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Questions and Answers

1: How are BVT going to tell us as residents who is responsible for different parts of our neighbourhood?

As part of the review of the design guide, we will be looking more widely at providing more clarity on land ownership issues for residents. For example, what areas of land BVT own and manage and what areas of land Birmingham City Council (BCC) own and manage. Our aim is to make these details available on our website with relevant contact details for reporting issues. We also want to build better relationships with the different land owners to make sure they are aware and comply with the management of areas.

2: How are BVT going to make sure all residents maintain their gardens and the appearance of their home moving forward?

There are a number of ways we are planning to do this. Firstly, we want to build upon our existing estate inspections, with BVT officers walking streets in your neighbourhood to pick up on these types of issues and also identify and raise issues associated with tenancy conditions and the design guide. We are also working to improve communication with tenants and homeowners including raising awareness of the standards required for gardens and the appearance of homes. We are reviewing some of our own processes too, so new residents have information which explains these expectations.  As well as reviewing the current Bournville Design Guide, we are also looking at this area as part of a wider review of our estate services.

3: I have concerns about homeowners subletting their homes to tenants and their tenants not maintaining their homes as they should / not being aware of the rules of the design guide.

Complying with the design guide is the responsibility of the homeowner and they must ensure their tenants are aware of rules. There aren’t any covenants or conditions that prevent homeowners from sub-letting their properties, but they do remain responsible for the upkeep of their property and gardens if the property is sub-let. However, we recognise that we need to do some more work with homeowners on this and we are reviewing the information that we give out to new homeowners on what their responsibilities are if they sublet and clarification on telling us if they choose to sub-let their home. We will enforce the rules of the design guide in the same way for sub-let properties but we don’t have any powers to stop a homeowner subletting their property. For BVT tenants, subletting forms part of their tenancy agreement with us and does not allow subletting.

4: I’m a BVT tenant, does the design guide apply to me?

Yes the design guide does apply to you if you want to make your own home improvements to the external structure and gardens of your home.  Your tenancy conditions require you to seek BVT consent before making any improvements to your property.  Your tenancy conditions do make it explicit that when considering your application/request to improve your home, we ensure it complies with the design guide requirements.

5: How is BVT planning to address parking issues?

At the moment we work in partnership with local agencies and Birmingham City Council (BCC) to attempt to address parking issues. On public roads we don’t have any jurisdiction or legal powers to manage parking directly. In the future, we are hoping to develop better partnerships to try to resolve parking issues but we can’t do this without co-operation from organisations / agencies with the legal powers to do this and residents. A successful, recent example of this, is where BVT have worked with BCC and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to resolve parking issues in St Josephs Avenue.  Staff and visitors to the hospital use St Josephs Avenue as free parking for their vehicles, this causes congestion and inappropriate parking and often residents cannot park close to their homes.  Parking control measures have now been agreed and will be implemented over the coming weeks to alleviate parking issues in the Avenue.

6: Why do we have to get permission from BVT and Birmingham City Council (BCC) when applying to make an alteration?

For the majority of alterations you only have to apply to BVT for permission. If you live in the conservation area or are applying for an extension to your home, then you will need to apply to both BVT and BCC. This process of applying to BVT and BCC adds an extra layer of comfort for many residents knowing that BVT are retaining the character and green space around Bournville which residents value.  As part of the design guide review we are working with BCC to try to create synergy between their ways of working and ours, build better relationships and make the process of applying for an alteration smoother for you as a customer. If you are unsure as to whether to apply to BVT or BCC for an alteration, please consult the current guide or email us at enquiries@bvt.org.uk or call 0300 333 6540.

7: What can BVT do about the upkeep of historical buildings in Bournville that you don’t own?

Where possible we will always try to work with organisations that own these buildings to raise concerns about their management or appearance. However, we have no jurisdiction or legal powers to manage these buildings or their use unless it breaches the design guide or the Bournville Scheme of Management.

8: Can I run a business from my home?

If you want to run a business from your home, within the Scheme of Management, you must ask our permission and we will consider this. A business being run from home will usually be supported if it is operated in a way that doesn’t result in issues/nuisance for the local neighbourhood, for example; car parking, deliveries and noise.

9: I’m concerned that property alterations taking place near me are taking too long to complete and are causing undue disruption as a result – what can BVT do about this?

Currently, residents must start work within two years or re-apply to BVT. However, at the moment we have no rules about how long it should take residents to finish work. We are considering this as part of the new design guide.

10: Why can’t I use window materials of my choice?

The choice of window materials is outlined in the current guide but is being considered as part of the review of the document. We will be discussing window choices with you further during the second round of consultation in December. We will review all the comments on window choices as part of developing a new design guide.

11: Why can’t I have energy efficiency materials, like solar panels to the front elevation of my home?

The use of energy efficiency materials is outlined in the current guide but is being considered as part of the review of the document. We will be discussing energy efficiency materials with you further during the second round of consultation in December. We will review all the comments on these materials as part of developing a new design guide.

12: I am a BVT tenant, when will I have new windows?

We now have a new five year BVT planned maintenance programme which will look to focus on replacing older boilers, single glazed and sash windows and doors. This new programme will see us replace 1,465 boilers, upgrade 375 heating systems, replace and fit 221 PVCU double glazed windows in non-conservation areas, replace and fit 401 timber sash double glazed window replacements to front and side elevations in the conservation areas, fit 610 kitchens and 205 bathrooms and replace and fit 1,450 front doors. Whilst starting some of this work has been hampered as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19), our aim is to appoint a contractor for window replacements by the autumn. We will then assess the most appropriate time to physically start doing this work.

If you raised a specific question either in your response to the first consultation questionnaire or during a drop-in held in 2020 that hasn’t been answered above or to you personally via a letter or telephone call, please email us at designguidereview@bvt.org.uk and we will update the website, or contact you directly, whichever is most appropriate.

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