Northamptonshire County Council to lobby for regulation of private agencies charging residents hefty fees

Councillor Pinder Chauhan has been working with residents' associations to try and tackle the issue
Councillor Pinder Chauhan has been working with residents' associations to try and tackle the issue

Northamptonshire’s MPs are being urged to lobby for the regulation of private management agencies which are springing hefty fees on residents in new developments.

The county council has followed in the footsteps of Northampton Borough Council in calling for more action to be taken on how the management agencies operate, and agreed a motion from Conservative councillor Pinder Chauhan at Thursday’s full council meeting (March 21) at County Hall.

Councillor Chauhan said: “Quite often residents are penalised and paying a second tax in newly built areas through developers establishing and allocating managed agencies on new developments. It is important to recognise the issue of managed agencies allocated by developers at a national level and the need for them to be regulated.”

Some homeowners in Duston were left in uproar this weekend after it was announced that annual maintenance fees for shared spaces were being increased from £200 to £358 by a company called Chamonix Estates.

Earlier this month, on March 11, Northampton Borough Council had agreed a motion to target transferring community and open spaces in new developments to the council, and to look at adopting a set of standards to be met for those that remained with the agencies.

The borough council did this as they were worried at the ‘lack of transparency’ of the private companies running them.

But debating a similar motion this week, county councillors were keen to stress that this was not just a problem in Northampton, but across all the districts and boroughs in Northamptonshire.

And after agreeing the motion across all parties the county council will now be lobbying MPs in the area to raise the matter with James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to work towards regulating management agencies.

Labour councillor Jane Birch said: “Families are being caught in the trap of paying for things twice, and these are forever increasing service charges that are subject to no accountability. It’s time the government stepped in to stop this shameful practice.”

Councillor Chauhan added: "We all need to work together to ensure that our residents are getting the best value. And we do need to lobby MPs to make the relevant changes."