Football at Hillside Gardens Park

Last summer, the Friends of Hillside Gardens Park organised some football training sessions at the park for local children. The sessions were a great success, so this Easter the Friends will be holding some more.

The sessions are aimed at girls and boys aged 7 to 12. Expert football coaching is provided is provided by Furzedown United FC. Attendance is free of charge, due to support from PRERA and Lambeth Council.

Community planting day

On 31st March Urban Growth will be coming to the estate to help us brighten it up with new plants and flowers. Drop by and join in at any time between 10am and 3pm.

We will be meeting at 10am by the playground. The planting will take place at various locations around the estate, so if you arrive later in the day, have a walk around and you will find us.

Newsletter

All residents of the estate should now have received the latest PRERA newsletter. This was delivered by hand by committee members over this weekend. It includes news about events, developments and the forthcoming AGM.

These newsletters are only published occasionally, due to the amount of time that they take to produce, but we think that they are useful for keeping residents up to date with developments. What do you think? Let us know.

You can download a PDF version of the newsletter by clicking on the image below.

Annual general meeting

PRERA will be holding its annual general meeting (AGM) on 2nd April 2019. The main purpose of the meeting is to ensure the continued existence of our residents’ association. We need enough people to attend so that we can elect a new committee for the coming year and continue to make Palace Road Estate a great place to live.

Please come to the meeting and share your views, hear more about the association and get involved. The meeting starts at 7.30pm, but refreshments will be served from 7.10pm. As in previous years, the meeting will be held at Laburnum Hall, which is on the Cheshire Estate, next to Palace Road Nature Garden.

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.