MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF KENNINGTON PARK ESTATE TENANTS’ ASSOCIATION
HELD ON 11 JULY 2018
Present: 14 tenants and leaseholders. Joan Twelves in the chair.
In attendance: Cllr Philip Normal, Matt Hopkins, Hyde Property Manager for Kennington Park Estate
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Alex Reuben, Jennifer Gore, Cllr Hopkins and Cllr Holland
- Minutes of the last meeting held on 25 April 2018
The minutes of the last meeting held on 25 April 2018 were approved as a correct record of that meeting.
- Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
The April meeting had discussed frequent closure of the housing office with no advanced warning, plus the urgent request for secure bicycle parking on the Estate. The contentious issue of dealing with damp and mould was the major item of discussion at the previous meeting. Recent meetings with the Hyde Repairs Contract Manager had resulted in a more appropriate response from Hyde in relation to some longstanding damp and mould problems. It was confirmed that there were no other matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting not covered by the agenda for this meeting.
- Housing Management and Estate Management Issues
Matt Hopkins introduced himself as the new Property Manager covering Kennington Park Estate. He confirmed his responsibilities as Property Manager included estate inspections and dealing with all communal issues particularly communal fire safety. Other housing management issues were the responsibility of Tenancy Officers to be accessed through customer services on 0800 3 282 282.
Rodent Infestation in Key and Blythe
Matt referred to the serious rodent infestation in the Key and Blythe court yard and a detailed discussion followed about the pest control measures put in place by Hyde. Matt confirmed bait boxes had been placed across the affected areas and the situation was under regular monitoring and supervision. The cleaning contractor had been instructed to keep bin enclosures clear and clean and to keep bin lids closed as far as possible to prevent overflowing bins and to close off rodent access through open bins. Residents expressed the deepest concern that the situation had been allowed to escalate to this extent. Residents were not convinced the bait boxes were effective in combating or reducing the infestation. In response, Matt reported that the pest control contractor marksman was to be brought in to undertake a cull as a last resort if there was no sign of a reduction in the near future.
The TA agreed to contact the refuse department at the Council with reference to the state of the refuse bins and the frequency of refuse collection. Resident unanimously requested urgent, concerted action to eliminate the rodent problem without delay.
Matt reported on other estate management issues such as the poor standard of cleaning in some areas. This had been the subject of serious discussion with the cleaning contractor.
Matt was in the process of arranging the installation of bike hangars on the Estate in recognition of the trend to significantly increased bicycle ownership and the prohibition of bike storage on balconies because of the major risk in terms of fire safety. Matt planned to install four hangars before the end of the year in Key/Blythe, Alverstone/Lockwood and Lohmann.
Inappropriate use of hire bikes
Matt confirmed he was aware of young people using hire bikes in the vicinity of the Estate for minor criminal activities. The Hyde ASB Team and the police Safe Neighbourhood Team had been notified. Cllr Normal agreed to discuss the situation with the Safe Neighbourhood Team.
Questions/comments from residents
It was reported that the parking barrier at the entrance to Sherwin was broken again. Residents reported that communal lighting in Key/Blythe remained out of order for long periods of time contributing to the ASB situation. There appeared to be no system for checking/inspecting communal lights and replacing light bulbs.
In relation to noise nuisance, Matt confirmed that legislation identified 2300 (11 pm) as the point after which the authorities might be in a position to take action on noise issues. Complaints of noise before 11 pm were unlikely to be acted on.
Residents expressed concern with reference to the frequent closure of the Housing Office. The TA confirmed formal enquiries and concerns about this failure had been reported to senior management several times in the last few months, emphasising the poor service and inconvenience to residents. Hyde gave staff shortage as the reason for closure of the office. The TA agreed to raise the issue again.
- Community Centre: Progress Report
At the last meeting the Tenants’ Association had approved the proposal to establish a formally registered community benefit society to take responsibility for management of the Community Centre. It was also reported at the previous meeting that Hyde had indicated there were no immediate alternative plans for the site and this was unlikely to change for three years. TA officers reported that arrangements were in hand to establish the new charitable Community Benefit Society to take responsibility for the Community Centre under a formal management agreement with Hyde. As discussed at the last meeting, an independent, officially recognised and registered legal entity with good governance, appropriate administrative capability, financial stability and sustainability was a fundamental requirement for Hyde to consider a transfer of responsibility. Negotiations with Hyde were in progress to discuss the detail of the terms and conditions of that formal agreement.
It was also reported there was to be a week of free summer holiday activities for children (5 to 12 years) at the Community Centre, in the first week of August, arranged by Simply Smiley Productions, sponsored by the Tenants’ Association and supported by TA fund raising.
- Report from Tenants’ Association Executive Committee
6.1 Development on the gas holder site
The planning application for redevelopment of the site had been considered and approved by the Planning Applications Committee in June. It was extremely disappointing that members of the Committee were not concerned about the immense height of the highest tower on the site or about the many breaches of Lambeth planning policy represented by the planning permission. When construction activity starts in 2019 it is predicted to last for over seven years with the associated effects on premises in close proximity, including Read House and to some extent Sherwin plus Grace and Brockwell Houses. The latter because Vauxhall Street is to be the main route for servicing the construction site.
6.2 Report on Estate Inspections
Matt Hopkins, as Property Manager, had reported on recent estate inspections at the start of the meeting, including bike storage/parking, pest control and standards of cleaning. Estate inspections were undertaken monthly with close participation of TA representatives. Matt Hopkins was keen to implement a programme to ensure specific communal issues were registered and dealt with under a planned schedule.
6.3 Service charges
It was confirmed that work continued to try to ensure that Hyde was challenged with reference to inapplicable charges to residents of Kennington Park Estate. Some success had been achieved, however, new, ill conceived charges were appearing continuously. The TA challenged and questioned new S20 notices proposing contracts for work/activities totally irrelevant to this Estate but with little prospect of Hyde taking any notice.
- Any Other Business
- Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Tenants’ Association was scheduled for 1900 Wednesday 26 September 2018, the Annual General Meeting. Thereafter, 28 November 2018. The meeting of the Executive Committee to prepare for the next meeting of the Tenants’ Association was confirmed. The meeting was open to all interested residents.