Freeez – see the background

From the Archives: Video filmed spitting distance from BC- see the Hugh Midd school/Kingsway college and Finsbury as a backdrop to this 1983 classic pop track…

 

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Minutes of TRA committee meeting 27 10 16 held at Amwell Arms

Action points and votes taken reviewed and agreed at end of meeting by all participants. Minutes reviewed and agreed by TC and SG 28.10.16

Attending: 

Tom Cordell TRA Chair and minute taker.

Josie Afolabi  TRA Secretary

Sally Grey TRA Treasurer

John Moyle TRA committee member

Aynom Fesum TRA committee member

Sue Petts TRA committee member

Julia Barclay resident

Margaret Pipe resident

Jakki Coote resident

Apologies from David Hickling and Mick Page

ITEM 1 

TC opened by telling the committee that the TRA needed to plan an AGM with some suitable candidates for Chair, Vice chair, Treasurer and Secretary. We have vacancies for Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. He argued that the key issue here is that the team elected are people who are all happy to work together, with a chair that has the support of the officers. We need to think about how to bring in new candidates from outside those already involved. We need to think about having the AGM in an more accessible venue than Margery Street, as the meeting held there was inquorate, whereas the meeting held in the lobby earlier in the year got over 30 attendees.

JC said meeting in lobby wasn’t ideal because nobody could hear.

SG, JA and TC disagreed, saying lobby got good engagement. TC said that the sound issues could be addressed by using a microphone and loudspeaker.  SP suggested we could use the corner of the lobby by the caretaker’s store as it is quieter there.

TC suggested we use some of our funds to pay for a party in the lobby to engage with residents and talk to them about what the TRA can do for them, and to encourage them to join in. This can be followed by an AGM (a two party solution).

JB suggested that any party must be a secular and family friendly event.

JM asked why not have an AGM as a catered event – a single party fulfilling both needs. TC replied that yes this was an option, but we couldn’t expect for people to turn up and agree to be on committee or take on an officer role without any time to think about it.

JM asked for a door drop of achievements for the TRA. SG asked if everyone would be prepared to leaflet the building.

JB asked SG if we got the administration grant applied for – SG said it was in process.

The committee voted to have a party in the Lobby separate from the AGM with a budget of £200. It voted to have the party on Friday 18th November 1800-2000. The AGM should follow no less than 28 days after.

ITEM 2

TC suggested that the TRA should agree on a strategy to dispose of its assets of the TRA should the TRA become unviable (The TRA wasn’t quorate at the last attempted AGM so we have an obligation to plan for this eventuality). TC suggested we agree on the option to  transfer assets (and the ongoing funds raised from film shoots on the estate) to the gardening group as then they could be used to carry on improving the estate for everyone here.

JC expressed concern that improving the gardens might not benefit everyone who lives on the estate.

JB wanted funds left in trust for a future TRA.

SG argued we shouldn’t discuss this at all until we know for sure that the TRA is defunct. TC argued that the problem with this approach is that should the TRA become defunct, it wouldn’t have a committee that can make decisions about disposing of its assets, and this is why its important to have a policy in place in case of this eventuality.

We voted to make a decision on this at the party, by resident vote. 

ITEM 3

TC explained that he had received some strong objections arising from residents of the South Wing about losing their parking spaces to provide contractor parking. He suggested we discuss modifying the scheme to accommodate their needs.

-JB and SP said that contractors are causing disruption.

-JA suggested that contractors can park in the single parking bay by the front circle.

-JC asked for the council to give street permits to contractors.

-JM said the council should highlight the contractor space that already exists.

-JM suggested that we need 3 spaces for contractors and visitors.

-Suggestion made that council could extend the hard standing by flat 13 to create 2 or 3 contractor and visitor parking places.

Vote: We recommend more consultation in the new year

-TC action point to email council to relay views of meeting

ITEM 4

Update on estate improvement projects.

1. Planters. TC showed the latest drawing of the planter design and explains how this version removes the 8″ ledge around the edge of the loggia area, making it much harder to climb into the planter or sit around it. The design impressed most of the group.

2. Bins. TC explains how the bins are being re-sited further down the rear access road as tree roots preclude siting the bins close to the existing bin area as originally planned. -JB said that TC should speak to Jean Hughes (LB Islington’s Recycling officer)  as she might be able to overrule the decision on positioning the bins. TC explained that he has sought the advice of a independent tree surgeon, and had been told that there is no way the roots can be cut back to allow the bins to go in the original position without removing the tree too.

There was discussion about whether the new bin store is big enough to take the general waste (paladin) bins as well as the recycling bins. There was also discussion of whether we would get some enclosure for the large item rubbish area.

-TC Action point find out what is happening to the general waste bins and the large item rubbish area. 

3. TC explained how the council have cancelled the planned path to give pedestrian and cycle access around the gate at the rear of the estate. He suggested that perhaps a folding bollard in place of the gate would be a cheaper way to obtain the same result.

JB told the group that David Huchison (head of parking at LB Islington) was totally opposed to folding bollards.

Committee voted to say TRA want both bollards and walk around.

TC passed on a resident idea (from Carol Horner) to ask for money given to LB Islington by producers of Esio Trot for estate improvements to be spent on this.

The committee vote and agree to ask council to spend Esio Trot money on walk around if required. TC action point to inform council of this. 

ITEM 5

TC led a discussion of the Bevin Court web presence and all communications with residents. He argued that this is informing a wider range of residents, but accepted that TRA should also use posters to communicate with residents who are not on the web.

TC gave Web stats for that day as an example of increased resident engagement  – 40 views, from 18 users (highest number this week).

JB said that the images on the website are not zoomable.

TC action point  – he agreed to look into this. 

ITEM 6

Finances – Commitee discussed accessing funds for treasurer, as the coop have not sent her the information to log into the account, and only our ex chair JB has access to the TRA funds.

We vote to transfer all publicity budget over to Sally as a cash float. 

Action points: JB to carry out bank transfer ASAP. SG to contact Coop bank regarding debit card and her access to the account. 

ITEM 7 

AOB – none

Agreed outcomes: TC to action agreed points. TC to write up minutes and publish online.  TC asked for someone who has a printer to print out the minutes and pin them up in the lobby, and in the lifts. JB volunteered to do this. 

Update on estate parking and bin store schemes

Here’s a drawing that gives an overview of the current plans:

unnamed

  1. Parking controls: As posted previously, the council has agreed to pause the reallocation of parking spaces at the front of the building from residential use to contractor use.  This seems to me to be a sensible change to the scheme that prioritises the needs of residents.
  2. The council no longer have the funds to create a pathway around the gate at the rear of the building. This is regrettable, but I think adds to the case for the back gate to be left open permanently.
  3. The council will shortly start work on installing bollards to prevent parking on the grass verges at the rear of the building. They will also install a “no through road” sign near the entrance to Bevin Way. They are keen not to add to the clutter of signs so hopefully they will be taking down some superfluous signage too.
  4. The bin stores are going to be located further along the rear access path than originally planned. This is because there are tree roots blocking the original site that the council says it cannot cut away. This is unfortunate as I think ease of use will be what makes or breaks the success of the recycling scheme. As a plus point, the council have agreed to put doors on the bin stores (which the TRA committee wanted) after originally supplying a a design without doors. Drawing below: binstoresLet me know what you think BEFORE THE 11th NOVEMBER and I will pass it on to the council:  bevincourttra@gmail.com

Update on estate parking

park

 

Following objections from residents, the council have agreed to pause the plan to convert parking bays at the front of the estate into contractor parking spaces. They will review this in the new year so meanwhile anyone affected should make their views known to the LB Islington special projects officer Bjorn Alcantara:  bjorn.alcantara@islington.gov.uk

 

 

Planting tulips at Bevin Court this Saturday and Sunday (15th 16th October)

 

iurTim and the gardening group are planting bulbs this Saturday and Sunday 15/16th October from 11am.

There’s 3000 Tulip peacock hybrids, 1000 Dutch Iris Apollo, 1000 Dutch Iris Blue Magic going into the grounds of the estate.

Anyone who wants to help will be welcome. Make the estate beautiful and meet your neighbours.

If you want to know more about the gardens here on the estate email Tim on: bevincourtgarden@googlemail.com

Voting in Islington’s TRA elections

326px-vote_icon

We recently found out that not everyone who lives here is allowed to vote in our TRA elections, or to stand for any of the elected posts. People who share a flat only get one vote per flat, and tenants who rent from leaseholders aren’t allowed to vote or stand for election at all.

Since 1918 voting rights in local and national elections in the UK have been determined by citizenship not by property tenure. Its seems strange that the right to vote in TRAs – which are the most local form of democracy in Islington –  is still based on tenure rather than residency.
Private tenants
This is a group in society who are already marginalised in many ways. They have poor security of tenure, and are subject to unregulated rent increases, and often poor management by private landlords. (38% of private renters live in poverty- london poverty profile 2015)
As government policy since the introduction of right to buy in the 1980 housing act has ensured a transfer of property from the local authority to private sector, private tenants have been renting in local authority managed buildings for many years. With new policy since 2010 accelerating this process of privatisation, their numbers are now increasing sharply and its unlikely that this trend will be reversed.  Its now critical that this group are offered representation through their TRAs. It must be a priority to prevent further marginalisation of this often vulnerable group.
From a housing management perspective, the council has little contact or control over private tenants. This would also seem a good opportunity to develop an effective interface between council officers and private tenants.
One vote per dwelling
National and local planning policy for London is based on increasing population density in boroughs such as Islington. Therefore it is inevitable that more and more residents of the borough and it’s estates will end up sharing individual dwellings.
Research shows that as a result of benefit cuts, many residents of the inner city are hanging on in the areas where they have their vital social networks by living in shared accommodation – increasingly with informal modes of tenure. 8.2% of London households are officially overcrowded (London Poverty Profile 2015). There has been a 70% rise in two families sharing one dwelling between 2001-2011 according to the ONS. These citizens all require representation.
Further, how can a cohabiting couple, or a family with adult children be expected to share one vote. What if they disagree? Does Islington suggest some rules of patriarchy determine which family member gets to vote?
There is a strong danger that unless voting rights are given to all residents,  the most affluent who can afford to live alone will get enhanced representation, and that the poorest, who for economic reasons are most likely be sharing, will get reduced or even be denied representation at all. This is wrong.
Solutions
Any resident aged over 16 of more than 3 months residency should be able to vote and stand for election in Islington’s TRAs. This should not be determined by electoral roll registration or tenancy agreement as this would tend to deny representation to some of the most precariously housed residents.
If you have a view on any of this, please contact:
The Council’s Executive member for housing  diarmaid.ward@islington.gov.uk
your local councillors:
And our Community Service and Development Officer at London Borough of Islington: Valerie.Barnes@islington.gov.uk

Air BnB at Bevin Court

Many residents have objected to the rise of Air BnB flats on the estate – not as occasional renting out of spare rooms, but of flats being entirely used as what is effectively a hotel. Islington say they can’t take action against leaseholders who do this. But a new court judgement disagrees. Here’s a report from the Sun on the case:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1832038/thousands-who-rent-out-rooms-through-airbnb-could-face-losing-their-homes-after-landmark-legal-ruling/