 weeks procedure.
8. Consider having the 'Beech with ears' on Lovers Walk braced. This is for the future when we have a management plan.
We have permission to go ahead with items 1 to 6. We have also been looking towards employing an agent to help us to draw up a Woodland Management Plan. I have made a number of phone calls and Mike and I met with a possible candidate who already has a good knowledge of the Estate having been a former Allhallows pupil.
We also now have an Estate wood chipper, a major piece of machinery which will be very useful and is under Barry Moore's care.
I will keep you all up to date with how matters progress.
Judith Ellard: Chairman's October Report - Estate purchase completion.
Dear Allhallows Shareholder,
For those of you who couldn’t attend the 18th October AGM, I am delighted to tell you that Allhallows Ltd exchanged contracts on the purchase of the residual parts of Rousdon Estate on 17th and completed the sale on 27th October.
This is the culmination of many years of good intent and hard work - we are now masters of our own destiny. I would like to thank everyone who has supported this venture and to encourage everyone to support us going forward.
A new board of directors has been voted in, they are: Barry Moore, Mary Hansell, Mike Hughes, Robin Daniels and myself. A huge thank you is given to outgoing directors, Frank Ponsford and Paul Cleaver for their support and time as directors over the past eight years - it has been much appreciated and much valued.
We will communicate with you all as soon as we can regarding matters of Estate management - our first board meeting is scheduled for the end of October. For now, please celebrate this huge achievement and continue to enjoy this fabulous estate!
With best wishes.