The 2008/9 budget hase been set by the directors of Ashworth Mansions Ltd, all of whom own flats in the block.

The most important item is the financing of the proposed four year phased maintenance programme. This will commence next spring with the refurbishment of the Elgin Avenue frontage. We estimate that the full cost of the works will amount to c. £600K beyond that we would normally recoup from the existing level of contributions.

I appreciate that demands for money are never well timed and this one comes at a particularly difficult moment for some. We have done our best to smooth the pain by spreading the works over four years but the simple fact is that we are now at the point where further postponement of maintenance is likely to impact the value of our properties.

Having consulted with flat owners at the AGM and at an additional meeting, we have decided to increase the reserve fund contribution from £116K to £125K and to charge a special contribution of £175K which will be demanded at the same time as the service charges due on the 29th September. Based on current information, we would expect to charge a similar or only slightly higher, amount in the next two financial years. A quick health warning: these figures are based on surveyors’ estimates of the likely cost of works. We won’t know the true cost of the project until we have tendered and found a reputable contractor willing to do the work.

We will be back in touch later in the year, once we are in a position to consult with you on the detailed statement of works and choice of contractor. Aside from the maintenance programme, I am pleased to be able to report that the main service charge account will remain unchanged at £280K. The central heating budget will rise by 6% to £58K as we expect to pay more for gas this year. Of course, the actual expenditure will depend also on the severity of the winter. Finally, we are pleased to report that KFH are now looking at the drawings submitted by BTU following the inspection of the flats whose owners indicated that they wanted to connect to the new water mains this year. They will be writing to those owners shortly setting out the next stage of the project.

Geoffrey Barraclough

Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd