News and Information from the Tenants Association – February 2015

Introduction of warden controlled parking enforcement arrangements

As agreed at the last meeting of the TA in November 2014, a formal complaint was submitted to HSH/Hyde on behalf of KPETA about the lack of parking enforcement arrangements on the Estate after more than two years.

The TA received a full response from the Hyde London Region Director in which he conceded:

‘I agree that the time taken to review Hyde’s parking policy and complete a successful consultation process has been unreasonably lengthy. In planning this project and considering the extraordinary levels of resident engagement which have been allowed for officers should have been clear on project timescales and cut off dates for key decisions in order that a successful enforcement programme could have been put in place that balanced involvement and progress.

In light of this we have decided, as an offer of good will, to provide something of benefit to all residents who legally park on our estates in Lambeth. As a result, once we have completed the final stage of engagement and the enforcement contractor is in place we intend to offer all residents who currently have a valid parking permit a free three month permit. This effectively offers every resident parking legally with us currently a £45 good will gesture.’

The TA would like to know what KPE residents think of this offer. The TA is quite clear that residents should be compensated for over two years with no parking enforcement while at the same time paying for a parking permit. £45 represents a significant concession from Hyde. It would not have been offered had we not submitted a formal complaint and such an offer from Hyde is rare. Tell us what you think at the TA meeting. Note: The latest news from HSH is that warden controlled parking will start from the beginning of March (2015!).

Programme of planned and cyclical maintenance on Kennington Park Estate

This is also an issue the TA was authorised to pursue very vigorously following a detailed discussion at the last TA meeting. Individual residents and the TA have been challenging Hyde about the absence of a proper external maintenance programme for some time, particularly preventative maintenance in terms of vertical drainage stack clearance. With the support of our MP we pursued this complaint and in response the Hyde Chief Executive told our MP that:

‘..we take the view that this is a continuation of the original service request that we are already actively dealing with. Therefore we do not intend to treat this matter as a service complaint in line with our complaints policy.’

Not a complaint?! Our MP was shocked at this unhelpful response. The TA was shocked. Our MP, therefore, wrote to the Chair of the Hyde Group Board on our behalf. In response to our MP Hyde conceded that:

‘HSH did not have in place a regular planned maintenance regime’, and, ‘I do appreciate it has taken some time’.

The response also confirmed that: ‘part of this new planned maintenance programme includes an annual programme of drain clearance’. A clear admission that an annual programme is necessary. Also meaning that Hyde admits that this necessary maintenance and preventative work has not been undertaken for 10 years.

The TA and our MP, Kate Hoey find it unacceptable that it has taken them in excess of a whole year to make arrangements to test just one vertical stack. It is now six weeks into 2015. What were they doing for more than a year? Not much other than sending the TA and residents empty messages telling us they were about to start work.

Work on scrutiny of service charges

TA reps continue to scrutinise service charges and continue to identify issues requiring explanation and investigation. As reported previously, we still believe the charges for communal electricity to be totally inaccurate, irrational and unacceptable. The SMART meters promised last April have still not materialised.

The TA is also pursuing outstanding issues in connection with the charges for the CCTV service, the door entry system, cleaning and grounds maintenance and the budget for installation of Sheffield stands for bicycle parking.

We have just received Hyde’s intended charges for the coming year and will be asking them to justify the outrageous increases they are proposing.

Report from recent Estate Inspections

TA reps accompanied Housing Officers on Estate Inspections in January and February. Two or three blocks are inspected at one time. The standard of cleaning and grounds maintenance was poor, in fact, extremely disappointing. The state of the balconies in almost all cases was not acceptable. The overall impression was of a clear deterioration since inspections undertaken last year. Following poor scores from an estate inspection an improvement plan to deal with the shortcomings must be produced and implemented by the responsible Housing Officer. TA reps wait to see the necessary improvements. If anyone wants to get involved in estate inspections, please let us know.

Decommissioning and redevelopment of gas holder site

The gas holders were decommissioned last year and Berkeley Homes commissioned by the Council to develop a masterplan for the site (Oval and Kennington Development Area). The future of the site is of particular importance to Kennington Park Estate as it occupies the space between the two parts of the Estate (Brockwell and Grace to the west and the rest of the Estate to the east). TA representatives attended a consultation workshop at the end of January. The publicity material states We want to develop a masterplan which is led by the local community and acts a guide for future development in the area. TA representatives ensured at every opportunity that the best interests of KPE were at the forefront of the discussion. On 24 February there will be an exhibition/presentation of the ideas and suggestions put forward at the initial workshops, 1600 to 2000 in the Long Room at the Oval. (OAKDA newletters available at the TA meeting.)

ME/TA secretary/18-02-15

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