Wine on the English Riviera

The Vinery at Torquay is living up to its name, thanks to the enterprise of estate managers Mike and Dee Moore and some expert help from our Garden Adviser Charles Gilchrist. The first harvest of grapes grown in the rooftop conservatory and on the sunny garden terrace produced 10 bottles of a dry rosé, enjoyed by many of the owners at a small gathering just before the dawn of the New Year. Next year’s vintage is keenly awaited!

Blue Cedar

In December Cognatum Estates acquired Blue Cedar Homes Management (BCHM), the not-for-profit company managing Blue Cedar Homes’ developments. A relatively new company, they currently have 16 estates in the southwest but are rapidly expanding with their retirement-living model of small, gated communities of detached houses with a visiting estate manager, who also maintains the gardens. BCHM will be operated as an entirely separate business from Cognatum Estates, but will share some head office functions and costs.

A new addition to the Cognatum Property board

We are pleased to announce that James Greenwood has joined the board of Cognatum Property, the valuation and resale agency exclusive to Cognatum buyers and sellers, as a non-executive director. We look forward to benefitting from the extensive market experience James brings with him as managing director of Stacks Property Search and Acquisition, an established buying agents covering the same areas in central and southern England as Cognatum Estates.

Residents Advisory Panel updates

At their November meeting the RAP discussed if there might be better ways to procure contracts for major works, such as external redecorations, than the traditional competitive tendering route. John Lavin, chairing the meeting, suggested that partnering with a few key contractors and creating longer-term relationships could improve standards of workmanship and result in cost savings, as it would generate loyalty and greater familiarity with the estates. The RAP supported further development of this strategy and recommended seeking the views of owners.

Another subject discussed was the merit of providing a letting service. There is steady interest in renting rather than buying Cognatum properties, and a small number of our houses are already sublet through local agents on contracts of at least six months, and usually for much longer. It was agreed that a bespoke letting and management service could have many advantages and be an attractive proposition to owners wishing to sublet but unsure how best to go about it.