Tag Archives: meeting

Alton Leaseholders meeting summary (7 January 2019)

Background

The Alton Leaseholders Association (ALA) was started late 2017 when leaseholders concerned by Wandsworth Borough Council’s approach to the handling of imposing the retro-fitting of water sprinklers was being handled. However, this was not the only concern expressed by leaseholders, for instance the handling of service charges has been another.

Please note that the following does not represent the official Minutes of the meeting, rather they are written from the aspect as an observer at the meeting.

Meeting and agenda

The meeting held on 7 January 2019 had the following Agenda items;

  1. Draft Minutes of the meeting 19th November 2018
  2. A review of the Council’s statement of case
  3. Progress of membership and how to grow
  4. Next steps
  5. Any Other Business

At this meeting there was good turnout of about 30-35 attendees and this was not only attended by concerned leaseholders, there were a council tenants who attended that are also concerned by the imposition of water sprinklers within their homes and, like the leaseholders, also do not wish to have the water sprinklers imposed on them.

1.Draft Minutes of the meeting 19th November 2018

This was agreed without comment.

2.A review of the Council’s statement of case

This was not well received by attendees. Some of thoughts on this were that this document was quite light on real reasons for the Council’s legal case. There was a letter from an MP dated December 2018 which was to support the Council’s case which seems to indicate that the Council is desperate in seeking information to support its case. There was only one deputation that was mentioned in the statement of case and the ALA has given two and there have been others which provided deputations. The Council has, it seems, not fulfilled the Tribunal’s directions, for instance, the category and type has not been fulfilled as rather than Type 2A and 2B being mentioned it only states Type 2.

Lawyers that have been previously approached are to be approached again to understand whether they would be willing to take the case, provide costs, and confirm how they would be willing to work with the ALA (as working with groups requires some negotiation with lawyers which is not new information and has been highlighted a few times at these meetings and with various groups that the ALA has been in dialogue with).

There were attendees that come to these meetings who have not been before that have not followed this situation in any detail, or they have only selected small slivers of the situation to peak their interest. It highlighted just how difficult it is for concerned leaseholders to work together as everyone seems to be at various understandings of the situation.

Sadly, there seems to be those that think that appearing once at a meeting, asking for information and not making a financial contribution is their only contribution. Too many times new faces appear at these meetings and seem to think that the ALA Management Committee (ALAMC) is in place to handle everything for the ALA and that they can delegate any and all actions to the ALAMC.

There was more that was said though for the rest you’ll need to approach the ALA and most likely attend its meetings.

3.Progress of membership and how to grow

Active members are, sadly, too few for an estate of this size. Very few seem to realise that if they do not wish to have water sprinklers imposed on them they will have to engage with leaseholders, at least with those in their block. More members = more funding.

The funding request is now to go beyond leaseholders and will extend to tenants. This will be supported with a letter drop to impacted blocks. There was an ask for volunteers to assist with this letter drop as well as with any language translations that might be required.

Sadly, it seems clear that despite the posters, the asks for speak to other leaseholders or residents about this, the articles in Roehampton Voice or the roeregeneration blog that there seems to be a real lack of understanding of what the situation is about and what it entails by far too many impacted leaseholders and council tenants.

4.Next steps

Political campaign was suggested and it was highlighted that Labour and Councillor Malcolm Grimston are seeking to have as many petitions as possible from the 100 impacted blocks. It was questioned to what degree this would benefit as, it was suggested that, many of the blocks are in Labour wards.

A suggestion was a uniform refusal to allow the Council’s contractors to enter the premises when the time comes, if it comes.

Door knocking of all 42 blocks in the ward is something the ALAMC are keen on though this volunteers and if it helps this could be done in pairs.

Conclusion

What seemed clear was that there are too many concerned leaseholders or tenants that are not prepared to assist the few that are prepared to spend time and effort on promoting the aim of the ALA in challenging the retro fitting of water sprinklers. Without more volunteers the Council seems to be on the path to victory unless others in the borough come up with their own effective game plan.

The ALA has a fighting fund which it is seeking to grow and it has a bank account where contributions can be paid into. Should you be interested in assisting please contact the ALA for details of the bank account – 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.

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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

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Q&A about water sprinklers at Council meeting (11 October 2017)

At the Council Committee meeting of 11 October, amongst the many questions, it seemed that two were related to water sprinklers. At this meeting, all three of the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward Councillors (Carpenter, McKinney and Ambache) attended.

In section 8, Questions to the Leader of the Council, the following questions and answers were provided. It would be interesting to receive comments from readers regarding these?

(2) Sprinkler Systems: Question raised by Councillor Hogg to the Leader of the Council:

The BBC and other media have reported that the Department of Communities and Local Government has written to a number of Councils (including Wandsworth) who have asked for Central Government funding for the installation of Sprinkler Systems in their High Rise blocks, advising them that they regard this expenditure as „Additional expenditure‟, not „Essential expenditure‟ and so have declined to fund it.

Would the Leader confirm that the DCLG has given Wandsworth such an indication?

If the Government is correct in its classification of Sprinkler Systems as „Additional expenditure‟, would the Leader confirm that a statutory consultation of leaseholders would be required if such expenditure is to be recovered from leaseholders?

Would the Leader further confirm that should such costs not be recovered from leaseholders, then they would fall to the General Fund, rather than the Housing Revenue Account?

Answer:

I can confirm to the Councillor that the Government has made a general statement that no additional funds would be made available for either the works to replace cladding systems or any other fire safety measures, including the installation of sprinklers. The London Fire Brigade, although a strong advocate for the retro-fitting of sprinklers in high rise blocks, have stated that sprinklers sit alongside a suite of other fire safety measures and should not be considered separately.

The fact that the Government may not fund the Council‟s programme of sprinkler installation does not have a bearing on the chargeability of such works to leaseholders. The legal advice indicated that the Council under the terms of its standard lease can undertake work that improves the security of the block and in doing so protects residents and their possessions. As sprinklers unquestionably offer this additional protection the Council‟s view is that the works are necessary rather than optional and should be rolled out across all blocks over 30m tall in line with the requirements for a newly built block of the same height. In these circumstances, the Council is under a strict obligation to bill and collect service charges that fall due under the terms of the lease.

I was delighted to note that Cllr Hogg‟s colleagues on the HROSC wholeheartedly endorsed the Council‟s commitment to this programme, demonstrating that when it comes to measures to improve the safety of our residents in high rise accommodation that some matters are above political posturing.

I can confirm that the programme will take some years to deliver, allowing residents to plan for the cost of the works. The Council has also agreed to extend the interest free re-payment period to 48 months for resident leaseholders, easing the financial impact of the works.

Whilst the Council consults with residents on all major works it is a statutory requirement to do so if the works are chargeable under the terms of the lease, and the appropriate notices and residents‟ meetings will be confirmed as the programme unfolds.

The costs of all works to the Council‟s managed housing stock falls to the Housing Revenue Account, as do all service charges collected, so there will be no impact on the General Fund.

 (36) Sprinklers: Question raised by Councillor Grimston to the Cabinet Member for Housing:

Does the Cabinet Member have sprinklers in every room of her home?

If not, would she support the Government if it came to her and explained that it was going to install sprinklers in her home at a cost of £3-4,000 whether she wanted them or not?

Is she aware that living in a house she would be more likely to die if a fire broke out than if she lived in a 10+ storey tower block?

Answer:

Councillor, if I lived in a high rise block with a single stairway as a means of escape I would certainly be reassured to know that both my property and those of my fellow residents were fitted with sprinkler systems. If I was looking to purchase or rent a property in a new high rise development sprinklers would be in place as a mandatory requirement as they are presumably regarded as an essential fire safety measure in taller buildings. Whilst you continue to use statistics to pursue your individual agenda to oppose the installation of sprinklers your views are not shared by the London Fire Brigade Commissioner or her senior staff or indeed a number of coroners or the Building Research Establishment or the Chartered Institute of Housing or it would seem any other elected members on this Council. It remains obvious and true that it is much more difficult to evacuate from a high rise block in the event of an incident and fires at height are harder to tackle; measures such as sprinklers that are proven to improve the safety of residents should be welcomed by members rather than resisted.

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.

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Safer Neighbourhood Board meeting October 6th

Have your say on how crime is tackled

“The people of Wandsworth are invited to quiz senior police officers and councillors on how they are tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

 The Safer Neighbourhood Board (SNB) holds the borough’s police commander and the Community Safety Partnership to account.

 It ensures crime reduction targets are being met and influences future community safety policy in the borough. It is also a crucial forum to ensure the borough’s residents can influence how crime is dealt with in their community.

 Everyone going to the meeting on October 6 will get a briefing on crime, disorder and general policing issues and will get the chance to take part in a ‘Question Time’-style question and answer session with those responsible for keeping Wandsworth safe”.

For more information click this sentence

You might wish to go along and ask about matters that concern you regarding the Alton Estate.

Other documents/articles of interest

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;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

Alton Regeneration Watch meeting 6th May 2015

The latest meeting by the Alton Regeneration Watch (ARW) was on the 6th May at the DARA. There was a very good turn out from the local resident and many topics regarding the regeneration were discussed, such as;

> student housing in the Town Centre,
> leaseholders and freeholders not keen on the Council’s explanation of what is to happen under the regeneration,
> some background for Council tenants as to what they should consider under the Council’s housing offer,
> highlighting that even leaseholders that are not having their homes demolished will be impacted as there is an “estate charge” in addition to the “block charge” and the impacts of this will not be known until the “procurement” stage,
> a brief summary of the comparison of the Labour 2008 survey “What Roehampton Wants” regarding the previous regeneration attempt and this regeneration,
> maintenance of the estate,
> some history was shared as to what the ARW have been up to on various other topics such as trying to find out what benefits the proposed “modern GP surgeries” would bring,
> the progress of the 20th Century progress on the listing of the library and Allbrook house, and
> some discussion about the current Supplementary Planning Documentation consultation and what is in it, such as the new library being a “may” be included in the development and not a “will” be included (section 4.3B).

One point that was clear, there is no general feeling of this regeneration being reflective of local opinion.

Another point that was raised, the Council seems to prefer to handle residents individually rather than as a group. One comment was made that it seems that to have anything done on the estate one must email the Council copying in lots of local residents, citing the example of the bollards just put up in the Ibsley Garden neighbourhood.

Watch this space as this had a lot of interest and many new members were signed up.

Contact ARW for more information at – info@altonwatch.org.uk

Keep an eye on their website for details of the next meeting – http://www.altonwatch.org.uk