MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF KENNINGTON PARK ESTATE TENANTS’ ASSOCIATION
HELD ON 21 FEBRUARY 2018
Present: 12 tenants and leaseholders. Joan Twelves in the chair
In Attendance: Laura Newey, Property Manager, Kennington Park Estate
The Chair introduced Laura Newey, Property Manager covering all blocks on Kennington Park Estate other than Lockwood House. The Property Manager for Lockwood House is Anna Blakeman.
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Rosie Nash.
- Minutes of the last meeting held on 29 November 2017
The minutes of the last meeting held on 29 November 2017 were approved as a correct record of that meeting.
- Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
It was confirmed that, following the November meeting of the Tenants’ Association, Kate Hoey had written to Hyde in support of the residents of KPE with reference to the ill advised proposals from Hyde to commit an unacceptable amount of residents’ money in service charges on a new CCTV system. Key points in the response from Hyde were read out as follows:
Hyde had noted the concerns of residents, including:
- Hyde to review how they consult with residents in relation to this project and whether they can include estimated costs and crime statistics where appropriate and where costs are available.
- Reconsider the options for CCTV on KPE including a separate system or no system.
- Consider the service charge apportionment for CCTV across Kennington Park Estate and Stockwell estates. Review the value for money options available to Hyde and its residents in respect of the service we offer.
- In relation to the service charge for CCTV monitoring, the 16/17 actuals had been issued to residents and residents had been reimbursed for any over estimate.
- Hyde will arrange a further meeting to share and discuss progress in advance of any final decisions being made, and will continue to work closely with residents and provide an update including the process we will follow in the New Year.
- Housing Management and Estate Management Issues
Laura Newey introduced herself as the newly appointed Property Manager for Kennington Park Estate (all blocks other than Lockwood House). She described the role and responsibilities of the new post of Property Manager as follows: responsible for a local patch including, to monitor service standards (cleaning, gardening, communal repairs, health and safety), and to maintain accurate records for service charges. Laura had been undertaking regular estate inspections since December, logging, monitoring and checking progress with communal repairs etc.
This information prompted a discussion about the major organisational restructure undertaken by Hyde and implemented at the end of 2017 resulting in these new arrangements. Information on the new arrangements was available on the Hyde website but residents had not received details direct from Hyde. It was confirmed that all resident enquiries and requests for services must now be made by contacting Customer Services by telephone or online. Residents expressed concern and it was agreed Hyde should provide a telephone for the purpose in the local office.
A resident reported a fault with the door intercom system at Read House and a resident of Blythe reported the excessive noise from refurbishment work in the ground floor retail units. Laura agreed to investigate. She also agreed to pursue the issue of secure bicycle parking on the Estate.
- Community Centre: Progress Report
A written report as follows was presented giving key details of progress on work to retain the Community Centre open and in use:
- Three years ago Hyde announced its intention to redevelop the site of the Community Centre. Since then, the Tenants’ Association, with the support of KPE residents, campaigned vigorously to keep the Centre open and available for use and to demonstrate it can be managed to remain financially viable and sustainable.
- At the beginning of July last year, the TRA signed a Licence to Occupy the Community Centre for 12 months, to July 2018. The TRA became responsible for day to management, and Hyde, as the owner of the building, retained key legal responsibilities, such as safety requirements, essential repairs etc.
- The Community Centre had been thoroughly cleaned and cleared and redecorated with the help of volunteers from Hyde and Axis
- A website for the Community Centre was online with key information about hiring the facilities, emphasising the excellent location next to Oval underground and on major bus and cycle routes
- New bookings have been secured by the TRA, generating increased income for the Centre, roughly three times the income generated by Hyde. The bookings and accounting system alone amounted to more than a part-time job and it was a long term aim to employ paid staff to undertake this essential work
- The most recent activity consisted of detailed discussions about the future of the Community Centre as the term of the Licence to Occupy in July 2018 approached. Hyde had arranged for the TRA to receive independent advice in relation to the potential options for transfer of full responsibility for the Community Centre from July 2018. An officially recognised and registered legal entity with good governance, appropriate administrative capability and financial stability and sustainability was a fundamental requirement before Hyde will consider a transfer of responsibility.
- At the April Tenants’ Association meeting the TRA should be clear about the possible options for the type of organisation required and intended to present a report to set out the position so that all residents can contribute to the debate and the decision making process.
- Report from TRA Executive Committee
6.1 Redevelopment of Gas Holder site
It was reported that Berkeley Homes had submitted a planning application for redevelopment of the site. 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 Tenants’ Association 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.
6.2 Scrutiny of service charges
Steph Reid reported that scrutiny of service charge invoices for 2016/2017 had been undertaken by TRA Officers. Many mistakes had been identified and reported to the Hyde service charge team. Hyde conceded that the majority of the incorrect charges queried by the TRA should not have been included. The TRA was also involved in specific discussions about service charges for the CCTV service, charges for parking infrastructure, details of the legionella testing service, details of the pest control service etc. TRA Officers continued to work on service charge problems, however, it appeared to be the case that Hyde head office had still not procured and implemented a new, effective IT system for management of service charges. Residents from across Hyde were experiencing similar problems including inadequate or no response from Hyde when reporting errors.
As the 2018/2019 estimates were based on previous actuals, the clear implication of the acknowledged inaccuracies was overcharging of residents based on the 18/19 estimates.
6.3 Fire safety in communal areas
It was reported that the Property Managers responsible for KPE had initiated action to ensure compliance in communal areas. Residents are required to ensure that balconies are clear of hazards which create a risk in terms of fire safety, that is, no flammable material to be stored on balconies, and the essential requirement to ensure a clear passage along the balcony is maintained at all times. Both management and residents are responsible for compliance to ensure the Estate provides a safe and welcoming environment.
It was reported that the errors the TRA had identified last year in Fire Risk Assessments for KPE had still not been addressed by Hyde management. The TRA had prompted the responsible contract manager several times.
6.4 Estate Inspections
The Property Manager and a TRA representative continued to undertake regular estate inspections. The standard of stair cleaning and, in many cases, balcony cleaning had deteriorated significantly and the problem had been reported to the Hyde Contract Manager responsible. Residents were encouraged to report estate management issues to the Tenants’ Association. As referred to above, a resident of Read House took the opportunity to report a fault with the intercom system. Laura thanked him for the information and agreed to make the necessary checks. This example led to a further discussion about the gulf between residents and Customer Services and the problems associated with identification and reporting of communal issues.
- Any Other Business
- Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Tenants’ Association was scheduled for 1900 Wednesday 25 April 2018. Thereafter, 11 July, 26 September (AGM), 28 November 2018.