We have been contacted by the director of Woodhill Properties Ltd, Julie Ozwell, to ask if HCERA would be interested in acquiring the ground rents of the estate. They are planning to dispose of the company’s assets. The shareholders, who are family members, do not live near Southampton or even in the UK. She has recently moved to Scotland. The younger generation are not interested in taking over.
The HCERA Committee, at their last meeting, considered this and agreed that it should be explored. Our concern was that although Woodhill Properties might be able to sell the ground rents to a company with their views, that company might then be taken over by less scrupulous people who would see everything in money terms. Horror stories about new-build houses being sold leasehold have recently been in the news, for example BBC Radio 4 “Money Box Live” on 19th April.

As yet, we do not know the terms of an offer from Woodhill Properties. In the 1980s, the owners’ associations of both the Uplands Estate and Glebe Court in Highfield acquired the freeholds from the executors of Herbert Collins. The Uplands Estate has four legal owners who live on the estate and hold the property as trustees for the Uplands Estate Houseowners Association. Glebe Court is owned by the Glebe Court Estate (Southampton) Owners Association Limited, a private company limited by guarantee. Members of the company must be owners. Preliminary discussions by the Committee favoured limited-company ownership as the better route.

We are at an early stage and would like to hear views and suggestions from other residents. When more definite proposals are formulated, they will be put to a meeting of the Association.
We also invite residents to volunteer expertise.

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