2020 New Year Letter from the Chairman

by | Aug 21, 2020 | Chairman's Letters


1st January 2020

Dear Fellow Owner,

Once again I am addressing this annual letter to all registered proprietors in The Element, whether or not members of the Owners’ Association, because what I write is relevant to the responsibilities of each one.

I have a sense of déjà vu as I look back on what I wrote at this point last year about uncertain times and tensions wherever you look, in other places in the world or very close at home. Yet now, as then, I am full of optimism in my fourth year as TENOA Chairman precisely because I place this privilege amongst many opportunities I am glad to seize in trying to improve both human relationships and the care of the world around us. As we enter a new decade I offer a forecast related to this raw photograph of a building site. It is the key to much that lies ahead for us.

This time last year I pointed to the need to view the building disruption around us positively as the development of  Western Harbour reaches a critical new phase that will ultimately enhance property values. Some is taking a little longer to restart than planned but will happen soon as more houses are built. But this time next year I am confident that on this site above we will see a new Primary School almost ready for the children currently attending Victoria Primary School (and many more) to begin to move in. We hope this will be the signal for The Heart of Newhaven to become established on the existing site the other side of Lindsay Road in a project detailed on heartofnewhaven.co.uk website. Many owners in The Element and neighbouring developments are actively involved in a programme that in due course will impact on the whole area, including the coastline which is of historic significance. I invite anyone not yet engaged in this to join an exciting part of history in the making in the next decade.

To focus on our building itself and our more particular responsibilities for its maintenance and improvement, I want to pay tribute to the Committee of TENOA elected annually by its members and to thank four members who stood down during 2019, each having given valuable service in specific individual ways: Jo King, Pamela Bowman, Dave Gardner and Simon McIntyre; and to assure you that the three members elected at the AGM, Alastair Byres, Jane Brook – both of whom have served previously in bad times as well as good – and Martynka Adamowicz-Brice, who brings a welcome new face and fresh enthusiasm, are continuing to serve you all. We have developed a new pattern of working together with The Element Factors (TEF) to tackle many challenges to meet demands of improvement whilst balancing the books through good housekeeping and we are constantly grateful for the on site service they offer and their readiness to answer individual queries. We continue to look for others to fill current vacancies, with the reminder to everyone that the service offered is dependent upon the willingness of those who undertake voluntary service in the middle of many other responsibilities.

However, it is important to recognise the difference between what can and can’t be done both by the Committee and the Factor. Neither holds a magic wand. We continue to be diligent in pursuing historic claims against NHBC but have to weigh cost effective solutions. We continue to ensure that safety regulations are in place, for example over building cladding, but have been dogged by differences regarding certification between English and Scottish law over which we have no power except to appeal to those who have. I continue to remind everyone, whether resident owner or one letting their property either long-term or short term, to be mindful of ALL the responsibilities imposed on owners by their Title Deeds (which cannot be passed to their agents) and which we have no power to set aside

The Constitution of TENOA is as a voluntary body of those choosing membership which, because it represents over 75% of all owners, is the appropriate way to ensure both the satisfactory work of TEF on behalf of all and at the same time encouraging a sense of community essential in a complex housing 277 homes. We live together, despite many differences. There is a good atmosphere when neighbours help each other. Over the year there have been many encouraging signs of friendship in getting to know one another and working in the interests of all.

Please continue to play the part that only you can, whether resident owner or landlord, in ensuring that the spirit of the well-being of all who experience this community-within-a-community can continue to thrive. Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions: chairman@tenoa.co.uk.

Happy New Year!

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Matthews (Chairman)