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PRERA Deputy Contracts Representative

End of a PRERA?

Only 15 households were represented at the AGM on 16th October – short of the minimum 17 required to hold an election for a new committee. So the AGM was held without a new committee being elected. The previous committee can carry on serving for a few months, but after that the association will be disolved, unless a new election can be held.

If PRERA ceases to exist, the voice of the residents will be weaker when dealing with the council or the council’s contractors. Good representation for residents will be increasingly important over the coming years as the council plans to spend millions of pounds carrying out much-needed major maintenance work.

Would you like the work of PRERA to continue? Can you help to make this happen? Do get in touch.

PRERA logo

Annual general meeting – 16th October 2018 at 7pm

PRERA’s AGM for 2018 will be held at 7pm on 16th October. As in previous years, the venue will be Laburnum Hall on Cheshire Estate – just next to the Palace Road Nature Garden.

The committee will give a review of what has happened over the past year. There will then be an opportunity to vote for, or be elected to, next year’s committee. A council officer will also be present to give an update on a proposed new waste policy.

If you care how the estate is maintained, if you want to help organise events, or if you want to influence how your council tax or service charges are spent, come along!

Map showing the location of Laburnum Hall
Map showing the location of Laburnum Hall

Resource centre planning decision

At the end of August the Lambeth Council Planning Committee issued a decision notice on the application to build a new resource centre on Coburg Crescent. As expected, permission was granted, subject to conditions.

There are many important conditions, but a key condition for us, in terms of being able to use the new building, is number 22:

Prior to the occupation of the development hereby permitted a Community Use Agreement shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority confirming that the community space will be made available for hire and use by the local community and community groups, subject to the normal operational constraints of the day centre service and with due consideration given to the need to safeguard the users and residents of the Resource Centre. The development hereby permitted shall thereafte be operated in accordance with the approved details.

Given that this new development was only made possible by demolishing our community hall, we have argued strongly that we should be able to use the communal facilities in the new building (café and community space) freely and without charge.

Artist's impression of the new resource centre
Artist’s impression of the new resource centre with the shop in the foreground. To the left of the shop is the café and the community space.

Hillside Gardens Park steering committee

The council have told us that they have £500,000 to spend in our local park, Hillside Gardens Park. They want a committee of local people to advise on how this money should be invested. Are you a user of Hillside Gardens Park? Would you like to get involved with this improvement project? There will be around seven meetings to attend over the course of a year. Get in touch to volunteer or find out more.

A group of volunteers after planting fruit trees in Hillside Gardens Park
A group of volunteers after planting fruit trees in Hillside Gardens Park

Free training courses

We have just received notification from Lambeth’s Housing Services Resident Engagement Officer of this training that is available free of charge to residents:

Level 2 Scrutiny course starts 20th September for 12 weeks, 6-9pm at the Town Hall

  • Gain a recognised qualification in the field of housing.
  • Understanding of scrutiny in the housing service.
  • Understanding of housing management performance information
  • Appreciation of what is required in undertaking a scrutiny review of a housing service.

Level 2 Food Hygiene course scheduled for 26th September 10am-3pm at High Trees.

  • Designed to help anyone who handles, prepares or serves food in the catering industry.
  • Understand your legal responsibilities.
  • Know what constitutes as best practice when it comes to controlling food safety hazards, temperatures, storage and much more

Level 3 Award in Education & Training Formerly known as PTTLS

  • Starts 2nd October two days a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10am-3pm for 7 weeks
  • Short course designed to enable you to undertake teaching or training.
  • Gain awareness of the key principles and practises of teaching and develop appropriate training skills.
  • Perfect for all who are aspiring to teach, in further education, adult or community learning

Enrolments are scheduled for 10, 11 and 12 September from 10am – 3pm. Please contact High Trees on 020 8671 3132 or email mohammed.meho[at sign]high-trees.org to enrol.

Proposed new domestic waste policy

The council have proposed a policy for dealing with domestic waste on the estate – see below. Please let us know if you have any comments on it.

Domestic Bulk Waste Disposal

1. Domestic bulk refuse for everyone on the estate: we’ll provide residents with Pinnacle contact centre telephone number to agree bulk collection one day a week to mirror the service of the general council population but the only difference is that there’ll be no charge for council tenants and leaseholders. Residents will be required to leave bulk refuse no more than 2 hours before the pre-arranged collection. Any refuse or bulk left by any resident outside of this arrangement will be regarded as fly-tipping and will attract enforcement action ranging from fixed penalty charge, anti-social behaviour warning to eviction or lease forfeiture (in very rare but persistent cases).

This will be an appointment ONLY system for residents to dispose their domestic bulk waste. The system will:

  • eliminate random waste disposal and therefore make the estate look neater
  • encourage responsible behaviour
  • deny space or opportunity for fly-tipping;
  • residents will be clear of the arrangements in place for them to dispose domestic waste
  • increase opportunity for recycling
  • above all a clear arrangement will enable us to carry out enforcement and encourage residents to report irresponsible behaviour

Day to day Domestic Waste

2. Flats including Bushell Close – we do not propose any significant change other than to use the cameras on Palace Road to monitor the bin chambers to enable us to carry out enforcement action against fly-tipping by vans/lorries driving to the estate to dump wastes.

3. Houses on Coburg Crescent
Immediate steps:
a. A letter will be sent to residents asking them to store wheelie bins in their individual back gardens or in the wooden bin stores between collections.
b. Letter will also reiterate that all waste (refuse and recycling) should only be put out on collection day only and any departure will be regarded as fly-tipping. The draft letter will be prepared by Veolia and circulated to TRA for comments before being distributed
longer term-
c. Green bins to replace clear bags for recycled waste have been suggested in the past and will be reviewed again now that improvement to parking and access to the estate has improved
d. If green bins are not possible option of a designated collection corral will be looked at. This is not something we’ll favour as it’s more likely than not to attract general refuse, bulk and fly-tipped material.
e. Moving waste presentation points for residents to the front of the property at the roadside to assist collections
f. Carry out bin rationalisation and also swap current black bins to 140l in line with Lambeth standard offer

 

New gates at Despard House garages

Following a spate of fly-tipping incidents at the Despard House garages (often in broad daylight), the council has installed gates to make it more difficult for fly-tippers to discretely dump their rubbish. We have questioned the cost of these new gates and have been told that their installation is expected to be cheaper than the removal of dumped waste.

We have also asked why the gates have been painted yellow. This is apparently to make them more visible during the night. What do you think? Is this reasonable, or would a more tasteful shade of paint be more suitable, combined with reflectors? Let us know your thoughts.

All garage tenants should be receiving keys for the new gates within the next two weeks.

Major works planned for 2019-2020

We have received an ‘indicative capital programme‘ for the 2019-2020 accounting year. This shows that the planned works for Palace Road Estate are in four categories: (i) externals, (ii) water tanks and boosters, (iii) communal heating / distribution / control and (iv) electrics. No other Lambeth estate has work planned in as many as four categories. The draft programme will go to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee for their approval.

External condition report

Perhaps as a result of our request during the visit of Chuka Umunna MP to the estate, the council has carried out an inspection to see what work is required to renovate the external elements of the buildings. The report can be downloaded here.

The report says that the following work is necessary:

  • Total replacement of the roofs.
  • Replacement of windows, including patio/balcony doors.
  • Upgrading of doors to flats to meet fire safety standards.
  • Repairs to balconies, “including timber replacement and replacement or alternative glazing”.

This work, together with the necessary structural repairs, is estimated to cost in the region of £10.5 million. We have been told that this work will form part of Lambeth’s capital works programme over several years, starting in the 2019-2020 budgetary year.