Monthly Archives: June 2018

Too much noise from neighbours?

Recently, there have been a few queries from Alton Estate residents with regards to noise issues and what can done about this.

One suggestion

A resident has suggested that you call the Wandsworth Emergency Control team on 020 8871 7490. What tends to happen is that someone from the WEC will attend your property to listen for any noise that is being made and will then visit the offending neighbour.

After the event, you can then request a copy of the incident from the Estate Manager for your records. It might be useful to ask for a copy should the noise be repeated and also to check whether the report has been recorded accurately.

An example of the warning letters sent

The Council’s website states that “We can deal with persistent and unreasonable noise such as barking dogs, DIY, loud music and TVs. There are a number actions we can take to try to resolve noise including” and one of the examples is “Warning letters”. An example of such a letter is below.

Other information

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

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Oxford City Council tried to charge leaseholders for retro-fitting water sprinklers

What’s this all about?

Leaseholders of 54 flats, the Oxford Tower Block Leaseholder Association (OTLA), challenged Oxford City Council (OCC) with regards to service charges, one of the aspects challenged was to with paying for retro-fitting water sprinklers.

This challenge went to the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT), case reference CAM/38UC/LSC/2o16/oo64. Click on this paragraph to review the case.

What was the outcome?

Referring to page 34 Item 37 it states the following;

Description (Column B)

S63 – Sprinklers; supply and install new sprinkler system to protect flats; new sprinkler feed taken from roof top water storage tank, install prionty valve on all tanks, single residential sprinkler pump in each tank room; sprinkler main shall drop to serve all floors with an isolation valve, flow switch and test valve on each floor

Reason for doing the work (Column C)

Following recent tragedies in housing tower blocks and the latest fire safety guidance and advice, the Council wish to enhance the safety of all residents for future years. The Council are not prepared to ignore this advice and put the lives of their residents at risk.

(Column D)

Sch 5, 3rd item

(Column E)

Repair

OTLA response (Column F)

No. The Council has not covenanted to provide, maintain or repair a fire prevention system. Irrecoverable due to statutory restrictions on RTB leases.

Leaseholder response (Column G)

“The Council wish to enhance the safety…” – this can only be an improvement, not a repair. There is no existing sprinkler system. During consultation the City council claimed this improvement in fire safety is required to avoid press criticism, There is no legal requirement to retrofit sprinklers, even in high rise buildings

Council response (Column H)

This repair is part of guidance issued by OFRS due to the level of repairs to existing situations in the blocks. Please see above.

FTT response (Column I)

It is clear that this is an improvement and the cost is not recoverable

Did Wandsworth Borough Council know about this case?

19th June 2018 – After the meeting of the Roehampton Partnership a resident from the Alton Estate gave extracts of this report to Councillor Claire Gilbert and Councillor Kim Caddy.

20th June 2018 – Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) Councillor Claire Gilbert presented the information to Council employees. It was noted during the meeting by the Director of Housing that they were aware of this case though believed it was a different situation. As far as we can tell this has not been Minuted nor is there any ask by Councillors regarding this information not being shared previously if known?

Did the timings have anything to do with WBC’s approach to take this to the FTPT?

Have a look at the case and it states the following;

“Date and Venue of Hearing: 12th, 13th and 14th September 2017 at Cambridge County Ct., 197 East Road, Cambridge CB1 1BA” 

The Council paper (17-269) which stated that service charges could be charged to leaseholders (refer to sections 19 and 20) was discussed at the HROSC of 14th September 2017. Which happens to be day 3 of the Tribunal?

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

FAQs about water sprinklers by Croydon Council

Many questions have been raised off the back of Wandsworth Borough Council’s (WBC) decision to retro-fit water sprinklers and many of these have yet to be answered.

Perhaps the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) put together by Croydon Council might provide a steer for what might be coming. Please note that this is a different Council and the answers may not be the same though it might provide some food for thought with regards to this.

Such questions being;

  • How long will the work take in my flat? Will I have to move out during these works?
  • Which rooms will have sprinklers? Are they sealed?
  • How will the works affect my flat? Will the contractor take care with my belongings and keep them clean? Will you need to re-decorate?
  • Will I have to be at home whilst the works are taking place?
  • Will I need extra home contents insurance? Will the council be paying for this?
  • Do the sprinklers need any regular maintenance, if so, what, how often and by whom?

Then ask yourself, based on experience of major works, whether you think this would be acceptable or whether this could be delivered as suggested.

For the full list of questions and answers, click on this sentence.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Weekly Council Planning applications decisions (16 June 2018)

Given there is so much happening in the ward at the moment, it might be worth residents keeping a watch on what is being planned for the Alton Estate. So, on a best endeavours basis, we’ll try to include this section.

The page numbers refer to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s (WBC) planning applications and decisions for the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward. Whilst every effort is made to highlight the page numbers and present the information below it is always best for the reader to have a read of the original Council documents just in case any errors have been made.

 Applications (pages 30-31)

Application Number: 2018/2298,

  • Address: 142 Priory Lane, SW15 5JP,
  • Proposal: Demolition of existing house and erection of three-storey 6-bedroom dwelling with associated landscaping, cycle and refuse storage and parking with vehicular access from Roehampton Gate.

Application Number: 2018/2673,

  • Address: Flat 2, 11 Umbria Street, SW15 5DP,
  • Proposal: Installation of replacement double glazed timber windows to front and side at first floor elevations.

 Application Number: 2018/2773,

  • Address: University of Roehampton, Roehampton Lane, SW15 5PU,
  • Proposal: Retention of various advertisement signs.

Application Number: 2018/2872,

  • Address: Telecommunication Mast 037094 on Footpath East of Allbrook House, Street Furniture, Roehampton Lane, SW15 4HB,
  • Proposal: Alterations to internal window to form opening door.

Application Number: 2018/2880,

  • Address: The Roehampton Priory, Hospital Priory Lane, SW15 5JJ,
  • Proposal: Alterations including external changes to north elevation fenestration and provision of an internal fire escape staircase between ground and basement levels. In conjunction with Listed Building Application ref. 2018/2912.

Decisions

Appears to be no planning applications which have had a decision for this week.

Click on this sentence to take you to the Weekly List of planning applications and decisions.

If interested in searching for more information about a planning application, go to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s ‘Searching planning applications’ webpage.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Weekly Council Planning applications decisions (9 June 2018)

Given there is so much happening in the ward at the moment, it might be worth residents keeping a watch on what is being planned for the Alton Estate. So, on a best endeavours basis, we’ll try to include this section.

The page numbers refer to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s (WBC) planning applications and decisions for the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward. Whilst every effort is made to highlight the page numbers and present the information below it is always best for the reader to have a read of the original Council documents just in case any errors have been made.

Applications (pages 19-20)

Application Number: 2018/1620,

  • Address: Land Between Junction Highcliffe Drive and Cedars Court, Clarence Lane, Roehampton, SW15 4BB,
  • Proposal: New building consisting of 6 residential flats (4 x flats with 3 bedrooms and 2 x flats with 2 bedrooms), with private amenity space, hardstanding for vehicular and pedestrian access, six parking spaces, cycle parking, bin store and dedicated landscape areas. The removal of protected trees and new mitigation planting is proposed.

Application Number: 2018/2567,

  • Address: 69 Medfield Street, SW15 4JY,
  • Proposal: Erection of two dormer roof extensions to main rear roof and single-storey rear/side extension at lower ground floor. Erection of single-storey outbuilding located in the rear garden.

 Application Number: 2018/2569,

  • Address: Putney Vale Cemetery, Kingston Road, SW15 3SB,
  • Proposal: Details of materials pursuant to conditions 2 & 3 of planning permission dated 15/03/2018 ref 2018/0073 and listed building dated 15/03/2018 ref 2018/0091 [The cleaning and restoration of the stonework and metal entrance gates into Putney Vale Cemetery. The installation of the original mounting block with a granite sett surround within the pavement outside the cemetery gates with the installation of an information board. The removal of existing fences around the existing milestone with the addition of a new paving strip within the existing footpath to highlight the milestone.]

Application Number: 2018/2737,

  • Address: The Roehampton Priory Hospital, Priory Lane, SW15 5JJ,
  • Proposal: Alterations to internal window to form opening door. Listed building consent.

Decisions (page 20)

Application Number: 2018/1818,

  • Address: Roehampton Club, Roehampton Lane, SW15 5LR,
  • Proposal: Details of Construction Management Plan pursuant to condition 5 of planning permission dated 08/03/2018 ref 2017/5493 [Demolition of existing indoor tennis dome near the north-western corner of the site and the erection of a replacement indoor tennis dome structure to provide 3 x indoor tennis courts with ancillary toilet facilities, plant and viewing gallery.]

Click on this sentence to take you to the Weekly List of planning applications and decisions.

If interested in searching for more information about a planning application, go to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s ‘Searching planning applications’ webpage.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Weekly Council Planning applications decisions (2 June 2018)

Given there is so much happening in the ward at the moment, it might be worth residents keeping a watch on what is being planned for the Alton Estate. So, on a best endeavours basis, we’ll try to include this section.

The page numbers refer to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s (WBC) planning applications and decisions for the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward. Whilst every effort is made to highlight the page numbers and present the information below it is always best for the reader to have a read of the original Council documents just in case any errors have been made.

 Applications

Appears to be no planning applications for this week.

Decisions (page 25)

 Application Number: 2018/1531,

  • Address: Harvey and Romero Court Building, University of Roehampton, Roehampton Lane, SW15 5PUI,
  • Proposal: Alterations including erection of two-storey rear extension, enclosure of existing courtyard, installation of replacement of windows and erection of external plant.

Application Number: 2018/1826,

  • Address: 6A Frensham Drive, London, SW15 3EA,
  • Proposal: : Determination as to whether prior approval is required for change of use from a shop (Class A1) to a restaurant

Application Number: 2018/1007,

  • Address: 12 Roehampton Gate, SW15 5JS,
  • Proposal: : Alterations including erection of part single, part two-storey front extension with hipped roof over; erection of single-storey rear extension; and the installation of three sets of French doors with safety railings on the rear elevation at first and second floor (amended description).

Click on this sentence to take you to the Weekly List of planning applications and decisions.

If interested in searching for more information about a planning application, go to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s ‘Searching planning applications’ webpage.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Councillor Malcolm Grimston’s 10+ storey block update (10 June 2018)

The latest update from Councillor Malcolm Grimston was received on 16 April with regards to the proposed retro-fitting of water sprinklers in 10+ storey blocks in the Wandsworth Borough Council ward.

______

From: Malcolm Grimston
To: News from Councillor Malcolm Grimston
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 5:45 PM
Subject: 10+ storey news update June 10 2018

Dear All,Please pass this on to anyone who might be interested. If you wish to unsubscribe please drop me an email.

COUNCIL ACTIVITY

There doesn’t seem to be anything to report here – the Council kicked the whole issue of imposing sprinklers on residents into the post-election long grass but the new Cabinet Member, Kim Caddy, has not as yet made any pronouncements (that I am aware of).

ANNIVERSARY OF GRENFELL

The anniversary of Grenfell has been a sobering and distressing moment and I know all our thoughts remain with the survivors and the families of those lost. The Public Inquiry is now under way and the BBC is producing a podcast every day with key evidence – see https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066rd9t/episodes/downloads. There is also an extraordinary investigation into the events leading up to and after the disaster by Andrew Hagan called The Tower in the London Review of Books – see https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n11/andrew-ohagan/the-tower?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgJ-d1ovg2wIVDeEbCh3hpwS4EAAYASAAEgI0GPD_BwE. It seems clear that much of the criticism of Kensington & Chelsea and the TMO was harsh but there are serious question to be asked about the regulatory system that allowed the flammable cladding to be fitted and the advice from organisations such as the Fire Brigade.

REMOVING CLADDING

Cladding is being removed at Sudbury House in Wandsworth and Castlemaine in Battersea and the Government is going to pick up the cost. This is clearly good news for the Housing Revenue Account as the bill will come to well over £10 million. The money (£400 million nationally) is to be taken out of the Affordable Housing Programme, the already modest government scheme to increase the supply of affordable and social housing (the whole programme outside London amounted to just less than £1 billion per year from 2015 to 2018). It is pretty clear though that there will be no central government money for sprinklers as the government’s view (quite rightly) is that this is not essential work.

WOULD SPINKLERS HAVE SAVED GRENFELL TOWER?

Code Consultants International is a consultancy whose partners include Colorado State University and BAW Architecture. Their take on Grenfell and sprinklers is as follows (their emphasis):

“A sprinkler system may have prevented the spread of fire from the apartment of origin to the combustible facade. However, once the facade caught on fire the internal sprinkler system would not have prevented the spread of fire on the outside of the building. If you watch the video of the Grenfell Tower fire (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/video/2017/jun/14/grenfell-tower-blaze-video-explainer) it appears that fire spread within the floors involved, indicating that fire barriers were not preventing fire-spread from units to other parts of the floor. Had a sprinkler system been in place, the spread of fire within the floors themselves may have been prevented.  Contrary to what we see in the movies, sprinkler systems are not designed for simultaneous discharge from all sprinkler heads at once. With that many floors involved in the fire, water pressure would likely have reduced sprinkler discharge to a trickle.” (https://www.buildingcci.com/partners)

Conclusion – the real problem was the cladding, not the absence of sprinklers.

Incidentally for most of May residents in one of our 8-storey block were without water for washing or bathroom use owing to a pump failure.

OTHER TOWER BLOCK FIRES

The Council, as part of its attempts to justify imposing sprinklers on residents against their will, has pointed to other fires in tower blocks as evidence that Grenfell was not a one-off. However, the reports of these fires, notably those at Lakanal House in Southwark in 2009 and at Shepherd Court in Hammersmith & Fulham in 2016, reveal a common thread.

LAKANAL HOUSE

The Lakanal House fire occurred in a tower block in Camberwell on 3rd July 2009. Six people died and at least were 20 injured when a fire broke out in one of the flats and quickly spread (https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Lakanal_House_fire). The 14-storey block contains 98 flats and reaches a height of 42 metres. The inquest focused on the cladding panels that had been fitted as part of a refurbishment in 2006/07, which were found to offer less fire resistance than the panels they replaced. “The fire spread unexpectedly fast, both laterally and vertically, trapping people in their homes, with the exterior cladding panels burning through in just four and a half minutes”. According to the jury ‘This was due to a serious failure on the part of Southwark Council’s building design services, its contractors and its sub-contractors’. In 2017 Southwark Council pleaded guilty to four charges concerning breaches to safety regulations and was fined £270,000 plus £300,000 costs.

Conclusion – the real problem was the cladding.

SHEPHERDS COURT

A fire in Shepherd’s Court, by Shepherd’s Bush Green, on 19th August 2016 spread over five floors of the 18-storey block, though fortunately there were no deaths or serious injuries. As is usually the case officialdom tried to prevent information coming out (it is not just Wandsworth Council that tries to do this!) but Inside Housing magazine launched a Freedom of Information request against the London Fire Brigade, which was forced to admit that the external insulation panels which were attached below the windows on Shepherd’s Court were the prime cause of the spread of the fire. (https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/a-stark-warning-the-shepherds-bush-tower-block-fire-50566.) The panels were made of a 1mm stainless steel sheet mounted on blue foam plastic and a plywood board, the edges enclosed by plastic foil. When first exposed to flame nothing happened to the steel but if exposure continued the blue foam underneath would begin to melt, with serious consequences. LFB’s report on the panels found the following:

Conclusion – the real problem was the cladding.

THE STATUS OF ‘STAY PUT’ ADVICE

As long as a fire is guaranteed to be retained within the flat in which it started – as we have seen many times in our unclad (and even clad) high rise blocks – the ‘stay put’ advice made a lot of sense. It prevents the inevitable injuries caused by trips, falls and possibly trampling as people panic to get out and it leaves the stairwells free for the emergency services to get to the bed of the fire as quickly as possible. The question though is how realistic is it to imagine that residents will look at it that way after Grenfell and the failure of the Fire Brigade to reverse that advice when it was clear, very early after the fire broke out, that it spreading and that the advice needed to be abandoned in order to get as many people out as quickly as possible.

One question then is whether it would make it easier and safer for large numbers of people to leave a large block in a short period of time if the landings and stairwells were wet from water, either directly from sprinklers or from water carried out of the flats on people’s shoes or feet. There does not seem to be much research available on this.

SPRINKLERS IN ACTION

“Authorities say a guest broke a fire sprinkler, causing hundreds of people to be evacuated and thousands of dollars in damage at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Essington, Delaware County (near Philadelphia airport). It happened around 5am on Sunday April 27 (2014).  The hotel evacuated their 600 guests. Hotel staff had to work overtime to clean up the 50 rooms that sustained thousands of dollars in water damage. Several teams from the weekend’s Penn Relays were staying there.” (https://quickstoptool.com/blog/50-rooms-destroyed-single-fire-sprinkler-accident/) One guest reported the incident as follows: “My daughter and I stayed at the Wyndham for one night during a college visit in Philly. In the early morning, the fire alarm went off. First of all, we weren’t even sure it was the fire alarm – thought it was just a strange noise. We eventually left the room with most of our stuff. There were NO announcements or leadership at all. The front desk simply told people there was a malfunction with the sprinkler system. After waiting about a half hour, I went back up to get the rest of my stuff. The wing I was in was horribly damaged by water.” See https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g52610-d1090927-r203724363-Wyndham_Garden_Philadelphia_Airport-Essington_Pennsylvania.html

Best wishes,

MALCOLM GRIMSTON

Councillor (Independent), West Hill Ward

_______

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

 Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate