Minutes of the Meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on 23 November 2016 at Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
Present: 17 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate: Joan Twelves in the chair.
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Jack Hopkins and Cllr Claire Holland, Kerry Young, Jennifer Gore, also from Greg Terefenko, HSH Resident Services Manager and Christina Edoja, HSH Housing Officer.
- Minutes of last meeting of the Tenants’ Association held on 20 July 2016
The minutes of the 20 July 2016 meeting of the Tenants’ Association were approved as a correct record of that meeting. There were no matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting other than those on the agenda for discussion at this meeting.
- Housing management and estate management issues. Reports and queries from tenants and leaseholders for the attention of HSH management
Tenants and leaseholders reported housing management and estate management issues including court yard drainage and the prevalence of puddles/lakes following heavy rain, a problem with the frequency of refuse collection for Abel House, the positioning of the traffic mirror in Sherwin House, communal lighting, Grace and Brockwell House, particularly.
- Future of the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
The Chair gave a briefing on Hyde’s new proposal in relation to the Kennington Park Community Centre. Hyde Head Office had conducted a review of all community centres under the ownership of Hyde and management of Hyde Plus, the community support department of Hyde. The conclusion of the review had been published earlier that day, 23 November 2016.
The information from Hyde received by the Tenants’ Association was unclear and poorly presented; however, there appeared to be little doubt that Hyde was proposing to abdicate responsibility for community centres, including demolition of the KPE Community Centre and redevelopment of the site for new build housing (most likely for market sale). The purpose-built Stockwell Centre was to be leased to another organisation (outsourced) meaning the HSH community in central Stockwell would also be deprived of their community centre.
The Chair acknowledged that there were many issues to be considered with reference to the loss of our Community Centre, however, TA Officers proposed to take every possible action to challenge Hyde and retain a viable, functioning community centre on Kennington Park Estate and sought the opinion and support of residents, both tenants and leaseholders. There was unanimous agreement to support the Tenants’ Association in defending the Community Centre.
- Gas holder site: Consultation on master plan
It was reported that little further detail had been forthcoming since the last meeting of the Tenants’ Association. Berkeley Homes was in discussion with the Council about details of the master plan for the site. The master plan required formal approval by Cabinet members in advance of proceeding to submission of planning applications. The Cabinet member with lead responsibility was Cllr Jack Hopkins, who was an Oval Ward Councillor. TA Officers were in close contact with all Oval Ward Councillors and with senior staff at Berkeley Homes. Both the Council and Berkeley Homes were aware of the concerns of residents of Kennington Park Estate.
- New parking enforcement contract
Steph Reid, TA Deputy Chair, reported that, contrary to the agreement between the TA and the Housing Office, the new parking enforcement contract when introduced in October covered only 7 am to 7 pm. This was not effective and not what was agreed with residents and the Tenants’ Association. As discussed at length and agreed after detailed consultation, 24 hour parking enforcement was essential. Steph proposed the following motion:
- Kennington Park Estate Tenants Association does not agree with the change to parking restriction and enforcement times imposed by Hyde local management.
- in 2015/16 the TA insisted on a change of parking enforcement contractor, following a poor and ineffective service provided by TSS for some time.
- The new service (provided by Wing Security) does not operate on a 24 hour basis as per the previous contract with TSS and as agreed with residents and the TAduring the long, detailed consultation following the government decision to prohibit wheel clamping and the termination of the clamping contract in October 2012. On the introduction of the contract with Wing Security, local management decided unilaterally that enforcement would be run from 7am to 7pm, rather than 24/7
- Residents have reported to the TA specific instances of illegal parking on the estate in the hours when there is no enforcement and in some instances within enforcement hours with little evidence to suggest a parking charge had been issued.
- Residents were not consulted regarding the change to enforcement hours.
- Residents are charged for parking permits, with little transparency as to how this income is spent.
- Information was not provided to residents regarding changes to parking enforcement in a timely or appropriate manner.
The Kennington Park Estate Tenants Association, therefore,
- Registers dissatisfaction with the new parking enforcement contract and situation,
- calls on Hyde to revert to 24 hour enforcement, and
- calls on Hyde to ensure the parking enforcement contractor patrols KPE regularly, taking rigorous enforcement action
The motion was agreed unanimously for submission to the Resident Services Manager.
- Report from Tenants Association Executive Committee
7.1 TA work on scrutiny of service charges
TA Officers had recently undertaken a detailed exercise to check invoices relating to 2015/16 service charges and at the end of October had discussed service charge problems with senior staff from Hyde head office. The TA was pursuing many outstanding, unresolved issues, including charges for fire safety equipment and inspections, calculation of charges for communal electricity, responsive maintenance spend in the absence of a proper programme of planned and cyclical maintenance.
7.2 Report from recent Estate Inspections
The TA Secretary confirmed that she attended all estate inspections with the Housing Officer. The new cleaning and grounds maintenance contractor had taken responsibility for the Estate from the beginning of October and the TA Secretary had attended an introductory meeting with the Cleanscapes and Groundscapes contract managers. Improving and then maintaining standards was emphasised along with full compliance with the full contract specification. The TA intended to monitor performance very closely and welcomed views and comments from all residents.
- Latest information about the Housing and Planning Act and the Benefits Cap
As reported to the previous meeting of the TA, the ‘Pay to Stay’ element of the legislation was of great concern. It was likely to have a profound effect on households with an income of over £40,000 a year, however, the detail of the method of implementation had not been made clear and was likely to cost the landlord (housing association or local authority) more than the increase in rental income from affected tenants. However, the most recent information was that Pay to Stay was no longer compulsory for local authorities but still voluntary for housing associations. The Chair proposed the motion as follows:
We welcome the announcement from the government that Pay to Stay will no longer be compulsory for council tenants. However, we note that it has always been voluntary for housing associations and that the threat of higher rent rises for many of our residents has not been removed. In view of the governments’ decision we call on Hyde urgently to confirm that it will not impose this costly, unnecessary and unworkable tax on its residents.
The motion was formally seconded and agreed by 10 in favour and none against.
9.Report on activities elsewhere in Hyde
HSH residents in Stockwell raised concerns similar to those raised by KPETA such as inaccurate service charges, parking enforcement, redevelopment of sites on the Stockwell estates, poor record on planned and cyclical maintenance. Residents of the five tower blocks in central Stockwell were particularly concerned about the concierge service in their blocks and the level of service charge paid over many years for an unacceptable service. The HSH Board (now subsumed into the centralised Group Housing Services Board) was regularly requested to report to residents as the body which controlled the finances of Hyde Southbank Homes. A briefing from GHSB was rarely received.
10.Any Other Business
- A Sherwin House resident expressed concern about the process for making arrangements for annual gas servicing. She was invited to discuss the issue with TA Officers.
- The Chair reported on an approach from Hyde with reference to a training opportunity in association with Morley College. Residents agree the offer should be pursued.
11.Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association:
The next meeting was scheduled for 1900, 22 February 2017, thereafter, 26 April, 19 July, 20 September (AGM), 22 November 2017.