Hersham Close RA makes another positive local contribution

Recently there have been a few articles on this blog regarding the Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) and the good stuff it has been working on in order to improve the local area on the Alton Estate. Examples are the new motorcycle parking bays and the new footpath nearby Whitelands College. This latest contribution took some time to get there though the area in question now looks much improved.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, there is an electricity substation near Hersham Close 41-71 which for many years has looked rather unloved. The following photos are taken from February 2016 and highlight that the area was used for fly tipping and generally allowed to grow freestyle.

After some nudging, this area gradually started being tidied up as the following photos from September 2016 highlight.

Unfortunately, not much happened with this patch of land despite persistence from HCRA as there was confusion regarding the ownership of the land. The following photos taken in September and October 2017 highlight the area still needed some attention.

However, working with the Council’s Resident Participation Officer this finally got over line and improvements to the area are being made via the Small Improvement Budget (SIB) and now it’s time to watch the grass grow. The work, as detailed at the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) of 4 December 2017, was “To convert a weedy hard standing surface to grass. Total cost: £1,060.03 (Horitcultural Section)”. The following photo was taken in December 2017.

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.

 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

 

Advertisements

Roehampton Partnership (21 November 2017) – comments from the gallery

This meeting of the Roehampton Partnership (RP) was rather underwhelming according to one attendee’s view. The following comments relate to that attendee’s view and obviously others that attended may have a different view of the following contents.

  1. Apologies for absence

There were many attendees that were absent, including the Chair and Vice Chair, and Councillor Mrs Steffi Sutters was the Chair for this evening. There were at least nine absences plus two roles which have not yet been filled.

Interesting, the representatives from University of Roehampton and University of Roehampton Student Union did not attend. This non-attendance was noticed and will be commented on later in this article though bear the following meeting dates in mind when considering this;

  • 21 September 2016 – University of Roehampton attended
  • 23 November 2016 – University of Roehampton Student Union attended
  • 15 March 2017 – University of Roehampton Student Union attended
  • 14 June 2017 – was cancelled.
  • 26 September 2017 – neither attended.
  • 21 November 2017 – neither attended.
  • 14 March 2018 – date of next meeting

In other words, if the University of Roehampton attends the meeting of 14 March 2018 that would be almost one and a half years between attending meetings, and one year for the University of Roehampton Student Union.

  1. Declarations of Interest

There was none.

  1. Minutes – 26th September 2017

Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) mentioned the following regarding;

  • Matters Arising – the follow up to be provided by Ibstock School was not given though the HCRA asked for this after the meeting.
  • Alton Area Regeneration – it was their suggestion to have Paper 17-268 included within the meeting which was taken up by the Chair.
  • Future Agenda Items – there was no mention of the request to include the retro-fitting of water sprinklers within tall buildings and that this was declined by the Chair.
  1. Alton Area Regeneration

There was quite a bit mentioned under this section.

The Redrow PR team, Communications Potential, apologised that Redrow could not attend due to some reason or other. Interestingly, Redrow did not appear at the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) of the 4 December 2017 either due to conflicting schedules. Given Redrow are about to begin work on a major regeneration in the area one might think more effort by Redrow to appear at such meetings may not too much to ask. The PR team provided some information regarding how many people attended the recent exhibitions and the feedback from them.

HCRA raised the issue that not all residents were aware that the Bessborough Road Consultation was held on 15 November 2017. It turns out that Councillors Peter Carpenter and Jeremy Ambache were not aware either of the event though Councillor Sur McKinney commented she was aware. HCRA asked whether this consultation would be presented at the RP and the silence appeared to indicate this was not going to happen.

HCRA also mentioned that various related regeneration items should be raised at the RP and were currently not, these being the Bessborough Road Consultation, Council Papers such as 17-268, and the Environmental Impact Assessment. A Council representative highlighted that we could comment on the planning application, which seemed to defeat the purpose of this advisory group and might be a bit late in terms of providing any feedback?

Councillor Ambache suggested that all regeneration documents should come to the RP first before going to the various Council Committees though this did not garner much support, even from Councillors Carpenter and McKinney. One might argue that this makes sense given the RP’s role?

  1. Public Health Regeneration

There was a short presentation though it seems as though there has not really been any substantial move forward on this topic or ‘social regeneration’.

The HCRA suggested that it might be worthwhile reaching out to Wandsworth Voluntary Sector Co-oridnation Project Manager who provides regular useful updates on grants and health initiatives. To which the presenter commented that she was to meet with this team the following week. The HCRA also suggested that it might be worthwhile having a Roehampton based such distribution, accepting that not all residents on the Alton estate have internet access, though this might be useful.

  1. Transport for London (TfL)

TfL did not attend.

  1. Future Agenda Items

None were mentioned.

  1. Future Meeting Dates

HCRA asked if there was a reason for five meetings dates next year when there are usually four. A person from the Council mentioned that one could always be removed. HCRA followed up with an ask about whether these dates linked in with events next year as this may have been the case for the extra date. The answer from the Council person was that there was likely an error in producing the dates.

The Roehampton Forum member asked if any of these meetings could be held at the University of Roehampton as then it might attend a meeting.

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.

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 and decisions (30 December 2017)

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 applications for this week.

Decisions

Appears to be no decisons 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.

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.

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

 

Weekly Council Planning applications and decisions (23 December 2017)

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 applications for this week.

Decisions (page 29)

Application: 2017/5766,

  • Address: 32 Roehampton Gate, SW15 5JS,
  • Proposal: Erection of single storey timber outbuilding in rear garden.

Application: 2017/5975,

  • Address: Laverstoke Garden Care Home, 49 Laverstoke Gardens, SW15 4JB,
  • Proposal: Alterations including erection of part single/part two-storey rear extension to provide lobby and installation of wheelchair lift to ground and first floors.

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.

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.

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

 

Is this timescale acceptable for maintenance on the Alton Estate?

At the end of July 2017, the Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) reported what appeared to be burn marks at the entrance of the 73-95 Hersham Close. It looked as though people were putting cigarettes out on the entrance way.

The HCRA raised this on an ongoing basis to have this vandalism repaired though it took some chasing. The HCRA mentioned the need for repairs at the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) of 11 September, then again at the WAHP meeting of 4 December 2017. At the December meeting the Council representative thought the job had been completed and even after the meeting this needed to be chased by the HCRA for progress, before finally being completed at the end of December.

This was the second repair in the area which took some months to be completed, much like the Hersham Close water fall that was recently highlighted.

The photos below highlight the before and after pictures with red squares being, on best efforts basis, were the damage was and where it was painted over.

Before

After

Before

After

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.

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

Have you seen the latest tourist attraction on the Alton Estate, the Hersham Close waterfall?

Since the end of July 2017 there has been water which leaks on and off from a height on 41-71 Hersham Close. The Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) has been in frequent contact with the Council about this being repaired and it is understood that action is being taken to correct this.

The photo does not highlight the water leak though the Alton Regeneration Watch (ARW) Twitter account has a short video.

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.

 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

 

10+ storey block newsletter December 2017 from Councillor Grimston (16 December 2017)

Leaseholders and tenants across the Wandsworth Borough Council may be interested in the newsletter that has recently come out from Councillor Grimston regarding water sprinklers. The newsletter is below;

_________________________________

From: Malcolm Grimston <malcolmgrimston@btconnect.com>
To: News from Councillor Malcolm Grimston <mgrimston@wandsworth.gov.uk>
Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2017 3:25 PM
Subject: FW: 10+ storey newsletter December 16 2017

Dear All,

The televised service marking six months since the Grenfell disaster was extremely moving – whatever differences we might have over an appropriate response to this tragedy I know we all have in our minds and hearts the dreadful suffering of those who felt that their councils and other bodies were not listening to them. I hope the promises that have been made that councils will listen more in the future are sincere and are acted upon. However, nothing changes the fact that our blocks have proven themselves safe over many decades and that none of the ten West Hill high rise buildings have ever had the cladding which was so disastrous at Grenfell.

RECHARGING LEASEHOLDERS

Unfortunately Wandsworth is still refusing to allow anyone but the inner circle to look at the legal advice (which it bought using our money) about the rechargeability of sprinklers, but it is obvious that the matter is by no means as black and white as Wandsworth would have us believe. For example, Hammersmith & Fulham Council is taking a very different approach from Wandsworth – it does not intends to put sprinklers in individual rooms but in the communal areas: it intends to do the work in all its council blocks, not just the high rise ones which (excluding the one-off disaster at Grenfell) were the safest from a fire danger point of view; and it is not recharging leaseholders even for new firedoors where needed.

The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Sajid David, has said that private landlords should not charge leaseholders for cladding work (see https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/javid-private-landlords-should-not-charge-leaseholders-for-cladding-work-53475). Mr Javid said: “When it comes to local authorities and housing associations they have made clear that they will not be passing on the costs and that is the right approach. For the private sector landlords I would like to see them follow the lead of the social sector and not pass on the costs to their tenants [by which I suspect he means leaseholders, given the context].” It is not clear if this should also apply to sprinklers – probably not – but it is an interesting legal question as to why not. (Wandsworth is not recharging the works to the two blocks, Sudbury House and Castlemaine, which need to have cladding removed as the Council has admitted it was at fault in fitting it in the first place – all that cost will come from Council tenants across the Borough.)

Hearteningly, he also said that more money was going to be made available for the Leasehold Advisory Service so that leaseholders can have more information about their rights in defending themselves from their landlords.

I should say that I am not in favour of shifting the costs onto the backs of the tenants alone – I want to see residents at the heart of deciding whether they want this inevitably expensive and disruptive measure at all in buildings that have proven themselves safe for decades. But the council’s refusal to let anyone outside the power that be scrutinise why it is taking a very different legal position from at least some others is starting to look dubious.

RESIDENTS IN THE MEDIA

We have managed to get some publicity for the argument that residents should have a greater role in choosing how to proceed rather than having things imposed from the Town Hall. A number of leaseholders have been interviewed by the BBC. Radio 5 etc., and by the written press such as the national Guardian (see https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/11/wandsworth-anger-fire-sprinklers-bill-grenfell-tower), and have made the case for their views being taken properly into account when decisions are taken. I was interviewed for the BBC local TV news and made the point that if this work does have to go ahead then it is not fair that all the cost should fall entirely on the residents (tenants or leaseholders), both because some of those living in Council blocks are not the most affluent in society and because tower blocks are not evenly spread across the country. I also made the point that the money being proposed for sprinklers could be (in my opinion better) used in dealing with the many problems of damp, lifts breaking down, old kitchens and bathrooms and so on that I see in our council housing stock. Later in the day the Leader of the Council had been recorded saying in effect that Wandsworth had run its housing so brilliantly that it did not need any help from the government (though it would not say no if some were offered). Given that the government had already made it clear that it would only consider giving help to Councils in financial hardship this was a very peculiar line to take. Obviously overnight some words were said behind closed doors because come the next day the Leader was very publicly asking for help from the government, like many other councils had been doing from the start. Whether this makes any difference is of course yet to be seen but in any case it isn’t just about the money…

COUNCIL MEETING

The issue was raised in questions at the Council meeting on December 6. As past performance led me to expect, rather than trying to discuss the concerns of the leaseholders (and many tenants) seriously, senior councillors simply attacked me personally and effectively dismissed the concerns of leaseholders as only involving ‘a small number’. I was accused of spreading ‘needless scare stories’ (for suggesting that our blocks are still as safe as they ever were, presumably) and accused of being irresponsible. Well, ok, I’ve been called worse over the last three years but it did betray a certain mindset. There was a reference to ‘a small number of leaseholders’ who were expressing concern. In my newsletter of August 26 this year I called for the Council to spread the costs for leaseholders over at least three years – the one bit of good news is that the Council has given in to this, in fact extending it to four years. Even so I don’t think the Council has heard two important messages:

  • it is considerably more than a “small number” of leaseholders who would like their views to be heard and acted upon – I am aware of a large number of leaseholders and at least a small number of council tenants;
  • it is not (only) about cost – there are all sorts of concerns, ranging from destruction of people’s decorations; to concerns about sprinklers going off accidentally or through malice; to not wanting the disturbance when the buildings have shown themselves safe for decades; to the poor quality of many major works projects; to a general objection at the Council feeling it can march into someone’s home against their will and do what it likes; to the same sense of frustration at a council that will not listen as is being expressed by the Grenfell survivors and families.

I asked a question of my own (as outlined in my last newsletter) – the Leader did not try to explain why residents in our blocks are being treated so differently from people in private blocks of the same age or acknowledge that it is a very different matter to include features at the design and build stage than to backfit them to existing buildings. We should remember that in June the government said it would not even force private blocks to undergo fire tests, let alone have a particular expensive and disruptive approach forced on them (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/private-landlords-not-forced-check-fire-cladding-combustible-safety-tower-block-a7805296.html). To be fair to the Leader he did accept that his comments recorded in the minutes of November’s Let’s Talk meeting, which he had seen and passed as accurate, in fact were misleading.

I do not know what the position of the opposition is at the Council – they did call for ‘meaningful consultation’ but whether this means meaningful consultation (i.e. actually acting on residents’ views) or not is not yet clear.

It could be a rather interesting New Year! Let’s hope it is a sensible one.

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.

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