Minutes 24 November 2023

Minutes of the meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association

held on 24 November 2023 at the Community Centre, Kennington Park Estate

 Present: Joan Twelves (Chair), Mark Ashdown, Alick Beale, Marilyn Evers, Soraia Fox, Colleen Hayes, John Hibbert, Alys Kadsoun, Stephanie Poynts, Alex Reuben, Marian Said, Pamela Sutton, Kelly Thorpe, Adrian Tong, Kerry Young,

In Attendance: Florence Eshalomi MP: Andy Hulme, Hyde Chief Executive: Olivia Frith, Hyde Surveyor: Aswad Ghazi, Hyde Technical Manager

Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr David Amos, Cllr Liam Daley, Pasqual Apuzzo.

The Chair welcomed residents of Kennington Park Estate to the meeting and introduced Andy Hulme, Chief Executive of the Hyde Group, and Florence Eshalomi attending on line.

Report on activities of the Tenants’ Association on behalf of Kennington Park Estate

The Secretary reported as follows

Kennington Oval: LBL and SCCC were consulting on proposals to make significant changes to the section of Kennington Oval between Bowling Green Street and the Hobbs Gate.  Their aim was to cordon off this section of the road (a public highway) on big match days and use as it as an overspill area for SCCC customers/spectators.  The TA was legitimately concerned that SCCC, encouraged by the local authority, considered it acceptable to take over a local public road to extend its concourse for its own commercial purposes and advantage.  Consultation continued with the opportunity to comment.  The Tenants’ Association was concerned about the effect on the residents of Lockwood House, overlooking Kennington Oval and had made appropriate representations to SCCC and LBL.

Parking management and enforcement: Experience of the parking enforcement contractor over the last couple of years had been more than disappointing.  The TA contacted the Hyde Contract Manager and the UKCPM Manager frequently about many aspects of management and enforcement.  A very polite reply might be received but little action followed.

Service Charges: Throughout the whole of the last year, detailed correspondence with the Hyde Service Charge Team was undertaken.  Specific service charges were identified for careful scrutiny and an enquiry on each one was submitted to Hyde.  CCTV, Communal Electric, Controlled Door Entry, Fire Safety: Responsive, Management Charge, Buildings Insurance, Play Area Inspection.  The response in the case of three of these specific charges was that the charge was incorrect, and Hyde had made a mistake, CCTV, Controlled Door Entry and Play Area Inspection.  A result of concern to residents, leading to the obvious questions, 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?

Andy Hulme, Chief Executive, The Hyde Group Limited

Mr Hulme confirmed he had been Hyde Chief Executive for 18 months and lived locally in Lambeth.  He explained the financial situation of Hyde as a Registered Provider, that is registered with the government regulator as a provider of social housing and, therefore, receiving appropriate corporation tax concessions.  Surplus from social housing operations were invested back into the social housing business.  Separately, Hyde borrowed to build homes for market sale, income from which was available to invest in more social rent and affordable housing.  He confirmed that Hyde does not make a surplus on service charges.  He then reported on the Hyde approach to community centres.  He confirmed Hyde had invested in the Old Laundry Community Centre in Stockwell which involved considerable time and resources.  Hyde attention had recently been turned to the Community Centre at Kennington Park Estate and the potential for either demolition and rebuilding with new housing or refurbishment of the existing building, also in association with new housing.  He confirmed intensive consultation had started and was to continue.

Mr Hulme then referred to housing conditions on Kennington Park Estate.  He confirmed research to identify common problems was in hand and a strategy was to be produced in response.  Residents drew specific issues to his attention in relation to housing conditions.  Mr Hulme reported that the performance of UKCPM was under review.  He reported on the phased introduction of a new neighbourhood housing management system and the improved more responsive call/contact centre. He commented on the service charge system and the error rate of just 1% and performance on emergency repairs at 96%.  He confirmed that older properties were prone to damp and mould, however, it was rarely a danger to health.

Residents responded to Mr Hulme’s comments, expressing concern about various aspects of the housing management service.  Mr Hulme invited residents with specific issues to give details to himself and other Hyde staff present at the close of the meeting.

Florence Eshalomi, Member of Parliament for Vauxhall

Florence was invited to comment.  She reported that her advice surgery regularly dealt with problems from Hyde residents including outstanding repairs.  She referred to the Awab Ishak case in which the coroner confirmed that damp and mould was a cause of death.  She trusted that Hyde’s priority was its residents and ensuring proactive attention to resident concerns.

Florence also identified poor parking management as an area of concern.

Mr Hulme responded to reiterate that damp and mould inside homes should be reported at the earliest stage to ensure there was the opportunity to prevent escalation to a more serious problem.  He confirmed that Hyde had implemented Housing Ombudsman guidelines on responding to reports of damp and mould.  He offered to look into the parking management and enforcement situation and report back.

Any other business

The Chair announced the seasonal pantomime on 16 December at the Community Centre.  All welcome.  Plus, the open to all session every Monday from 1000 to 1600 for a hot meal, company and advice.  She also confirmed there was to be a variety of opportunities for consultation with residents on the future of the Community Centre.

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