8th April 2015 – Minutes of Joint TRA & Leaseholders’ Assoc.

Minutes of TRA and Leaseholder Joint Meeting 8th April 2015



Welcome and apologies

  1. Issue of the word “Private” on the Kilburn Vale Estate signs. – Following a recent conversation with Head of Estate Services, the Secretary opened discussion on what residents thoughts are on the word “Private” appearing on the Kilburn Vale signs.  This was because the one, new sign that was erected last year has the words: “Kilburn Vale Private Estate” on it, copying the three existing signs.  Head of ES had said that since approximately the 80s, the word “private” had been seen as potentially a word that could alienate people and give the wrong impression –  he suggested that this word could keep the “right sort of people/friendly and well behaved people” from feeling that they can walk through the estate.  There was general surprise that this was an item that needed discussion.  All those present were happy with the wording and pointed out that it “is” a private estate in that it is not “open to the public” like a “public park” would be for people to walk their dogs or go and have picnics there.  The residents of the estate pay for the upkeep of the estate – which makes it private in that sense.  All agreed that “..if anything, people respect it more – both those who live there and those who use it as a cut-through.  “Living on the estate has got much better and services can find it more easily now”. Secretary was asked if anyone had complained and why this was an item for discussion.  Secretary explained that there had been no complaints but Head of Estate Services simply wanted to open up the discussion to get feedback.  It was commented that this seemed to be a pointless discussion as residents are “happy that the estate is getting “treated well and not neglected as a Cinderella estate like it used to be”.  When asked if anyone thought the word “private” should be taken off the signs – all said no.  They are happy as they are and couldn’t understand why this was suddenly an issue. Secretary will feed this back to Head of ES.
  2. Demo of Website – Secretary showed everyone a laminated copy of the Home Page of the imminent website dedicated to Kilburn Vale Estate.  She gave a brief description of the simple titles/tabs and dropdowns that will be on this site.  This is due to be launched by the end of April and will have a wide variety of facts and information ONLY about Kilburn Vale and information relevant to those who live here.  This is as a response to residents endlessly saying that it is hard to get clear information from Camden staff, not knowing who to call and the official website is too vague and general.  Feedback can be discussed at the next meeting.  After quick demo, all were very excited and very keen for this to be launched.  A laminated “introduction” sheet will be posted to all flats and emailed to Leaseholders who don’t live on the estate, with Camden’s assistance.
  3. Boundary Wall – opposite Farndale House.  Secretary announced that she’d received confirmation today from Camden that the work to this wall will NOT be charged to leaseholders because the Priory Road private house owners claimed ownership of the wall and are discussing with the contractor when it will be carried out.  This would have cost approximately £350 per household so a BIG thank you to all of those who contributed questions at the time.  ONLY BY ENGAGING CAN WE GET THESE RESULTS.  At the moment, the rough time scale would be 6 weeks of work possibly starting in 4 months’ time.  It was pointed out how important it was that the TRA got their observations in to Camden during the consultation period as without submitting these, Camden may well have gone ahead without checking any of the information we asked of them and would have incorrectly charged the work back to leaseholders.
  4. Boundary Wall – side of Bishopsdale and Bird In Hand pub:  Secretary confirmed today that Camden confirmed the final amount on this was £6522.87 and would be an ESTATE cost which will work out at approx. £56 per unit and will be charged within the Service Charges as normal.
  5. Walled Garden – update on how walled garden was cleared of all overgrown shrubs etc in October 2014 so that it can’t be a hiding place anymore.  Intention is to have a planting day in October 2015 which we will advertise and invite all residents to take part and plant some bulbs.  All agreed that recent work had made massive improvement and were happy with this.
  6. New Trees – 6 new ones installed to replace the 7 trees we lost to disease and high winds.  Secretary explained that we chose not to replace the tree on the area where currently there is a pilot scheme to let children play ball games – as it could get ruined.  All were in agreement and were very happy with new trees.
  7. Secretary announced that DMC bid had been successful and Purchase Order will be supplied by end of this week for the Grounds Maintenance team to order the Roses for the three rose bed areas, behind Farndale, Ribblesdale and Marshwood Houses, as well as the berberis hedging to surround these three areas.  this will be carried out this month and will take a maximum of two weeks to complete.
  8. A leaseholder raised issue that he thinks Camden is over-charging or double charging with maintenance and service charges.  Wants all residents to challenge together on this issue.  He believes a fixed annual charge would be better than receiving an estimate and adjustment.  Secretary explained that the leases determine what Camden can charge for and how they can charge for it.  One attendee stated that this would require a change in law which we cannot do.  Leaseholder clarified that he feels there is overcharging going on that may not be obvious.  After some discussion Secretary asked if leaseholder would be happy to have a meeting with a Camden staff member who could clearly and concisely explain exactly how Camden Charges are calculated.  Leaseholder would happily attend such a meeting.  Secretary said she would endeavour to arrange such a meeting for him to challenge Camden.  Leaseholder said that he would be asking on behalf of everyone.  All engaged in discussion of how, due to lack of individuals’ time and the number of issues and challenges that various residents want to make, all residents are very happy if one individual wants to take up one “query” and feedback the information to the TRA.  All agreed that we all benefit from any one of us, having the time to do all the research and take it upon themselves to follow a query through from start to finish, in order to have some consistency but that there have been so many queries in the last years that all of us have had to “choose our battles”.
  9. Window Cleaning – Secretary pointed out that as of Feb 2013 no communal windows have been cleaned on estate as F & G’s contract was not renewed and no contractor was employed in their place to our knowledge.  This was given as an example of the kind of information that will be on our website to help people understand how estate is run etc.
  10. Very brief update due to lack of time, on Water Tank Issue.  Secretary is still waiting for response to her email dated 6th Jan 2015 (and subsequent follow up emails) from Head of Leaseholder Services on issue of capped amount being awarded to all.  One attendee announced her lawyers indicating that Camden cannot charge for the water tank.  No time for details.  All will be kept up to date via email as usual.
  11. Secretary informed residents can take part in Housing Allocation survey online to give their thoughts and to check out www.streetbank.com as just been informed of their existence via Engagement team – is useful for help with variety of things in the community.
  12. No other business
  13. Date of next meeting will be announced via notices as usual.
  14. Close of meeting.