Edmundsbury Court Estate Tenants & Residents Association
Edmundsbury Community Hall, 171 Ferndale Road, London SW9 8FQ
Mon-Sun: 9am-10pm
22 Jul 2018

Edmundsbury Leaseholder Bills

Introduction

A few weeks before Christmas (2017) leaseholders on Edmundsbury Estate were sent bills for over £1,400 each from Lambeth Council for Major Works. The works were the installation of the door entry systems that were installed in 2013. Some leaseholders had been sent bills earlier in the year, not stating the nature of the works. Some leaseholders were reluctant to pay this bill as it was so old, some were tenants in 2013, not leaseholders, others didn’t live here in 2013. When we looked into it, we read under Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act):

“if the freeholder incurs relevant costs that are more than 18 months old, then the freeholder is required to serve notice on the leaseholders in accordance with section 20B(2) informing them that they will be required to contribute towards these costs at some future time”

We understood from this, that in addition to the Council issuing a Section 20 Notice for expected costs of major works, then they have to charge leaseholders within 18 months or issue Leaseholders a Section 20B notice within that 18 months.

Many leaseholders didn’t pay this bill, a few set up to pay by instalments. In addition, whilst some leaseholders were told that they had to pay this bill into a separate account to their regular day-to-day service charges, other residents were told that their regular day-to-day service charges, that they had been paying for years by standing order, were not being paid. When they questioned this it appeared as if Lambeth Council had changed the account numbers so their regular service charges were paying for the Major Works – the bill that they had refused to pay.

Another leaseholder was accused of not paying previous year’s service charges, but no bill, receipt or evidence was forthcoming.

Jonathan Harbourne wrote on behalf of Edmundsbury Estate leaseholders (after emails from other leaseholders had not been responded to) to Chris Ojo from Homeowner Services seeking clarification. Our new Councillor, Cllr Irfan Mohammed, supported us by issuing a ‘Member’s Enquiry’ – so that an Officer would be compelled to respond to our questions.

 

Letter and Response

Original Letter sent from Edmundsbury Estate to Leaseholder Services
Sent:
27 June 2018 17:39

Dear Chris Ojo, Lambeth Council Homeowner Services

I understand that Tim, the acting chair of the Edmundsbury Leaseholders Group, has invited you to meet the leaseholders of Edmundsbury Court Estate on any Monday evening at our community hall. I understand that he hasn’t received a reply yet.

We have our next Quarterly Residents Meeting on
Monday 23rd July 7-9pm, Edmundsbury Community Hall
and warmly invite you to attend.

If not, the original invitation of any Monday evening before August is still open!

There are some common questions that leaseholders are asking – as certain people have been given different information.

1a. In respect the 2013 intercom replacement bill that Edmundsbury Leaseholders received in November 2017:
Works must be invoiced to leaseholders within 18 months of the freeholder incurring the cost.
• What date did you become contractually required to make payment to the contractor – can you produce the bill?
• Why did you wait 4 years to invoice Leaseholders?
1b. Did you, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, notify the leaseholders in writing that those costs had been incurred and that they would subsequently be required under the terms of their lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge?
• If you did – can you produce the communication.

2a. Please state which account number is for Major Works, and which account number is for regular annual service charges.
2b. Leaseholders have been accused of not paying their regular annual service charges by Lambeth, because their payments have been diverted into the Major Works Account.
Have you recently changed these account numbers around? How and when did you communicate this to Leaseholders?
2c. If leaseholders understood that they were paying their regular annual service charge, but because the account numbers were changed, the money has not gone to where they intended:
• What is the process for them to rectify this?
• How long does it take?
• What assurance can you give them that this has been rectified once and for all?

3. Leaseholders have been accused by Lambeth of not paying previous year’s bills in full.
No evidence, invoices or receipts, have been produced for these bills.
• Is this your normal practice?
• Can leaseholders expect details of apparent unpaid bills?

4. If a resident reports a problem with a building – the repair is prioritised but not repaired –
• what is the mechanism/action can we take to get the repair done?
(Some simple repairs we reported a couple of years ago, and every quarter since, are causing damage to flats which is incurring more costs to Lambeth).

The Edmundsbury Leaseholders look forward to your answers to all the above questions in a timely fashion, and hope that you can attend either a Leaseholders meeting or our Residents Meeting.

I look forward to attending the The Lambeth Council Homeowners Assembly scheduled for Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Town Hall in Room 1-16.

Many thanks
Jonathan

Jonathan Harbourne
8 Glasbury House
Edmundsbury Court Estate
Ferndale Road, Brixton
London SW9 8AY UK

07939 490702

CC. Ferndale Councillors and Lambeth MP

Ifram – if we don’t get a response to this within a week – would you ask this as a ‘Members’ (ME) Enquiry’. The council target is to respond to 90% of MEs within 10 working days.

Response from Leaseholder Services to Edmundsbury Estate
Received 12th July 2018 at 12:34

Thank you for your below email to which I respond with the following.

After communicating your enquiries listed under section 1 with the Section 20 Manager, Karen Kellaway, she has provided the following response and attachment.

1a: The first payment certificate for this contract is dated the 30 January 2014 and I have attached all the payment certificates to this email.

Before April 2017, the Councils processes have not been as robust as they could have been and it led to delays between receipting the final account and issuing it to leaseholders. As soon as the final account for your estate was received by Home Ownership Services, it was calculated and invoiced swiftly. I can only apologise for the delay you have experienced.

1b: Leaseholders were informed of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013. I have attached a sample of an estimated invoice for this works as per request. A breakdown of costs was provided and there were notes on how cost was calculated and how to make payments.

If you have any further enquiries in relation to the above you can contact the

Section 20 Manager
Karen Kellaway directly with the following details.
Email: kkellaway@lambeth.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 79263715.

2a-b I have attached a copy of both your 17/18 and 18/19 service charge estimate, both of which provide information relating to questions 2a-c. Please review the first few pages, after which point I suggest it would be helpful if you are able to either relay this information to your resident association at your next meeting, or provide them with copies of the relevant information.

2c: For residents who have failed to use the correct reference when making payments, resulting in payments being allocated to the oldest outstanding debts, a request can be made by email or post asking that relevant payments are moved across from one invoice to another. Please note, the exact amount, date and number of payments must all be stated in order that payments are moved across correctly. This process can take up to 28 working days, after which point a resident can request a statement or login to their My Lambeth account and view and up to date statement on line.

3: It is expected that leaseholders are firstly aware of their account balance, whether it be debit or credit. Lambeth provide access to individual accounts via ‘My Portal’ located on the Lambeth Council website. All are also able to request an up to date statement at any point via several methods, such as phone and email. For those who wish to query bills further we offer an appointment service at our Civic Centre or alternatively, similarly to the above we can be contacted by various methods.

4: As you can appreciate, you have contacted the Service Charge Collection Team and not the Repairs Department, despite this I have managed to obtain the below information in relation to issues revolving around repairs.

Where you have reported a repair and are unhappy with the developments, you have a choice of contacting your local area housing office which can be done via the contact centre on 020 7926 6700 or you can raise a complaint using the Lambeth Website directly to the Repairs Department, which will be logged and monitored.

I hope the above is of help and if you require further information you can contact me by reply.

Regards

Chris Ojo
Service Charge Coordinator
Housing Management
London Borough of Lambeth
Phone: 020 792 63743

Email: cojo@lambeth.gov.uk
www.lambeth.gov.uk

London Borough of Lambeth
Homeownership Services
PO box 734
Winchester
SO23 5DG

Were all the questions answered and what do they mean?

1. Do Leaseholders have to pay the major works bill for the 2018 intercom?

Don’t Know – we should ask a Lawyer

Leaseholder services informed Leaseholders of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013. The Payment Certificates for this work were signed on 2 July 2014. They did not pass this bill on to leaseholders within 18 months, it took them 40 months to do so.

“Before April 2017, the Councils processes have not been as robust as they could have been and it led to delays between receipting the final account and issuing it to leaseholders. As soon as the final account for your estate was received by Home Ownership Services, it was calculated and invoiced swiftly. I can only apologise for the delay you have experienced.”

When asked if Lambeth communicated about this bill between the first S20 and the final bill being presented in November 2017 they responded “Leaseholders were informed of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013 – so “no”.

The Leaseholders Advisory Service said: “If that period is more than 18 months from notification of the demand for payment [November 2017], and where a notice under section 20B was not served on you, you may be in a position to challenge the demand for payment.”

I think we now have enough information to pass on to a solicitor to see if they recommend challenging this Major Works bill. My suggestion is to write to Pam Douglas from Wainwright & Cummins, who wrote an article in the Brixton Blog about this very issue.

 

2. Have Account Numbers for Regular Service Charges and Major Works bills changed?

There is now One Account but you have to quote the correct Invoice Number

Lambeth sent out a letter dated 26th February 2018 that states:

“Your account number (the 9 digit payment reference number on your statements) remains the same, this will not change. You can still pay using your 9 digit account number, but when you do the payment will be automatically allocated to invoices on your account. If you quote an invoice number when making payment, your payment will be allocated to a specific invoice. This makes it possible to see exactly which invoice a payment has been made against, as each invoice has its own balance.”

If you have made payments intended to pay your Regular Service Charge, but have an outstanding Major Works bill:

“a request can be made by email or post asking that relevant payments are moved across from one invoice to another”.

3. Can Lambeth make you pay for a bill that you think you’ve paid without producing evidence?

Lambeth referred us to the ‘My Portal’ website as evidence of where up-to-date accounts are kept. I’ve just logged on an added my 7-digit Housing Reference Number so I can see my Service Charges (my Council Tax was already set up). When access is granted (when I get my ‘unlock’ code in the post) I’ll let you know how I get on – and I’ll ask the particular leaseholder who was presented with past bills if all the information is up-to-date on this system.

4. Is there a mechanism/action can we take to get urgent repairs done?

Yes – make a complaint: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/council-tenants-and-homeowners/about-lambeth-housing/complain-about-housing-management

I will make a complaint of some repairs that I have reported over three years ago – I’ll keep you updated as to how long it takes for them to be resolved.

Client Number: 853834
Enquiry Number: 633333
 
Dear Mr Jonathan Harbourne,
 
Thank you for your enquiry of 15/01/2018.
 
Please note that the position under Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act) is that if the freeholder incurs relevant costs that are more than 18 months old, then they are required to serve notice on the leaseholders in accordance with section 20B(2) informing them that they will be required to contribute towards these costs at some future time.
The notice must contain a specified amount of the overall  spend, even if it is an over estimate.
It will be important to consider when the costs were incurred for the purpose of recording the time. The case of Burr v OM Property Management Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 479;  [2013] WLR (D)  164 makes it clear that time starts to run for the purpose of this rule from either when the freeholder is presented with a demand for payment or when payment is made. I attach a link below to some information on the case for your benefit.  
 
In this regard, time starts to run from the period the freeholder council became contractually required to make payment to a third party contractor. You will need to make enquiries about when payment in respect of these services were paid or needed to be paid. If that period is more than 18 months from notification of the demand for payment, and where a notice under section 20B was not served on you, you may be in a position to challenge the demand for payment.  
     
In other words although you received the invoice in November 2017, and it states that it is for works carried out in 2013/14, you will only be in a position to obtain the benefit of the 18 month rule if payment in respect of the works was made within 18 months of receipt of  the invoice by the council  or the invoice was received within an 18 month period prior to November 2017 and the council failed to serve notices under section 20B(2)  of the Act that you will be liable to contribute to the cost.
It will be crucially important for you to obtain information from the council about when payment was made or an invoice received in respect of the cost, and to ascertain whether or not 18 months has passed since that time without the relevant notification to you and others.       
 
Where you do not consider the demand payable, then it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a determination about the reasonableness and payability of such a demand.
Regrettably, the Leasehold Advisory Service does not provide property litigation advice and I am unable to comment on the merits of your claim. You will need to seek specialist advice thereto.
 
I hope my comments prove helpful, but if you have any questions please feel free to contact LEASE again quoting your Client Number 853834. You can telephone on 020 7832 2500 or reply to this message using the link below.
Finally, you are invited to use the link below to complete a short survey regarding this response to your enquiry. Your answers help us maintain and improve the quality of our service.
Yours sincerely,
Alero Orimoloye
 
Leasehold Adviser
The Leasehold Advisory Service
Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX.
Telephone: 020 7832 2500
Fax: 020 7832 2529

Click to download letter in full in PDF


 

22 August 2018

The council has issued a service charge invoice in respect of major works service charges which have been undertaken to your block or estate.

The council acknowledges that in this particular instance we may not have served you with a service charge demand or notified you by way of a S20B notice within 18 months of the costs being incurred;

[20B Limitation of service charges: time limit on making demands]
(1)If any of the relevant costs taken into account in determining the amount of any service charge were incurred more than 18 months before a demand for payment of the service charge is served on the tenant, then (subject to subsection (2) ), the tenant shall not be liable to pay so much of the service charge as reflects the costs so incurred.

(2)Subsection (1) shall not apply if, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, the tenant was notified in writing that those costs had been incurred and that he would subsequently be required under the terms of his lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge.]

However, the Council’s position remains that through the service of the S20 notice, emails, site meetings and correspondence on the matter, you would be aware of the councils intention to issue a service charge demand for the costs which the council have incurred undertaking works to your block or estate.

The council’s position is quite clear. Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 does not prohibit the landlord from demanding monies. It is simply not equitable for the Landlord not to raise service charge demands for work which it has undertaken and paid for.

The council as your landlord has an obligation to undertake the maintenance repair renewal reinstatements improvements rebuilding cleaning and decoration of our blocks and estates, which will have added value to your property.

Within a ring fenced HRA, any service charge demands which are not paid by the leasehold owners will ultimately be paid by the tenants, who in essence will be subsidising homeownership.

From the Councils perspective, we believe the approach taken to construct your final account is reasonable. Furthermore, we have provided all the documentation currently available to support the final account and charges. We are more than happy to address any further questions around the documentation provided, however, to be clear we have now provided you with everything currently available to justify the costs incurred.

The council is seeking a contribution to the costs of the works incurred, of which, your property has benefitted from. The council will continue to contact you to discuss your service charge demand and the methods of payment available to you.
I would therefore suggest that you contact the Collections team on 02079267132 and enter into a payment plan to settle the invoice.

I trust the above has now clarified all the points you have raised in your enquiry.
Kind regards

Johnson Ajayi
Leasehold Team Leader
Housing Services
London Borough of Lambeth
Phone: 020 7926 6266
Mobile: 07720 827492
Fax: 020 7926 3482
Email: jaajayi@lambeth.gov.uk

05 Jul 2018

Residents Meeting: Monday 23rd July 7-9pm

Join us for our quarterly Residents Meeting of the Edmundsbury Court TRA at the Community Hall.
All Welcome! Please come!
Monday 7pm-9pm 23 July

Officers of Lambeth Council have been invited, along with our local Councillors and Lambeth’s Leaseholders Officer.
The meeting will be led by our new TRA team: Victoria, Esther, Lelia and Cherlyn – please come and support them!

We’ll be discussing:

  1. Parking and Mechanics on the Estate
  2. Gates and CCTV
  3. Noise from Parties
  4. Lambeth’s Leaseholders Bills
  5. Damp and water in flats
  6. Book your space on the Summer Coach Trip!
  7. Volunteer for our annual Summer BBQ

…and more – come along with your questions.

If you want anything added to the agenda – please add your requests to the comments box below.

Come and see our newly renovated community hall – along with a brand new kitchen and flooring!

Notes

  1. Parking and Mechanics on the Estate
    Victoria has been working hard to combat the problem of independent motor mechanics using our front guest car-park as their public garage. She has met with Paul Webb and the garage team.
  2. Gates and CCTV
    Samantha said she would produce a consultation leaflet to be put through everyone’s doors to ask what residents opinions were about having gates at the front of the estate, possibly paid for by saving money from the CCTV cameras. This has not happened. Jonathan will draft a leaflet instead, and bring it to the meeting. Victoria said Paul Webb thought it would be difficult to decommission something that is already in place to fund something that isn’t – we’ll look into the facts of this, as we know other estates are requesting CCTV – so if residents can request something it suggests that they could also suggest NOT to have something.
    The facts that we want to present are:
    • Annual Cost of CCTV
    • Amount of evidence presented in court from our CCTV in the last five years
    • Mechanism for Residents to remove a service that they are paying for but do no want (CCTV, if it turns out no evidence has ever been gathered)
    • Process for Residents to request a service (the gates) that they do want
    Residents thinks gates will help solve the following issues
    • Mechanics using our front car park
    • Lambeth Staff parking in our car park
    • Fly Tipping
    • Drug users injecting on our estate and discarding dirty needles
    • Homeless people sleeping behind the hall
    • Defecating
    • Drunk people exiting the Duke of Edinbugh Pub thinking there is a thoroughfare
    • Anti Social Behaviour
    • General Security
  3. Noise from Parties
    There have been some complaints about noisy parties in the community hall. Contrary to assumptions, these have not been external hirers, but residents themselves. I’m sure we’ll talk more about this at the meeting.
  4. Lambeth’s Leaseholders Bills
    We’ve asked Irfan, our councillor, to put in a Member’s Enquiry (ME), a mechanism for getting answers out of Officers – as leaseholders think that they are being presented with bills that are not correct, legal or appropriate.
  5. Damp and water in flats
    Still no movement on the missing cowls on the roof that are meeting in water. The ME has also asked what mechanism we can use to push through repairs that are being ignored.

Here’s the full Member’s Enquiry Request:

Dear Chris Ojo, Lambeth Council Homeowner Services

I understand that Tim, the acting chair of the Edmundsbury Leaseholders Group, has invited you to meet the leaseholders of Edmundsbury Court Estate on any Monday evening at our community hall. I understand that he hasn’t received a reply yet.
We have our next Quarterly Residents Meeting on Monday 23rd July 7-9pm, Edmundsbury Community Hall and warmly invite you to attend.
If not, the original invitation of any Monday evening before August is still open!
There are some common questions that leaseholders are asking – as certain people have been given different information.
1a. In respect the the 2013 intercom replacement bill that Edmundsbury Leaseholders received in November 2017: Works must be invoiced to leaseholders within 18 months of the freeholder incurring the cost. 
• What date did you become contractually required to make payment to the contractor – can you produce the bill?
• Why did you wait 4 years to invoice Leaseholders?
1b. Did you, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, notify the leaseholders in writing that those costs had been incurred and that they would subsequently be required under the terms of their lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge?
• If you did – can you produce the communication.
2a. Please state which account number is for Major Works, and which account number is for regular annual service charges.
2b. Leaseholders have been accused of not paying their regular annual service charges by Lambeth, because their payments have been diverted into the Major Works Account.
• Have you recently changed these account numbers around? How and when did you communicate this to Leaseholders?
2c. If leaseholders understood that they were paying their regular annual service charge, but because the account numbers were changed, the money has not gone to where they intended:
• What is the process for them to rectify this?
• How long does it take?
• What assurance can you give them that this has been rectified once and for all?
3.  Leaseholders have been accused by Lambeth of not paying previous year’s bills in full. No evidence, invoices or receipts, have been produced for these bills.
• Is this your normal practice?
• Can leaseholders expect details of apparent unpaid bills?
4. If a resident reports a problem with a building – the repair is prioritised but not repaired
• what is the mechanism/action can we take to get the repair done?
(Some simple repairs we reported a couple of years ago, and every quarter since, are causing damage to flats which is incurring more costs to Lambeth).
The Edmundsbury Leaseholders look forward to your answers to all the above questions in a timely fashion, and hope that you can attend either a Leaseholders meeting or our Residents Meeting.

I look forward to attending the The Lambeth Council Homeowners Assembly scheduled for Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Town Hall in Room 1-16.

Many thanks
Jonathan
05 Apr 2018

2018 AGM – May 14th 7pm

All Residents are warmly invited to attend our Estate TRA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday 14th May 7-9pm in our Community Hall

The AGM is where you get to put yourself forward to lead the Tenants and Residents Association or vote for its officers:

  • Chair – the person who leads and directs the TRA and chairs the meetings
  • Secretary – the person who records what goes on in the meetings (writes the ‘minutes’), and looks after the website and social media
  • Treasurer – looks after the bank account and keeps the income and expenditure organised
  • Vice-Chair – assists the chair in leading the TRA

All this is done in accordance with the TRA’s Mission Statement and Constitution (the rules that govern how the TRA is run).

At the AGM all officers stand down, and Lambeth Council officers oversee the election for the new people, or those wishing to stand again. At this year’s AGM, the Chair and the Vice-Chair are not standing again, and the Secretary has already moved away from the estate.

We will need 3 new people to continue the TRA! 

If you’re reading this – then you should seriously consider standing. Without three people taking the leadership role – there will be no TRA. You can be a council tenant, private leaseholder or a sub-letter. There are four resident meetings a year – and everyone is informed and invited.

The TRA’s income comes from hiring out the Community Hall – which we are very lucky to have (not all TRA’s are so fortunate). We use the Hall for our own events (Keep Fit, Meetings, Youth Club), and hire it out for resident parties and to other organisations, like the NHS, for meetings.

The income that comes from the Hall is used for its maintenance and upkeep, and also for TRA events, such as: Summer Coach Trip, Children’s Pantomime, Summer BBQ.

Another part of the role of the TRA leadership is to represent the residents in dealing with the Council and its Contractors. You could put yourself forward to be on the Area Board, influencing all Lambeth’s Council’s housing, or attend the quarterly police panel to bring issues of community safety.

 

2017-2018

We’ve had many accomplishments over the year.

Events

  • Keep Fit organised by Cherlyn, is the mainstay event of Edmundsbury – the weekly group meets every Tuesday at 7pm with different teachers who make exercising fun and exciting. Their recent WhatsApp group gives them weekly reminders, tips and motivation.
  • Summer Coach Trip also organised by Cherlyn, is always a sell-out. Last year a coach load of residents, friends and family, visited Margate.
  • Girl’s Friendly Society Youth Club, started by Bryony this year, meets every Wednesday in the Hall at 5pm.
  • Summer BBQ was a great event again this year – organised by Bryony and Lois, Esther – we’re already looking forward to this year’s!
  • Hanging Baskets make our estate look even better in the summer – and the annual planting event is such a great day – we didn’t have so many people turn out this last year as we do normally, so we’re hoping for a big crowd this year.
  • Community Gardening Brian and Kajsa consistently do wonderful work in the vegetable garden, and are supported by a community gardener funded by Lambeth. Gardening is a wonderful activity, suitable for all ages, if you’ve never done it before, or are an experienced gardener, join the monthly gardening group. This year they have plans for new green houses behind the community hall.
  • Block Painting was, for me, the best event of the year. Not only did it make the biggest difference to the look of our estate – it was also the most fun I had.
  • Leaseholder’s Group met for the first time, and sought legal advice on Lambeth’s bills.
  • Christmas Carol Concert in the community hall with the vicar of St Paul’s leading the proceedings with participation from many families and children on the estate.
  • Edmundsbury Social WhatsApp group – had some great evenings at the Duke of Edinburgh and other venues (see Bryony to join the group).

Dan does a great job in opening up the hall and making sure it’s warm and organised for the dozens of events we host every week.

Projects

  • Outdoor Gym installation was a great success, despite some initial reservation. It blended in well with the garden, once the grass had grown back, and was used every day during the summer last year – especially by a couple of very dedicated residents who got together every morning.
  • Community Hall Renovation is currently underway – with new flooring, windows, kitchen. We are very grateful for the funding we got from Lambeth Council for this, which will make the hall everything we wanted it to be.
  • Tree Pruning at the back of Fosbury and Dalbury House.

Projects in the Pipeline

  • Cycle Storage has been scoped out and Chris is working with Estate Pride to get this installed.
  • Estate Action Plan produced by Samantha Stewart, sets out the resident agreed focus for the estate maintenance. We’ve put the number-pad activated gates at the front of the estate as our main priority, to prevent fly-tipping, outsider parking, drug-users and other anti social behaviour on the estate. Other essential repairs that Lambeth need to complete are: metal grills and doors at the top of the stairwells that bang in the storms and let water in; Cowls on vent pipes on roof that left water in; Damp; Rat holes; Cracked gables on front of blocks.
  • Greenhouse to support our gardeners, at the back of the community hall.

Awards

  • Monty won best private garden in the Annual Lambeth Pride Awards

My Four Years

I‘ve been chair for four years and this year I stand down. I not only put a lot of time into the estate and its people, but have got so much out of it too! Who would thought I would get into gardening and be part of a garden which won ‘Best Food Growing Project of the Year’? My farming family were quite surprised when I announced this to them, being a ‘soft city person’. I was also very pleased to win Resident of the Year for setting up the Lambeth TRA Network, and helping other estates with their projects and issues.

When I was elected chair, I had never attended a TRA meeting before, and didn’t know what a TRA was for or what it did (or didn’t) do! It was great to think about how to actively go about improving our estate, our homes, our experience of living at Edmundsbury. The best bit was to get to know all the neighbours. I know many people in London like to keep themselves to themselves, and I had done that for 15 years. Having been thrown in at the deep-end, I have come out with some truly lovely friends.

I set up a web site, a private Facebook Group, Twitter, and published a monthly newsletter for a while. Cherlyn and I upgraded the Community Hall, ordered new furniture. I established an online booking system for people to hire the community hall – which enabled us to take payment cards and get rid of cash. I installed fast broadband wi-fi in the hall. We built the Edible Garden, and planted some areas under two trees. I planted saplings from the Woodland Trust, and planted hundred of bulbs that were donated. We had a film club. I worked with Monica to set up the After School Club, which I hope will start up again next September. I worked with Estate Pride to get the children’s playground renovated, and with Lambeth to trim the trees. I participated in the Tai Chi that ran for a year, that Cordelia organised, and worked with Cherlyn to take children to a Christmas Pantomime. I introduced the annual Christmas Carol Concert, which was a great way to reach out our wider community and involve St Paul’s opposite the estate.

I got to run several really useful and well-attended workshops in our community hall, or on other estates or Pop Brixton: Dealing with vulnerable residents, Build your own website; A Guide to Lambeth Repairs Process; Training and Courses available Free to Lambeth Residents; How to apply for Grants; How to start events for Young People.

Working with Lambeth Council was also very enjoyable, if not challenging at times. But it proved to be way more rewarding than I expected. Meeting the decision-makers, finding out how things actually work, meeting people like Ivor (who sadly passed away last year) who encouraged me to build the garden, and Mark, who gave us the money to renovate the hall, and Maria from comms… I got to chair the Clapham Area Housing Forum, to attend the quarterly police panels, speak at other estate’s AGMs, attend the annual Tenant’s Conference and run a workshop there, attend courses, and be invited to award presentations and ceremonies that Lambeth Council were nominated for.

For two years we turned our AGM into the ‘Edmunds Awards’, acknowledging residents for amazing work they had done.

It’s been a very rewarding time for me, I’ve learned a lot, it’s given me great confidence and been a fascinating journey of discovery, positive action and I’ve received some awards and some wonderful acknowledgement. I’ll look back at this four years and feel it was all worth it.

I heartily encourage residents to get involved in the TRA, to stand for election at this year’s AGM – its full of surprises and rewards, and you have us all supporting you, helping and encouraging you.

 

24 Nov 2017

Residents Meeting: 7pm Monday 4th December 2017

Our next residents meeting is on Monday 4th December from 7pm-9m in the community hall.

All residents are warmly encouraged to come along and take part.

The draft agenda is on Google Docs – you can see it online here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XzZxjEME67TIdQyQcbQ0bUug6HaNp2V1Xd0BPT1X8rU/edit?usp=sharing

We are looking for a secretary, on the night, and for the next few months.

1. The TRA Secretary’s role is to take minutes (write and account of what everyone said at the Residents Meeting)
and then post it on this page and to our Facebook Group so all residents can see it.

2. Help organise the next residents meeting and AGM:
• asking people on our Facebook group if they have any ‘agenda items’
• putting up a poster 4 weeks before the next meeting
• setting up a Facebook event for the meeting
• typing up a final agenda and sharing it on this website and on Facebook
• recording and posting the minutes of the meetings

At the next meetings, we’ll also be asking people to do small tasks. So if anyone suggests anything we’ll decide what has to be done, and ask for people to complete the task over the next couple of weeks, and feedback to the chair, vice-chair or secretary.

 

Mince pies and mulled wine served.

 

 

 

09 Mar 2017

Residents Meeting: AGM – 8th May 2017, 7-9pm

Minutes

34 Present, including MP Kate Hoey, Cllr Sally Prentice, Cllr Paul McGlone, Mark Howarth (Lambeth Council Resident Engagement Officer), Samantha Stewart (Housing Officer) and Gerard Francis (WEA)

1. Chair’s Report

This was the first year since we changed the constitution, and things ran very smoothly. Instead of the Committee being expected to organise everything – the committee’s main focus is on the running the Community Hall. Half the events are community events for everyone, run on behalf of the estate, and we also rent the hall out for private events, which brings us income for the TRA. Half this money goes into running and upkeep of hall, the other half goes into a community fund to fund projects for the estate  – such as coach trip, kids pantomime etc.

HALL: Improvements to the hall this year included re-plastering and painting the damp wall (where the white board is), New mirrors, soap dispenser and baby changing unit in the toilets,  New Blinds, High speed wifi – and wifi-enabled smoke and CO2 alarm in kitchen.  We’ve stopped the external parties because they were creating too much noise and disruption.  We acquired external events like: Yoga, Life Drawing, Church Groups.  We retained: NHS, Photography, Kung Fu, Guitar

EVENTS: Our Bournemouth Coach Trip was a huge success – 52 people came.  Our Summer BBQ was amazing. We took the children to the Pantomime again this year, and the Fitness Club had a Christmas Dinner event – all thanks to Cherlyn.

ACTIVITIES: Cherlyn continued to run a very successful weekly Keep Fit Class in the Hall. Monica’s After School Club goes from strength to strength – and next academic year she will take the running of the programme in-house – so not employing an external charity to deliver the programme. 

GARDEN: We installed a new hand-crafted wooded Notice Board in the food garden with bespoke graphics Poppy George ran a monthly Gardening Club.

Nuno, Jonathan and Brian planted hundreds of spring flowering bulbs donated by Taylors – which looked amazing, and Brian created a new flower border on the East side of the children’s play area, Lynda tended the new shade garden under the tree and Jonathan planted a shade garden under the corner cherry tree near the hall.

The outdoor gym had some residents concerned, but now its installed and the grass has grown back, its blending in – and the people using it every day are an inspiration.

AWARDS: We won Best Food Growing Project of the Year  in the Lambeth Community Pride Awards, and came runner up in the Best Community Garden and Private Garden (Monty)

2. Kate Hoey

Kate Hoey, our current MP for Vauxhall, thanked us for inviting her again – and commended us for the amazing work we’ve done throughout the year. She said we were a model TRA, and an example for Lambeth – this was due not to one or two people – but having a diverse community of people who all work hard to make our community better. She acknowledged Monica for the work she was doing among children – and said that she could help with finding funding, if needed.

Kate also mentioned the work she was doing with the Home Office, and whilst she didn’t explicitly name names, I know that she has sorted out UK residency for one resident on the estate recently, keeping a family together.

Kate said how concerned she was at London’s house prices, and how people struggle to afford to live here. She wondered why contractors were not forced to build more affordable homes, and why much of the development, say in the Nine Elms area, was luxury flats that stood empty from overseas investors.

 

3. Paul McGlone and Sally Prentice

Paul started by saying that Edmundsbury is his favourite TRA, and reiterated Kate’s praise for our TRA. Sally praised us for the garden – and how nice it was looking. They praised the estate and acknowledged us for making Lambeth better for working with communities. Paul also commended us on how well we organise things as a TRA – and pointed to the Agenda and Accounts for the AGM – and how neatly they were laid out and organised.

Sally Prentice mentioned the community-led new housing development at Somerleyton Road, and the purpose built theatre for Oval House, which is moving to Brixton.

http://www.brixtongreen.org/ 

http://www.ovalhouse.com/Ovalhouse-in-Brixton

One resident asked about the redevelopment of Brixton Station (rail) and whether a lift could be installed for disabled or elderly. Sally, who uses the station every date, agreed. Paul said he was working with the companies to invest in the station to modernise it.

A question was asked about the library, and the Councillors told us of the plans with their work with GLL Leisure, how they intend to put a 24 hour gym in the library, so that people could have access beyond the normal opening times.

Street Urination was brought up – with Sue-Ann raising the issue that Rob (from Tunstall Road, who works tirelessly to solve the issue of Street Urination) had taken the councillors to the moth-balled underground toilets in Windrush Square – and weeks after, the Council had advertised the site as a possible wine-bar! Paul said that toilets needed to be manned, in order for them not to become a threatening and unsafe place where people dealt drugs or committed crime. Paul did say he was working with TFL to get public toilets into Brixton tube station, which he thought was a better solution. Please read more here: https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s4497/Public%20Toilets%20-%20Appendix%201%20-%20draft%20repo.pdf

A resident raised the issue of broken glass on the pavements. It was said, if its on our estate, we simply need to inform Pinnacle, who will deal with it straight away (monica.Dutu@pinnaclepsg.co.uk).

Christophe brought up the issue of Pollution – and Paul drew our attention to ClientEarth organisation, who forced the government to publish their pollution report before the election. He urged us to support them and get involved. Since the AGM we have published a page on our website: https://edmundsbury.org.uk/are-you-concerned-about-clean-air/

There is a cabinet meeting on Monday at 5pm about Clean Air, which we encourage all residents to attend. Cllr Jennifer Brathwait is the councillor for the environment, and both Jonathan and Christophe have been in touch with her since the AGM.

Tyrone asked about Windrush Square, saying he does not feel comfortable bringing his family to the square as its a place that older gentlemen gather to drink and socialise. Sally said she could see both sides of the argument – that if the police asked them to move on, then Lambeth could be criticised for white-washing a traditional older and ethnic culture away from the square for simply socialising – more gentrification!

Nuno brought up the topic of Pop Brixton – saying how the Council created it as a community space, but its run by a private company who are renting it out for above-than-normal rates – its not a community space, its completely unaffordable. When the TRA Network ran an event there, POP offered the space for free, but the ‘expenses’ for a 3 hour community event came to over £180 (which Lambeth Council later refunded). Paul has subsequently said he’s looking into it.

 4. Gerard Francis – Workers Education Association offering free adult education

Gerard introduced his organisation and said that he was keen to work with TRAs to bring courses to estates. These courses could be anything – from needlework to learning English. After the main part of the evening he spoke to several residents who wanted Computer Lessons. Since the meeting he has found a teacher who can come and teach on our estate. There is a meeting at 2pm on Tuesday in the Hall to discuss what people want. If you can’t make the meeting, but want your feedback taken into consideration, either for computer lessons or another Adult Education class, please email edmundsbury@icloud.com

5. Samantha Stewart, Lambeth Housing Officer

Samantha Stewart took over from Richard Rivers Simpson a year ago – she is now responsible, not only for public areas of the estate, but also homes.

Jonathan asked her about the Scaffolding, and said we had experience in the past of scaffolding being put up and no work being done. Samantha said that it was responsive repairs (not major works), and they were repairing the pointing, which should help with damp. She was unable to confirm if the works order including fixing the bonding in the gables – which Jonathan reported to Dangerous Buildings, which we raised at last year’s AGM (there are photographs of the dangerous brick work on that web page).

Several people complained about the new smoke alarms, and how they go off in the middle of the night.

We raised the issue of people hanging around the estate – on the day of the AGM we had several drug users in Fosbury House (which Isaac reported to the police), drug users around the back of the hall, and a homeless man sleeping in the garden tool box behind the hall storage shed.

Dan asked about the gate and railings that we sought a quote for, going between the hall and Glasbury House (the problem area where people hang out, sleep, deficate or have sex) and Samantha said she was waiting for a decision to see if Lambeth Council would fund it. If we funded it, we would be responsible for the maintenance for the first year, and then Lambeth would take over.

The issue of pigeons in Fosbury House was raised again, and Jonathan confirmed that there were pigeons on the stairwell only a few days before. This problem has been dealt with before, but has returned.

Sue-Ann and other residents complained about the large hole in the wall into the boiler room – that doesn’t have a protective mesh – and some people have reported seeing rats use.

The issue of the metal doors and grills at the top of the stairwells was raised. In storms, the metal doors bang constantly, echoing throughout the block (especially Fosbury and Dalbury), and, if the wind is blowing in a certain direction, a stream of water can run down the stairs.

Samantha has organised several housing surgeries to take place in the Community Hall kitchen – she will be there for several hours to take your complaints and repair issues for your homes and estate:

https://edmundsbury.org.uk/housing-surgeries/

(also on our Facebook page:

6. Diane West – independent consultant for charities and community groups

Jonathan introduced Di West – who recently ran a workshop on the estate to learn how to apply for funding. Several people from the estate attended including Cherlyn, Monica and Nuno. 21 people attended in total. The workshop resulted in Monica successfully applying for funding for the After School Club.

Di was at the AGM to talk about the legal entity of the TRA. Currently our TRA is a group of individuals who have a constitution. It is not a legal entity, so the individuals are currently responsible and accountable legally and financially if anything should go wrong.

There are several ways we could enhance the TRA’s structure with options like registering it as a charity, a company or a Community Interest Group (or even a charity AND a company). A Company or CIC would be a ‘wrapper’ that would turn the group of individuals into a legal entity, so the legal entity would be responsible if anything went wrong.

Things to consider, when thinking about which way to go, are MEMBERSHIP, POWER and MONEY. A company doesn’t have to have any members – so is not democratic, a CIC has to commit 65% of its income back to the community it supports, and a charity has to carry out its charitable aims which are regulated by the charity commission.

Di will hold a workshop before the next Tenants Meeting, so the committee and residents can explore these issues further.

 

7.  ELECTIONS 

Jonathan thanked last year’s committee and commended them for the amazing year we had, thanks to their enthusiasm and hard work.

The following people were voted in as this year’s committee:

Chair: Jonathan Harbourne, Glasbury House

Vice chair: Bryony Long, Glasbury House

Treasurer: Cherlyn Campbell, Dalbury House, Lois, Glasbury House

Secretary: Isaac Peral, Dalbury House

SNT: Nuno Lopes, Glasbury House

Block reps were scrapped. Their original aim was to make sure that, when there was a committee that had private monthly meetings, there would be a quorum, and each block would have representation. Now that we have our meetings all together, with all residents, there is no need for this structure.

SNT is the Safer Neighbourhoods Police Panel – Nuno has attended for the past 6 months.

Judith and Lynda stood down as reps for the Clapham Area Housing Forum – and Mark Howarth said that this forum was being scrapped by the Council, there would not be another meeting, but there would be a new meeting announced ‘The Area Board’ after the Cabinet Meeting on July 3rd. If anyone is interested being involved, working in partnership with Lambeth Council on high level housing issues, they should let Jonathan or Mark know.

 

8. Summer Coach Trip

Last year we went to Bournemouth – the coach trip took quite a few hours due to road works, so we only had about 4 hours on the beach. This year, the suggestions have been:

  • Bath  • Margate  • New Forest – e.g. Beaulieu (where the national motor museum is)

Several people met up after the AGM, and decided that Margate was the preferred destination this year, due to the sandy beach for the children, fun fair, Tate art gallery and a place that would appeal to everyone within easy reach of London.

Margate was voted 49 best beach in the World by the Guardian newspaper this year – as highlighted in the article, with a photograph taken by Jonathan.

9. Accounts

There were not questions about the accounts. This year we laid out the figures so you could compare them with what we made or spent last year.

10. Lunchtime Language Classes

 Nuno has organised language classes to run from September: https://edmundsbury.org.uk/languages/  

11. AOB

The issues of the tree pruning on the back Fosbury House was raised. The trees have grown so big, they knock on people’s windows keeping them awake at night, and one resident says she no longer receives a TV signal! The TRA got quotes from 4 companies authorised by Lambeth Council to carry out tree work since the Council does not pay for this in private gardens. We chose one firm to carry out the work, but the firm wrote to the Council to confirm we were not in a conservation zone. The Council said we were, so Jonathan had to get up-to-date maps of the conservation zone and send them to the Council officer to prove that we were not.

At the same time, Samantha has been working with leaseholder at 16 Fosbury and another tree surgeon to deal with the same trees, which have now been identified as causing structural damage. So Jonathan has passed over his details of the trees to Samantha so that they can all be done at the same time.

Jonathan mentioned that the hall was booked out every Sunday morning and afternoon by church groups – and this did not make things convenient for residents who wanted to hire the hall for Sunday Christenings. He suggested that we allowed marquees on the front lawn, with certain restrictions that were discussed. The marquee should be no larger than the main hall, it should not play amplified music, there should be a booking/reservation system to avoid clashes, no more than 3 Sundays in any 3 months, parking should be on the road. In the end, there was no agreement – and the idea was shelved.

01 Feb 2017

Residents Meeting: 6th February 2017, 7-9pm

We’re having our quarterly Residents Meeting in the Community Hall on Monday 6th February 7-9pm, all residents are warmly invited

What would you would like us to talk about? – add your comments to this post.

Updates:

  • We have new chairs and tables in the hall, which you’ll see, and i hope you agree that they look really smart. The tables are light weight and easier for people to move. The chairs are more comfortable and sturdier.
  • We have wifi – and now a wifi enabled smoke alarm in the kitchen, so if it detects smoke or CO2, Dan will be notified on his mobile phone.
  • The dead tree in the garden has been chopped down, and the outdoor lighting fixed.
  • We’ve planted hundred of spring flowering bulbs donated by Taylors.
  • Dan is doing an Award in Fire Safety Principles on Wednesday – and there are some more courses available for him or others (attached)

 

I’m waiting to hear about, and have asked for updates by Monday (please see the bottom of the page):

  • Outdoor gym
  • Cycle Storage
  • Gables

 

We will need to make a decision about:

  • Tree surgeons, I’ll bring the quotes for pruning the trees at the back of Fosbury House. – we chose a supplier and have booked them to prune the trees in March
  • Make a date for planting hanging baskets.
  • AGM is May 8th – we need to encourage people to stand now.
  • A disabled group from Tunstall Road has asked if they can use our hall for a weekly meeting, as Lambeth has withdrawn their funding and venue.
  • If someone wants to make an application for renovation of the children’s play area – then that would be good. – we’re going to have a ‘fundraising and grants’ workshop in the hall during March where people can apply for funding.
  • The charity who provides the homework club has run out of money – so we need to apply for funding or start charging parents – grants are listed here: http://www.londoncf.org.uk/grants/available-grants/lambeth.aspx

 

Residents have been complaining about:

  • Parking – I’ve been in contact with parking enforcement.
  • There are complaints about excessive noise from 33 Exbury House.
  • Drugs and Smoking in stairs of Exbury House (Nuno attended the quarterly Police Panel Meeting – so we’ll have an update).

Lambeth paid courses relevant to running a community hall – if you would like to attend one, please let me know (only Southwark residents can book with the link on the leaflet)

1st February 2017
Good afternoon Edmundsbury,

We have finalised the plans for the outdoor gyms and set up the necessary financial information for the gym company. We placed our orders last week, and I am expecting a confirmation of the installation start dates this week. The final result of the consultation that we received was 12 for and 2 against the installation.

The procurement process of a contract for cycle storage has been delayed, and the update that I received yesterday from our colleagues in the cycle storage team was that they hope to sort this as soon as possible, but they had hoped to have a new contractor in place by January.

I will let you know more details as soon as I have them, and hopefully I will be able to provide a start date for the gym installation by the end of this week.

Kind regards,

 

Steven Darbyshire
Estate Pride Project Officer
Lambeth Housing Management
Neighbourhoods and Growth
London Borough of Lambeth

Tel: 07860180981

Email: sdarbyshire@lambeth.gov.uk
www.lambeth.gov.uk

My letter to Lambeth following the meeting

Dear Samantha

we had a residents meeting tonight
we didn’t invite officers – as we have an AGM in May (2nd Monday in May) – and that’s the one which is good for councillors and officers to attend.

I did want to give you the feedback though – all has been mentioned before

• The Gables on Glasbury House (and possibly the other 4 blocks) are dangerous – there is no bonding holding the bricks in place, and they are likely to come down in a storm.

• The grills that Richard put in at the tops of the stairs let the wind and rain in – full pelt! In storms, especially at this time of year, water runs downs the stairwells and the metal doors to the roofs make a heck of a din – rattling.

• The guttering are blocked (especially on Fosbury) and need clearing. You don’t need a cherry picker for this – it can be done on the roof.

• Much was said about Exbury House. Nuno gave a report back from the Safer Neighbourhoods quarterly meeting.
– drugs and smoking on stairs by strangers
– urination in the block
– all night parties in flat 33
– grill gates on flats being left open to block the stairwell
I’ve put posters up throughout the block (though they get ripped down almost daily)
I’ve urged people to report each incident to the police and to yourself.
Safer Neighbourhoods team are disappointed that Lambeth are not sending their Anti Social Behaviour team to the panel meetings.

• People are finding that their new smoke alarms and CO2 detectors are going off all the time (including in the middle of the night). Louise at 12 Glasbury House is one case in point. They have not been told if the alarms make 2 different sounds for COs and Smoke. Some alarms are though to be fitted much closer to the cookers that the recommended limit – I’ve Googled this – but can’t seem to find agreement on the distance they should be from cooker.

• Cynthia from 22 Glasbury said that someone came to inspect her damp and mould, and had agreed to come back – but she hasn’t seen them since.

More things we talked about here: https://edmundsbury.org.uk/residents-meeting-6th-february-2017-7-9pm/

thanks
Jonathan

Posters put up in Exbury House about Noise, letting in strangers, smoking and how to contact the police.

I’ve written to Building Control – informing them of a ‘Dangerous Structure’ (the cracked gables) – and I get an automated reply back saying they will respond in 20 working days! Can public services really charge £25 for fast tracking??!!!