TANT held it’s 2019 AGM in Quatt on the NT Dudmaston Estate in Shropshire on the 12th May, attended by the officers, local members and some who had travelled considerable distances.
The Co-Chair Andrew Turner-Cross reported on a positive year for TANT with the NT Home Improvement programme reported to be running on schedule to be completed nationally by 2021, more progress for long lease tenants and positive meetings with the Chairman, Director General and senior NT staff . He was concerned about the level of rent increases being sought by the Trust in some parts of the country and also confirmed that TANT is contributing to the Law Commission review through our specialists Mike Dennys and Karen Burrell on this and leases in general.
Sustaining Rural Communities is a project that Andrew is working on with Co-Chair Joanna Leighton as one of TANT’s key objectives for the year ahead.
He thanked all the committee members for their substantial voluntary work and presented Cristina George with flowers and a rose bush on this, her last TANT AGM . Andrew acknowledged her long contribution to the association and particularly her impressive speech to the Trust’s own AGM which helped secure ongoing funding for TANT . Good wishes for the future were echoed by all.
Treasurer Mark Morris reported a healthy state of affairs for the TANT accounts with an improved balance going forward. The new IT system was now in place giving instant access to all committee members on the accounting balance and activities. He thanked individuals who have given donations and the Lacock Tenants Association for the transfer of the residual balance of their funds. Appreciation of last year’s grant from the NT was recorded although there was disappointment at the delay in receiving this year’s instalment.
The new website is now fully functional and easily up-dated.
Development Officer Peter Bate confirmed it had been a good year for TANT. At their October 2108 AGM, the National Trust members gave resounding support in the election of TANT for a further six years as an Appointed Body to the Council of the National Trust. Eighteen Appointed Bodies were elected with TANT receiving 25,479 votes, more than other long established institutions such as the NFU, RSPB and the Museums Association.
Funding and our systems were in good shape, the NT Let Estate Programme was going to plan with farmhouses and redundant buildings to join the schedule in subsequent years.
Mike Dennys and Karen Burrell are continuing to represent the interests of long leaseholders with a major victory when the NT agreed to a U turn and retract from applying Modern Ground Rents and they continue in their important work on longer leases. Interestingly, Mike was with Sajid Javed the Friday before he became Home Secretary while he was still Minister for Housing.
Peter reported that there continues to be a steady flow of tenants seeking help on a wide range of issues – rent increases, property condition/repairs, access and neighbour disputes, lease queries etc. This is where TANT is at the coal face of it’s work . Conditions have improved but much still needs to be done. He asked for more folk to join the national and local committees and help TANT to keep growing and improving.
The formal election of Officers followed and, with the exception of Cristina George who was now stepping down for personal reasons, the existing committee members were re-elected with the Co-Chair Andrew asking for new members to come forward.
There followed an impressive presentation by Alan Yates, a former TANT Secretary and now a Senior Director of a substantial Housing Association, on the state of the rental sector in the UK and the way forward.
The second speaker, TANT Co-Chair Joanna Leighton set out with great clarity the implications of Section 21 of the Housing Act and the Government’s proposals for a fairer system to be introduced.
Andrew thanked all of the speakers , asked for any other business to be raised and opened a Q & A session followed by informal private surgeries for individual enquiries which proved popular. All attendees then enjoyed an excellent buffet lunch provided by the ladies of Quatt Village Hall.
To close the Co-Chair thanked them and all the members for attending .