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About the Estate

The first homes in Beechwood & Wheatcroft Estate were sold in the early 1980s, Beechwood Drive being the first stage to be built.  This was quite rapidly followed by Murroch Crescent, but it was not until the late 1990s that the last houses in Broomhill Crescent were built, and the Estate was completed.


In total, the Estate consists of 449 homes, plus the commercial units.  From the very beginning, the residents in Beechwood Drive had to take responsibility for the upkeep of the grassed areas, with the exception of the two on either side at the lower entrance.  This resulted in a very inconsistent standard of upkeep, with some residents going to great lengths to make the place look as good as possible, and others who showed no interest at all. 


While Barratt, the developers of the Estate, were still building and selling houses in Murroch Crescent, and then Broomhill Crescent, it was in their interest to ensure that those parts of the Estate were kept neat and tidy, and they carried out the necessary maintenance.  In 1999, however, with all the houses sold, they advised that they would not continue maintenance, and that it would become the responsibility of the residents.  In addition to the grassed areas, this responsibility extended to the gully area, the wooded strip which runs through the estate, and which contains a large number of very mature trees.   There were also paths, steps and railings which would have to be maintained, so the burden being placed on the residents was extremely onerous.   


The local councilor at that time was Geoff Calvert, and he tried in vain to have all of this adopted by the local authority.  The title deeds allowed for the formation of a Residents Association, and Geoff felt that this would be the only way forward.  He was instrumental in assisting in getting the Association off the ground, and since 2000 we have been totally responsible for most of the Estate’s maintenance.  The main exception is the gully area, which contained a water course which the council was obliged to maintain for flood prevention reasons. Councilor Calvert was able to persuade the council to accept responsibility for all of that area, including the tree maintenance, and later ownership of that area was transferred from Barratt to West Dunbartonshire Council.


As the Association was obliged to maintain large areas of ground, which we did not own, it was decided that we should look into the possibility of acquiring all of the communal areas.   While it belonged to Barratt, there was always the possibility that they could have sold the ground to a third party, whereby we would lose all control, and could end up in the hands of a maintenance company who would be able to impose on us any charge they chose.  Negotiations were protracted, and it was not until late 2006 that we could finally say that we were now the owners of all of the land.  


The deal involved Barratt paying to the Association the sum of £23,000, to be used for the benefit of the estate.  To date this money has not been spent, as we have yet to identify an appropriate use for it.  Owning the land puts a great deal of responsibility on the Association.  While some may see only the grass cutting as evidence of what we do, there is much more which is not so evident.  While some paths and steps etc, have been adopted by the council, there are many more which we are obliged to maintain.  This has to be done with more than just the aesthetic aspects to consider, we also must be mindful of the safety implications. Even those paths adopted by the council are not entirely without responsibility, as only the solid portion is down to the council, any verges remain our responsibility.


The Association pays for public liability insurance, but if we were negligent in our maintenance we could still be at fault, so it is important that we are constantly identifying, and rectifying any potential hazardous defects.  


When the Association was formed, the annual ground maintenance charge was collected by the Association. This involved a great deal of work, the task would have been made much easier if all of the residents had been prepared to pay when invoiced.  However, after a couple of years, during which it was obvious that this was always going to present difficulties, with some committee members being the subject of verbal abuse, and even vandalism to vehicles, it was decided that collection would need to be put in the hands of a collection agency.  Having to pay their fees resulted in the annual charge being raised from £25 to £50.  Our first collection company, FSE (Scotland) Ltd, failed to provide a satisfactory service, and from April 2007 invoicing had been in the hands of Charles White Ltd.  Unfortunately Charles White also became unsatisfactory and we then moved to BeMaintained in 2012.  BeMaintained became known as BeHome and has since been taken over by Park Property Management in October 2016.  For more information regarding Park Property Management go to


While the residents of some Estates throughout Scotland, with considerably less to maintain, are the subject of annual charges running into hundreds of pounds, we were able to maintain the £50 charge for five years. Because of increasing costs, we found it necessary to increase it gradually to the present charge of £65.  This is wholly attributable to the time and effort put in by committee members who are prepared to sacrifice their time for no reward, and frequently at financial cost to themselves.  We are able to closely monitor our costs, always ensuring that we obtain what we feel is “best value” in all that we do.  We will not always please everyone, as we can only carry out work which is clearly our obligation, to deviate from this would create precedents which would make our position untenable.  In addition to the maintenance which takes place on our property, we also liaise with various departments at West Dunbartonshire Council, to ensure, to the best of our ability, that they fulfil their obligations on the Estate.  Most of this relates to the maintenance of roads and pavements, but we also have to deal with other issues e.g. provision of litter bins, lighting and measures to control water problems affecting the roads.  


We also have a good working relationship with the community police and the community warden service, representatives of each try to attend our monthly meetings to appraise us of any current problems, and to report on each month’s crime statistics.  We have been very fortunate so far in not experiencing the volume of problems which affects neighboring Estates, and we believe that our co-operation with these services plays some part.

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