The Annual Report details the activities, among others, which the TRA has undertaken on behalf of all tenants and leaseholders during the period since the last AGM in March 2022:
- KPE Magee Street Office
- Parking Management and Enforcement
- Estate Inspections
- Lateral mains replacement programme
- Service charge scrutiny and review
- Installation of new CCTV system
- Hangars for bike storage
- Kennington Park Community Centre (KPCC)
- Ward Boundary changes
- Redevelopment of gas holder/Tesco site
- Redevelopment of TfL site on Montford Place
- Surrey County Cricket Club (The Oval)
- KPETRA Financial Report
Kennington Park Estate Magee Street Office
Last year the Hyde housing office resident reception and enquiry service at Magee Street was closed to residents. Hyde now intends to convert it back to residential. Work is planned to start later this year. The resident reception and enquiry service at the Stockwell office is also now closed. As discussed last year, this was imposed without detailed consultation with residents or the TRA.
Tenancy issues can be reported via Customer Services 0800 3 282 282 or by email, CustomerServices@hyde-housing.co.uk. Tenancy Advisors deal with tenancy issues on an appointments basis. Other issues, including repair requests, can be reported to Customer Services by phone or email.
Parking Management and Enforcement
As reported last year, the contract for parking management and enforcement is now with UKCPM. As parking permits are now entirely digital, there is nothing by which to identify if a vehicle has a permit. The Property Manager is, therefore, not in a position to support enforcement of the parking policy as they have no access to the UKCPM digital system. It is not clear if the performance of UKCPM is monitored by Hyde on behalf of residents to ensure an adequate service is delivered consistently. Enquiries direct to UKCPM may be acknowledged but that is as far as it goes. There is no response to specific parking management and enforcement issues.
KPETRA works very closely with the Property Manager on Estate Inspections. In autumn last year, Matt Hopkins, our long standing Property Manager, left KPE for another job with Hyde. He was replaced by Anna Blakeman. Anna is familiar with KPE as she worked at the Magee Street Office some time ago.
The contract for cleaning and grounds maintenance is with Cleanscapes/Groundscapes. Hyde is in the process of retendering the contract.
In autumn last year, Hyde ended its contract with Mears for the repair service in London and launched an in-house service, managed direct by Hyde. At the time of the change, there were outstanding communal repairs waiting for attention and it has taken too long to catch up with them. Communal repairs are reported on every Estate Inspection and the response, or lack of response, is monitored closely. The TRA has made special representations to Hyde about specific issues of concern affecting communal areas across the Estate including deteriorating planters, provision for secure bike storage, communal lighting, etc.
Electrical mains replacement programme
The electrical mains replacement programme was undertaken in Key, Sherwin, Lockwood, Blades, and Hornby over the last few years. At the same time the communal lighting was replaced with LED lighting. As reported last year, Hyde informed residents the replacement work was necessary because:
‘Existing electrical rising and lateral mains system obsolete. Cables, distribution boards and associated switchgear require replacement. Existing installation no longer complies with current regulations Spares for distribution boards and associated switchgear no longer available.’
However, recently, the communal lighting in Alverstone and Blythe was replaced with LED. Electrical mains were not replaced. Some blocks of flats on the Estate have not had electrical mains or communal lighting replaced. The TRA has asked Hyde to explain why this is the case and to provide a programme for completion of these essential improvements across the whole Estate.
A key benefit to residents of the new LED lighting is that it is monitored digitally and does not require on-site, physical inspection every month at a significant cost to residents through service charges.
Service charge scrutiny and review
Letters notifying residents of rent and service charges for 2023/24 should have been published and issued to residents before the end of February. Last year, some did not arrive until the second week of March. Last year the TRA made representations about charges for servicing fire safety equipment and emergency lighting, legionella testing, playground safety inspections, communal lighting inspection and repair, and, as always, the disproportionate cost to KPE residents for closed circuit television monitoring and repair.
Installation of a new CCTV system
No resident consultation was offered or undertaken in advance of installation of 100 CCTV cameras across the Estate. The TRA repeatedly expressed concern. Hyde responded to confirm that, as there was no capital cost to residents, no consultation was required. Hyde justified the unilateral decision to install a new system on the basis that some residents had raised the issue of the performance of the existing system. Residents who contacted the TRA asked why there had been no consultation and why 100 CCTV cameras were required to replace the original 15 cameras. Residents were expected to find the imposition of 100 CCTV cameras acceptable because the new system was promoted as more effective. Some cameras have already been damaged and rendered ineffective. Could it be that those cameras were installed in a ‘vulnerable’ position in the first place? So far, following incidents of anti-social behaviour, Hyde has not been able to respond to resident requests to use its new, state-of-the-art system to identify perpetrators. The 2023/24 service charge estimates are likely to include a service charge for maintenance of the CCTV system. As it is a completely new system and Hyde is reluctant to respond to resident requests for CCTV information on low level ASB, the service charge should be in proportion to the service received.
Hangars for secure bike storage
The TRA continues to make the case for more bike hangars on the Estate. It is a fire safety risk to store bicycles on balconies; it is, therefore, not permitted to store bikes and other items on balconies and in other communal areas where it impedes free movement, hampering potential means of escape.
Kennington Park Community Centre
Under the leadership of the Kennington Park Community Centre Community Benefit Society, and in partnership with Simply Smiley Productions, the Community Centre offered free school holiday activities along with good food during the summer and spring holidays, funded by Lambeth Council, the Department for Education and KPCC CBS. After a break because of the pandemic, it is was good to welcome back Santa and SSP’s popular pantomime for residents and kids in December.
The Centre is currently (until the end of March) offering a warm winter welcome and free meals to residents at lunchtimes on Mondays, funded by Hyde, Lambeth Council and the CBS.
Andy Hulme, the Chief Executive of the Hyde Group, has taken a personal interest in the Community Centre’s maintenance and activities to ensure it continues to offer a range of good services to residents of Kennington Park Estate and the wider community. Some significant refurbishment is expected in the year ahead.
Local Government Boundary Commission
From the time of the local election last year, all ward boundaries in Lambeth changed. In the face of strong objections, including from residents of this Estate, the Boundary Commission divided Kennington Park Estate between two wards instead of keeping it united in the same ward. Ten blocks transferred into the new Kennington Ward, with Grace and Brockwell Houses in a new Oval Ward. In the case of our Estate, the LGBC ignored its own priorities including to maintain community identities and interest.
Development of the gas holder and Tesco sites (Oval Village) by Berkeley Homes
TRA representatives attend the Berkeley Homes regular community liaison meetings to ensure the community is kept up to date with progress on demolition and construction on the sites, to ensure residents of Kennington Park Estate are not significantly affected and the resident perspective remains a priority for Berkeley Homes.
Information for residents on details of work to be undertaken and the potential noise, vibration, etc. should be available on the Berkeley Homes Oval Village website.
Servicing of the construction site is undertaken via Vauxhall Street and Montford Place. The road surface in Montford Place has been destroyed by huge, heavy construction vehicles. The TRA has made many representations to the Council and to Berkeley Homes. As construction work has now started on the TfL site on the other side of Montford Place, resident representatives have now requested TfL as well as Berkeley Homes to take responsibility for the state of the road surface. The Council is currently paying more attention to the issue than when first alerted to the problem but is reluctant to resurface the road until all construction work is complete (some six or seven years!).
TfL site redevelopment, Montford Place
The site is owned by Transport for London. In partnership with Grainger plc, development has started on some 150 homes including 40% affordable, plus live/work light industrial space/studios. Grainger is a registered provider (the status of a housing association) at the forefront of build to rent. TfL remains the freeholder of the site.
Surrey County Cricket Club (The Oval)
Construction of the new hotel on the Oval House Theatre site started at the end of last year. TRA representatives attend regular meetings with SCCC.
Hyde vision for a new neighbourhood service
In response to resident feedback Hyde is trying out changes in some neighbourhoods in order to improve services.
Hyde Safer Homes and Neighbourhoods Director said:
“We are excited to be launching this improved way of working to deliver more efficient services. The pilot will look at how we can streamline services and create clearly defined ‘neighbourhoods’ served by multiple teams within Hyde, from neighbourhood managers, to repairs and maintenance, compliance, and social investment such as the Hyde Foundation.
Residents said they’d like better communication with us and be updated about services in their local areas. They’d like more clarity about who is responsible for carrying out various tasks and resolving issues. They want to see us more in their neighbourhoods and to get better value for money for service charges.
We’re putting more resources into delivering local services and aim to be more responsive and have a greater presence in our neighbourhoods. We selected pilot areas based on tenure types, neighbourhood needs and requirements of the fire safety act.
Hyde is piloting changes in high-rise buildings in Stockwell. Changes in each area will be slightly different to reflect the needs of each property and the feedback received from residents.”
A representative from the TRA is involved in a resident focus group to receive reports on progress and ensure the new structure provides a good service from the resident perspective.