MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF KENNINGTON PARK ESTATE TENANTS’ & RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION HELD ON 25 APRIL 2018
Present: 10 tenants and leaseholders. Joan Twelves in the chair
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Alex Reuben, Jennifer Gore, Gail Sixsmith and Cllr Holland
- Minutes of the last meeting held on 21 February 2018
The minutes of the last meeting held on 21 February 2018 were approved as a correct record of that meeting.
- Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
It was confirmed that Laura Newey, Property Manager for Kennington Park Estate, was no longer employed in that position and recruitment was in progress for a replacement. It was also confirmed that there were no other matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting not covered by the agenda for this meeting.
- Housing Management and Estate Management Issues
The issue of ubiquitous damp and mould was raised. The Chair referred to correspondence from Mears (the Hyde repairs contractor) stating that residents were obliged to undertake specific practical actions to deal with damp and condensation problems before repairs could be authorised. If the problems persisted after four weeks of putting into practice actions to reduce damp and condensation, then the contractor could be requested to undertake further investigation to establish the source of the problem. A resident reported appropriate action was taken by Hyde in relation to serious damp issues only after it was reported direct to the Chief Executive, Elaine Bailey.
Residents expressed concern about access to the housing office on Magee Street as it was often closed at times when it should be open. The TRA agreed to contact the appropriate Hyde senior manager to seek an explanation and to ensure the office remained open as advertised.
Residents also enquired about provision of secure cycle parking on the Estate. It was acknowledged that it was essential to ensure balconies were kept clear of safety hazards, and, as such, it was not possible to store bicycles on balconies. Property Managers were in the process of enforcing this requirement across the Estate, resulting in an increased emphasis on the demand for provision of secure bike parking within the Estate. The TRA was in discussion with Hyde in relation to secure bike storage and with the Council with reference to installation of bike hangars on public streets serving the Estate. The TRA also referred to the commitment from Hyde at the time the parking policy was introduced after the transfer and regeneration work. At the time residents were assured that parking infrastructure and management was to be paid for from the income from resident parking permits. However, Hyde was no longer willing to fulfil that commitment. The TA was in negotiation with Hyde managers on the issue.
- Community Centre: Recommendation from the Executive Committee to establish a charitable community benefit society to manage and maintain Kennington Park Community Centre
The Executive Committee of the Tenants’ Association presented a written briefing (see below) on the proposal to create a charitable community benefit society, with limited liability, to provide a formally registered organisation to manage and maintain the Community Centre. An officially recognised and registered legal entity with good governance, appropriate administrative capability, financial stability and sustainability was a fundamental requirement for Hyde to consider a transfer of responsibility. The formal proposal as follows, was discussed in detail:
Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association agrees:
- that, subject to legal and other advice, the officers of the TRA establish a Charitable Community Benefit Society in the name of Kennington Park Community Centre with the following objectives
to provide, manage and maintain a Community Centre on Kennington Park Estate for the use of the residents of the Estate and its environs without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race or of political, religious or other opinions by associating together the said residents and the local authorities, voluntary and other organisations in a common effort to advance education, community development and citizenship, and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare and cohesion for recreation and leisure time occupation with the objective of improving the conditions, quality of life and well-being for the residents. To advance all other purposes charitable under the law of England and Wales.
- that, subject to legal and other advice, the officers of the TRA set up a Board of Trustees to govern the KPCC Charitable Community Benefit Society.
The Chair announced that TRA officers had recently received an indication from Hyde to the effect that Hyde had no immediate plans to develop the site of the Community Centre and the old depot fronting Harleyford Street and that the Community Centre could be available for community use up to 2021. It was reported that TRA officers were about to embark on the process of negotiating a formal, legal agreement with Hyde to define the conditions under which the new community benefit society would occupy and manage the Community Centre. TRA officers acknowledged the support received from the Hyde staff involved in regular meetings and discussions on the future of the Community Centre.
A formal vote was taken on the proposal from the Executive Committee. The proposal was approved unanimously.
- Redevelopment of gas holder site
As reported at the last meeting, Berkeley Homes had submitted the planning application for redevelopment of the site. The application was to be considered by the Planning Applications Committee shortly. The local community was concerned about the height of the tallest buildings on the site. Berkeley Homes had increased heights in response to the insistence of the Council in relation to compliance with Council policy on percentage of affordable housing. The TRA was particularly alarmed at the height of the building proposed for the retained gas holder located immediately adjacent to Read House. It would, inevitably, have an adverse effect on the quality of life of nearby residents. Residents were encouraged to make representations to the Council and to attend the meeting of the PAC at which the application was to be considered.
- Report from TRA Executive Committee
- Pest Control Contract
A written report was presented on the pest control contract proposed by Hyde in the recent Section 20 notice issued to all residents. In summary:
- the service to be available to an estate such as KPE was intended to be a reactive service, that is, a call out service to deal with pests causing a problem in communal areas as specific problems arise.
- KPE residents will be charged (collectively, block by block) for each specific reactive call out.
- TRA Officers will see the related invoices for each call out and should be in a position to verify, in liaison with the Property Manager, that the service was delivered and effective
- the contract specification includes ‘annual maintenance’ and ‘preventative reporting’, this would normally apply to blocks of flats with internal communal areas requiring regular, preventative pest control services. However, KPE may be subject to an annual maintenance charge in the event that the requirement for a pest control service increases significantly a regular, continuous service is deemed essential.
- although the contract provides a pest control service in relation to infestations within individual flats, (tenants and leaseholders), it is not a free service in this case and the contractor will charge the resident for a service to individual flats. Alternatively, residents are at liberty to call in their own choice of pest control contractor. However, if an infestation involves more than one individual flat and is, therefore, considered to be a communal problem, the service is likely to be provided without a charge to the individual tenant.
- Replacement Property Manager
It was agreed to invite the new Property Manager to the next meeting.
- Any Other Business
- Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Tenants’ Association was scheduled for 1900 Wednesday 11 July 2018. Thereafter, 26 September (AGM), 28 November 2018. The date of the next meeting of the Executive Committee was confirmed.
Briefing on Charitable Community Benefit Society Status
Community Benefit Societies were introduced in the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and replaced the Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) entity
A community benefit society is essentially run and owned by its members and operates to benefit or support the wider community.
Community Benefit Societies are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). (not under the Companies Act and not regulated by the Charity Commission)
A Community Benefit Society is a socially focused structure where the surplus profits are retained by the organisation in order to maintain it. It does not exist to make money: surplus made is used for its own growth to benefit its members.
Many housing associations, societies and social groups use the structure of a Community Benefit Society. I t is also often used to form a legal entity for organisations looking to bring together a local community through ownership of a shared community asset.
Registration: Registration is via the FCA. There is no need to register (to become a legal body) with a regulator other than HMRC to achieve exempt charity status.
Liability: A Community Benefit Society is a separate legal identity from its members and therefore liability should in most cases be limited. The Community Benefit Society can own property, enter into contracts and take out loans in its own right.
Governance: A Community Benefit Society is governed by its members. A Board of Trustees must be appointed and checks will be undertaken by the FCA to ensure the Trustees are eligible. The minimum age for governing body members is 16.
All members must hold at least one share in the society. Currently shareholding for individuals is limited to £100,000. There is also a limit to dividends or share interest and is limited to ‘what is necessary to obtain and retain enough capital to run the businesses.
An asset lock can be put in place in the rules so that upon dissolution the assets transfer to a similar asset locked organisation rather than to its members.
Toting rights are democratic and protected. In a Community Benefit Society each member is entitled to one vote. Members have the right to dismiss Directors and to change rules.
Taxation: A charitable community benefit society benefits from a wide range of tax relief and exemption, similar to a registered charity. They are exempt from paying Corporation Tax on charitable trading profit, eligible for gift aid and eligible for some tax exemptions, such as a reduced VAT rate of 5% if involved in education, amateur sports or welfare services.