Service Charges – Again….

At the Tenant’s Association, we’ve been looking at service charges once again – specifically, the invoices for work carried out between April and September 2012. And once again, we’re raising question. Areas we are particularly concerned about are: The high cost of CCTV. Communal electricity bills. Controlled door entry repairs. What we discover will affect all of our rent and service charge bills next April. The good news! Our work last year (see February’s post on Service Charges) resulted in residents in several blocks having reduced rent and service charge bills this year – which, with everything else going up, is good news. If we can maintain and improve the services we receive from Hyde and its contractors and reduce the amount we have to pay for them at the same time, then we’ll be very pleased. If you have queries about service charges, especially if you’ve spotted anything on your bill that …

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Kennington Park Flower Garden

Kennington Park Estate residents enjoy living beside the historic Kennington Park. First mentioned in 1600, it was originally Kennington Common. Some of the first cricket matches by the London Cricket Club were played there in 1724. In April, 1848 the Chartists held their Great Rally calling for political reform.  Shortly afterwards the land was enclosed and in 1854 it was turned into a public park, the first in south London. You can read more at Friends of Kennington Park’s website.   The enclosed Park may not be large enough to hold the quarter of a million people who attended the Great Rally, but it is still the largest park in North Lambeth, and it still plays host to numerous political demonstrations as well as a range of other activities. The ‘Old English’ Flower Garden has been one of the Park’s highlights since it was first created in 1931, but it …

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Next Meeting – 24 April

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 24 April at 7pm in the Community Centre. There will be a discussion on the Welfare Benefit Cuts and a speaker on the Project to restore the Flower Garden in Kennington Park If you have concerns, questions or complaints about housing or estate management, this is your chance to raise them with Housing Officers. All Kennington Park Estate residents are welcome.

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Northern Line Extension

The Government is planning to build an extension of the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station via Nine Elms. This project is part of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, which will see the transformation of 195 hectares of land along the river between Lambeth and Bridge and Battersea Park, and the creation of 16,000 homes and up to 25,000 jobs over the next 20 years. Tunnelling work will go under our estate and permanent shafts to provide ventilation, cooling and emergency access are planned near Kennington Green and in the old Lodge on the other side of Kennington Park. The shaft at Kennington Green will be very close to Sherwin House and residents’ concerns about traffic, noise and pollution during building works were spelt out to the Lambeth Council transport planning officer who attended our February meeting. He said that the Council intended to restrict works’ lorries to …

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CCTV

The CCTV system used across Hyde Southbank Homes is currently being reviewed following questions from the TA about its cost and its effectiveness. While respecting both the deterrent value of CCTV cameras and their usefulness to the police in pursuant of major crimes, residents have repeatedly expressed their frustration that no use seems to be made of the cameras when it comes to anti-social behaviour, whether it be dog-fouling, dumped or illegally parked cars and bikes, car break-ins or rubbish thrown over balconies. The general feeling seems to be that we’re hardly getting value for our money. We collectively pay roughly £25,000 a year for the monitoring and maintenance of the CCTV cameras on our Estate. This is about a quarter of the total cost for all the cameras across Oval and Hyde’s estates in Stockwell. Yet there are only 15 cameras on KPE, compared to 357 in Stockwell. We …

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Benefit Cuts

Massive changes are on the way this year to the benefits many Kennington Park residents receive – and these are on top of the much-publicised below inflation 1% ‘uprating’. The TA is committed not just to trying to help residents cope but also to campaigning with others across Lambeth and London against these attacks on the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.   * The ‘Bedroom Tax’ Don’t be misled – it’s not a tax that you can refuse to pay, it’s a cut in the amount of benefit you receive. If you have an ‘extra’ bedroom empty for more than 13 weeks your housing benefit will be cut by 14%, more than one ‘extra’ then the cut is a massive 25%. ‘Under-occupying’, according to this government of millionaires in their taxpayer-subsidised houses – many of them just up the road – means you are only allowed one bedroom for …

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Service Charges

Last year, outraged at the size of our service charge increases, the TA demanded an explanation, highlighting in particular that residents in Blades House were paying more for a single light outside their front door than they did for the whole of their domestic electricity use. It emerged that for a number of years these residents had in fact been paying the electricity charges of the businesses housed in the old builders’ yard at 8a Harleyford Street, who had never even been sent a bill by Hyde. The TA had repeatedly queried Hyde’s failure to manage this property properly, but we’d been ignored. Finally the message got through, and Hyde was forced to pay more than £35,000 to the residents of the twenty flats in Blades House last summer. Now their bills for the coming year have been reduced by another £6,000! In future TA reps will be checking all …

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