Minutes of the Meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on 20 July 2016 at Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
Present: 18 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate: Joan Twelves in the chair
In attendance: Lee Daly, Hyde Head of London Region Housing Services, Christina Edoja, HSH Senior Housing Officer, Sophie McKechnie, Hyde Plus, Yolanda and Naomi, Oval House Theatre
Presentation: Hyde Plus and Oval House Theatre
The Chair introduced Sophie McKechnie from Hyde Plus, Hyde’s community investment team. Sophie gave a briefing on the work of Hyde Plus including programmes for young people, for older people and outreach work. She described the partnership with Oval House and the programme of activities for young people over the summer. Yolanda, a performer working with Oval House Theatre then performed one of her poems. Sophie, Yolanda and Naomi were thanked very warmly for presenting the opportunities available through Oval House Theatre
Victoria from the Kennington Park Flower Garden introduced the opportunity for events and involvement in the new flower garden in the Park. Information was available on Estate notice boards.
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Jack Hopkins and Cllr Claire Holland, Kerry Young, Alex Reuben, Jennifer Gore, Lynn Philips
- Minutes of last meeting of the Tenants’ Association held on 27 April 2016
The minutes of the 27 April 2016 meeting of the Tenants’ Association were approved as a correct record of that meeting. Those minutes contained detail of the proposed merger between Hyde, London and Quadrant and East Thames Housing Association and the letter from KPETA on behalf of residents questioning Hyde, on, among other issues, if its priority was Hyde residents or building new houses, most of them for private sale. Residents were directed to the TA website for the full correspondence, including the response from the Chief Executive of Hyde.
- 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 as follows: less than professional tree pruning: scaffolding left in place for months, not being used: the adverse effect of the Northern Line Extension work on KPE particularly Sherwin House. Residents were disappointed at the lack of support from HSH as the landlord in the face of the disruption caused by NLE work. It was noted the TA attended NLE/TfL meetings to represent residents of KPE and to ensure the KPE perspective was taken into account.
- Lee Daly: Hyde London Region Head of Housing
The chair introduced Lee Daly who was attending in place of the HSH Resident Services Manager. The previous RSM had recently left and recruitment to the vacant post was in progress.
Lee Daly informed residents she had been with Hyde as London Director for 16 months. In the absence of the HSH RSM she was managing Hyde Southbank Homes. Interviews for the RSM post were to be held the following week but it was not possible to predict exactly when the new RSM would be in post.
- New cleaning and grounds maintenance contract
The new contract was to start at the beginning of October. This meant that Innovation Environmental Limited was even less committed to delivering a good service for KPE in anticipation of the appointment of an alternative contractor. The TA had been represented on the resident tender evaluation panel and was pleased to see what appeared to be highly experienced, professional companies competing for the contract.
- Report from Tenants Association Executive Committee
6.1 Programme of redecoration: TA challenge to costs identified in S20 notices
Steph Reid, TA Deputy Chair, confirmed that through a process of scrutiny, challenge and discussion, the TA had succeeded in ensuring Hyde reduced the obviously disproportionate charges (estimates) for scaffolding in connection with cyclical decorations from £760,000 to £570,000. A reduction of £190,000. It was noted that at this stage in the process, figures were estimates and the TA would be checking the relevant invoices in due course.
6.2 Future of the CCTV monitoring system at Kennington Park Estate
TA officers reported that the contract for monitoring CCTV at KPE (and in Stockwell other than the tower blocks)
was terminated at the end of June and replaced with an in house system not involving contract staff viewing images in real time eight hours a day and, therefore not involving the requirement for KPE residents to pay for those staff. As reported to the TA many times previously, KPE residents over too many years have paid a disproportionately large amount for an ineffective service. Service charges should be reduced proportionately for 2016/17. However, the TA remained in negotiation with management in relation to long term arrangements. Lee Daly confirmed she was to meet shortly with the TA to discuss options, and indicated a preference on the part of management for a joint approach within HSH.
6.3 Parking enforcement: Change of contractor
It was confirmed that a few months ago the parking enforcement contract with TSS was terminated due to poor performance. The TA had pressed for the urgent appointment of a new contractor since the obvious failure of TSS last year. Wing Parking (Parking Enforcement and Management Services), the new parking enforcement contractor was scheduled to start enforcement patrols and activities in October. A new parking permit application process was to be introduced and residents should note that the new process is likely to take longer than before.
6.4 TA work on scrutiny of service charges
TA Officers continue to keep service charges under close scrutiny on behalf of all residents and leaseholders. Hyde had conceded that in communal areas on Kennington Park Estate there are no fire extinguishers, fire alarms or smoke vents and residents cannot be charged for the cost or maintenance of non-existent equipment.
6.5 Gas holder site: Consultation on master plan
A written briefing was circulated at the last meeting setting out the response of Berkeley Homes to the consultation undertaken in 2015/16. Berkeley homes held an exhibition at the Oval earlier that week showing current proposals. Some minor concessions had been made in response to the views of the local community, however, the plan was still to build a tall block of flats inside the big gasholder very close to Read House.
6.6 Report from recent Estate Inspections
Removal of abandoned vehicles remained an intractable problem, however, this responsibility was included in the contract specification for the new parking enforcement contractor. The TA was pressing for replacement of playground equipment without further delay. Ensuring balconies were free of safety hazards was a priority along with clearing balconies for quarterly cleaning as specified in the new cleaning contract starting in October.
6.7 Future of the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
The TA understood that Hyde head office was still exploring the potential for a retail store on the site of the old depot. Little information had been received by the TA in the last few months.
- Latest information about the Housing and Planning Bill
Information on implications of the new housing legislation for housing association tenants and leaseholders was available from the Tenants’ Association. The ‘Pay to Stay’ element of the legislation remained 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.
- Report on activities elsewhere in Hyde, including HSH Resident Forum
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. 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.
- Any Other Business
Residents raised concern about the SGN work in Clayton Street and the associated unacceptable noise and disruption. The TA confirmed it had been in communication with SGN, LBL and HSH. SGN was very unresponsive.
- Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association:
The next meeting was scheduled for 1900, 21 September (AGM), and 1900 on 23 November 2016.