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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
(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.
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.
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/
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.