Digging our way out of winter

Bevin Court gardening group back in action again – last Sunday of every month from 11am until next winter. All the regular cheery faces plus some new ones. Come and join in if you like getting muddy and growing things

 

Update on TRA

Hello everyone

This is a joint email from Tom and Sally about the future of the TRA.

Tom has moved away from the estate so is no longer the TRA chair, and Sally (the TRA’s elected Treasurer) is acting as a point of contact for TRA matters until we have elections for new officers later this year.

This seems like a good moment to talk about what we thought the TRA can do – and it’s limitations, in light of our experience over the last year and in consultation with Islington council.

We see the TRA as a friendly space for residents to meet each other and discuss their concerns. It needs to be open and fair, and create space for everyone’s voices to be heard. We think the TRA should primarily exist to organise a couple of informal social events each year to bring the residents of Bevin Court together. The Christmas party we organised in December is a model of how the TRA can do fun and friendly things that enhance our community. As an example of how this has real benefits, at the party some residents met, found out they had similar repairs issues, and since then have worked together to press the council to get their repairs fixed.

The TRA should help facilitate consultations with the council about what its future plans are for the estate. It should also work to keep the residents informed about what is going on in the area.

The TRA shouldn’t be a substitute for the council managing the estate well. Each resident should have their repairs issues dealt with promptly when they report them.

We don’t think the council should seek information from the TRA about other individual tenants and residents, because this gives power tothe TRA officers that could potentially be abused. At the end of the day, we are all volunteers and it would be unfair to expect any of the officers to take on this responsibility.

The council is planning a programme of training for anyone wishing to be a TRA officer soon. We hope lots of you come and take part. The more people who participate, the fairer and better the TRA will operate. Essentially, we want this to be fun! (It’s the council’s job to deal with our grumbles…)

Julia Barclay mentioned that some people have emailed us and not received a reply. I can’t find any that haven’t been answered but do resend if you’re waiting. Thanks. This remains the TRA contact email and will be checked on a weekly basis.

Any urgent issues should be addressed to the council. If you need to escalate a repairs issue beyond the housing direct helpline, or need to speak to the council officers about any other concerns you have here are the officers you should contact:

Catherine Shawsmith, estate services manager:

t: 020 7527 4787

e: catherine.shawsmith@islington.gov.uk

Pritpal Chhoker, head of the St John St area housing office:

t: 020 7527 6213

e: Pritpal.Chhoker@islington.gov.uk

Jo Murphy, head of housing operations, Islington:

e: jo.murphy@islington.gov.uk

Happy New Year to you all.

All best

Tom and Sally

Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association

Update on Gas works 9 12 16

 

Last night I emailed John Pettigrew, the Chief Executive of National Grid, to ask why residents are being kept in the dark (or should it be the cold?) about the progress of repairs on the gas supply in the east wing here. I also asked for affected residents’ compensation to be paid immediately and as a cash payment rather than a credit to their gas accounts. I made it clear that the extra costs of coping without gas, especially for electricity are a burden that residents shouldn’t have to bear. Mr Pettigrew earns £1.4 million a year so I hope on that wage he has amazing skills to resolve our problems!
At about 8am this morning National Grid called and have promised to improve their communications with residents from today. They are also looking into compensation.

Here’s what they say about the likely timetable for completion:

“From the Area Manager  for high rise replacement/repair projects:
We will deal with the communication issues today and over the weekend with particular focus on any vulnerability.

The existing pipework has been reused in part, being tested successfully yesterday and will be commissioned today. From that pipework we need to install new entries to each property for the supplies to be restored, which will begin today. Customers will begin to have supplies from today. Dependent upon access we envisage restoring supplies to all properties by the middle of next week.

We have also had an enquiry from a local councillor who has also been informed of our progress and anticipated completion date.”

They promise to get back in touch about the compensation situation, so I will update you when they do.