All posts by Rob

PRERA is 5 today!

Five years ago a group of residents came together to create the Palace Road Estate Residents’ Association (PRERA). Since then we have been busy working to make the estate an even better place to live. There has been a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years. Here’s to the next five years!

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Update on major works

A meeting was held on Thursday to give residents an update about the progress of the major works. There were representatives from the council, Pellings, Engie, MPS and PRERA present. Here is a summary:

Baly House and Ducavel House

Covid-19: The contractors confirmed that the delay and subsequent extension in period that scaffolding was required will not increase costs. A reassuring update was given covering distancing, use of sanitiser, staggered breaks, regular cleaning of shared spaces, and strict management of contractors (two strikes and they’re out) as well as all workers signing a compliance sheet and having daily temperature checks.

Asbestos: Found on window sofits in Baly and Ducavel will increase costs, residents will be informed shortly.

Doors: Replacement doors were being considered, but there is a substantial shortage of the right doors accross Lambeth, so it looks like this will be removed from the scope of the works.

Balconies: It was confirmed that both the private and communal balconies will be renovated, with new glazing and replacement timbers.

Scaffolding: Expected to come down in September or October.

Access to properties: To replace windows, internal access is required. Residents will be asked if they accept this, given concerns about Covid-19. The contractors are putting in place Covid-19 safety plans for access. Any refusal will be respected, but will delay the programme.

Communication: A newsletter is being created and the Resident Liaison Officer will ring all residents where access is needed. The newsletter will include information about the process for ensuring Covid-19 safety concerns are addressed.

Bushell Close

Boiler room: New boiler has been installed but not piped up at the moment, so we are still running on the temporary boiler. Within the boiler room they are around 10% complete on the pipework. 

Hot Water Issues: It’s believed the issues with hot water were due to the changeover to the temporary boiler. This changeover was done without notifying residents. This should not have happened and will not happen again.

In-flat system upgrade: The in-flat heating systems upgrades could require up to a week of work in flats. At present the plan is to replace the main communal boiler and distribution pipework to each of the flats. The contractors will then consider doing in-flat works once all of the external work is complete. If Covid-19 guidance has not changed by this time, they will hold off on in-flat work until safe to do so. However, they would not complete this work in the winter. If they could not complete, they would likely close the current scope of work and then enter into a new agreement for the internal works.

MPS scaffolding: The additional (green) scaffolding at the front of flats 6-8 is through responsive repairs and not related to the major works. Lambeth have now told responsive repairs that anything additional on-site must be notified

Water main replacement

This has mostly been completed, but completion is being prevented by the scaffolding on Baly and Ducavel Houses. Contractors will return when the scaffolding has gone.

Historical photos of Palace Road Estate – construction is complete

This is part of a series of blog posts of historical photos of Palace Road Estate. We can now show photos taken in 1977 – a few years after construction was completed.

A view from Palace Road.

The interior of the estate.

Residents enjoy sitting outside Chalner House.

A car parked on Palace Road.

Looking out from a Despard House balcony.

One entrance to Coburg Crescent.

A view from one of the walkways.

If you enjoyed looking at these photographs, you may be interested in finding more at the London Metropolitan Archives or the Lambeth Archives.

Do you have any old photographs of Palace Road Estate? Would you like to share them with other residents? Get in touch!

Planning update: works to Chalner House, Despard House and Coburg Crescent flats

Planning applications have been made for the works to Chalner House, Despard House and the flats on Coburg Crescent. The links in the previous sentence take you to these applications on the council’s planning website. Note that there are two applications for Despard House; one for flats 1 to 18 and one for flats 19 to 30.

The work includes replacement of the roofing felt, repair to degraded concrete and brickwork, replacement of entrance doors (to meet fire safety and security regulations), replacement of the plywood boxing over the external heating pipes and replacement of the timber cladding that is under some of the windows.

Detail from the drawing showing the repairs to the disastrously-bodged work to move the hot water pipes to the outside of the flats.

Planning update: resource centre

Permission was granted yesterday for the modified resource centre plans. Various documents relating to the application can be found here. The Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) is of particular interest. It contains lots of useful information about how the construction should proceed and has been revised following feedback from PRERA.

A drawing from the CEMP document showing the first stage of construction – excavation works.

Work should commence soon. Working hours will be weekdays from 08:00 to 18:00 and Saturdays from 08:00 to 13:00. Work can be carried out on Sundays or bank holidays if agreed with the council.

Historical photos of Palace Road Estate – building begins

This is part of a series of blog posts of historical photos of Palace Road Estate. After showing various architects’ models of the estate, we finally move onto the actual construction.

This photo (above) shows a terrace on Coburg Crescent at an early stage of construction. The foundations have been laid and services installed. The characteristic split-level design of most of the houses can already be seen.

Here we see the split-level design on the roadway of Coburg Crescent. The existing houses on Limetree Close can be seen in the background.

Steel reinforcments are put down, ready for pouring the concrete floor slabs.

With the floor slabs laid, building of the walls progresses, with a mixture of blocks and bricks.

Builders meet to discuss their work.

Historical photos of Palace Road Estate – designing the flats

This is part of a series of blog posts of historical photos of Palace Road Estate. This time we will look at some detailed models of the blocks of flats. These showed how the flats fitted within the topology of the sloping sites along Palace Road. Viewing the models from different angles helped the architects to understand how the completed buildings would look. A special camera could even be inserted into the models to show the view from within the finished buildings.

This beautiful model, carefully constructed from wood, shows one of the repeated units of flats, now know as houses – Ducavel, Baly, Ponton and Despard. Note the marker at the top left, showing the direction of north.

A similar model, viewed from Palace Road. This model includes the garages that extend below the flats.

A model viewed from the interior of the estate shows the consideration that the architects gave to the presence of the existing trees.

A camera inserted within a model shows a view as would be seen by a person standing on the balcony at the rear of the building.

A view looking along the balcony the other way.

Water main works resume

Residents today received notification that the water main replacement works will resume on Tuesday 26 May. The contractors, MPS – part of Mears Group, request that residents maintain a 2 metre distance from their staff, but give no details of measures that they will be taking to allow their staff to work safely during the pandemia.

The letter delivered to residents today. Click to download the full letter.

Streatham Hill Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Earlier this year the council held an initial consultation on the idea of a ‘low traffic neighbourhood’ in Streatham Hill. A low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) aims to remove or reduce the volume of non-local traffic passing through, while maintaining access for motor vehicles. There are several reasons for doing this:

  • Reduce carbon emissions and help address the climate emergency.
  • Improve air quality. (Air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths each year in London.)
  • Reduce noise levels.
  • Allow children to play in the street again.
  • Reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads. (Currently around 200 people in Lambeth are killed or seriously injured by motor vehicles each year.)

On Friday, the council decided to implement emergency versions of several LTNs, including the one in Streatham Hill. As well as LTNs, ‘healthy routes’ will be implemented to help people to travel safely on foot and by cycle.

The Streatham Hill LTN is scheduled to be implemented as the fourth emergency LTN (after Oval, Railton and Ferndale), with design starting on 8th June and implementation from 6th July. A statutory consultation period starts on 22nd June. A consultation on plans for the permanent Streatham Hill LTN is due in autumn 2020.

A map illustrating the current situation in Streatham Hill. The red and orange lines indicate roads that have a high proportion of through traffic. (Click to enlarge image.)

Works resume on the estate

After an extended break, contractors are today returning to continue work on the roofs and concrete of Ducavel and Baly houses. Residents of these blocks were informed of this by letter last Thursday. The letter, from a contracts manager at Engie, outlines some of the measures that will be taken to comply with requirements for safe working and social distancing. These include:

  • Regular monitoring of working practices by the site manager.
  • A full-time welfare attendant keeping the site clean.
  • Staggered lunch breaks.
  • Hand sanitiser stations.

A copy of the letter, courtesy of a resident on Baly House, is provided below.