All posts by Rob

About Rob

PRERA Deputy Contracts Representative

Gardening news

The crocuses are blooming and the daffodils are hot of their heals – spring must be just around the corner!

There are some beautiful flowers around the estate, but we are sure that parts of the estate could still do with brightening up, so we have been in discussions with Urban Growth about doing some more planting. Ideas have included summer bulbs and a wildflower meadow. Let us know if you’d like to get involved with the planting, or if you have any ideas about what we should plant.

Cycle parking has arrived

We were surprised this week by the arrival of a new cycle storage facility on Palace Road. This is great news, since finding a safe space to park bicycles has long been a problem. The new parking is in a ‘Bikehangar‘ and spaces inside can be rented by the year (£42) or month (£3.50). To apply, visit https://www.cyclehoop.rentals/.

We are told that this new Bikehangar arrived after nine local people requested one through the council’s website, and this number exceeded a threshold. So, if you are interested in a cycle parking space and this Bikehangar is now full, be sure to put in a request for a new Bikehangar.

Our new Bikehangar

Nature garden update

You may have noticed that works are underway in Palace Road Nature Garden. This work is being carried out by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and is funded by grants from the Western Riverside Environmental Fund and Lambeth Council. Thames Water and their contractor Barhale have also contributed by providing access to their toilets and canteen facilities.

The main pond
The main pond

TCV are generally on site from 10am to 4pm and Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. They are happy to show people around and explain what they are doing. The work includes:

  • Clearing rubble from the house that once stood on the site.
  • Planting fruit trees and soft-fruit bushes.
  • Sowing a wildflower meadow.
  • Planting new trees, including birch and elm.
  • Restoring the second pond.
  • Landscaping the area in front of the mural to create a performance space.
  • Installation of a noticeboard, tool storage unit, wooden cabin and toilets.

The full project specification can be found here.

The mural
The mural

If you would like help with any of the work, email palacerdnaturegdn@hotmail.co.uk or phone 07947976505.

The project is due to be completed in May and there will be a launch event in June.

Rest a while…

Responding to a request from a resident, PRERA applied last year for some funding from the Veolia Recycling Fund for Communities. We recently heard that we have been awarded £1000 toward purchasing a bench (or some benches)! The bench will be made from recycled plastic, so we will be able to see where some of our recycling ends up.

Once we have the funding in our account we will be able to place an order and arrange for the bench to be installed. In the meantime, please let us know what style of bench you think would be best and where you think it should be located.

Recycled plastic bench on the Kingswood Estate, Southwark
Recycled plastic bench on the Kingswood Estate, Southwark

Fire safety update

Lambeth Council is required to perform Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) of communal areas of its housing stock. The relevant legislation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005.

The blocks of flats on Palace Road Estate are covered by 10 FRAs which were performed between April 2017 and July 2018. Each FRA contains an action plan. This is a list of actions which are considered to be required to reduce fire risk or to maintain it at a tolerable level.

There are around 90 actions listed in the FRA action plans for Palace Road Estate. The actions have been assigned “priority action periods” (recommended timeframes for completion). These are “as soon as possible” (priority 1), within 1 month (priority 2), within 1-2 months (priority 3), within 2-6 months (priority 4) or long-term action to be taken – e.g. over a 1 to 3 year period (priority 5).

The majority of actions (around 80) were assigned priorities of 1 to 4. Given the dates when the FRAs were performed, these actions are due to have been completed by now.

In December 2018, the council informed us that over 45 actions / “deficiencies” coming from the FRAs for Palace Road Estate have not yet been performed. It therefore appears that around 40 actions are overdue (i.e. have exceeded the recommended timeframes specified in the FRA action plans).

PRERA is concerned that residents’ lives are potentially being put at risk by Lambeth Council’s failure to implement fire safety actions within the recommended timeframes.

We have been told that 26 of the pending actions have been placed in a long-term programme of works normally taking 2-5 years for completion. No justification has been provided for extensions to the recommended timeframes and no actual dates for completion of pending actions have been provided.

PRERA asked the council for the following information in August 2018. We are still waiting for a response:

  • A list of the actions specified in the actions plans in the FRAs for Palace Road Estate which have not yet been completed.
  • The dates when these actions will be completed.
  • The justification for extensions to the recommended timeframes specified in the FRA Action Plans.
  • For outstanding actions where the recommended timeframe for completion has been exceeded, we have also asked the council for evidence of “consultation with all stakeholders” and consideration of the “level of risk to relevant persons”. These activities are required by their own procedure (Fire Risk Assessment procedure, version 2.2, dated 19 June 2018, section 3.3).

PRERA has raised a complaint about the council’s failure to provide this information. A response to the complaint is due by 9th January 2019.

Another power cut

The power has again been cut to part of the estate. This has been reported to UK Power Networks. The call reference number is CALL-401501-J. If you need to call UK Power Networks, dial 0800 316 3105.

Update at 14:32: Electricity is expected to restored between 14:30 and 15:30.

Power cut at eastern end of the estate

This post will be updated whenever new information is available. Keep refreshing to check for new information.

15:30

  • There is currently a power cut affecting the eastern end of Coburg Crescent and Chalner House. This has been reported by PRERA to UK Power Networks (UKPN): reference number CALL-400471-J. If you know of anyone affected who is particularly vulnerable, please call 0800 316 3105 to speak to UK Power Networks and report this information.

15:40

  • UKPN have given an update: Engineers have been despatched and are on their way. We will be informed once we have a timeframe for the electricity coming back on. The incident reference number is INCD-21292-M.

15:49

  • UKPN say that the engineers are still on their way. They believe the fault is at the local substation. For this type of fault the would expect a fix between 18:00 and 19:00. However, they will have a clearer idea once the engineers are on site.

17:13

  • Engineers have arrived on site and the electricity appears to have been restored. UKPN report that they think the problem was a blown fuse! For more information, see http://bit.ly/1HtMb2g.

19:05

  • UKPN have sent an update: The fault is in part of their underground cabling and this has affected the substation equipment. A specialist team is on its way to dig down and find the fault. UKPN estimate that this work will be complete between 22:30 and 23:30. So, if you have electricity at the moment, it may well go off again later this evening.

21:28

  • UKPN update: The engineers have located the fault and are digging down to expose the cable. The estimate for completion of the work is now sometime between 23:30 and 00:30.

00:21

  • The engineers have now routed power around the fault, so overyone’s electricity should be back on. If you still don’t have electricity, call 0800 316 3105.

Security marking pens

Our local Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team have given us some pens which we can use to mark valuables. This will help the police to identify stolen goods and return them to their rightful owners. Do get in touch if you would like to borrow or have one of these pens.

Security marking pens

Lambeth Reprocurement Panel

Committee member Michelle is part of a panel of Lambeth residents that will help with the procurement of a contractor to provide the following services across the borough:

  • Capital Works / Decent Homes
  • Responsive Repairs, Void Property Repairs, Planned and Cyclical
  • Maintenance, Estate Cleaning and Grounds Maintenance
  • Door Entry, Access Control and CCTV systems
  • Gas Servicing, Heating Systems, Water Storage and Landlord’s
    Electrics
  • Lift Maintenance

The first meeting of the new panel was on 29th October. Please contact us if you would like to read the report of the meeting.