Hayes Point residents form co-op to buy freehold and makes homes better

Residents joined forces and established a right to manage company, winning the right to manage Hayes Point and make improvements.

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It’s not hard to see why the residents of Hayes Point in Sully chose to live in such a beautiful area. They are seconds from the sea, surrounded by acres of space and in developed apartments that were once dubbed an “outstanding example of inter-war architecture.”

Hayes Point was originally built in 1936 as Sully Hospital, treating tuberculosis patients before being used by the American army in World War II and then as a psychiatric hospital until 2001 when it closed.

The Grade II-listed building was purchased by Gilliard Homes in 2007, which converted it into 236 luxury apartments. But then recession hit when only half the apartments had been sold and the apartments were heavily reduced in price.

Residents felt the site management and maintenance of the grounds was not up to scratch. They joined forces and, despite many complicated legal setbacks, eventually established a right to manage company, winning the right to manage Hayes Point.

"We are a thriving community living in a beautiful place and we are moving in the right direction..."

Peter Milford, director of Hayes Point Collective Right to Manage

Hayes Point is being supported by the Wales Co-operative Centre to register as a co-operative model to enable them to buy the freehold, enabling the transfer of management responsibility from the existing right to manage company to the leaseholders.

Wales Co-operative Centre has been supporting and championing the growth of co-operative and community-led housing since 2012, and in April this year, it launched its Communities Creating Homes programme which aims to stimulate demand for community-led housing throughout Wales.

With 30 schemes already in place across Wales, communities can be created for various purposes and shared visions. Where some schemes have been created to make housing more affordable for residents, others have been developed for people who want improved eco-friendly lifestyles.

Hayes Point is just one example of co-operative, community-led living where the group, made up of residents from all walks of life, including an engineer, retired lawyer and an NHS worker, work to make where they live a better place.

Peter Milford, director of Hayes Point Collective Right to Manage (RTM), said:

“All 236 apartments are occupied, either by a leaseholder or as a rental property and consist of a broad range of people from young families to retired.”

The Right to Manage group was set up in 2014 in accordance with existing legislation. In 2015, the freehold was sold to Avon Ground Rent Ltd, who subsequently sought to remove the RTM group and impose their own management company. After a very expensive, long legal dispute an agreement was eventually made for Hayes Point RTM to manage the site as the freeholder’s agent for a three-year term.

“The common goal is to buy the freehold while collectively improving where we are living. When the development was built, we were promised a play area and a community centre but none of that has come to fruition yet. We have a small community space that holds about 20 people, but we need a much bigger one for the 500+ people on site. It’s a big site. We have several acres right on the seashore which we are responsible for. Since taking over the management we’ve worked hard to clear the backlog of maintenance.

“We are a thriving community living in a beautiful place and we are moving in the right direction, but it’s not been without its difficulties. We can’t really do all we need to do until we can buy the freehold, which is our ultimate aim. We’ve got parking here but eventually people will want parking spaces with electric charging points and we’ll need to look at things like solar panels. These are all long-term considerations.”

Want to set up a similar scheme? Get in touch.

co-op.housing@wales.coop

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