Tag Archives: Alton Leaseholders meeting

Alton Leaseholders meeting (29 August 2018)

Background

The recent letter from the Council about the retro fitting of water sprinklers was published resulted in the last minute call for the meeting. It was a good turn out with about 30 people having appeared.

Forming of the Association

A constitution was agreed and positions were filled for Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Discussion about mandating a lawyer

The point was made that the assistance of lawyers has been spoken about for some time and some people have contacted lawyers about the situation though as of yet there has been very little in the way of taking this forward with a lawyer other than a discussion LEASE and with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

For background regarding LEASE discussion: https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/feedback-from-lease-regarding-retro-fitting-water-sprinklers/

For background regarding CAB discussion: https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/what-does-the-citizens-advice-bureau-suggest-regarding-water-sprinklers/

Funding for a lawyer

Funds were being taken for a lawyer at the meeting with leaseholders contributing the minimum of £40. The point was made that the more people that support this, the more funding that comes with it then this £40 could be reduced.

Other ward’s interest

There was a mention that other wards are interested in this and may contribute funding.

Council tenant’s views

This was mixed in that some blocks seem to think that Council tenants are in favour of this, some are not (especially when they realise that sprinklers will be placed within their flat).

Roehampton Festival

At the Festival on Saturday 1st September the Alton Leaseholders Association will be in attendance. Information about the Festival – https://twitter.com/AltonWatch/status/1031962303565049858

Housing and Regeneration and Overview Scrutiny Committee (13 September 2018)

People were encouraged to attend this meeting to protest against the retro fitting of water sprinklers. Details of the venue and time – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/councillor-malcolm-grimstons-10-storey-block-update-dates-to-remember-30-august-2018/

Labour Party meeting about the water sprinklers (2 September 2018)

People were encouraged to attend the meeting about the water sprinklers this coming Sunday. Details of the venue and time – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/labour-sprinkler-installation-and-application-to-ftt-by-wandsworth-council-27-august-2018/

How to contact Alton Leaseholders?

For details about the Alton Leaseholders and future meetings please email – altonleaseholders@yahoo.com

What do you think?

Please leave a comment on the blog with your thoughts.

 Caveats

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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Alton Leaseholders (26 June 2018)

Introduction

It had been a while since the last meeting of the Alton Leaseholders. The Alton Leaseholders held a meeting to review the current situation regarding the Council’s desire to retro-fit water sprinklers. There was a decent turn out of leaseholders in attendance and there were a few topics discussed.

Please note all information below may have moved on though hopefully it may be of interest.

Reviewed the lease clause

The Council is, according to Paper 17-269 sections 19 and 20, relying on a clause in leases which relate to security of the building and this means it’s chargeable to leaseholders. The lease clause and the Council Paper were both presented by Alton Estate leaseholders. Not everyone agrees with the Council’s view and time will tell whether this will be chargeable.

Reviewed the Oxford City Council case

The OCC case whereby some leaseholders challenged OCC regarding being charged for retro-fitting water sprinklers, and appeared to won, at least initially. As always, the devil is in the detail and not all leases are the same and there might be nuances which leaseholders need to consider though in the meantime it highlights that Council’s are not always right.

What was interesting was that the OCC case was being discussed at the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT) at the same time as Wandsworth Borough Council was presenting a paper at a Council Committee regarding charging leaseholders £3,000 to £4,000. Since the case, surprise, surprise, WBC has decided to present its case to the FTPT co-incidence?

For more information about the OCC case click on the sentence.

Discussed the Fire Safety Inspections

Some of you may have heard about the block fire safety inspections that have begun. The experience of one leaseholder highlighted that there seems to be a case of poor communication which is a common theme as only two days notice was given for an inspection. Some questions have been raised by one Residents Association which were as follows;

  1. Why was this not raised with Residents Associations (RAs) at the Western Area Housing Panel on 12th February 2018 or, the more recent, Kimpton House Residents Association (KHRA) on 17th May 2018?
  2. What was the reason for not doing this when recent the major works was undertaken? It would have been less inconvenient for the Council and residents.
  3. Two days notice is not enough time for most people to organise time off work to attend to the request. It is disturbing to think that the issue of short notice (such as the recent SCGWRP RA one day notice that Water would be turned off) and post event notice (again recent examples being SCGWRP RA notified after the fibre optics installation was completed, letter received by KHRA after the yellow lines had been implemented) is being implemented without considering the impacts on local residents on a reasonably regular basis. Please note that at the Borough Residents Forum on 7th June this late notice was highlighted by KHRA. Going forward, can the Council commit to a week’s notice before any event taking place thereby permitting residents the opportunity to comment on this event prior to it happening? Case in point being the implementation of the yellow lines, this is now to be amended after resident feedback which means the original job was a waste of both time and money. If not, please explain the reasons for this this.
  4. Referring to point 3, if needing access to flats, a minimum of two weeks notice is required. Can the Council please commit to this? If not, please explain the reasons for this.
  5. On the 7th June, out of the 48 flats, how many did the Council gain access to?
  6. A question has been raised that if gas safety certificates are completed and smoke alarms are already tested then what is the need for the Council to access the flat. Therefore please detail exactly both what the Council will doing in the flats along with what it is looking for.
  7. Please detail what action the Council will take if it cannot access either a leaseholders or Council tenanted property.

It would be interesting to know what the answers will be.

Quality of the works shown in the Council video versus reality

It was mentioned that there is a show flat which leaseholders have inspected and that there is a video which highlights how the water sprinklers will appear. However the following was raised as needing to be considered;

  1. That the video made the actual works look better that they are and pictures were shown to prove the point.
  2. That there is supposed to a show flat on the Alton Estate which would be a better comparison for properties there though details of when this will be available are unknown.

Frequently Asked Question about retro fitting water sprinklers by Croydon Council (CC)

The CC has provided information with regards to retro fitting water sprinklers and this was discussed. Whilst it may not be an exact match with what would happen with the Alton Estate, there are a couple of aspects that should be considered;

  1. These will be an annual maintenance of the water sprinklers meaning that someone might need to be present when this takes place and it will add to ongoing service charge costs.
  2. It will take 3 days to install, and for anyone having just gone through the double glazing major works might not too happy about spending more time accommodating this, as some properties took a lot longer than should have done in terms of having this completed.

How to contact Alton Leaseholders?

For details about the Alton Leaseholders and future meetings please email – altonleaseholders@yahoo.com

Caveats

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.

Receive articles into your inbox when uploaded on the blog

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

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

Alton Leaseholders (23 January 2018)

This group is still progressing with meetings with the aim of increasing leaseholder interests within the Alton Estate.

Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (18 January 2018)

There was a discussion regarding the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (18 January 2018). Much of what was discussed was highlighted in the email sent to the Councillors after the meeting. There was a good turnout of interested leaseholders that were sitting in the gallery. From the Alton Estate it was a bit disappointing as there were about 12 from the Alton Leaseholders, out of about 60 leaseholders.

 Legal advice

There was a discussion regarding obtaining legal advice. With one member having approached a lawyer regarding seeking an opinion. An action was for the Alton Leaseholders to come up with a template which leaseholders could use to start asking lawyers regarding obtaining quotes for opinion.

Current status of where members come from?

There was a discussion that many leaseholders are still not aware yet of the water sprinkler situation and if they were that they were not aware of the cost. To understand which blocks are missing from the Alton Leaseholders an action was to share the latest position of which blocks currently have members.

Vulnerable members

It was suggested that vulnerable members join forces to go to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to see (1) what financial assistance they might have recourse to and (2) what legal advice they might have recourse to. One volunteer offered to organise the meeting and Alton Leaseholders is to send an email to members to ask vulnerable members to join.

Leaflet

Alton Leaseholders is working up a leaflet to distribute to buildings which are impacted. This is to raise awareness amongst those that are unaware of what is happening. A draft has been sighted and needs to be reviewed and then shared with members. The idea being that each block will be responsible for the printing and distribution of the leaflets.

If interested

Email: altonleaseholders@yahoo.com

Facebook: Alton Leaseholders

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

Alton Leaseholders meeting (13 December 2017)

This was the third meeting of the newly created Alton Leaseholders group. Given it is the third meeting in just over a month (November 6th and 20th being the others) this highlights that there is a desire to create a leaseholders group which can positively influence change on the Alton Estate. In attendance there was about a dozen people who braved the cold and very wet weather who offered their views. It should be considered that over a period of a couple of months, driven primarily by one individual getting up early on weekends, that 56 leaseholders from mainly the tall buildings on the Alton Estate have expressed an interest in participating in this group.

Update on actions

The Chair was very keen to get updates from attendees on the progress of their actions. Like any meeting there was progress on some actions and not on others, which seems to be the case for almost any group depending on the capacity of individuals to commit and their ability to resource the action with life.

One action where the Chair was keen to emphasis was that an ask had gone out prior to the meeting requesting what items should be considered as part of a leaseholders group. Only one person provided any feedback on this.

To know what the actions are and what the progress was, that will be something for you to find out by attending a future meeting.

Water sprinklers

It has been mentioned at both of the previous meetings that there is need to not be focused only on water sprinklers, though this seems to be driving focus for many at the moment. This could be understandable given for many they have (1) have paid large sums on service charges mainly in part due to the installation of double glazing, (2) are having retro-fitting of water sprinklers forced on them without a choice and (3) there are far too many queries which need to be answered.

There still seems to be a slow take up of residents requesting a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment for their block. The numbers of Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) seen to date is only eight out of the 42 for the ward. The number 42 being the amount of buildings in the ward being retro-fitted with water sprinklers.

In terms of Councillor Govindia being able to obtain funding from the Government for water sprinklers there is some scepticism as an earlier request has already been turned down.

There was some discussion on whether the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward Councillors would assist. It was commented that Councillor Sue McKinney met with four residents during a Labour Saturday surgery and they convinced her that water sprinklers were not required (though this had to be discussed with the Opposition speaker at the Housing and Regeneration Overview Scrutiny Committee) yet a few days later at the Council meeting it was agreed and Councillor McKinney did not even speak on the topic despite representing a ward which has the most tall buildings to be impacted.

A general consideration was what, if any, support can be gathered from the ward Councillors. It was mentioned that at a June Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) it was mentioned by Councillor McKinney that the retro-fitting of water sprinklers was with cross party agreement.

An update was highlighted that someone who is very concerned by the looming expense of this sought assistance from Councillor Sue McKinney who then pointed that individual to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

One theory which was expressed was that this could be a long term strategy by the Council to make the blocks appear as though they were unsafe which might make it harder for owners to sell, in turn making this easier for the Council to buy back at lower cost than what otherwise might have been the case. This is assuming that, one day, the Council might buy these apartments back under possible future regeneration work.

Legal challenge

Those impacted by the possibility of having water sprinklers retro-fitted discussed the prospect of challenging this through the legal system. There was a desire to explore this option more fully at the next meeting.

Next meeting

That is to be confirmed though is currently pencilled in for 8 January 2017 (though this is yet to be confirmed).

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

Alton Leaseholders meeting, some notes (6 November 2017)

Background

For those of you that may not be aware there has been a lot of grumbling around service charge costs and the quality of the service that these costs represent. The recent installation of double glazing on the Alton Estate has raised this and the likely retro-fitting of water sprinklers into tall buildings on the estate at a cost to leaseholders with what some view as a dubious consultation has sparked the initial meeting of a group of leaseholders to these issues and consider what actions may be done.

The meeting took place on Monday 6th November at The DARA Focus Hall and there were about 20 people in attendance, with about six apologies. This is not bad going for a first meeting effort!

What was discussed?

  1. Background to the reason for this meeting taking place

Much of this is mentioned earlier in this blog though one comment which stood out was that one person got “tired of being as a purse” and that the water sprinklers instigated the need for this meeting. There are an amazing 50 leaseholders that are interested in working together.

  1. Leaseholder numbers on the Alton Estate

The numbers of leaseholders on the Alton Estate was discussed in terms of highlighting what a potential force it could be if the numbers worked together. The numbers were shown in two stages. The first, being how many leaseholders there were and following table highlights the numbers used.

Source: Freedom of Information 2014/10209

The other being how many leaseholders and properties on the Alton Estate were referred to as being included within the retro-fitting of water sprinklers. This is covered by the following table and notice how many of the buildings and impacted people are to do with Alton Estate properties.

Source: Freedom of Information 2017/15626

  1. An example of costs paid

One 2 bed apartment in a tower block had its service charge costs highlighted over a 13 month period and the total came to £12,475.05 as shown by the below figures.

2016 (paid in October 2016)

£880.00 major works

£1,152.44 for the annual service charge

2017 (paid in October 2017)

£9,446 for major works

£996.61 for the usual annual service charge

A comment was mentioned that one of the reasons given the regeneration of the estate is its levels of deprivation one has to wonder whether such costs can be easily absorbed by leaseholders.

  1. Water sprinklers 

There was a discussion as to whether they were required and what evidence had been produced to demonstrate the need for having the water sprinklers. It was highlighted that not much had yet been provided in the way of evidence to show this need.

The resident who gave his deputation at the Council Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny meeting of 14th September provided his summary of that meeting.

It was mentioned that a group of residents met with Councillor Sue McKinney to discuss the water sprinklers situation and that, at least at the meeting, the Councillor seemed to agree with the points of the residents.

Some Fire Risk Assessments seen highlight in section 2.6.8 that water sprinklers are not required.

  1. What next?

There was ask for assistance in various ways, such as attendees and interested parties raising awareness of the situation and asking for more people to get involved. If you have any queries please contact – altonleaseholders@yahoo.com .

Next meeting – DARA Club, Focus Hall, Minstead Gardens, SW15 4ER on Monday 20th November 2017 at 7:30pm.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and if any amendments are required then please do let us know.

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 us to join the (almost) weekly newsletter which tries to highlight what’s been happening in Roehampton.

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;