Minutes 27 April 2016

Minutes of the Meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on 27 April 2016 at Kennington Park Estate Community Centre

 Present:          16 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate: Joan Twelves in the chair

In attendance:           Cllr Claire Holland, Cllr Jack Hopkins, Nigel Walker, HSH Resident Services Manager

  1. Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Kerry Young, Alex Reuben, Jennifer Gore, Tony O’Connell, Hyde London Region Estate Services Contracts Manager, Christina Edoja, HSH Housing Officer

  1. Minutes of last meeting of the Tenants’ Association held on 17 February 2016

The minutes of the 17 February 2016 meeting of the Tenants’ Association were approved as a correct record of that meeting.  Parking enforcement in the Abel House court yard, reported at the last meeting, had not been addressed.  Irresponsible parking of vehicles without a parking permit was a regular occurrence.  A resident of Abel House had encountered difficulty in making contact with staff from Estate Services, however, reports had been made to the Housing Officer.  Nigel Walker agreed to investigate.  The TA confirmed that under the contract with TSS, the parking enforcement contractor, an annual review was a requirement and the TA had formally requested that a full assessment of the performance of TSS must be undertaken on the basis that evidence suggested absence of regular patrols and rigorous enforcement.  Nigel confirmed the annual review report had been received from TSS and following further discussion with TSS it was intended to convene a meeting of TA representatives to consider the performance of TSS.

The Chair referred to the pilot project for Alverstone, Lockwood and Blades, allowing residents to purchase visitor parking permits for use at any time including out of office hours and for residents who are not able to visit the office during office hours on an ad hoc basis.  The trial was to be assessed in due course.

  1. 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:

  • The TA expressed disappointed at the failure to repair all the column lighting in the Key and Blythe courtyard. Some had been repaired and some not.  The TA wished to see the outstanding repairs completed without delay.
  • The mirror at the entrance to Sherwin had been fixed in the wrong place
  • A resident reported a leak into 5 Blythe House from the flat above
  • The TA reported that abandoned vehicles had not been dealt with since they were reported in the middle of last year. Nigel Walker confirmed the bureaucratic process for identification of the owner and subsequent removal had been particularly challenging, however, the necessary action was now in hand.
  • An Alverstone resident asked about the painting of the ground floor brick work of the section of Alverstone adjacent to Blades. The TA agreed to raise the issue with Hyde Property Services
  1. Briefing on new cleaning and grounds maintenance contract

Tony O’Connell, Hyde Estate Services Contracts Manager, sent his apologies for absence.  Earlier that day he had undertaken a site visit with TA Officers.  The shortcomings of current contractor performance had been discussed in detail.  As emphasised at the previous meeting of the TA with Tony O’Connell in attendance, significant concern was expressed about the major challenge to the new contractor to raise the condition of KPE to an acceptable standard in the first place so that it could then be maintained to the standard required by the contract.  It was confirmed that local consultation events were to be held in the next few months.  Nigel Walker announced an event was to be held on 3 June 2016 at the Community Centre as an opportunity for residents to be better informed about the services delivered by contractors including consultation on the cleaning and grounds maintenance contract.

  1. Proposed merger between Hyde, London and Quadrant and East Thames Housing Association

The Chair reported on the announcement of the merger in the press and the lack of an announcement direct to residents so far.  It was clear that negotiations and plans for the merger were well advanced based on the tenor of the announcement.  The TA was in discussion with Kate Hoey and as a result of Kate putting questions to David Montague (CE of L&Q) on behalf of KPE, she was to meet him shortly.  The Chair then drew attention to the following motion and the unacceptable remarks about tenants made by Elaine Bailey, the Hyde Chief Executive.

‘KPETA is appalled at the comments of the CE of Hyde Group as reported in Inside Housing on 6 April 2016.  Elaine Bailey said:

We will also be asking our residents to take more personal responsibility in respecting their homes and making an effort to help themselves.

“For too long, housing associations have picked up the bill for damage or repairs that we are not responsible for. The odd toilet seat fix here, the light bulb replacement there – adds to millions of pounds of help.

“But worse than that – we have been responsible and are partly to blame for the dependency culture we have created.

“By putting a stop to this, we can focus help where it’s really needed, with the most vulnerable, the ones who do not shout the loudest, such as the elderly lady who will sit without heating instead of calling our contact centres for help.”

KPETA assumes the Hyde Group CE  must be unaware both of the responsibilities, actions and policies of the organisation over which she presides and the lives of the residents who pay her salary.

Residents on KPE are already experiencing Hyde’s refusal to take responsibility for repairs by

  • Failing to carry out a comprehensive planned maintenance and repairs programme for over a decade
  • Refusing to take responsibility to carry out repairs and redecoration when tenants have suffered leaks and water seepage (including sewage seepage) through no fault of their own
  • Failing to inspect and maintain drainage pipes and stacks in proper working order
  • Refusing to provide assistance to vulnerable tenants outside of working hours
  • Leaving many “elderly ladies”, elderly men and tenants with disabilities and/or small children who have called Hyde’s contact centres “sitting without heating” for many days on a regular basis

It is Hyde’s responsibility as our landlord to carry out the repairs for which we pay through our rents.  Its failure to fulfil this function is leading to structural dilapidation and disrepair.  Residents here have long since learnt not to depend on Hyde for anything and we call on Elaine Bailey publically to retract insulting comments about us.

KPETA invites Elaine Bailey and the Chief Executive designate of the merged organisation to visit our Estate so that they may become better informed about the lives of its residents and our legitimate expectations of you as a responsible social landlord.’

A vote was taken and it was agreed to write to this effect to the Hyde CE from KPETA.

  1. Late notification of 2016/17 rent/service charges

The Chair reminded tenants and leaseholders of the very late notification from Hyde of 2016/17 service charges.  The TA had written several times to take Hyde to task for this extremely poor performance which inevitably put every tenant and leaseholder in a very difficult position without the information on which to plan and budget for the forthcoming financial year.  The TA Deputy Chair reported on the massive mistake made by Hyde with reference to the amount of her service charge for 16/17.  The mistake was of the order of hundreds of pounds a month with the potential to compromise her legal status.  The obvious issue was how many more mistakes had Hyde made?  Steph urged tenants and leaseholders to check their 16/17 charges carefully.

  1. Report from Executive Committee of the Tenants’ Association

7.1       KPETA work on scrutiny of Service Charges

The Chair confirmed the TA pressed on with the detailed work of scrutinising service charges

7.2       Programme of redecoration: Comments from residents

The stage of the decoration programme covering Alverstone House was in progress.  Residents were invited to contact the TA with queries and comments.

7.3       Future of the CCTV system at Kennington Park Estate

As reported previously, the TA continued to challenge many aspects of the CCTV system and service.  An independent report initiated by KPETA, had concluded that the service from the monitoring contractor was not fit for purpose and the management of the contract, by HSH, was also not fit for purpose.

7.4       Future of the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre

It was confirmed, as per information presented at the last meeting, that Hyde’s plans were still in abeyance while negotiations were held with TfL about the potential to make deliveries from Harleyford Street to the proposed ground floor retail unit.  No further information had been received other than that the Community Centre was to remain open and in use until the end of 2016.  A meeting between TA officers and the Director of Hyde Plus was arranged for the following week to discuss services and activities delivered from the Community Centre.

7.5       Redevelopment of Gasholder Site: Consultation on Master Plan

As previously reported, the gasholders had been decommissioned and the Council was working with Berkeley Homes on a potential master plan for the site.  A summary of the conclusions of the consultation process undertaken during 2015 was made available.  Cllr Hopkins confirmed that as the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, and Oval Ward Councillor, he was in close liaison with Berkeley Homes to ensure the redeveloped site offered a whole spectrum of community benefits including significant employment opportunities and community facilities such as a new library.

7.6       Report from Recent Estate Inspections (including parking issues, ASB etc)

It was reported that recent inspections with the Housing Officer focussed on safety issues including balcony clearance, also cleaning, hard surface weeding, bulk refuse removal and removal of abandoned vehicles.

  1. Latest information about the Housing and Planning Bill

The Chair informed resident of the lobby of the House of Lords on 3 May 2016.  Information on implications of the Housing Bill for Housing Association tenants and leaseholders was available from the Tenants’ Association.

  1. Report on activities elsewhere in Hyde, including HSH Resident Forum

The Forum, consisting of reps from all HSH TAs, including KPE, continued to meet even though management had withdrawn support.  The next meeting was scheduled for the end of the month.  The Resident Forum discussed the same concerns as raised by KPETA and made every effort, along with local Councillors, to hold Hyde/HSH to account.  The HSH Board (now subsumed into the centralised GHSB) 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.

  1. Any Other Business: None raised.
  1. Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association:

The next meeting was scheduled for 1900, 20 July 2016, (Meeting to organise next meeting 1830, Monday 4 July 2016 at 1A Lockwood House.)  Meetings of the Tenants’ Association thereafter, 21 September (AGM), and 23 November 2016.

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