The Maldens & Coombe UDC Act 1933
The majority of the 1933 Act has been negated by successive legislation over the years however two pages constituting Part III Section 11 which relate to The Private Roads continue to be of particular relevance.
The Maldens & Coombe Urban District Council Act 1933 enabled the then Council to purchase the freehold title to the Coombe Lands and the roads that served the estate. Today, the Coombe Lands are the subject of leases with Coombe Hill Golf Club and Coombe Wood Golf Club.
Not all of the roads on the Estate are owned by the Royal Borough of Kingston Council, however the roads listed here are those that existed in 1933 and are therefore listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. Known as scheduled roads, RBK owns: Warren Road, George Road, Golf Club Drive, Brook Gardens, Renfrew Road, Stoke Road, Warren Cutting, Edgecombe Close and the path leading from Edgecombe Close to Golf Club Drive.
The other roads on the Estate have shared accesses and are known in the Act as New Roads. All premises served by New Roads or those without a direct frontage on to any of the Scheduled Roads are designated as Scheduled Premises. Maintenance of New Roads is not carried out by RBK but is the responsibility of the relevant properties.
Part III, Section 11 of the Act sets out the rules and parameters by which the Scheduled Roads are to be managed and maintained and how the costs are to be recovered from the property owners of the Estate.
The Act states that the scheduled roads on the Estate are to remain private. This status is maintained by the signage at each entrance to the estate and by challenging users at the barrier in Warren Road, near to Coombe Lane West.
A pedestrian public right of way exists along Warren Road and George Road and these are recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement as FP 12a and FP 13.
All property owners on the Estate, and their connections, have a right of using the Scheduled Roads. This right of use does not extend to New Roads.
The maintenance of the Schedule Roads, which consist of the carriageways, footways, lighting, drainage, access barriers, fencing, signage, margins, grass areas, shrubs, trees, scavenging and cleansing is arranged and monitored by RBK. Each year, before the 28th February, RBK is required to publish an estimate of the expected maintenance costs for the following financial years. Prior to being published, the estimate is taken, in report form, to MCRA for initial approval. Property owners are able to make representations about the estimate, either at the Committee stage or after being published but before the 31st March.
If no representations are made, the estimate forms the maintenance budget for the forthcoming financial year from 1st April to 31st March.
The actual cost of maintaining the Scheduled Roads, for the preceding financial year, plus an additional 10% contribution to the Reserve Fund, is usually invoiced to the properties in June and is calculated using an appropriate frontage length.
The appropriate frontage will depend upon whether the property is designated as a Frontager or a Scheduled Premise. The 1933 Act deals directly with Frontagers, that is, in proportion to the frontage of the respective premises, which is taken as the measured boundary between the property and the adjacent scheduled road(s).
The Act allows for the rules governing the apportionment to the Scheduled Premises to be determined by the Council. The original rules were determined in 1955 but these were reviewed and amended by the MCRA in 2011.
From 2012/13 all Schedule Premises have been assigned the same frontage which is 28.7 metres. The invoice amount is calculated by dividing the total cost by total length of frontages to give a cost per metre. This is then multiplied by the frontage length associated with a property to arrive at the amount required from that property.
It is important to note that the invoice is raised against a property and not a person. Therefore, if you start living on the estate part way through a year, you will receive an invoice in June for the total cost of maintenance. It will not be split between yourself and the previous owner/occupier. Any contribution to the cost of maintenance, by a previous owner/occupier, will need to determined and agreed on the transfer of the property.
It is also important to notify RBK's Accounts Receivable section of any changes to the property address, ownership, tenancy and/or your preferred charging address so that the invoices are sent to the responsible person at the correct address.
Access to Estate
Due to the 1933 Act, the Council must keep the Estate Roads private. All property owners and their invitees have the right of using the roads. To control unauthorised access, a barrier exists in Warren Road, near its junction with Coombe Lane West. Currently the barrier is operated for part of the day by Gatekeepers who police unauthorised traffic. MCRA issues permits (windscreen stickers) to identify authorised vehicles.
The MCRA is responsible for the management and employment of the Gatekeepers. The costs of this service were the subject of a High Court Judgement in 2008 and, as a result, are included in the Annual Roads Maintenance Charge.