All posts by Rob

About Rob

PRERA Deputy Contracts Representative

Brixton Chamber Orchestra – free concert and party

The Brixton Chamber Orchestra will be putting on a free open-air concert at Cressingham Gardens Estate on Saturday 31 August 2019, from 3pm until 5pm. The 30-piece orchestra will play “Euro-Classics, fresh pop covers & Samba dances”.

The concert/party will take place on the ‘mounds’ – the hillocks on the Brockwell Park side of the estate. There will be children’s activities, including a bouncey castle. Early-birds will be provided with food from a Caribbean barbecue (please make a donation), but otherwise, bring a picnic.

Major works – meeting with contractors

Last Thursday, our treasurer, Phil, met with representatives from Engie (the contractors), Pellings (the consultants) and Lambeth council to discuss the major works programme. The meeting initially discussed points carried over from the last meeting:

  • The major works won’t be able to pick up all ‘responsive repairs’ as the Major works will be phased over a number of year, so residents are still advised to raise repair requests in the normal way (as opposed to assuming that major works will cover them).
  • Lambeth acknowledged their database of freeholders on Coburg Crescent is wrong, and are rectifying this. This came to light as homeowners were wrongly sent letters implying that their homes were council owned. Correction letters are being sent, and the contractors (Engie) have been knocking on doors to speak to owners.
  • Leaseholders in Baly and Ducavel should expect to receive Section 20 notices (S20s) by late September ‘at the very latest’. This is to allow works to commence in November/December (after 6 weeks consultation).
  • The S20s will include a package of works. For Baly and Ducavel Houses this is water works and improvement works; for Bushel Close this is water and boiler works.
  • The council agreed to contact the department working on Palace Road Community Center to ensure some kind of link up here.
  • The phasing means that a number of tenanted properties on Coburg Crescent have seen works begin. This will be followed by Baly and Ducavel Houses, with boiler works on Bushell Close and the rest of the estate after this.

There followed an update from Engie on the current works:

  • Scaffolding is up on the first 6 houses, surveys are underway. Once these are complete the pace of works can pick up, with the remaining 31 houses to do.
  • They are looking for a site to place an additional storage containers, the unused below surface garages were suggested.
  • They will erect notice boards to provide information on site workers, contacts, etc.

Lastly, Phil raised some points:

  • With wrong letters sent out how will they improve communications? Whilst an all resident newsletter was rejected, those receiving works will receive monthly newsletters. An additional idea was accepted, to put notices up on all notice boards.
  • Can they have a resident meeting? They are looking to set up a leaseholders drop-in meeting, but are undecided whether this should be extended to all residents as many are not receiving works in the current phase. I strongly advocated to open it to all.
  • Phil emphasised that letting him/the TRA know about stuff was not the same as communicating with residents, and that the TRA is not responsible for sharing information about these works. This was agreed with.

These meetings will be held monthly at Engie’s compound in the car park on Coburg Crescent. The committee will endeavour to send a representative to each meeting. Please let us know if there is anything that you would like raised at these meetings.

Major works have started

Scaffolding has been erected at a number of houses along Coburg Crescent. Following enquires by the committee, PRERA has learned that six houses will have external work carried out. We are told that this includes:

  • Front entrance door replacement
  • Replacement Windows
  • Fabric repairs to building (bricks, concrete or both)
  • Roof works
  • External decoration
Some of the scaffolding that has gone up on Coburg Crescent

The work is to be carried out by the contractor Engie and is expected to be completed by the end of September. Engie will then move on to working on Baly House and Ducavel House.

Letters have been sent to many Coburg Crescent residents informing them of this work. Unfortunately, we are aware of at least two freeholders who were sent letters informing them that Engie will carry out work on their properties. Have you also received a worrying or confusing letter about these works? Has scaffolding appeared on your house and you don’t know why? Let us know.

Resource centre planning application variation – first floor

This post follows on from an earlier post about the proposed changes to the Coburg Crescent resouce centre. The changes proposed for the first floor are shown in the plans below:

Accepted first floor plan – click to enlarge
Proposed first floor plan – click to enlarge

The main change, in respect of community provision is a reduction in the size of the shop floor from 82 to 54.7 square meters. This is mainly due the stock room being moved from the ground floor to the first floor. The stock room has also shrunk – from 53 to 34.3 square meters.

Resource centre planning application variation – ground floor

This post follows on from an earlier post about the proposed changes to the Coburg Crescent resouce centre. The changes proposed for the ground floor are shown in the plans below:

Accepted ground floor plan – click to enlarge
Proposed ground floor plan – click to enlarge

Notable changes:

  • Removal of 53 square meter shop storage area.
  • Reduction in size of several rooms, including the day room, gym and kitchen.
  • Larger courtyard area.

Resource centre planning application variation

Planning permission for the new resource centre on Coburg Crescent was granted in August 2018. Since then, very little has happened on the ground, apart from some tests of the soil on the building site. Now, a variation of the planning permission is being sought.

These changes were presented to the planning case officer on 12 July 2018, but PRERA only heard of these changes in July 2019, when letters were sent to some residents. The deadline for us to comment is 26 July 2019.

There are many documents related to this variation available at the council’s planning website. The covering letter gives the rationale for the changes:

In parallel with the process of determination for the planning application, the project was being priced by the appointed Contractor. Unfortunately, the estimated cost was significantly over budget and as a result it was necessary to undergo a period of value engineering.

Details of the variation are summarised by the council as:

Condition 2: The proposal seeks the following revisions to the approved drawings:
– reduction the massing of the building:
– removal of shop storage and plant room from ground floor level and re-provision of storage room at first floor level;
– revised the internal layout and external design;
– additional stair core in the building,
– enlarged outdoor courtyard space; and
– changes to the external cladding material from clay tiles to a metal shingle cladding in a similar colour.

Conditions 17 and 18:
Revised wording to allow additional time for BREEAM certificates.

Condition 5, 8 , 9 and 15:
Details have been provided to satisfy the requirements of these conditions.

The following images illustrate the changes to the external appearance of the building:

Artist's impression of the new resource centre
Artist’s impression of the new resource centre – viewed from Palace Road, towards the shop
Revised artist's impression of the new resource centre
Revised artist’s impression of the new resource centre – viewed from Palace Road, towards the shop
Artist’s impression of the new resource centre – viewed from Coburg Crescent, towards the main entrance
Revised artist’s impression of the new resource centre – viewed from Coburg Crescent, towards the main entrance

The most significant change, as far as the appearance of the building goes, may be the change in cladding material from clay tiles to metal shingles, hung at a 45 degree angle. The pictures also illustrate something of the reduction in size of the building, as now proposed.

The changes to the internal layout of the building are explored in separate posts detailing the changes to the ground, first and second floors.

Section 20 notice for consultancy costs

A resident who is a leaseholder has recently received a letter from the council notifying them of a proposal to appoint a contractor for ‘consultancy and asset management services for our capital and technical programmes’. The letter is dated 5 July 2019.

The front page of the letter, with names and address of recipients removed. Click to download a PDF of the full document.

The letter refers to a ‘notice of intention’, dated April 2018. Did you receive this letter? If so, could you let us know?