TRA General Meeting 5th July 2016

We’ve had to postpone our AGM due to some procedural difficulties. In the meantime we are having a General Meeting of the TRA on the 5th July. Here’s the poster and draft agenda. Val Barnes from London Borough of Islington is attending to chair the meeting.

 

**BC GM 5th July poster

 

GENERAL MEETING 5th July DRAFT AGENDA

 

Homeless and young people’s use of the estate
What options do we have to improve things?

Parking control proposals
Do we have a problem with parking on the estate?

Bin store improvements and recycling
What do residents think of plans to build new bin stores?

How do we get everyone as involved in our community as they could be?

Do we all get an equal service from Islington’s housing management?

Possible changes to our TRA constitution
To give greater oversight to committee and residents?

Setting a date for the AGM where we can elect a Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and committee

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Some ideas to improve the way the TRA works

I’ve been talking to some of you about how we take the TRA forward. We’ve had a great start, marked particularly by the party to celebrate Julia’s incredible achievement of getting the Peter Yates mural restored, for which I’m sure everyone like me is hugely grateful. Now we’re rolling, let’s capitalise on this energy to make the TRA work even better.
In this spirit I have a few suggestions about what we could do next. I’d really appreciate it if you could all reply to the following ideas. All you have to do is put next to them in the reply Yes you like it, No you hate it, or if you’re in two minds on the idea. If you’re in two minds it would be great if you could let me know more detailed thoughts, either face to face or ideally in a reply to all so we can get the ball rolling. the key thing here is to hear all voices, so don’t be shy!

1. What do people think about having meetings at weekends? I’d suggest saturday afternoons around 2pm. That way hopefully we could come with more energy and have a bit of a relaxed vibe to events.

2. Meetings in Lobby at BC. Now we’ve had the lobby restored, and while its summer, let’s try meeting there. All able bodied participants could bring a chair or two. The mural party showed how the space can work for meetings and speeches.  It would allow disabled and elderly residents to participate in the TRA more easily.  Most importantly it would make the TRA both visible and accessible. Lots of currently unengaged residents will see what’s going on, and might join in on the spot, or in 3 months, or a year’s time.
3. Rotating the role of chair among committee members (though anyone who really doesn’t want to chair a meeting wouldn’t have to – everyone should be consenting and happy). The job would be to chair the meeting so not too arduous. The committee (under the guidance of the secretary) should share the roles of agreeing the agenda and letting everyone in the block know when the meeting is happening. In the meeting, the chair should guide the debate according the the agenda, asking for everyone’s views on each issue, politely telling people who try to dominate the group to shut up, and then putting the decisions to a vote of those present. I’m sure nearly all of us will need some support with the admin side of things, but that’s an ideal opportunity for us to collaborate and work together. Done like this hopefully it will become fun, not a chore.
This would be based around the principle that the chair is just that – the person who manages our meetings so that everyone gets a voice. It would also avoid anyone getting too entrenched in their position, and stop any hierarchies that might unintentionally exclude other voices developing. It would spread the workload, so it would be something each person would do every 2-3 years. We’d all learn new skills, and though clearly it will be a bit hit and miss, should be fun with the good balancing out the bad.
4.. A format for submitting and debating improvements to the estate. I suggest like this: Identify the problem the proposal seeks to fix. We’d then debate/vote to see if the bulk of residents agree it is a problem. Then a proposed solution, or perhaps several, if lots of people have views, or someone is particularly imaginative and can see the issue from multiple points of view. We’d then put these to the vote. and put our ideas to the council.
5. A development officer – an ideal role for working out new ideas to put to the vote for one or more creative and energetic committee members.
One final thing- I’m about to start work putting the agenda together for the next meeting. Some of you have got strong ideas about what we should discuss which is great. But if you’ve got anything to include – big or small, please do let me know and I’ll put it in the agenda.
I hope to hear from you all with your thoughts and ideas.

HEATING SYSTEMS RENEWAL AT BEVIN COURT

OUTLINE

On 8 December 2015, Julia Barclay (Chair) and Tom Cordell (Vice Chair) from the Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association met representatives of the team at London Borough of Islington who are in the early stages of planning an upgrade of the heating system at Bevin Court. The work is not yet fully commissioned and has yet to be procured.  There will be formal notice served in the form of Section 20 Notice of Intent and then, following the evaluation of the returned tenders, there will then be a formal Section 20 Notice of Estimate.  There will be a consultation period where we will meet with and answer enquiries from the lease-holders, as a portion of the costs of this project will be recharged to them. While the boiler and heating risers in the boiler house have been replaced in the last ten years, the parts of the system inside the flats are approaching 30 years old and will need replacing soon. 

 

PLAN

The plan is to remove all internal pipework, tanks and radiators within each dwelling and replace it on a like for like basis. However there will be some significant improvements;

  • We will have new thermostatic radiator valves, and room thermostats with a time clock, giving a single control for the heating in each flat.
  • The hot water cylinders will be upgraded to give a faster recovery time, meaning that it will be possible to run another hot bath after a wait of only 20 minutes.
  • Unlike the existing Elson tanks, the cold water cylinder will be separated from the hot, meaning that the cold water will no longer be tepid from heat leakage from the hot tank.
  • The new tanks will where possible be placed higher up in the flat, which will improve water pressure, though not to the extent that the pressure would be adequate for showering. This would still require the installation of a pump, something that LBI are not prepared to provide as it would present them with an additional long term maintenance cost.
  • We will get a choice of a heated towel rail or a radiator in our bathrooms.

 

 

There will be no radio controlled thermostats as previous installations in Islington have proved problematic.

 

We will continue to have a 2 pipe system – this means that each flat has both hot water and central heating available all year round. Other flats have a 4 pipe system which allows for the central heating to be turned off in the summer. However it would be prohibitively expensive to convert Bevin Court to this system as the layout of the plant room would have to be substantially altered and there is not sufficient space to do so. 

 

WORKS

In terms of the works inside the flats, the plan is that each dwelling will be surveyed individually, with a design for the work agreed in advance with the specific tenant or leaseholder. The works will be loud, as they will require drilling into the concrete of the building, and will be carried out between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. There will not be any scaffolding. 

 

The work in each dwelling will take place over a week, with the ambition that it can be completed in three days per flat. No home will be left without hot water in the evenings. The works are to be planned for Spring & Summer months, so that heating should not be necessary for most residents.  Should heating be required while the works are underway in our flats, the council will lend us electric heaters. There will be considerable disruption during the work, as the contractors will have to get access to all pipework and radiators throughout the flat.

 

Any pipes that are currently boxed in will be boxed in again at the end of the job, but in general the new pipework will be left exposed. All new pipework will be painted white. The new radiators are likely to be smaller than existing; therefore residents may have to make good the paintwork around the new installation. Any existing pumps that residents have in their flats will be tested and connected to the new system.

 

COSTS AND SCHEDULE

The costs recharged to leaseholders are still to be determined, following the evaluation of the tendering process. The target start date for the work is Spring 2017. The key factor in keeping the project on schedule is to get access when required to each flat. The Islington Project Managers see the experience of the first few residents to have the works carried out as critical; if they are happy then the word will spread and other residents will be more willing to cooperate with the contractors. If this is a success then multiple teams can work across the building and works should be completed between April and October. 

 

The work will be put out to tender. The TRA have asked for potential contractors to be selected on the basis of having experience of working on other listed buildings. There will initially be site meetings every two weeks, moving to monthly once the project is running smoothly. There will be permanent site office here on a location to be decided, though this is likely to be in the car park. There is a possibility of a respite area being provided for residents who wish to escape the noise & disruption during works in their flat.

 

Currently these proposals are at a very early stage, and now is the time to express opinions on the plan. You can talk to the TRA about your views about we collate theme and pass them along to the Islington Project Managers. There will we further consultation opportunities directly with Project Managers as the project gets nearer to being commissioned.

 

Minutes 22nd December 2015 Bevin Court TRA

Minutes 22nd December Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association

In Attendance:

Julia Barclay – Chair
Tom Cordell – Vice Chair
Justin Oh – Secretary
Josie Afolabi – Secretary
Sally Grey – Treasurer

Items for Discussion:

1. Update on completed activities
2. Update on on-going activities and progress to date
3. Bids for Estate Security and Estate Improvement budgets
4. 50% cuts to Islington Council budget from Central Government
5. Confirmation of officer roles and expected activities.

6. Bevin Court TRA email account
7. AOB

Item 1: Update on completed activities

JB confirmed that 2 issues that have been raised have now been resolved,

1. It has been agreed that Amwell House residents can use our bike shed. Emailed members and had 6 responses. 5/6 responses said don’t care, 1/6 said they should keep their bikes on their own premises.

2. Column lights in front of Bevin Court – not working since Feb when contractor fixing maisonette water supply cut wire. Then a second fault was discovered and so this was fixed ultimately in September. 6 month old problem was fixed within 6 weeks of TRA raising issue at Housing Panel meeting.

Item 2: Update on ongoing activities and progress to date

1. Staircase Lighting – The lights in the central staircase which were installed 2012-13 are not working. When JB escalated to Housing Panel in July 2015, 24% were out of order (19 out of 74 lights), with the worst affected being on the 4th floor.

As of Nov 2015, 92% are now working (68 out of 74). However, this is a temporary fix until the new components for the fixtures can be manufactured (gear trays) and means the lights are on full brightness at all times. After the gear trays are manufactured and installed, they lights should work as designed; that is on at low level and brightening as motion is detected.

2. The lobby foyer area – Repairing damage done by Breyer when they scaffolded the stairs for decoration. Council have hired a contractor to abrade and polish the floor. JB inspected with Barry Cunningham and Sinead Burke of Islington Council on 14 Dec 2015. All agreed that it looked better but the job is still not as it should be. Council plan another round of abrading & polishing to try to rectify problem.

3. Drains in West Wing – There have been endless floods and leaks for ground floor residents. JB raised this as Sep 2015 Housing Panel. In response, a CCTV survey carried out 14 Dec 2015 by Islington contractor UKDN, which said gullies (leading from waste down pipes to drain) are blocked with baby wipes, sanitary products, fat, food waste etc. Drains are clear but cracked. Recommendation is to jet wash the gullies, but the drain needs relining or replacing or it will collapse when jetted. They recommend replacement as its below modern size requirements.

4. Loggia/Portico behind flat 6 (ground floor South Wing) – Have had discussions with Jo Roberts (Estate Services Manager) re: remedying the ASB in this area (people drinking. Using drugs, sleeping rough, etc.). Current proposal is to install uneven, “deterrent paving” in the area to make it uncomfortable to sit/stand/lie on. JB has gotten agreement from Islington Conservation (Kristian Kaminski) and Heritage England (listed building consent) for the installation of “deterrent paving” in this area and Jo thinks she has funding for it. We are hoping to go ahead in Jan 2016, but need planning permission first.

5. TC recapped the meeting which he and JB held with Alan Price and Tony Parkin of Islington Council on 8 Dec 2015. See document “HEATING SYSTEMS RENEWAL AT BEVIN COURT” for information of that meeting.

JB: suggested that with the work that the heating renewal that the Council are planning to do, Bevin Court TRA should push for a legacy project. As the Council have agreed (tentatively) to provide a respite area for residents during the heating works, as we should push for this to be something we could keep and use as a community room. We should ask for a pre-fabricated building or similar either in the car park or at the end of the service access road by the West Wing which could be used for site offices/respite during contract and the handed over to community at the end of the project.

Item 3 – Future Activities

Estate Improvements (£100k) and Estate Security Budgets (£40k) – These will be up for grabs in the New Year. Responses from TRA questionnaire suggests residents would like CCTV. JA, TC, SG express opposition to CCTV. JB suggests it would be easy to fit in lifts as there is a space already there for the camera. Ongoing costs estimated a £1 per flat per week may be prohibitive.

It was agreed that getting additional lighting should be our main focus for Estate Improvements and/or Security Budgets. We would like lighting at the rear of the block by the car park and also along the path leading from Holford Street to the entrance of Holford Gardens/Holford Way

Discussion on best way to consult – does non-response indicate approval or apathy? Should we do a leafletting campaign? Host more meetings? Door knocking? General agreement that door knocking would likely have best response.

JB distributed a reminder to all members regarding their roles and requesting more support.

We need to schedule at least 4 general TRA meetings, including one 1 AGM per year to be held on our anniversary in June. It is the Secretary’s duty is to arrange these. JB will forward contact details for Charles Rowan House TRA and Margery Street Community Hall to JA. JA to liaise with contacts and TRA officers to schedule 4 general meetings

JB distributed the credentials for the TRA Gmail account in her update document and encouraged Officers to look at the mailbox. .

AOB

JB raised issue of Islington facing 50% reduction in council funding. TC pointed out that this is approximately 60% of total funding with 10% from Council Tax & 30% from parking charges

With little scope for spending, there is a possibility that residents could get paid for doing small jobs are normally done by contractors e.g. locking & unlocking the park. . 3

There was a discussion of possible Amwell Street for creation of QuietWay2 cycle system, which was drawn to TRA’s attention by Amwell Society. Discussed possibility of time based closure to traffic during rush hour. JA proposed that we opt for restricted access during ‘peak times’.

Discussion of officers making contacts on their landings (and elsewhere) and encouraging residents to attend TRA meetings and join in.

JB explained lift maintenance contract with Amalgamated Lifts and suggested we might be able to get a steam clean and new flooring for the lifts.

All agreed we should do something to commend our caretaker John Lynch for his excellent work as the Council are taking back his “Caretaker of the Year” award in order to pass it on to this year’s recipient.

 

Bevin Court TRA meeting – 24th June 2015

Attending:

Val Barnes LBI

Julia Barclay
Jackie Coote
Mick Page
John Moyle
Sue petts
Carol Horner
Tom Cordell
Nancy Westwater,
Roger Fretwell,
(Kay Bettis)
David Heckling
Tim Spoor
(Anita Poulter)
Deborah Brennan
Alex Smith
(Olivia Thompson)
Sally Grey
Justin Oh
Patricia Dove

(Names in brackets are in attendance but without voting rights as they from the same household as a voting attendee)

Late Arrivals
Raj Shah
Arthur Garratt
Aynom Fesum
Antonio Dos Santos

Leaseholders marked with LH, Private tenants marked as PT, others are LBI tenants.

Meeting opens 1845.

VB: We are quorate and have more tenants than leaseholders.

JB: We’re hoping to keep this a brief meeting – the main point of today’s meeting is to get everything in order so that we can be recognised by LBI. 1. canvas members for names and addresses 2. review votes for positions. 3. agree name for TRA, 4. adopt LBI model constitution, 5. Any other business.

VB: First take votes for nominees.
Take votes for:
JB as chair. Unanimous
TC as vice chair. Unanimous
JO as secretary. Unanimous
Sally Grey. Unanimous

Other committee members:
Sue Petts
John Moyle
David Heckling
Mick Page
Any objections to these 4? None
(See below Aynom Fesum elected later in the meeting to the committee)

VB: The requirement is for minimum 8 committee meetings a year, and one general meeting with elections either annually or biannually.

We now have a TRA at Bevin Court! BC is now entitled to apply for funding and representation with LBI.

Next we need to agree a name. Bevin Court Tenants and Residents Association. Agreed unanimously.

Raj: when filming takes place in the building will the TRA be consulted?
VB: Yes.

JM: Can we use the council’s email list to contact residents?
VB: No – TRAs are meant to be independent of the council and there also would be data protection issues.
JB: We will need to do door knocking to get wider support and interest for the TRA
VB: Perhaps you could organise a small event to build interest in the TRA? The council can offer support with this.
AF: From experience of last TRA we need to get people out and knocking on doors. Not happy with the location of this meeting as it’s too far away for lots of residents.
VB: We weren’t able to use the Peel Centre (closer location) and so this venue was chosen as the closest available location.

Late election: Aynom unanimously elected to the committee.

VB: Finally we need to adopt the draft constitution
JB: Copies of draft constitution were circulated to attendees today who were not at previous meeting. Also advised that it was available online. Summarised constitution and asked if there were any objections to it? Agreed provisionally
VB: if you having read the constitution have any objections, please let us know within 14 days.

JB: Any other business. As you may know I’ve been doing a lot of TRA type stuff behind the scenes. I’m going to write this up so that we all know what’s been going on. Give me a month or so to document all this. We can have a committee meeting in about a month’s time. I’ll give everyone 14 days notice. I really want this to be really representative and get more and more people involved. We’re going to do a door knocking campaign. Please talk to your neighbours, and get a feeling that we can achieve change. We now have an official voice with LBI.

VB: LBI has a tenants and residents panel meeting every two months so if people pass issues onto JB for representation here.

JB: One of the objectives of the door knocking is to explain what the TRA does, and what it doesn’t do.

Meeting closed.

Bevin Court TRA meeting – 24 May 2015 minutes

Bevin Court TRA meeting 24 May 2015 minutes

Meeting 24/5/15 to discuss setting up a Tenants and Residents Association at Bevin Court.

Attending:

Val Barnes LBI (London Borough of Islington)

1. Julia Barclay
2. Jackie Coote
3. Mick Page
4. Tim Spoor
5. David Heckling
6. Anita Poulter
7. Alan Fenelly
8. John Moyle
9. Sue Petts
10. Carol Horner
11. Tom Cordell
12. Justin Oh
13. Rajiv Shah
14. Josie Afolabi

Apologies

15. Mark Rose
16. Sally Grey

Introduction from Val Barnes

TRAs exist to give residents a closer relationship with the council and for residents to effect change. Two-way process – the council uses residents as much as the residents use them. TRA gives them the word on the ground. TRAs are v Important to the council. There are in the region of 50 in the Old St Area Housing Office but they want more. Without TRAs it’s very difficult for the council to hear what residents want.

VB referenced the Islington Tenants & Residents Association Handbook as the key reference book for TRAs – almost like a bible http://www.islington.gov.uk/publicrecords/library/Housing/Information/Guidance/2013-2014/(2014-03-04)-Tenants-and-Residents-Association-(TRA)-Handbook.pdf

  • Must be at least 15 residents – but not related
  • Should be a mix of tenants and leaseholders
  • Must not be a majority of leaseholders

Every TRA has a committee:
Chair, Vice Chair (optional), Treasurer and Secretary

plus 4 or more committee members

VB says it shouldn’t take too much of your time

JB: we’re looking at a committee meeting every 6-8 weeks

Annual full meeting four times a year (quarterly) including AGM

Suggests name of “Bevin Court TRA”

RS: what’s the timescale?

VB: all residents must get sufficient notice of forthcoming meetings; ideally at least 2 weeks’ notice of meeting setting up TRA or voting in people to positions. If the numbers of people are adequate to be quorate then the council will recognise the TRA and it is up and running.

JM: how would LBI know that we have adequate members?

VB: by inviting them to the meeting which VB would attend.

VB: The chair is the spokesperson, the point of contact for LBI. Also represents the TRA at other meetings.

The vice chair shadows the chair.

The secretary (JB notes that this job can be split between 2 or more people). This is an admin role, the oil that keeps the TRA running. Minutes, inviting people to meetings, record keeping. JB notes that the person doing this job must keep impartial records without biasing them to their own point of view. VB reiterates this and says impartiality is important for all committee members.

The treasurer sets up bank accounts, is one of the three signatories on the bank account, things like filling grant applications, looking after expenses, keeping finances in order.

AF: interjects to say there the main problem for the estate is the lack of security and youth drinking. He also says that the listed building status of Bevin Court limits what can be done for security.

JB: says there is funding available for security improvements but not unless there is a TRA

VB: the TRA can address this –

1. Estate security budget – TRAs can bid for this money.

2. With a TRA we can come to the tenants and residents panel where the key figures in LBI and e.g. if the police are present, issues regarding security and safety can be.

JB: every listed building needs a Conservation Management Plan which sets out a standard & scope of works which can be undertaken without making individual Listed Buildings Consent applications. If we had a CMP in place then this could guide modifications to the building that would improve security.

AF said that money spent restoring the mural and planting flowers should be spent on security.

JB explained that these were funded externally.

JM: we need a neighbourhood watch group and to take more responsibility for security ourselves.

VB brings things back to original purpose of meeting – having a TRA will help address these problems and give access to the decision makers who may have the power to allocate resources to fix these problems.

Funding: Estate security funding (£40k) and environmental improvement funding (£100k) are available. These are annual figures for the whole of the Old St Housing Area). Once the TRA is recognised then start-up grants are available plus an admin and publicity grant of £200/pa, plus 50p/dwelling. There are also discretionary payments for things like equipment & fun days where we can apply on a case-by-case basis. If we had a community room then LBI would fund WIFI.

AP: can we apply for external match funding? VB will have to check this.

Training: There is training available for chairing meetings, financial management, negotiating skills. This is run by the Resident Engagement group.

There are also specific training courses – including DIY, Shop Cook and Eat, etc.

Next steps: Publicising the next meeting, inviting people to nominate for committee.

JB: Who wants to be on the committee? The following names volunteered:

David Heckling

Josie Afolabi

Sue Petts

John Moyle

Tom Cordell

Julia Barclay

Mick Page

JB reports that Sally in absentia has offered to be treasurer, and Mark Rose in absentia also offered to be on the committee

JM: How do we get people to come to the next meeting?

Speak to neighbours, make posters and leaflets that focus on main concerns – ASB, security and flooding repairs suggested

JM suggests that VB on behalf of LBI emails and/or writes by post to all residents to ask them to participate.

JB: this will give us an officially recognised, collective voice that will be heard.

JM: also that it will make us realise that we’re not alone in dealing with issues related to our homes.

JA: We have a great community here and we have to make it happen.

Nominations for roles:

Secretary: split between Justin Oh and Josie Afolabi

Treasurer: Sally Grey

Vice chair: Tom Cordell

Chair: Julia Barclay

Suggested next meeting on Wed 24th June 2015 at Peel Centre, 18:30 -20:00 (to be confirmed).

It was noted that tonight’s meeting took place during half-term, so some residents may not have been available due to family commitments. Need to ensure that future meetings are not scheduled during school breaks in order to maximise resident attendance.

Additional nominations can be made by email bevincourttra@gmail.com or Valerie.Barnes@islington.gov.uk. Next newsletter to state this at least 2 weeks in advance of next meeting.

Minutes recorded by Tom Cordell, revised by Julia Barclay & Val Barnes.

 

Lubetkin Tour!

We created a guided walk that you can take with our CIGA guide Jiff Bayliss as part of our HLF funded Bevin Court Community Restoration.

We love this walk, but we had to miss out so much because we could not fly you all to Paris or take the bus to Dudley Zoo.  To solve this problem, we’ve made a Historypin tour, take a look, explore and enjoy.

http://www.historypin.org/en/lubetkin/geo/51.525521,0.060924,12/bounds/51.450056,-0.009286,51.600861,0.131133/paging/1/pin/64218

 

Walks for LAF2016

Join us for two special walks for London Architecture Festival 2016. CIGA guide Jiff Baylis and the Bevin Court Tenants and Residents Association invite you to take a stroll and learn about some of Lubetkin’s buildings in Finsbury. 

First walk: 4pm Thursday 9 June 

Second walk: 11am Saturday 11 Jun

Both walks start at Isligton Museum. To join either of these walks, please book. Take a look at some of our other events for London Architecture Festival 2016.