WHILE this is a national issue it has serious potential repercussions locally especially when the Local Plan sets out such a dramatic increase in population for our town.

Nearly all new build housing in the UK is effected by ‘estate charges’ where local councils are maybe not asked, unable or just unwilling to adopt public areas within the developments.

It leaves freehold households with an extra tax on their property paid to a management company, ours being Right Management Group.

This fee is at present uncapped and unregulated so can be set at what these companies feel like with no warning till the bill hits your mat.

We pay this charge for the maintenance of a small park on the estate that is used by the whole community not just those living on the estate.

If damaged we will be liable for the cost of any repairs on top of our estate charge. This is bound to our deeds and non payment will see a charge against your house with the potential of a repossession order.

So we are leasehold in all but name and this causes a problem in itself as there are no laws or protection for freehold properties with estate charges. So unlike leaseholds we have no tribunal process, no right to manage the estate ourselves and no way of removing RMG.

With this on our deeds I can see selling the properties in the future being extremely difficult and potentially impossible, stalling or even collapsing the housing market and trapping people in homes.

With the fees unregulated these could double or even triple in a very short space of time as has been seen on Chapelford where residents have been in contact with Warrington Borough Council and met councillors to voice their fears at being crippled by this second tax and ultimately loosing their homes.