Minutes of the Meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on
29 April 2015 at Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
Present: 18 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate, Marco Barrella in the chair
In attendance: Christina Edoja, HSH Housing Officer, Tracey Dada, Hyde Resident Engagement Officer
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cllr Claire Holland, Alex Reuben, Gail Sixsmith, Bernard Jennings, Nigel Walker, HSH Resident Services Manager
- Minutes of last meeting of the Association held on 18 February 2015
The minutes of the 19 November 2014 meeting of the Tenants’ Association were approved as a correct record of that meeting.
- Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
At the last meeting residents had registered concern about the performance of Mears, the repairs contractor, parking enforcement arrangements, service charges etc. It was disappointing to note that these remained outstanding issues of concern.
4.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:
- Not all the flood lights in Sherwin had been repaired
- There had been no notification about the scaffolding erected on the outer elevation of Blades House.
- Domestic refuse bins filling with refurbishment rubbish
- A fence on the Alverstone green was in need of repair
- 24 Sherwin still experiencing a leak from the property above
- 48 Lohmann waiting for repair to bathroom ceiling
- Roof space above 47 Sherwin to be checked for damage to the roof
- Leak into 25 Sherwin also to be resolved and repaired
- Balcony gates to be checked for squeaks and lubricated as required
- Tenants had received letters direct from electrical contractors but were not clear if work had been commissioned by HSH/Hyde as no explanatory communication had been received from HSH/Hyde management
- Disabled tenants made the point that having to pay for visitor permits for ability transport was so costly as to be out of the question (Tina Edoja agreed to deal with the problem at once).
- Yellow hatching was required adjacent to the Blades refuse enclosure to deter parking
- The Housing Officer was asked to take action in terms of the silver car which often parked next to the Blades refuse enclosure
- Residents also requested an urgent review of visitor permits now that enforcement continued at the week end as well as week days
- Report from Executive Committee of the Tenants’ Association
5.1 KPETA work on scrutiny of service charges
A written briefing on scrutiny of service charges was circulated covering the following points:
- KPETA closely scrutinising the invoices for service charges for the last three years to ensure residents receive the servicespaid for in service charges; and to ensure value for money.
- TA officers recently met with senior Hyde officers (Director of Core Operations, Head of Home Ownership and Service Charge Manager) to discuss this year’s bills (the 2015/16 estimates). Little progress was made. The TA repeatedly raised the same issues but they never seemed to get resolved by Hyde management.
- This year there are massive increases to service charges (up to 99% in some cases) when inflation is 0%.
- The main cause of the increases is that Hyde has added three additional charges to bills – electrical maintenance, fire safety and legionella testing. The justification from Hyde appears to be that Hyde carried out this work on an ad hoc basis in the past but, as a consequence of the centralisation of Property Services, was now approaching it in a programmed way. The TA will continue to pursue this.
- Communal Electricity: still totally erratic and irrational. KPE was promised a pilot scheme of Smart Meters a year ago, which has not materialised. As a result of the meeting, this is back on the agenda but with no clear information on when or how much it will cost. The demand from the TA that residents must not pay for Hyde’s inability to manage its electricity contracts and ensure accurate bills was shrugged off.
- CCTV: Hyde has been reviewing this locally as a direct result of the TA raising its ineffectiveness and disproportionate charges to this Estate with management years ago. The review concluded that the current system is not fit for purpose.
- Controlled Door Entry: The TA has repeated the request for a condition survey to see why there are such wide variations in repair costs between blocks.
- Cleaning and Ground Maintenance: The TA offered evidence of poor performance with reference to cleaning specifically and to a certain extent, grounds maintenance, and expressed serious concern that the current contractor may be awarded the new contract.
- Note: It is important that all residents formally complain to Hyde individually if are not happy with the increase in service charges. Hyde may do little about our complaints, but numbers matter.
5.2 Parking enforcement arrangements
A discussion was held with reference to the decision to implement 24/7 parking enforcement. It was confirmed that residents of Kennington Park Estate had agreed a preference for 24/7 enforcement the previous year during the consultation process. Following a discussion and further clarification it was again confirmed that 24/7 parking enforcement was required throughout KPE.
It was noted that since the introduction of the new parking enforcement arrangements there had been a significant reduction in the use of parking facilities on KPE by vehicles without properly authorised KPE/HSH parking permits.
5.3 Programme of planned and cyclical maintenance on Kennington Park Estate
It was reported that the TA was in correspondence with HSH/Hyde management with reference to the planned and cyclical maintenance programme. The TA had serious concerns in terms of the extent of the works covered by the programme. Evidence suggested it was not a comprehensive programme and it excluded some areas requiring regular review and repair as part of the planned maintenance programme.
5.4 Report on recent Estate Inspections
TA Officers confirmed that they were involved in a regular schedule of estate inspections. It was emphasised that balconies must not be used for storage by residents. Housing management had a legal responsibility to maintain balconies free from obstruction in compliance with safety requirements. Residents were requested to cooperate and comply.
5.5 Proposals to redevelop the site of the KPE Community Centre
It was reported that Hyde was involved in detailed discussions with TfL with reference to the potential for a retail outlet on the ground floor of the proposed new development. Hyde Head Office had committed to keeping the TA informed as soon as there was progress to report. There was to be an opportunity for residents to view and comment on the plans as soon as the revised plans were ready for public exhibition.
5.6 Decommissioning of gasholder site and proposed new development
It was confirmed that the Council had commissioned Berkeley Homes to undertake public consultation on a masterplan for the gasholder site. This was of critical importance to residents of KPE as the site was situated immediately adjacent to Read House, adjacent to Sherwin House and on the opposite side of Vauxhall Street from Grace and Brockwell Houses. The redevelopment of the site would have a significant effect on KPE. TA officers were attending meetings and negotiating on behalf of KPE.
- Report from Hyde Southbank Homes Resident Forum
It was reported that HSH/Hyde management had withdrawn administrative/servicing support from the Resident Forum. Members of the Resident Forum were dismayed and affronted, however, agreed to continue to hold meetings of the Resident Forum, independent of HSH/Hyde.
- Report from HSH Resident Assurance Committee and HSH Board
It was noted that Hyde management was reluctant to report to residents on the activities of the HSH Board (now subsumed into the centralised GHSB) even though this was the supposedly democratic and accountable body which controlled the finances of Hyde Southbank Homes.
It was also noted that the HSH Resident Assurance Committee was as concerned as other residents about the performance of contractors such as Mears.
- Any other business
8.1 Positive Action Community Group
It was reported that a PACG meeting had been held the previous day. A KPE Big Lunch was to be held on 7 June 2015. The PACG was focussing on projects for young people, healthy eating projects, horticultural initiatives.
- Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association:
The next meeting was scheduled for 1900, 15 July 2015, 1830 to report individual problems to TA Officers. (Meeting of Executive Committee to organise next meeting, 1830, Monday, 29 June 2015, 1A Lockwood Hse). Meetings of the Tenants’ Association thereafter, 23 September (AGM), 18 November 2015.