New bollard on Palace Road

At the end of January a new bollard appeared on Palace Road, just outside the Palace Road Nature Garden. It is beside the gate that blocks the road to motor traffic, but obstructs wide cycles (such as tricycles), mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

What is it for? We asked the council and they replied that someone had been driving a Smart car through this gap, leading to complaints by “a number of” residents – hence the new bollard. As for non-motorised road users who can’t get through the gap any more, they are advised by the council to “use the footpath running parallel”. This may well be illegal, of course.

Mystery concrete has gone!

As quickly as it arrived, the mystery concrete has vanished, replaced with soil. Who knows why it visited us for three weeks, or how much its visit cost council tax payers? PRERA will seek answers to these and other questions in the hope that similar destructive and wasteful operations are not carried out in the future.

Where there was concrete this morning, there is now just soil.

Hazard at Ponton House

Don’t loiter outside the rear entrance to Ponton House – there is a large piece of metal hanging by a wire four storeys up above the entrance. This was reported to Lambeth Housing on 6 March and again on 10 March. No timescale has been given for its removal.

The metal, which appears to be a cable rack, hanging at fourth storey level.

Raised bed maintenance

The raised beds sitting on the garages outside Baly, Ponton and Despard Houses are still not being maintained by Pinnacle PSG, so volunteers have been out weeding. Would you like to help? It doesn’t take long, and they look so much better afterwards. Contact us, if you would like company, or just get stuck in!

A volunteer clears weeds as Despard House on Monday

Major works update

On the 1st of March PRERA representatives attended a meeting with Pellings (who are lead consultants for the forthcoming major works project on the estate) and Lambeth.

A summary of the meeting on further communications is below. PRERA will continue to insist on early and clear communications to all residents directly from the council and Pellings. Please note, this is all the information that PRERA have at the moment. We will endeavor to keep residents updated should more information be made available.

Two packages of work
There will be two packages of work, an external works package and works relating to the replacement of the existing water mains to each block on the estate. This means residents will receive two separate Section 20 notices.

Plan and Cost
PRERA have been told there will be approximately £2.5m spent annually over the next three years. Due to this, the work will be phased across the estate. The order of works has not been finalised by PRERA have been informed that the current intention is that

  • Phase 1 (2019-2020) includes 1-38 Baly House, 1-46 Ducavel House, and 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Coburg Crescent.
  • Phase 2 (2020-2021) includes Chalner House, Despard House, Ponton House and 130-139 Coburg Crescent.
  • Phase 3 (2021-2022) covering the rest of the estate.

The intention is to begin phase 1 in June/July, once the S20 consultation is complete and resident engagement has been undertaken.

Section 20’s
We understand Section 20’s will be block specific. So Baly House and Ducavel should receive these first, expected currently in the next few weeks. There will be two separate Section 20’s: one for the major works and one for water works.

The Work
Relating to phase 1, PRERA have been told the works include:  ‘communal/ external decorations, roof replacement, external fabric repairs (brick/concrete) (provisional sum only), scaffold for access, window replacement, asbestos surveys and removals (provisional sum only), balcony repairs (provisional sum only), balcony drainage surveys and associated repairs.’

Planting day

What a day! We planted hundreds of pot plants and bulbs all over the estate, in flower beds and planters and around trees. They don’t look like much at the moment, but, come the summer, the estate should be a riot of colour.

We planted geraniums, nepetas, heucheras, asters, campanulas, phlox, gaillardia, heleniums, snow drops and bluebells. You can make sure that these survive until the summer by watering them, if they are near to where you live.

Thank you to everyone who came to help, particularly Dot, Taye and Mark from Urban Growth.

Mystery concrete – with updates

Over the weekend a section of the grassed area at the entrance to Bushell Close was dug up and concrete poured in. This has created a new paved area that residents suspect will be used for storing bins. Understandably, residents who enjoy having a view of attractive gardens rather than rubbish bins are angry and worried about this.

It seems that residents were not consulted about this new construction in any way and planning permission has not been sought. The committee is urgently trying to find out what is going on and will provide an update through this blog once we learn more.

Update on 21/3/19: A formal complaint has been made to the council by PRERA about this new concrete.

Update on 26/3/19: After representations made to the council by residents, PRERA and ward councillors, we have been told that “this construction relates to the development of new refuse chambers required as a result of FRA [fire risk assessment] recommendations”. We have not been told who arranged for this work to be done or why there was no consultation, but we have been told that the Head of Repairs Projects will be reviewing the suitability of the site and, if appropriate, the development will be relocated.

Update on 28/3/19: PRERA has been informed that this concrete will be removed next week.

Update on 5/4/19: A resident has been informed this morning, through Cllr Atkins, that the removal of the concrete will commence today and be completed tomorrow. The area should be relaid with turf.

Update on 8/4/19: The work to remove the concrete will now start on Wednesday, we are told. This is because the machinery required was not available at the weekend.

Update on 10/4/19: Work has still not started to remove the concrete. PRERA will continue to pursue the council on this.

Our supermarket

Did you know that our very own supermarket, Best-one, is now under new management? There is a much wider variety of produce, including fresh fruit, vegetables and bread. Why not pay them a visit and support our local business?

Opening times: 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 9pm Sunday

Best-one shop

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.