All posts by Rob

About Rob

PRERA Deputy Contracts Representative

Fire safety update

The Regulator of Social Housing has identified failures by Lambeth Council to meet statutory health and safety requirements relating to fire safety, gas safety and asbestos management. The regulatory notice can be read here.

Regarding fire safety, Lambeth Council was found by the regulator to have “a significant number of overdue remedial actions arising from fire risk assessments [FRAs].” The regulator considered Lambeth’s case to be a breach of the “Home Standard” because of the “breadth and scale of the failure” and the “longstanding nature of the issues”. The regulator concluded that Lambeth Council “did not have an effective system in place to allow it to manage the risk of tenant safety and meet its statutory health and safety responsibilities across a range of areas.”

The regulator acknowledges that improvements have been made over the last six months and that the council has “significantly accelerated the pace with which it is progressing on remedial works.”

Overdue actions from FRAs is something that PRERA became aware of for Palace Road Estate back in December 2018.

Earlier this year, PRERA brought concerns about these overdue actions to the attention of senior housing staff in Lambeth Council and the Cabinet Member for Housing. In May 2019, the council’s (Interim) Fire Safety Manager visited Palace Road Estate and was helping to see that pending actions were scheduled for implementation. PRERA has requested an update on the current status of actions arising from FRAs for Palace Road Estate. Once we have received this information, we will provide an update through this blog.

Maintaining our fruit trees

Many thanks to Robert and Thomas from the Open Orchard Project who kindly dropped by the estate this morning to care for some of our young fruit trees. They pruned the trees to improve their shape and to encourage healthy growth, they topped up the soil and they re-secured the protective cages.

Robert and Thomas are keen to collaborate with residents to come up with an ongoing maintenance programme for our young fruit trees. This will help to ensure that the trees are strong and healthy. If you would like to be involved with this, do get in touch with PRERA.

Wanted: New PRERA Chair

The Chair of PRERA, Michelle Baker, has decided to step down from the role at the end of October. That means that there is a vacancy to be filled. All residents are eligible for the role. Would you be interested?

The Chair has the following main responsibilities:

  • Guide PRERA to achieve its objectives.
  • Chair meetings and act as a spokesperson for PRERA.
  • Prepare agendas for meetings, with input from other committee members.
  • Ensure that other committee members carry out their allotted tasks.

Contact us if you are interested in this role or would like to find out more.

The benches have landed!

Yesterday the three new benches were finally installed around the estate. One bench is by the playground, one is on the service road and the third is at the top of the steps down to Christchurch Road. Thank you to Engie for installing them and to Veolia for funding the purchase of the benches.

Benches are on their way!

You may have noticed small areas on the estate cordoned off with fencing. Within these are concrete plinths that are being laid for our benches. We owe thanks to Engie for doing this for us, free of charge.

The bench location at the top of the steps down to Christchurch Road

The concrete will require a few days to set hard before the benches can be installed.

Major works consultation meeting

We have just been informed that there will be a consulation meeting held at the Lambeth Town Hall in connection with the forthcoming major works. The meeting will be held on 11th October 2019 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm at the basement committee room, Lambeth Town Hall, 1 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW. Representatives will be present from the contractors, the consultant (Pellings) and Lambeth’s project delivery and home ownership teams.

The planned works are:

External building repairs to: Baly House, Ducavel House and Coburg Crescent (104, 96, 18, 109, 103, & 123)

The works proposed subject to surveys will be:

  • windows and roofs renewal
  • rain water goods
  • brickwork/concrete repairs
  • balcony repairs  
  • decoration of communal areas

Mains water pipes renewal works to the following blocks:

  • Ducavel House
  • Baly House
  • Ponton House
  • Despard House
  • Chalner House
  • Bushell Close
  • Coburg Crescent 130-139

Bushell Close heating replacement: The replacement of distribution pipework from the boiler room, boiler replacement in dwelling heating systems and modification to the existing boiler room.

Resource centre Q&A session

Lambeth Council and the construction contractor held an question and answer session on the estate yesterday, so residents could pop along, view the building plans and ask any questions they had.

Inspecting the plans

The event was attended by residents and members of the Palace Road Estate Residents’ Association. Lots of useful information was talked through, questions answered and there were also discussions about the location of the temporary shop. The current shop will close as it will become part of the site boundary during construction works, however a temporary shop will be installed beside the site on Palace Road. 

The proposed location for the temporary shop

Concerns about construction noise, contractor parking and the duration of the project were answered by staff representing the contractor and Lambeth Council.  The contractor will have an open door policy during the construction works as well as issuing regular newsletters to keep residents updated on the works.

It is anticipated that the construction works will start in late Autumn and take approximately one year to complete. The finished building will bring a new energy to that end of the estate after years of being an empty space, as it will contain a shop and cafe for residents to use. 

Bills for major works

We have been hearing from leaseholders that bills for major works have started being delivered. The sums involved vary, but are large – tens of thousands of pounds. We expect this to be a great concern to many residents, so we encourage you seek advice and to talk to your fellow leaseholders.

If you contact us, we can put you in touch with other leaseholders. You can get advice from the following organisations:

We have set up a web forum for discussion amongst leaseholders. You can access it here. You will need a Google account.

We have been informed that enquiries about Section 20 notices received from Homeownership services should be sent to Chris Ojo and Karen Kellaway using the following email addresses:
HMhomeownership@lambeth.gov.uk, COjo@lambeth.gov.uk and kkellaway@lambeth.gov.uk.