History of the Willowhayne

The Estate started in 1930 when a private company was set up to buy land and develop an area for private homes.

When the company sold its houses it insisted on the signing of legal covenants.   These covered the approval of building plans and alterations, a ban on any trade or business run from home – with the exception of some professions – and a ban on the keeping of farm animals.

The covenants also covered the maintenance of building lines and a ‘catch all’ covenant to stop nuisance to neighbours.   Most of these covenants still exist and are part of the legal documents and deeds that continue to apply to residents today. The covenants have recently been upheld in legal proceedings, giving the Estate and its residents the confidence that the safeguards to the Estate as originally intended, continue to protect the nature of the Estate to this day.

In the beginning, each owner had to pay a rate – about a shilling per foot based on the size of the property at the front to cover maintenance but as time went on this did not raise enough money.  Consequently what we now know as the Willowhayne Residents’ Association was formed in 1973 to raise money through charges and to give residents a greater say in the running of the Estate.  Originally The Roystons and The Ridings had their own residents’ associations but merged with the Willowhayne in 1983.   The property company itself was wound up in 1998 and total responsibility was handed over to the Residents’ Association.

Responsibilities of the Residents’ Association

The WRA has a number of specific responsibilities and aims. These are:

To safeguard the integrity and character of the Willowhayne Estate by

  • supervising the proper maintenance and upkeep of the common parts of the estate, using agreed contractors as appropriate,
  • formally considering and monitoring any applications for building work, whether these require official national planning approval by Arun District Council or simply that of the WRA, and
  • employing suitably qualified contractors to enhance security on the estate.

To ensure that the covenants relating to properties on the estate are upheld for the benefit of residents.

To offer advice to residents on any of the above matters.

To prepare annual accounts and budgets to place before the annual general meeting (AGM) for approval.

To ensure that estate rates are collected in a timely manner from ALL residents to fund the maintenance of the estate.

To appoint and liaise with managing agents to look after the day-to-day administration of the estate.

The board of directors

The board runs the Willowhayne Residents’ Association.  Election to it is open to all paid up members provided they are nominated by another member.  Elections are held at the AGM, usually held in the summer. Each director retires after three years but can be re-elected for another three year term. After serving on the board for six years directors have to step down. When this happens, a director is eligible to apply for re-election after a period of one year.

Finance and charges

There are almost 400 properties on the estate, all of which pay an annual charge. Other charges can be levied when planning permission for alterations is given.


There are strict rules concerning what you can build and what you cannot build on the Estate – which do not necessarily coincide with what Arun District Council gives permission for. Having said that, the Planning Committee is sympathetic to people who want to change their homes provided it is in keeping with the Estate and does not impinge on neighbours.


If there is any crime – for example vandalism at your property – it is essential to report this to Sussex police.   You can do this via their non-emergency number 101 or 01273 470 101.  During the day this is often very busy.  The alternative is to use their website to report online. To do this go to www.sussex.police.uk. You will receive a crime number or a reference number.  Please pass this  on to Hobdens with details of your report.