Tag Archives: Estate

Points of concern raised with ward Councillor regarding retro-fitting water sprinklers (9 September 2017)

It was a little while ago, though in the context of discussions regarding retro-fitting water sprinklers the following might be of interest.

On Saturday 9th September 2017 four Alton Estate residents attended the Councillor’s surgery on to discuss retro-fitting of water sprinklers off the back of the Paper 17-269 which was to be discussed at the Council’s Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 14th September 2017. The ward Councillor who this was discussed with was Councillor Sue McKinney, who also attends this meeting. Timing wise many on the estate received a copy of the September Brightside magazine earlier the same day which mentioned retro-fitting of water sprinklers which did not mention how this would be funded.

As far as these four residents were concerned, the following points were raised;

  1. Water sprinklers were first brought up in June there has been ample time to arrange to door knocking of residents to seek views and opinions, or to arrange a consultation. The response was that summer holidays may have had something to do with this.
  2. Related to this was that instead of Labour campaigning, such as what was seen the previous Saturday in Putney then perhaps this resource could have been better spent on garnering views about water sprinklers.
  3. That the absence of the Borough Residents Forum (BRF) Minutes from the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) Agenda for the meeting of 11th September was not on (as this included an item about water sprinklers) and needed to be raised and added back in. This was raised by a Residents Association.
  4. Residents raised that there are block differences which need to be considered.
  5. One block has requested a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment and was waiting for a copy of this. They are not held by the Western Area team and are held centrally. It was suggested that if any residents were concerned then having a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment based on the ground floor might assist with some comfort.
  6. A discussion regarding frequency of Fire Risk Assessments was held, top of head thoughts were monthly or quarterly.
  7. One resident highlighted disappointment that a query regarding water sprinklers sent to Councillor McKinney the previous Sunday had not been acknowledged.
  8. Concern was expressed about contents insurance in that it was doubtful one’s residence would be covered if the water sprinklers went off by accident. A mention of wooden floors was highlighted as a problem area should this happen.
  9. In the paper 17-269 there is a mention of potential building insurance benefits. Councillor McKinney was unaware of the current cost of building insurance for blocks and one resident suggested low £100+. [Post meeting update, having just seen one building’s service for 2015/2016 the Buildings Insurance premium is £12.43. If correct, then the benefits of section 24 of the paper 17-269 is perhaps negligible].
  10. Concern was raised about whether there could be electrical fires which start as a result of water sprinklers.
  11. One resident presented statistics regarding deaths from fires in the Wandsworth Borough which worked out to be 1.2 per annum and queried whether this cost was commensurate with what the £26 million cost to the Council.
  12. A mention of possible double counting of service charges could be on the cards. Major works are being conducted now on tall blocks on the Alton Estate, by installing water sprinklers would this undo any of the works being paid for now. If yes, then would leaseholders be paying to have this put back to pre-water sprinkler state?
  13. Uncertainty about where water sprinklers would be located was highlighted, would they be inside flats or just on the landing areas?
  14. One resident asked whether there was consideration that forcing this onto residents as part ‘security’ meant that leaseholders who have bought properties and tenants who have moved into them, have therefore moved into properties which were not ‘secure’ and whether they could have a legal case?
  15. Legal action was mentioned as a possible challenge if this is ‘imposed’ on leaseholders.
  16. Buildings on Danebury Avenue with long walkways which are covered might pose a risk if residents are at the furthest points from the stair case.
  17. Leaseholders in tall blocks are currently undergoing major works which is costing between £7,000 to £10,000 and now they have will have to contend with this additional cost.
  18. One resident mentioned that in one block the Council is very good at removing clutter from landings.
  19. There was also concern regarding the ongoing costs of servicing the sprinklers.

Councillor McKinney was asked to object to Section (b) and (c ) of Point 3 and the feedback was that this seemed a reasonable request thought this would need to be put past Councillor Paul White, the Opposition Speaker at the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

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Allbrook House and Roehampton Library in the news

If you haven’t been keeping with the Alton Regeneration Watch (ARW) Twitter feed you may have missed the various articles about Allbrook House and the Roehampton Library in the media. The articles are listed below and each can be read if click on them;

An article by Greg Pitcher, ‘Leading architects call on council to save post-war LCC housing block’ (10 January 2018), was within The Architects’ Journal.

An Article by Geraint Franklin, ‘Allbrook House and Roehampton Library, London’ (January 2018), was within the Twentieth Century Society.

An article by Barnabas Calder, ‘Britain’s most important 20th-century housing is under threat’ (December 2017), was within the Apollo Magazine.

A reminder of what the buildings look like are below.

Alton Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Strategy

Something which didn’t quite seem to make any sense was how the proposed demolition came about given the positive comments in the past of from the ‘Alton Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Strategy’ which stated the following comments;

“There are however some buildings that do have architectural interest outside the conservation area such as Allbrook House and Roehampton Library”. (page 8)

“3.14 The shopping parade in Danebury Avenue, completed in 1959-60 and the library, in 1961, are outside the conservation area. The library has architectural interest, distinguished in part by its curved walls and undulating roof form but also by the associated (though detached) Allbrook House which seems to float above – it too has an interesting form and details, including decorative block detailing to its balconies which unifies and softens the harshness of the structure. The library was one of the last buildings in the original development of Alton West. It was designed by John Partridge of the London County Council (LCC) Architect’s Department incorporating ideas from Wandsworth Council’s library service. It was opened in September 1961 by the children’s author Noel Streatfield. There was originally a mural by Bill Mitchell in resin and plastics”. (page 12)

“4.29 Some buildings outside the conservation area have an influence on the area’s character, particularly noticeable along Harbridge Avenue, just off Danebury Road, where there are shops, the library and Allbrook House (all of which fall outside the conservation area)”. (page 19)

“6.9 Generally, those buildings that fall outside the conservation area do not have the same architectural rigour or quality of those that are within. There are however, buildings in the vicinity of this character area – Allbrook House and Roehampton Library – that are of interest in terms of their architectural presence and relationship to the Alton Estate. The presence and connection of these buildings to the north-eastern edge of the estate makes them difficult to go unnoticed – though outside the conservation area, their impact is complementary due to their applied architectural treatment and form, directly linked to the modernist principles established for Alton West, namely monumentality and originality”. (page 28)

“Boundary Review

1.3 As part of the appraisal process, the boundaries of the Alton Estate Conservation Area were reviewed and considered to be acceptable. However, during the public consultation people strongly urged the Council to extend the conservation area to include areas including Allbrook House and its green space, Roehampton Library and buildings along Danebury Avenue. At its Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 18 November 2010, the Council undertook to consider further research on this matter”. (page 44)

Redeveloping Danebury Avenue What Roehampton Wants….Labour Survey regarding previous regeneration attempt

With regards to the previous regeneration attempt on the Alton Estate, the Labour Party conducted a survey of residents on the Alton Estate and the results were published in the document ‘Redeveloping Danebury Avenue, What Roehampton Wants’. Interestingly, the Labour Party did not conduct any such survey this time around and it is wandered what the reason(s) are for not doing so, especially given that presently the ward has three Labour Party Councillors since 2014 these being Councillor Peter Carpenter, Councillor Jeremy Ambache and Councillor Sue McKinney. The feedback contained within the report stated;

“The whole council plan rests on the demolition of Allbrook House, the “landmark” block above Roehampton Library.  This is the one question where there was no majority opposition to the council plan, but a clear plurality – 45% – don’t want the block demolished. Barely a third – 34% – supported demolition and a sizeable number – 21% – didn’t feel able to give a view.  We had 21 surveys back from the parts of Danebury Avenue, including Allbrook House, under threat of demolition.  Of these, 4 supported demolition and 14 opposed it”.  (page 3)

“It’s a great shame that the Council never even considered improving Allbrook House, which contains some large properties within it with spectacular views of Roehampton.  Recladding or even more radical remodelling of Allbrook House could transform this block – the gateway to the Alton estate”. (page 3)

To highlight the “landmark” comment in pictures, have a look at the following photos.

This is taken from Roehampton High Street.

Conservation review 2010

Earlier in this article within the Alton Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Strategy there was a mention of this review within the Boundary Review comment. At the Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting (18 November 2010) the following was discussed “Background. The Council has a 5 year programme for updating appraisals of the Borough’s 45 conservation areas. In the fifth year, the conservation areas were divided into two groups. The first five appraisals were reported in February 2010 (Paper No. 10- 211) and the second and final four appraisals are being reported to this Committee”. (Paper 10-876).

What is very interesting about this is that in 2010 one of the current ward Councillors was supportive in trying to extend the Alton conservation Area to protect these buildings, as the following comments highlight (Appendix 2 to Paper No. 10-876, Consultation comments);

“Comment from Councillor Carpenter:

a) Recommends redrawing the boundary of the CA to include Harbidge Ave, Allbrook House, Roehampton Library and the green in Alton West; and the Cornerstone and low odd numbered buildings on Alton Road in Alton East for their architectural interest.

b) The Council could produce a leaflet on conservation areas and listed buildings so people understand them better.

c ) It was clear from the meeting that there is general opposition to plans for demolition of the eastern end of Danebury Ave. It should be remembered that there were earlier plans for a more sensitive refurbishment of the area which had greater support from residents”.

Allbrook House and Roehampton Listing attempt

In 2015 there was an attempt to list these buildings through Historic England. MP Greening wrote in favour of not supporting the listing though there was no such comments, supportive or not, from the three Labour ward Councillors and the question is, “why not?”.

Where are we now?

The buildings (Harbidge Ave, Allbrook House, Roehampton Library) mentioned in Councillor Carpenter’s comments in point (a) above are all proposed for demolition as part of this current regeneration scheme. With the 2018 Local Council elections coming up, one has to ask whether voting for Labour or the Conservatives will make any difference?

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

 

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

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

 

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

Temple in grounds of Mount Clare, Minstead Gardens

Off the back of the article ‘Wandsworth (Conservation Area) Advisory Committee (9 January 2018)’ there were a couple of requests to add a photo of the Temple to the blog. A generous photographer from the Alton West part of the estate provided a picture, which is provided below. This picture was taken roughly in November 2014, note that even then this Grade II* monument was boarded up. In the photo you can see in the background the DARA Focus Hall.

 

Perhaps what is a little surprising is how long it has taken to start placing this monument on the radar for some needed attention. At the Putney Society organised event ‘Roehampton University and how it relates to the local community’ on 24 September 2015 the Temple was asked about and there was a mention of the Temple being Heritage at risk and that there had been some vandalism to it.

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

 

A lesson in how not to paint double yellow lines?

Kimpton House residents on the Alton Estate recently had an interesting experience with regards to how the Council painted double yellow lines next to the building.

The following photos were taken on the 17 & 18 December 2017.

This first photo shows one side of the road on Fontley Way as having the double yellow lines completed.

The next photo shows parts of the double yellow line, though notice the white vehicle which is relevant for the next photo.

The white vehicle is now gone and it can be seen that the double yellow lines have not been completed.

The Council was approached about this semi-completed job. A reply has yet been forthcoming though the following photo was taken on 20 December 2017 and the double yellow lines had been completed. Coincidence?

In any event, these double yellow lines might add to further problems with regards to limited car parking spaces in the area. Also the question has been raised with the Council with regards to how these double yellow lines will be enforced and the answer may be of interest to local residents.

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