Minutes: 9 July 2014

Minutes of the Meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on 9 July 2014 at Kennington Park Estate Community Centre

Present:      21 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate, Marco Barrella in the chair

In attendance:       Cllr Claire Holland, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Jack Hopkins, Jose McKay, HSH Housing Officer

 

  1. Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from Nigel Walker, HSH Resident Services Manager, Kerry Young.

 

  1. Notes of last meeting of the Association held on 16 April 2014

The notes of the last meeting of the Tenants’ Association were approved as a correct record of that meeting.

 

  1. Matters arising from the notes of the last meeting

It was noted that issues raised as of concern at the last meeting had not been dealt with by HSH or Hyde management.  The repair contractor, Mears, was still not performing to the contract and still causing severe inconvenience and distress to residents.  The drainage stack clearance programme had not started even though, since November 2013, senior management had offered endless assurances that arrangements were in hand.  The Estate still had no parking enforcement system and parking spaces on the Estate were still abused and misused by non residents who had discovered there was no penalty for doing so.  Progress reports on the majority of matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting were on the agenda for this meeting.

 

  1. Maintenance of external parts of Kennington Park Estate (Including programme of external decorations)

As reported in the TA newsletter, Hyde was not keeping to the spirit or the word of the tenancy agreement in relation to its responsibilities for planned and cyclical maintenance on Kennington Park Estate (that is, regular external maintenance to keep the exterior of the buildings and associated external fixtures and services in a good state of repair.)

It was confirmed that the TA had asked for details of the planned and cyclical maintenance programme at this time last year on the basis that it was back in 2005/06, immediately following transfer of ownership, that a comprehensive schedule of external maintenance was undertaken.  The TA pointed out this programme of work was well overdue even last year.  However, in March this year, Hyde presented a programme of cyclical maintenance work extending from 2014 to 2020.  The TA  immediately made it clear that a programme which meant that some KPE  blocks would be left to deteriorate for several more years up to 2018, 19 or 20 was completely unacceptable and the TA had, therefore, submitted a formal complaint.  At one point Hyde confirmed no changes were to be made to the programme of work, then, suddenly, Hyde agreed to ensure the work was brought forward under a revised programme.  It was noted that it was deeply disappointing that residents have to make formal complaints before our landlord can be persuaded to comply with our tenancy agreement.

The TA expressed concern that a particularly important element of the planned and cyclical maintenance programme was the significantly delayed vertical drainage stack clearance programme.  It was only too obvious to residents that this work was overdue, causing damage and distress to those who had experienced the back surge and flooding which occurred as a result of lack of proper maintenance.  The TA had been  nformed that Axis has been commissioned to do the stack clearance work and had asked for the precise details.  At the TA meeting in November last year residents were promised the stack clearance work was imminent.

The TA was waiting for the full details of the escalated programme (including the revised time line) before reaching a conclusion on the improvement proposed to the previously proposed timeframe and if it was acceptable.

 

  1. Housing management and estate management issues: Questions and queries from residents for HSH management

Residents commented on the poor estate cleaning service received from the cleaning contractor.  Residents expressed dissatisfaction that cleaners more often than not, swept water down only the first flight of stairs and did not make any attempt to clean the remainder of the five flights of stairs.  Sonia Reid referred to the age of the buildings and the problems that posed in terms of cleaning.  Sonia felt that some blocks were reasonably well cleaned.  However, it was pointed out that Kilner House was the same age as the KPE blocks and it was maintained in a significantly cleaner condition.

Residents were particularly disappointed and dissatisfied to report that problems with repairs continued as previously discussed.  The repairs service had not improved and residents were left with leaking ceilings and damaged decorations for month after month.  Residents also identified communal repairs as leaving much to be desired.

 

  1. Progress report on new parking enforcement arrangements

It was reported that KPETA reps had been pressing HSH managers on this for nearly two years since the new law prohibiting clamping came into force.  The TA was well aware the change of law was to be implemented in October 2012 and at every meeting with HSH managers, before and after October 2012, the TA enquired about plans for parking enforcement on the Estate when clamping was no longer allowed.  It took until mid-2013 before HSH started the process of consultation on new parking arrangements.. An estate-wide vote was held in February/March this year.  At the time of this meeting, HSH had still not given a precise date by which the new parking warden patrol enforcement arrangements were to be in place.  At one point it was proposed by HSH that full implementation would be achieved by the end of July.  It was deeply disappointing that it had taken nearly two years to consult on and implement something as straightforward as a new parking enforcement system.

Jose McKay confirmed that the traffic barriers at Hornby and Sherwin were about to be installed and residents of those blocks were to receive information about the new arrangements shortly.

 

  1. Report from TA Executive Committee:

7.1      Proposal to adopt revised Terms of Reference for KPETA

The TA reported that the existing Terms of Reference for KPETA were based on the Hyde model used at the time of the transfer of ownership in 2005.  It was, therefore, an appropriate time to review the terms of reference and constitution and the proposed new documentation had been circulated in advance for consideration.  It was confirmed it was based closely on the Hyde model and also that it was based on a universally accepted standard terms of reference and constitution.  Joan Twelves proposed adoption of the revised documentation for formal approval and implementation at the Annual General Meeting in September.  The proposal was formally seconded by Marco Barrella.  The motion to adopt the revised documentation was put to the vote and there voted 12 in favour of the motion, none against the motion with one abstention.  The motion to formally to adopt the revised KPETA Terms of Reference and Constitution at the AGM in September was, therefore agreed.

 

7.2      Report on negotiations with HSH/Hyde

It was reported that since the start of the new repairs contract with Mears at the end of October last year, the Tenants’ Association had been very active in challenging Hyde Head Office on behalf of tenants.  The contractor (Mears) appeared to tenants to have failed to perform to the contract from the beginning and continued to perform poorly.  The TA had been assured that the most senior staff at Head Office were dealing with the problem, holding top level meetings every week.  This had been going on for over six months.  The best brains at Hyde Head Office had been defeated by one repair contractor and HSH residents had suffered the consequences.  Teething problems, glitches, challenges, technical difficulties, were the explanations and excuses given by Hyde Head Office.

Hyde assured residents that an excellent, if not an exemplary procurement process was used to award this contract to Mears.  Residents pointed out that there had been unflattering reports in the press about Mears and it was no secret that awarding a repairs contract to Mears might well be risky and ill advised.  Residents have also been informed, very late in the day, that the computer system for repairs reporting was not ready when the new contract started.  This is why the staff at local level had experienced problems reporting repairs and tracking progress on behalf of tenants.

The response from Hyde senior managers, when HSH residents draw these failings to their attention is that no one else is complaining.  This time, we know, and they know that so many residents are complaining the noise is deafening.

The TA confirmed it was to approach Kate Hoey to ask her to contact the new Hyde Chief Executive to make it clear that residents of Kennington Park Estate were receiving a very poor service.

 

  1. Report from HSH Resident Forum

Marilyn reported that the HSH Resident Forum consisting of reps from Stockwell TAs as well as reps from Kennington Park Estate TA, were equally frustrated and dissatisfied with the call centre and the repairs service.  The Resident Forum was also concerned about the problems with service charges, parking enforcement, communal repairs, contract management, etc and lack of local and central accountability.

 

  1. Report from HSH Resident Assurance Committee and HSH Board

As a member of the HSH Resident Assurance Committee, Sonia Reid confirmed that the RAC had also expressed deep dissatisfaction with the performance of Mears and the problems residents were experiencing with the repairs service as a result.  In response to a query, Sonia confirmed she was shortly to receive a report on the review of the CCTV service which could then be shared with KPE residents.

 

  1. Any other business

Cllr Holland, elected as new Councillor for Oval Ward in May, introduced herself and confirmed there was a Councillors’ surgery on the first Saturday of every month and she could be contacted at any time on cholland@lambeth.gov.uk, 07920 547 829.

 

  1. Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate TA: 24 September (AGM)

19 November 2014.  (Meeting of Steering Group to organise next meeting, 1830, Monday, 1 September 2014, 1A Lockwood House).

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