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.

Fire risk assessments

The council have provided us with copies of the fire risk assessments (FRAs) for the flats on the estate:

1-26 Bushell Close
27-38 Bushell Close
39-52 Bushell Close
Chalner House
Coburg Crescent 130-139
Despard House
Ducavel House
Ponton House
Baly House
10-11 Coburg Crescent
27-38 Bushell Close
39-52 Bushell Close

According to the council’s procedure (section 3.4), the blocks on Palace Road Estate appear to fall into a 3 yearly review cycle. The FRAs indicate a 2 or 3 yearly review cycle (depending on the block). The latest FRAs for some blocks were performed in February 2015 and so it appears that reviews are (over)due for some blocks.

The FRAs contain tables of actions towards the end of the documents. The more recent ones use a priority rating for the actions of 1-5. The FRAs  contain actions with priorities of 1 (ASAP, call H&S team direct from site); 2 (action recommended to be completed within 1 month); 3 (1-2 months); 4 (2-6 months) and 5 (long-term action e.g. over a 1 to 3 year period). Given the dates of the FRAs, most of the actions should now have been performed. We will therefore ask the council for an update on these actions.

Here is a summary of assessment dates by block and the priority levels of actions:

1-26 Bushell Close; 4/2/2015; L and M priority levels
27-38 Bushell Close; 21/2/2018; Priority 2, 3 and 4
39-52 Bushell Close; 21/2/2018; Priority 3 and 4
10-11 Coburg Crescent; 30/04/2017; Priority 5
130-139 Coburg Crescent; 17/2/2015; L and M priority levels
1-16 Chalner House; 8/05/2017; Priority 1, 2, 3 and 5.
1-30 Despard House; 9/2/2015; L and M priority levels
1-38 Ponton House; 2/6/2017; Priority 2, 3 and 4
1-38 Baly House; 3/04/2017; Priority 2
1-46 Ducavel House; 2/6/2017; Priority 2, 3 and 4


Structural inspection report

We have been provided with a report on a structural inspection that was carried out on 31st May and 1st June 2018. The inspection was made by structural engineers employed by Lambeth Council. It makes a number of interesting observations:

  • Lack of routine maintenance, including painting timber cladding, repairing minor cracks in masonry and replacing damaged windows and glass panels on the balconies.
  • Water ingress in concrete structural elements (lintels and floor slabs) leading to pieces of concrete falling from heights, leading to “health & safety risks to the residents and visitors to the buildings.”
  • “A system of tree management should be set up and put in place to manage the trees in the estate in consultation with Lambeth’s Trees Section.” This comment will come as a surprise to service charge payers who are regularly charged significant sums for tree maintenance.

Despite the reported immediate risks from falling pieces of concrete, the council chose not to inform residents until their letter about initial works to make the concrete safe in mid-July.

The report asserts that “None of the defects mentioned above is considered as impairing the structural stability and integrity of the buildings at present.” However, since the inspection excluded the garages, above which many of the flats are built, PRERA has requested that the garages are also inspected.

Water works on Palace Road

Some containers have recently appeared on Palace Road near to the nature garden. These are related to the repairs to the water main under Palace Road. Thames Water have provided us with a short statement about the works:

“The works on Palace Road are a continuation of Thames Water’s works on Leigham Vale which were completed last year. Thames Water have concerns about the condition of pipes on both Palace Road and Norwood Road and potential the risk of flooding hence the reason for the works.

These works on Palace Road should be completed by December 2018. The second stage of works will begin in January 2019 on Norwood Road. Before the works on Norwood Road start, their teams will be notifying residents by letter in advance on any impacts it may have on them.

If any customers have any queries or wish to know more about the project they can either go and speak to the team at the welfare unit or call the Thames Water contact centre on 0800 316 9800 selecting option 1 and quoting reference BB240035.”