Tag Archives: Wandsworth Borough Council

Do you know the Council’s complaints procedure?

Do you know the Council’s complaints procedure?

Many people on the Alton Estate seem to be unaware of the Council’s complaints procedure. From various conversations and emails it is clear that many residents are not aware of the three stage process.

Where can you obtain the information about the Stages?

This can be found online at the Council’s website at the following link – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200310/about_the_council/34/making_a_complaint

If that does not work?

Then you might be able to raise the complaint with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). Link to the LGSCO – https://www.lgo.org.uk/

Do people actually use this?

They certainly do. Have a look at the annual performance for Wandsworth Council – https://www.lgo.org.uk/information-centre/councils-performance/council/Wandsworth,%20London%20Borough%20of

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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Leaseholder survey 2017 – what do you think?

Introduction

Leaseholders in Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) might be interested in the 2017 Leaseholders survey. Rather surprisingly this survey has received a low profile in the following meetings;

  • Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) – not as yet received a mention at the meetings of 12 December 2017, 12 February 2018 or 17 July 2018.
  • Borough Residents Forum (BRF) – no mention at the meeting of 11 January 2018 and a minor mention at meeting 7 June 2018 (received a slight mention and more on this later)
  • Housing and Regeneration Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) – 18 January 2018, 20 June 2018 (received a slight mention and more on this later)

Borough Residents Forum (BRF) 7 June 2018

There was a presentation given to members of the BRF which was not provided before the meeting meaning there was no time to review the information prior to the BRF meeting. This presentation is located in a presentation titled ‘Performance 2017/18 and Key Priorities 2018/19’.

Page three refers to the survey condensed into one line, HNW024.

Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) 20 June 2018

The survey was barely discussed at this meeting and it was interesting how this 32 page document was condensed into one line with no comments. Refer to Paper 18-162, page 16, comment HRW024, which refers to 60% satisfaction. Looking the survey this seems to have been taken from Figure 1 on page 2 and the 60% satisfied is a total of 17% ‘Very satisfied’ + ‘43% Fairly satisfied’. We’ll let you to decide on whether ‘Fairly satisfied’ should count as ‘Satisfied’.

However, at this meeting, Councillor Claire Gilbert did ask about whether this would be discussed in more detail.

Examples of some of the feedback

Given water sprinklers is a contentious topic at the moment the following might be of interest, which is taken from page 24;

Thought – note that ‘improve communication’ has been highlighted in number 3?

With the being the case, we can provide some examples where this has not been lived up to since this report was produced in November 2017;

Note the comment about water sprinklers and this survey is dated November 2017 and ask yourself whether this communication has been appropriately addressed?

 Summary

It would be good to understand how the Council follows up these reports. For instance, off the back of the report there should, one would imagine, be an action plan of some sort which highlights what action is to be taken off the back of it and the progress measured against this. Otherwise, what’s the point of these suveys?

Caveats

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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.

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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. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

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

Retro fitting water sprinklers and asbestos concerns raised?

Introduction

Prior to the article ‘GLA document on retrofitting water sprinklers (March 2018)’ which mentions a possible concern regarding asbestos within the text “Costs are likely to rise due to this low capacity and will be further increased by building-specific challenges which only become apparent once work starts, such as the discovery of asbestos”, there was a query which was raised by Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) resident which was along the lines of  the following;

“I have been made aware that the stippled ceilings in the flats are likely to contain asbestos.
Not all flats have them, but if they do then it could require an asbestos removal contract if it is disturbed.
Fitting sprinklers would almost certainly cause such disturbance.
My investigations with other residents, and WBC, suggest that this is a leaseholders responsibility. For tenants, it may mean moving out while the works are done.

Do any of you have any information that could assist with this issue? We’re any assurances or undertakings ever given by WBC about asbestos?”

What follows is the response of three other WBC residents in relation to this query.

The feedback

Feedback #1

As you may be aware our blocks were due for the window replacement.  When I received details of the planned work, I queried why asbestos removal was once again being included as this was included in the last external redecoration contract.  Here is the response I got

“asbestos removal is always quoted for as part of any major works undertaken to buildings the same age and type as [NAME OF BLOCK REMOVED].  It is important to know that the Council has an ASBESTOS REGISTER(my capital letters), however depending on what works are undertaken, existing asbestos may have to be disturbed which would warrant its immediate removal. Asbestos may remain in buildings where it has not been disturbed and therefore precautions as well as provisions for planned removal where necessary need to be included within specifications.

Feedback #2

The following refers to the email correspondence back in 2006 which was to do with a tall building on the Alton Estate.

Dear [NAME REMOVED],

I am sorry for the delay in replying to your letter dated [DATE REMOVED] regarding the asbestos.   The reply received from Housing is below:

“Surveys and assessments have been carried out to all communal areas within our housing stock in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. Where asbestos containing materials have been identified, their safe method of management is described in our Asbestos Management Plan.

Records of the surveys and assessments are most extensive and are therefore available for inspection at these offices by prior appointment.”

I hope that your mortgage lender will now be able to process your application and if I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to contact me.

Feedback #3

When I had water damage from the flat above, the insurance company removed all the stippling from myliving room and one of my bedroom because of the asbestos. I had to move out for 3 days. Nightmare.”

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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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. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

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

 

How many complaints have been submitted to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman?

What is the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)?

In its own words it is;

“We are the final stage for complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services. We are a free service. We investigate complaints in a fair and independent way – we do not take sides”.

How many complaints were to submitted to the LGSCO about Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC)?

For the period ending 31/03/2018 there were 100.

How can you check previous results?

Information going back to 2007 on an annual basis is provided on the website.

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

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

Resident engagement….recent examples cast doubt?

If you were part of either a Residents Association (RA), concerned by either the possible retro-fitting of water sprinklers or the Alton Estate regeneration, this article may of interest.

Borough Residents Forum (7 June 2018)

In short, the hierarchy for RA engagement with Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) is through a Resident Association, and then if on the Alton Estate, then the next step up is through the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) and then the next stage up is the Borough Residents Forum (BRF). At the BRF meeting which took place on 7 June 2018 the four WAHP RAs were Kimpton House Residents Association (KHRA), Putney Vale Residents Association (PVRA), Crown Court Residents Association (CCRA) and Stoughton Close/Greatham Walk/Ryefield Path Residents Association (SCGWRP RA).

Typically, the BRF is held about a week before the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) meeting. The HROSC June 14 2018 meeting was moved to the 20 June 2018 though the BRF meeting of 7 June 2018 was not moved. Normally, the BRF has first sight of some of the documents which are to be presented at the HROSC, though the BRF meeting of 7 June 2018 was quite light on detail and documents.

Having seen the discussion papers on the Agenda for the upcoming HROSC on 20 June 2018 there were various documents which should have perhaps been discussed at the BRF before being raised at the upcoming HROSC. Let’s take a look………

Regeneration Update – Winstanley/York Road Estate, SW11 (Latchmere) and Alton Estate, SW15 (Roehampton and Putney Heath) (Paper No. 18-161)

Now imagine that you are the KHRA for one moment. You’ve put your hand up to be an RA, attend the WAHP and then the BRF. Surely, one would think it would not be unreasonable to mention that paper 18-161 is to be allowed to be raised at the BRF? The reason for mentioning this that the regeneration is seeking to include an area in Fontley Way as shown in Appendix 2, which is next to Kimpton House?

Click on the following to read the papers:

If the BRF was held a week before the HROSC would KHRA have been able to view this document?

Let’s also bear in mind that at the Alton Estate exhibition of 6 June 2018 and 9 June 2018 there was a reference to Fontley Way developments due for completion in 2020 though there was no information to be sighted regarding this. The notice for the exhibition stated “Opportunity to see the latest Alton Estate proposals’ though there was nothing to see regarding the Fontley Way development.

Petition regarding installation of sprinklers (Paper No. 18-168)

At the HROSC on 18 January 2018, five buildings impacted by possible retro fitting of water sprinklers provided petitions against this and were submitted by Councillor Malcom Grimston (West Hill ward). The five buildings are from the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward and were – Kimpton House, Swaything House, Tatchbury House, Rushmere House and Allenford House. Have a think about this, the petitions were not submitted by either of Councillor Peter Carpenter, Councillor Jeremy Ambache or Councillor Sue McKinney, which represent the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward………

Again, should KHRA be able to opine on Paper 18-168 at the BRF of 7 June 2018?

Click on the following to read the paper:

Council-led Development Programme (Paper No. 18-165)

Paper 18-165 is another which probably should have been aired at the BRF of 7 June 2018. Innes Gardens Residents Association (IGRA), which is part of the WAHP, should probably like to comment on the mention of new homes being built on rooftops and maybe the possible use of the Ashburton Youth Club for new homes. Anyone who attended the Putney Society Hustings on 18 April 2018 might remember the grilling a Innes Gardens resident gave Councillor Steffi Sutters regarding a possible lack of communication with residents regarding adding rooftop homes.

Click on the following to read the paper:

Borough Residents’ Forum – Report of meeting on 7th June 2018 (Paper No. 18-160)

The previous BRF held was on 11 January 2018 meaning that there was a gap of circa five months, which would lead one to think there would have been a lot in the way of Matters Arising to be discussed. Reading this version of the paper it is very light on the amount of discussion that was held. Some examples which were not referred to in the paper are;

  • KHRA stated that the video of the show flat did not reflect the quality of the works when you see it in person.
  • KHRA asking Ian Stewart, Assistant Director of Housing Management, whether he stood by the 2016 Fire Risk Assessments and the vague response.
  • There is no mention of comments made by the SCGWRP RA.
  • There is no mention of the lack of timely communication about the installation of fibre optics in Greatham Walk, the communication being after the event.
  • There was no mention that with regards to the following Key Achievements in 2017/18 comment of “Extra fire safety measures are now being taken, including inspection of fire safety of individual flats in blocks of 10 storeys and over” that the KHRA expressed a view that two working days was insufficient notice to ask people to take time off work to attend to this.
  • KHRA wanted the following qualified – In the BRF Minutes of 11th January (Paper 18-11) it states “The Director also advised of a lender now declining mortgage applications for properties not fitted with sprinklers which may raise further concerns for the Council’s leaseholders”. No one was challenging whether the comment was true or not, it was the context of what was said that could be viewed as misleading without the appropriate background. Therefore, as a minimum, in the Minutes it should be noted that Leeds Building Society, the institution referred to, is the 16th largest lender with less than 1% market share. Without this readers might start to panic that the properties are not mortgageable due to not having water sprinklers and this would be an over statement based on 1% of market share. Councillor Paul White supported the KHRA request. The data for Leeds Building Society is below;

Source: https://www.cml.org.uk/ documents/largest-mortgage- lenders-2016/2largest- mortgage-lenders-2016.xlsx

Click on the following to read the papers:

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