Annual Report 2023-24

Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association

Annual General Meeting: June 2024

 Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association has undertaken the following activities, among others, on behalf of all tenants and leaseholders during the period since the last AGM in 2023:

  • New Neighbourhood Service
  • Parking management and enforcement
  • Estate Inspections
  • Electrical mains replacement programme
  • Cyclical decorations programme
  • Service charge scrutiny and review
  • Installation of new CCTV system
  • Community Centre
  • Ward Councillors
  • Redevelopment of gas holder/Tesco site
  • Redevelopment of TfL site on Montford Place
  • Surrey County Cricket Club (The Oval)
  • KPETRA Financial Report


New Neighbourhood Service

As reported last year, Hyde informed residents ‘We are putting more resources into delivering local services and aim to be more responsive and have a greater presence in our neighbourhoods’.

The Property Manager, who was with KPE for most of last year has been replaced by a Neighbourhood Officer.  We welcome Lorraine Harris as our Neighbourhood Officer.  She started work at KPE at the end of February and is in the process of induction and training for the new role.

Tenancy issues can be reported via Customer Services 0800 3 282 282 or by email,  Tenancy issues are dealt with on an appointments basis.  Other issues, including repair requests can be reported to Customer Services by phone by email or on line from the Hyde website.  Also see the website for details of the new neighbourhood service

Parking Management and Enforcement

UKCPM is the contractor for parking management and enforcement here and across Hyde residential properties.  The Hyde Contract Manager commented as follows:

Hyde is aware of concern in relation to the UKCPM on-line permitting system.  Residents struggle to renew their permits using the UKCPM on-line portal.  The time it takes to send out posted visitor permits is also an issue.  Hyde is also aware of performance shortcomings and is working with UKCPM to improve parking management across all areas to ensure fairness and ease of use for residents.

To that end ULKCPM will be rolling out a new on-line permitting system (SIPPI) to all paid-permits sites by the end of June.  This new system is significantly friendlier to use, it will automatically issue reminders a month before a permit expires and is generally much easier to use and should reduce the requirement to contact UKCPM by phone or email.

The UKCPM contract has been extended for a further three years. However, if the SIPPI roll-out does not deliver the expected ease of use and reduction in the number of complaints about permitting, then the contract may be terminated early.

Estate Inspections

For many years KPETRA representatives have worked closely with the Hyde staff on Estate Inspections.  Since introduction of the new Neighbourhood Service, regular Estate Inspections have not resumed.  It is intended to ensure regular liaison with the new Neighbourhood Officer on completion of her induction and training.

The contract for cleaning and grounds maintenance is with Cleanscapes and Groundscapes.  After a long interruption while Hyde consulted on and introduced the new neighbourhood service, Hyde has resumed the process of retendering the contract.

The repair service in London is now an in-house service, managed direct by Hyde.  Communal repairs are reported on every Estate Inspection; however, the Hyde response to communal repairs can be slow.  The Tenants’ Association reports specific issues of concern affecting communal areas in an attempt to ensure standards are maintained.

Electrical mains replacement programme

As reported last year the electrical mains replacement programme has not been extended across the Estate.

Key, Sherwin, Lockwood, Blades and Hornby were included in the programme.  Subsequently communal lighting in Alverstone and Blythe was replaced with LED lighting but electrical mains replacement was not included for those blocks.

The necessity for mains replacement work was explained by Hyde as follows:

‘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, some blocks of flats on the Estate have not had electrical mains or communal lighting replaced.  Hyde justified this on the basis that those blocks had been inspected and were not a priority for electrical mains replacement.

Cyclical Decorations

Residents will be only too aware that decorations in communal areas have been allowed to deteriorate to an appalling condition.  The commitment from Hyde at the time of transfer of ownership to Hyde was every five years.  Hyde then extended that to every seven years, not without protest from this Estate.  Cyclical decorations were last undertaken at KPE in 2015, nearly nine years ago.

Some two years ago the Hyde website confirmed that KPE was in the cyclical decorations programme for 2024.  This information is no longer on the website, instead the message is:

Our latest planned maintenance programme is currently being reviewed. We’ll update this page when it has been finalised.

The TRA has maintained constant contact with the senior member of Hyde staff with responsibility for cyclical decorations, seeking confirmation of the schedule for Kennington Park Estate.  In order to press the point about the urgent need for this work on the Estate, an on-site meeting was arranged in mid-2023 between the TRA representative and the responsible Hyde staff, when they were left in doubt about the state of decorations and the urgency of the situation.

Service charge scrutiny and review

This year letters notifying residents of rent and service charges for 2024/25 were published and issued to residents on time before the end of February.  In some cases, the weekly increase (rent and service charges together) is £20, over £1,000 annual increase.  Whilst acknowledging national economic circumstances, this increase is a shock.

As reported at the last meeting of the Tenants’ Association, throughout the whole of the last year we were in detailed correspondence with the Hyde Service Charge Team.  We identified specific service charges for careful scrutiny and submitted an enquiry on each one, (CCTV, Communal Electric costs, Controlled Door Entry, Fire Safety: Responsive, Management Charge, Buildings Insurance, Play Area Inspection).

We were astonished to find that the response in the case of three of these charges was that the charge was incorrect and Hyde had made a mistake.  CCTV, Controlled Door Entry and Play Area Inspection.  The obvious questions is, if residents had not taken the trouble to scrutinise these service charges would these mistakes have remained undiscovered and therefore perpetuated year on year.  If there were mistakes in three areas, could there be mistakes in other charges?

Work is in hand to scrutinise the 2024/25 estimates.

Installation of a new CCTV system

This was reported on in detail in last year’s Annual Report.

No resident consultation was offered or undertaken in advance of installation of 100 CCTV cameras across the Estate. KPETRA repeatedly expressed concern.  Hyde responded to confirm that as there was no capital cost to residents, no consultation was required.

However, the 2022/23 service charge actuals, received in autumn last year, included a figure of £163,000 for CCTV installation.  The Tenants’ Association responded immediately to object to this charge from several perspectives.  A formal response from the Service Charge Team is awaited.

Residents 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.  Following incidents of anti-social behaviour, Hyde has not responded to resident requests to use its new, state of the art system to identify perpetrators.

Hangars for secure bike storage

The Tenants’ Association continues to make the case for more bike hangars on the Estate.  It is, not permitted to store bikes or other items on balconies and in other communal areas where it impedes free movement, hampering potential means of escape.

Kennington Park Estate Magee Street Office

Hyde intends to convert the office back to residential.  However, as Hyde staff and contractors visiting the Estate require a base and basic facilities, this plan appears to be on hold for the foreseeable future.

Community Centre (For Information)

Last year, the KPETRA Annual Report informed residents that ‘Some significant refurbishment is expected in the year ahead.  As we now know, that ‘significant refurbishment’ has turned into a major project.  After lengthy consultation with residents, the TRA and the Community Benefit Society which manages the Centre, Hyde intends to bring the building up to date and extend the floorspace, along with construction of a small block of social rent flats on the site of 8a Harleyford Street. (More detailed discussion under a separate item on the agenda.)

In the meantime, the KPCC Community Benefit Society continues to offer free school holiday activities with good food, funded by Lambeth Council, the Department for Education and the Community Benefit Society, plus other services such as a warm hub and hot food one day a week in winter months.

Ward Boundary Changes

Kennington Park Estate is now divided between two wards, Kennington Ward and Oval Ward, therefore represented by six Ward Councillors.  In 2022, ten blocks of flats were transferred into Kennington Ward by the Local Government Boundary Commission, Abel, Alverstone, Blades, Blythe, Hornby, Key, Lockwood, Lohmann, Read and Sherwin.  Grace and Brockwell remain in Oval.  In the case of this 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 continue to attend the Berkeley Homes community liaison meetings to ensure the community is kept up to date with progress on construction on the sites, to ensure residents of KPE are not significantly affected and the resident perspective remains a priority for Berkeley Homes.

Servicing of the construction site is undertaken via Vauxhall Street and Montford Place.  As previously reported, the continuous movement of heavy construction vehicles has destroyed the road surface, particularly in Montford Place.  Berkeley Homes and TfL/Grainger are pressed to take responsibility for the state of the road surface.  The Council is reluctant to resurface the road until all construction work is complete (six/seven years!)

TfL site redevelopment, Montford Place

Development of this TfL site was delayed for some time but construction work has now started.  In partnership with Grainger plc, planning permission was awarded to TfL for some 150 homes including 40% affordable, plus live/work light industrial space/studios.  Grainger is a registered provider (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)

TRA representatives attend regular meetings with SCCC.  In September last year, SCCC in collaboration with Lambeth Council announced a plan to reimagine Kennington Oval between Harleyford Street and Bowling Green Street.  However, Kennington Oval is a public road, the existence and maintenance of which is supported by the public purse including Council Tax.  The TRA is concerned that SCCC, encouraged by the local authority, considers it acceptable to take over a local public road to extend its concourse for its own commercial purposes and advantage.  Use of a section of Kennington Oval for an extension of the cricket venue’s concourse as an overspill for spectators on match days will be at severe detriment to residents of Kennington Park Estate.  The TRA has made strong representations to this effect to the Council and SCCC.

Introduction of School Streets

At the beginning of 2024, the Council announced the introduction of Bowling Green Street as a ‘School Street’. The Tenants’ Association immediately made an assessment of the likely effect on residents of the Estate of the associated traffic restrictions.  While residents of KPE no doubt support the idea of school streets, in this case, Bowling Green Street is the only route for vehicles to enter a significant part of Kennington Park Estate.  Evidence so far suggests that, with no enforcement other than the road traffic sign, vehicles continue to access the Street to enter the Estate via Magee Street at the restricted times of 0815 to 0915 and 1445 to 1545.  If residents have experienced problems with access through Bowling Green Street at those times, please inform the TRA.



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