Question & Answer Session following the Annual General Meeting

Moor Park (1958) Ltd

Thursday 21st April 2022

Broadband

S Patel – Wolsey Road

Question: What progress has been made to install fibre broadband (high speed) on the Estate, since this needs to be addressed urgently?

Answer: Shafiq confirmed that we had carried out a survey and came to the conclusion that the fibre optic cables and specialised equipment needed came to a total cost of £2.5m for the project. We are now trying to work out a method to finance this project.  Please be patient whilst we think how we can do this.

ST added that there is no proposal to spend this money, we are simply researching what can be done on an Estate like Moor Park with a view to converting it to a smart village including security, CCTV, cameras, etc.  We are reviewing but are certainly not ready to make any immediate proposals.  We do not want just a short-term solution.  If you have any better ideas on this matter, please bring these to our attention.

D Garvey – Bedford Road

Question: There’s an inference here that we are going to take these matters into our own hands.  This is way beyond what we should be doing ourselves.  I worked for BT and offered Moor Park guidance and my services 3 years ago and we have made no further progress.  I will talk to Open Reach and help Moor Park but we would never be allowed access to ducts.

ST requested a meeting with Mr Garvey to look at this together.

SD confirmed that he had emailed the entire membership regarding the broadband speed and providers and, to date, has received only 122 responses.

Footpaths

W Hussain – South Approach

Question: I would ask the Board to record my concern over pedestrian safety along South Approach. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the road for the following reasons:

  • The gravel sections are impassable to pushchairs, prams, children’s bikes and wheelchairs forcing them to use the road;
  • In wet weather the paths are impassable due to pooling of water and poor drainage resulting in pedestrians having to use the road;
  • The road is poorly lit meaning that commuters on foot aren’t easily seen by vehicular traffic when it is dark, especially in winter months.

South Approach is an important access road for pedestrians to both the station and the shops. It also has a high level of vehicular traffic (cars, minibus, bicycles, motorbikes) accessing the shops, station and schools. Pedestrians have a responsibility to make sure they are visible but there are a high number of inconsiderate drivers who put them at risk when they have no choice but to walk on the road.

This concern has been put to the Board on many previous occasions and I would request they look at this problem urgently with a view to creating a path along the length of South Approach that is fully usable. Tarmac is an unpleasant finish and not in keeping with the natural frontages we all enjoy but maybe an alternative material could be found such as a bonded gravel or bonded bark that would blend in but give a smooth and accessible surface.

Answer: GM – I know you have raised this on more than one occasion and I haven’t forgotten but want to find the right balance. I accept that some roads are busier than others and South Approach is one.  I don’t agree with all that you say but we are in agreement that we don’t want to tarmac the whole estate. I am of the view that we need to work hard to maintain the semi-rural nature of the estate and this requires constant vigilance. I will look at the suggestions you have made and review other surfaces and their cost.  I walk on the Estate a lot and am more than happy to walk in the road but appreciate that some people aren’t happy to do this.

Pedestrian Traffic

S Goolamali – Bedford Road

Question: It was unequivocally agreed by the Director responsible and the Board at the Zoom led MP58 AGM meeting in 2021 that traffic signs asking all pedestrians to walk on the right side of the road and to wear high visibility clothing at night were to be placed specifically on South Approach and Wolsey Road.  This was considered important from the safety point of view and to confirm that we are a community conscious Estate.  My subsequent enquiries led to 3 excuses:
a)         We are looking at all of the signs because some other need changing also.
b)         We are getting Legal advice to ensure that we are not breaking the law
c)         There is concern that we may end up with too many signs.
Now, a year later, there has been no progress.  Why?

Answer RW: We took legal advice on what rights we hold in terms of trespass and other concerns from Derek Millard Smith of JMW Solicitors and we were hoping to find a solution for the unauthorised traffic concern.  In this process we requested opinion on non-resident pedestrian traffic also.  The board is considering investing in phase 2 of the advice and how to progress or not, and part of that further advice will be specific to signage.  It is good general safety advice but will walkers even take note and the key point remains we would look to have quality, coordinated signage, as opposed to too many different signs.

ST asked for a show of hands about signage and the majority of members wanted less signage, not more.

Security

Mr Parry –Sandy Lodge Road

Question: Could an explanation be provided as to what happened to cause the “termination with immediate effect” of the LSS contract. NOTE: this sort of action is unusual, has left us without estate access management and there has been odd language used in respect of this matter that suggests it isn’t just a commercial issue. In one of the notes there was a reference to a comment made on/during a Zoom call with Herts Police.

Answer RW – It was highlighted during the Police Zoom that the director of LSS had a spent conviction for animal cruelty from 2009.  This revelation coupled with messages being shared around the Estate on WhatsApp and their removal from WhatsApp group for Astons Road made LSS feel their days were numbered and they had lost the support of the residents.  We discussed that we had gone to tender and LSS decided they had other business to secure and ended their involvement with us immediately as they felt they had no chance of securing a long-term contract with MP.

Scott Dobbie – Sandy Lodge Road

Question: Is that in line with the contract we had with the Company?

Answer: SD – The contract came to an end in April but we wanted them to stay until September whilst we got quotes from other companies.

Question: Frankly, this is a complete mess.  One should ensure one is protected with a proper contract.

Answer: ST – I agree with you and we will ensure this is the case next time.

Mr Parry –Sandy Lodge Road

Question: Could the board clearly define the current and intended responsibilities of the estate traffic management company. NOTE: I am intentionally not using the word security team as the fact they are being referred to as Security seems to be the source of a lot of the misunderstanding and problems.

Answer RW – They have a responsibility to oversee errant parking, deal with miscreants on the Estate, manage traffic during peak hours, keep an eye on working times for contractors and carry our security patrols around the Estate.  The list is not exhaustive and there may be other tasks not specifically mentioned.

Comment from Mr Parry

It appears that over the years, certainly since we bought our property, what was primarily traffic management and activities to support the Company has morphed into a much broader estate security role and is becoming increasing complex and contentious. Whilst undertaking traffic management duties there is an element of security implied but as far as we are aware, security of members houses, property or person is not the responsibility of MP1958. And as members we are concerned that the Company is taking too much responsibility and this could result in unintended liabilities.

We would recommend that the Company focus its attention on managing access, the use of roads, parking on the estate and dealing with issues around building works, as these are, we feel, the Company’s responsibility. MP1958’s responsibilities stop at the boundaries of the estate property and that of its members. The Company could and should allow individuals or groups of members to make arrangements for security, be this with the same company providing the estate traffic management or a different one or ones. 

As any security companies accessing the estate would be regular visitors, they would need badges and as such MP1958 can control their presence. It would also be acceptable for MP1958 to support members in coordinating this service but it should avoid being responsible for the contract or costs. By doing this there would be a clear demarcation of responsibility and any incremental costs which members can opt in or out of and avoid some of the difficulties we are now seeing.

Minesh Patel – South Approach

Question: LSS are still advertising they are working in Moor Park in the Northwood News?

Answer: ST – We will speak to them about this if they are saying they are working for MP58.

D Garvey – Bedford Road

Question:  The Articles state the purpose of the Company is to protect and promote residents in relation to enhancing the attractiveness of the Estate and we feel that this extra security provision is beyond the scope of why the Company was established. It is not within the Company’s remit to provide this additional security and whether the company are acting within the scope of the objects may open up a legal challenge.

Comments

There were some contrasting views from several members who had been victims of burglary and car crime.  It was agreed that this topic should be open to a democratic vote which all members should live by.  Talking about legal challenges was being divisive.

J Lewis – Pembroke Road

Have we defined the problem of security and traffic?  I would say 80-90% is legitimate traffic.

On security, I have lived here for 38 years and the cost has gone from £10k per annum to £123k – how can we correlate the cost benefit when Moor Park is a very low crime area.  If you ask the police what is the best way to stop crime is for an individual to secure their own homes.

Answer: ST – We will have another debate about security.  If we had our own security, it would be a visible deterrent.  We have people who want it and those who don’t.  I have already given my proposition on what we want to do so as not to divide the community but I do want people to listen to each other.

A member who had a background in security told the meeting that the current proposal would not have any effect.  We need a proposal with a decent cost analysis but there are about 95 steps to do before that point and we need to understand the cost benefits.

Dr Shaw – Sandy Lodge Road

On a point of order, I want to speak on a resident issue on the re-election.

ST asked Dr Shaw to wait his turn.

S Goolamali – Bedford Road

Question: How many tenders were sought prior to the appointment of LSS as the Traffic, Parking & Security provider for Moor Park?

Answer: RW – Three

Question: Was there a termination fee paid to LSS for the abrupt cessation of their employment and, if so, how much was it?

Answer: RW – LSS chose to cease the relationship, so no termination fee was paid.

C Robertson – Russell Road

Question: Having put a lot of effort into investigating increased security on the estate, it seems remarkable that we currently have no security on the estate.  Please explain how this has come about as it is usual to find a new provider before dismissing an existing provider.

Answer: RW confirmed that this had already been answered.

How is this situation going to be remedied in the short to medium term?  

Answer: RW – We are in discussions with several companies to carry on where the previous company left off.  We would hope to secure a suitable provider by the end of May.

A Cochrane – Pembroke Road

Question: It is clear that the issue of security has divided the residents.  Some residents want a security service, others think that the cost is too high.  Why don’t we adopt the Copse Wood model – whereby residents can choose to join a security scheme on a voluntary basis?

Answer: RW – we feel there are numerous potential issues in managing this and we are mindful that MP58 has limited resources which it prefers to utilise for the benefit of all members not a proportion of them.  A voluntary scheme would require additional work from MP58 which at this time we are not able to offer.  The issue with managing a different expense stream, ring fencing those funds for security members, gatehouse usage and our aim was to provide something for the whole Estate, not just a significant proportion of it.  As we continue to consult on this, opt in/opt out might be the final solution, subject to volunteers being found to run it.  Nothing is completely off the table currently.

It was decided by a show of hands at this stage to move on from security and traffic questions.  For clarification, all questions received but not answered at the AGM, will have answers posted on our website.  (Please see questions indicated at the end of this document).

S Hayne – Sandy Lodge Road

Question: This is a highly contentious issue so when the vote comes to the members, will it be a special resolution or a general resolution.

Answer: ST – There will be a Special Resolution for the Articles vote.  For Security, it will be a General Resolution, however, we will raise the threshold to 65% in favour but there may be a different proposal to be put forward at an EGM specifically for Security.

S Dobbie – Sandy Lodge Road

I have lived on the Estate for longer than 50 years, we have got to do something about traffic.

M Patel – South Approach

Question: We have had cameras installed for 10-15 years – have you collected data on a road-by-road basis and can we access it?

Answer: SD – We collect the data for the whole estate as we have 19 ANPR cameras covering each of the entrance/exit points.  These show an average of 5,500 different vehicles per day, although some of these make several journeys.  80% of the vehicles are unregistered but only approximately 550 of these access the station.  Whilst many of the unregistered have legitimate business on the Estate, we specifically look for those who travel through the Estate in under 5 minutes as it is those who are classified as short cutters and they are the people we want to stop as they make no contribution to the businesses on the Estate and only cause wear and tear on the roads. This group make up approximately 15% of the unauthorised vehicles.

All the information is retained but to provide you with information from the last 10 years would take an inordinate amount of time to extract this separately.  It is for this reason, we want to be able to increase the cameras once the broadband capability has been improved, so that intelligent software would provide the reports automatically, rather than us having to interrogate the data. 

ST added that the recent exercise we did on traffic management proved very effective.  We had a large number of residents who obtained emblems.  Sadly, we upset a number of people, including the retailers but it is legally right for us to carry this out on our roads.  We will advise people and give plenty of notice in future.

Legal

W Metcalfe – South Approach

Question: From the AGM papers, it is evident that considerable works were undertaken on modernising the Articles of Association.  Please can you tell us how much this has cost in legal fees to date?  What is your estimate of the total legal costs of this work?

Answer: ST – A lot of work was done by the Board members and our former legal director at no cost to the company. We have then had to use an external law firm, BDB Pitmans. Their costs to deal with just the upgrade of the articles has been £3,500 plus VAT but we have since incurred further costs amounting to £2,000 associated with matters raised by members and the change of proxy forms. None of these costs are wasted as we shall use this when we do our consultations in due course.

A Jamieson – Thornhill Road

Question: 1:   What are the legal costs from external law firms that have been incurred so far by MP58 from January 2020 to April 2022 in seeking legal advice:

(i)     on the Board’s proposals for the scheme of extended security across the Estate;
(ii)    on the proposed changes to the Articles of Association?

Question: 2:   What is the Board’s estimate of the legal costs likely to be further incurred from April 2022 for both the security proposals and for changes to the Articles of Association?

The residents have a right to know how our money is spent?

Answer: ST – There have been no fees relating to security.  There may well be further legal costs arising if members raise matters that need to be addressed. So far costs incurred are as already explained.

Planning and Infrastructure

A Metcalfe – South Approach
Question: The Chairman’s report refers to a plan to ‘improve the entrance area of the estate with more prominent piers suitable for a premium private estate’.  The ethos of Moor Park has always been of discrete good taste.  Residents have not sought to advertise the Estate as though it was a commercially promoted residential development.  We already have illuminated brickwork plinths at the entrances to the Estate – why do we need to have more prominent piers and how much would this cost?

Answer: AT – we want to standardise the entrances; Astons Road is different from Bedford Road/Russell Road and Wolsey Road.  We want to review the lighting and repair piers that are in disrepair.  We have an architect looking at this and are awaiting his proposal.

General Comments

A Metcalfe – South Approach

As a former director of MP58, I am conscious of the time and effort that Board membership requires of the directors.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and the MP58 office staff for all the hard work they put in on behalf of the residents.  Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

Dr Shaw – Sandy Lodge Road

Question 1: On 14th March I deposited at the Company’s Office a written resolution to be included in this AGM signed by 35 members.  This has been completely ignored without acknowledgement and thus the Directors and/or Company appear in default by failing to comply with Section 293 (3) and (5) of the Companies Act 2006, and I have duly reported this to Companies House.

Answer: ST – you did put forward a petition for a resolution but I contacted some of the members on the petition who I knew and they were confused.  I found that they did not agree to the four suggested resolutions but we will disclose this to the rest of the members.

Question 2: The Membership was denied its right to speak and interrogate candidates for election at the last AGM.  Before this, two Asian residents had told me that a fine had been imposed on Mr Thakrar for breaching Covid regulations at a wedding at his home.  Can Mr Thakrar please confirm or refute the allegations.  Should the allegations prove true, the Membership may democratically conclude that his behaviour is acceptable.  I personally, as a retired medical practitioner, would disagree for my children, doctors, had been working unvaccinated, as were most other NHS staff at that time, up to 14 hour shifts in dangerous conditions.  Remember, ethnic minority doctors, at greater risk of death, came out of retirement and some paid for their selfless actions with their lives.

Answer: ST – I acknowledge your contributions over the years at the AGM and for your services to the medical profession but a rumour that at my daughter’s wedding I was fined £10k is factually incorrect and I have made a full disclosure.  I have not been charged at all.  The police visited my home and were happy with the arrangements that were made and I have nothing further to say on this.

Dr Shaw – Sandy Lodge Road

I am relieved that the accusations are false and thought it important that these accusations are cleared up but the second point I would like to make is that the petition you refer to was one I gave you before Christmas.  I am referring to the petition of 14th March.

ST:  You are attacking me personally; you could have called the police.  You cannot start accusing a chairman because someone made a remark and then circulate that rumour – you should not have done that.

The meeting then closed at 10:10pm.

Questions received on Security, Traffic & Parking prior to the AGM that were not asked at the meeting

 

Security

R Midgley – Askew Road

Question: Why is opt in/opt out option logistically challenging when other estates have adopted this option?

Answered above.

Question: Why is the security charge based on frontage and not per household.  Household is more relevant and Articles can be amended.  

Answer: This has always been the case and is the basis upon which our Estate was formed.  It is common practice for a form of plot measurement to be used when determining the share of running costs per property.

Question: When doing next survey as to whether to implement increased security, suggest data be analysed by road to establish which roads are in favour –

 Answer: We can look into this and equally we should consider which roads need traffic management.

Question: What is the problem in getting security companies to split their quotes between traffic management and security? 

Answer: There is no problem with this in principle but the point of lumping it all together was to provide a complete solution for the benefit of the whole Estate and all the members.

Question: Can you confirm what the basis is for the 65% threshold.  Does 65% relate to a show of hands at the EGM, or 65% of 515 households must be in favour?

Answer: It’s either by a show of hands in the room or, if a poll is demanded, then it will be 65% of those who vote, including proxies, with one vote per foot of frontage.

Traffic and Parking

Simon Carter – Pembroke Road

Question: Without the ability to systematically stop and turn away unauthorised traffic at the entrances to the estate the next best option would appear to be to prosecute errant drivers/vehicles for trespass. A few high-profile cases successfully pursued would significantly reduce the problem. –

Answer: We are considering the advice provided and whether there is a case to move to phase 2 and implement a scheme which “might” give us more power.  The Estate is complicated with numerous rights afforded to people who use our roads.  Each solution provided has its pitfalls due to this.  We are a team of volunteer directors and we only have a certain amount of time to commit.  This is something we plan to move on after the AGM and EGMs.

Question: Could the board explain whether they believe that we have a legal basis to implement the above? If we do, then please begin to roll out the policy rapidly. If we do not then do we have ANY legal redress against people who are not authorised to use the roads? 

Answer: The advice provided confirms we have a right to turn back those who are unauthorised users of the Estate’s roads.  Any legal challenge we make needs to be the right one and ensure we secure a victory otherwise we may ultimately set a precedent which works against us and our aims.

Question: Whilst I am very appreciative of the effort that the board puts into solving this issue unfortunately the periodic checks only act as a mild, short lived, deterrent and should not be considered a solution to the problem. 

Answer: This is agreed and borne out of the evidence we have now seen.  It was always considered the issue with the plan but it has worked in educating people and ensured we have more legitimate users with emblems. 

Simon Everson – MTS

Question: How has the Board consulted with members to be sure that their traffic monitoring proposals are agreed and endorsed?

Answer: We consulted with a select number of members who have a particular experience relating to unauthorised traffic and used a hybrid of their ideas and our own to find a solution which worked best for the membership.  We have received largely positive feedback on the traffic management exercise which we would see as an endorsement.

Question: What will the Board do to ensure that those monitoring traffic are polite and conform to previously agreed arrangements?

Answer: We will discuss concerns highlighted with whichever company we employ to handle this in future.  The team operating was subjected to abuse and threats, and they adapted their methods when faced with such, otherwise we received a lot of praise on their efforts.  I believe the office has written to the schools on this.

Question: What will the Board do to curb pedestrians walking in roads, often at night and without lights or reflective items of material?

Answer: This matter has been answered earlier.

Question: How will the Board curb the practice of workmen parking their cars and vans nose to tail, creating a barrier to traffic?

Answer: We issue guidance on this but sometimes there are excess vehicles parked.  Please highlight any issues encountered and we will endeavour to discuss with the members concerned.