2015 Xmas Newsletter

Kilburn Vale Tenants and Residents’ Association

Christmas Newsletter for 2015

As we approach the end of the year, the TRA would like to give you a round-up of what’s been achieved this year.

February – We managed to get 6 new trees planted, replacing the 7 trees that had been lost to disease and high winds.

March – The TRA were informed that Veronica Asahene was taking over from Laura Day (Ward Manager). Veronica has made a great effort to meet residents at TRA meetings and been very effective in her short time with us. It is largely down to her that the continual problem of the “football nuisance” which had persisted for 8 years, was finally dealt with appropriately and effectively in the summer.

April – We were successful in our bid to the DMC to get our Grounds Maintenance Team to plant a large number of roses and Berberis edging to the three neglected Rose Bed Areas behind Marshwood, Ribblesdale and Farndale, creating a much-appreciated improvement to the estate. Unfortunately a couple of children delayed this process as they had pulled up some of the bulbs. This was dealt with swiftly and effectively as they understood not to do this again. A few bulbs behind Ribblesdale didn’t “take” and so the Team re-planted some replacement bulbs in November.

April – We launched www.kilburnvaleestate.org.uk – our own dedicated website. This took several months’ work by the secretary who had invaluable help from Jack Rice – Schools Desktop technician at Camden. Senior staff at Camden called to say “You’ve put us to shame – we should have done this. May we have your permission to roll this out across the borough“. This site continues to be up-dated and is the best way to find out what’s happening by clicking on LATEST NEWS on the Home Page. All pages/sections of the website are regularly up-dated as we learn more about each aspect of how things operate within Camden and the affect it has on Council tenants, Private tenants and Leaseholders.

April – We received confirmation from Camden that the “Boundary Wall” opposite Farndale House – does not belong to Camden but to the Private Houses on Priory Road whose gardens are on the others side of this wall. It was ONLY through the TRA questioning Camden, that this was discovered and therefore means that ALL costs with regards the repair of this wall and all associated works, including the Consultation – are to be paid for by the owners of the Private Houses, with NO COST to Kilburn Vale Leaseholders. We are awaiting a Start Date for this work as the original date of August 2015 – has been put back. The “consultation fee” was mistakenly added onto Leaseholders’ Adjustment bill sent out in September. The TRA Secretary managed to get this amount of approximately £14 taken off everyone’s bill. Therefore this amount has been written-back/credited to each leaseholder’s account. Once a start date has been agreed, this information will be on the website.

May/June – Leaseholders were billed for the IRS (Digital Aerial system). Although this had been installed in 2010, since Camden wrote to leaseholders within 18 months of the work being completed – informing them of what would be charged, leaseholders are obliged to pay this bill. This hi-lighted to us that as long as Camden write (within 18 months of a job finishing) to say that they intend to invoice…hey can send the bill whenever they want – and yes – this could be years later – so something to note and keep an eye on. This bill also covered the Asbestos Report. The Secretary asked for pdf copies of Reports for all the blocks and these have been uploaded to our website. No blocks contain any Asbestos and therefore No work is required.

June – Scaffolding was erected at Marshwood House for a roof repair. The scaffolding was up for several weeks although the work took ONE day to complete. The secretary raised this with Camden. This was a perfect example of how any job requiring scaffolding has not

appeared to be managed or co-ordinated properly in the past. The TRA have requested that from now on, if ANY work requires scaffolding, our Caretaking Supervisor (the recently joined, Michael Raybe) AND the TRA should be informed. Not simply out of courtesy and efficiency but also for Security. All residents need to be sure that no rogue companies are erecting scaffolding for unauthorised reasons. The length of time scaffolding is left up must be monitored appropriately.

July – The TRA requested and received a report of how often the Bin Chutes are blocked and the subsequent cost. It emerged that in a period of 6 months, blocked chutes alone, cost this estate £500. This is due to some residents jamming items such as pizza boxes, nappies and – would you believe – pieces of kitchen cupboards down there!! For a couple of years, most residents have requested that these chutes be sealed up permanently as no-one has small bags of rubbish anymore. Camden is looking at many new ways to “educate” people with regards re-cycling and other refuse issues. We’ll keep you posted with new information on this – keep an eye on the website. There is likely to be a couple of Workshops in January which all Residents are invited to come along and give feedback. Voucher incentives will be issued to those who attend. Keep an eye on the website for the dates.

August – It was around this time that many residents in Lorton House (and some in neighbouring blocks) started to be disturbed by the constant “humming” of a generator or motor coming from the roof of one of the shop roofs which back on to Kilburn Lane. This was 24 hours a day and very disruptive at night. The TRA and some residents were in communication with the Environment department and managed to establish that this was being caused by air con units on top of Marks & Spencer. This was finally resolved at the end of November as the units were found to be faulty and creating more noise than necessary. The noise was stopped and all residents were very grateful – peace once more.

August – Youths were gathering on a nightly basis in the Walled Garden and this was causing great disturbance to residents of Holmesdale House. It took a long time for this to be resolved as the complaining residents did not make time to meet with Camden staff to work through a plan of action. I cannot stress enough, if you have a problem and the TRA have managed to get Camden staff to agree to meet with you, PLEASE do so at your earliest convenience. Delaying this or not attending does not help resolve the matter. Thankfully, this disturbance did subside eventually. One resident asked for the bench inside the garden to be removed and so this is being stored “temporarily” as we hope to be able to re-introduce it next year.

September – Many residents were extremely disappointed to lose Jacquie Scharschmidt (Caretaking Supervisor) with no notice from Camden. We all know that she was superb at her job and always dealt with issues with efficiency and empathy. Her style and approach was much appreciated and valued. Jacquie has gone to Gospel Oak and Michael Raybe (our New Caretaking Supervisor) came from Gospel Oak. Although many of you have not met Michael yet, we welcome him to our estate and we naturally hope to continue to build a good, effective and empathetic working relationship.

Sept/Oct – Via our website, residents were encouraged to give their feedback (via the link provided) on the Planning Application submitted to Camden for developers who are intending to build a 5 storey block of flats directly in front of Sycamore Court where the garages currently stand. This is the block where we have our TRA meetings (across the road from Holmesdale House). We know no more than this at the moment but will keep you posted.

October – After having had the Walled Garden Area cleared last year, we were finally able to have a very successful Planting Day where volunteer residents and their friends came along to plant 3000 bulbs!!! Well done and a massive thank you to ALL of you – young children and grown-ups for all of your very hard work. Dawn and Jordan (Grounds Maintenance

Team) were on hand for expert advice and guidance. This will be a beautiful space full of colour all year round for ALL of us to enjoy and respect.

October – Contractors came to “make safe” the wall surrounding the Walled Garden. Approximately 14 slits were made and reinforced as this wall was unsafe –this will appear on Leaseholders’ service charge on the Actual bill for this period which is sent out Sept 2016.

Oct/Nov – The Parking Department carried out a review of how many Garages, Parking Bays and Sheds are currently being rented. There are several sheds available for rent – prices are on our website. It also appeared to be the case that some residents are parking in Bays within the estate without a Valid Permit to do so. You MUST purchase a valid parking permit to allow you to park on the estate. If you do not get a response from the Parking and Sheds team (contact details on our website under CONTACTS), let the secretary know. If you pay for a Parking Bay it is important that you park in the bay you are renting otherwise you leave it free for Non-Authorised vehicles to park in your space, creating problems.

November – At long last, the Barrier Gate Post (between Holmesdale House and the “Bird in Hand” pub) which had been damaged and removed several years ago, has been re-instated with the proper lock. All residents with valid parking permits for Garages and Parking Bays within the estate, can continue to enter/exit via the driveway at the other side of Holmesdale House which is open 24 hours. From the moment this gate was locked again, we saw immediate improvements: no more dumping of large items such as mattresses and fridges or building materials which suspiciously ended up in our Re-Cycling bins!!! Since it is not possible to simply back up with a truck and dump items now, this has almost entirely stopped. Residents have caught rogue builders attempting to do this and these have been reported. Another bonus is that unauthorised cars cannot drive in and park in that space in front of Holmesdale House while doing a bit of shopping on the Kilburn High Road. This space is for Camden contractors only. You are reminded NOT to dump any items outside your flat or block. This causes obstacles to your neighbours and a Health and Safety risk. Please email Michael Raybe (Caretaking Supervisor) who will arrange for our caretaker to remove the items. Please don’t leave it for someone else to report. Thank you.

November – The TRA made initial contact with the Architects who are putting together an application to develop the dis-used pub “The Bird in Hand”, next to Bishopsdale House. The architects are in a pre-application stage at the moment but have agreed to meet with the TRA to discuss their plans. We will keep you posted via our website and Mailing List. The intention is to build a block of flats at two heights; matching the heights of Bishopsdale on one side and Holmesdale on the other.

November – Camden carry out a “push” on Re-Cycling. A door to door visit by Camden staff offering caddy liners and information of how to re-cycle various items. Leaflets were posted and in the New Year, the TRA will work with Camden to communicate Essential information more effectively. Residents continue to say that they do not want any more Re-cycling bins but want them to be emptied regularly and for people to use them properly. Many residents are of the opinion that more bins will attract more rogue dumping. We have proved that if our bins are not easily visible or accessible to Non-residents, they are less likely to use them.

What to look forward to in 2016:

February – Planters are currently being built to be installed in front of Holmesdale House. These will run along the length of the metal railings and create a much more aesthetic “border” to the front of our estate and hide the old boiler room entrance which can look a bit scruffy. Remembering that our aim was to ensure that every block should have a pretty view from the front and back – Holmesdale is the last one to get this treatment and it should make a massive difference.

General – There are a few signs to be installed: Holmesdale House is awaiting an additional sign to be erected on the front facia above the steps entrance. The new barrier gate will get a sign and we may get a replacement one for the other barrier gate (by the Priory pub) which has an out-dated sign at the moment. A few of the window grilles of the old boiler room, are still to be painted – this should be done as project work when the weather allows. We intend to get each Bin Store Door labelled “A”, “B” or “C” so that they can easily be referred to for any repairs. We hope to get those sheds needing repair/re-decorating to be done. These are the ones that were damaged by constant football kicking.


o All are reminded not to pour oils and fats down sink drains – this causes a lot of problems to all the flats using that pipe and is costly to unblock.

o Please don’t leave items or rubbish bags outside your flat on the balconies and stairways. If you require assistance with getting rid of furniture items, call the Caretaking staff. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.