RESIDENTS of a luxury Huddersfield apartment complex say their “heaven has become hell” after a bitter row erupted over parking at the converted mill.
Until now, owners and tenants of the 106 flats at Titanic Mills have used a car park leased by a spa on the site in Linthwaite for second vehicles and visitors in addition to their designated spots.
But from next week a pay and display system is being put in place for their visitors, restricting them to a maximum stay of three hours, while residents with second cars are being asked to pay £1,800 for an annual permit.
Residents claim it contravenes the terms of their lease agreements, which they say set out the right to use “in common with the tenant the shared car park” for casual parking.
But Titanic Spa and the building’s management company, Village Estates, dispute this.
Residents’ only other option now is to park on Low Westwood Lane, which they say would be dangerous and cause congestion.
A spokeswoman for the residents, who did not wish to be named, said: “The original plans were that residents, tenants and spa users were entitled to park.
“We all bought our own spot, but were told there are 338 spaces and this was a shared car park for tenants and guests.
“In four and a half years I’ve never seen that car park full. It’s ridiculous it’s half-empty and we’re having to park on Low Westwood Lane, which is dangerous.
“It’s a narrow road with lots of traffic coming up and down. The congestion would be massive.”
The spokeswoman, who bought her apartment for £229,000, said the parking issue had capped off a number of “excessive rules” brought in by Village Estates after it took over the running of the building more than a year ago.
“You can’t have plant pots on your balcony any more, you have to ask permission to have a party and lots of the maintenance fees have gone up hugely,” she said.
“We have families here, and retired people, it’s like a little village.
“Before the new management came in we were very happy.
“This was supposed to be a haven. The heaven we bought into has become our hell.”
John Dauré, managing director of Village Estates, said the plant pot rule was brought in after one fell from a balcony, narrowly missing a pedestrian.
He said residents were asked to notify the company about parties out of consideration for their neighbours and fees had risen so it could meet its insurance obligations for the building and tenants.
Mr Dauré also disputed the parking clause in the lease referred to by residents and said the new system had been brought in to stop them using the main car park instead of their alloted bays in the residents’ car park.
“Each flat has one allocated parking space and there is not now, and there has never been, any provision in any lease for additional parking,” he said.
The spa had made 25 spaces available for residents and visitors as a “goodwill gesture” and efforts had been made to resolve the situation amicably first, he said.
Titanic Spa’s directors said: “We have a necessity for the car park to be sufficiently clear to meet the fluctuating daily demands of our customers. What we are now initiating is the best possible balance between our needs and allowing a concession to the desires of the other occupants of the building.”