- The TRA bought Heavy Duty, Water Guzzler, Rubber-backed Entrance mats for ALL blocks in March 2011 as Camden Council had decided that they would not provide entrance mats once the new flooring had been laid down. The total cost of these mats was £483.42 and was paid for by monies previously donated by some Leaseholders.
- The TRA bought Notice Boards for all blocks since despite asking for over 6 months, Camden Council had not been able to arrange providing these. These were installed in March 2011. The total cost of these Notice Boards was £1,216.80 and was paid for by monies previously donated by some Leaseholders.
- The TRA bought 4 x Green Litter Bins to be positioned along the “cut through” pathway running through the estate from West End Lane to Belsize Road to encourage residents and “passers through” to use these rather than litter the grounds. These were installed in November 2011. Confirmation was gained, prior to purchase, that these bins would definitely be emptied by the Weekly Veolia employee on Litter picking day. These bins cost £660.97 originally paid for by donations previously made by some Leaseholders. However, the cost of these bins was repaid by Camden back to the TRA.
- The TRA liaised with the Senior Area Monitoring Officer (Environment) to arrange for extra Re-cycling bins to be installed on the estate in a second location (by Holmesdale House) as prior to this there were only bins by Lorton House. April 2011. In June 2014 Wheel Locks for the re-cycling bins were installed at the request of the TRA.
- “Kilburn Vale – Private Estate” signs: three of these were already in existence on the estate, which include the map of where the blocks are situated . The TRA liaised with Camden staff to arrange for the one positioned at the entrance of Holmesdale House moved to the “corner” of the estate between Wharfdale and Holmesdale Houses so that it can be easily seen by Ambulances, Taxis, Contractors and Delivery vans when approaching the estate. (The previous location of said sign was not noticeable for drivers and had caused a number of problems). The TRA also liaised with Camden Council to get a fourth (new) sign installed at the “entrance” to the estate between Holmesdale House and the “Bird in Hand” Pub – February 2014. This sign does not display the map showing the position of the blocks. The re-positioning of the 3rd sign and addition of the 4th sign have greatly improved the “identification” of the estate for those trying to find it for the first time.
- Oct 2014 & Oct 2015 – The TRA liaised with the Grounds Maintenance contractors (OCS/Fountains) to get the Walled Garden Area cleared of all overgrown shrubs and bushes and give a general tidy to this space. A “Planting Day” was held on 17th October 2015 – Many of our residents, young and mature – came along to assist Dawn Hodgson and Jordan (Grds Maintenance) who helped us to plant 3000 bulbs in this area. These should create colour in this garden for the whole year round. Well done and thank you to all of those who helped out.
- February 2015 – The TRA liaised with the Tree Department at Camden Council to re-install 6 of the 7 trees which had been lost in the previous 5 years to disease or high winds. The TRA chose not to replace the 7th tree which was on the grass area behind Holmesdale House as this is currently being piloted as an “authorised ball playing area” for the children.
- The TRA consistently challenges Camden Council about the Service Charges and in 2014/2015 has hi-lighted over 20 mistakes made on the Annual Service Charge bills referring to charges made in the previous 2-3 financial years. Some of the reasons for these mistakes are;
- Accidental double-charging or charges made in error by Camden Accounts
- Charging “Estate” costs (which should be 115th of the Total amount) to a single Block (which makes it a 6th/12th/16th/24th or 25th of the Total cost – depending on which block was charged).
- More than one Job No assigned to the same job therefore creating duplicate charges
The below items were “refunded” or “written back” after much detailed scrutiny and correspondence between the TRA and Camden Council.
- The TRA intervened in November 2011 when Camden Council announced that the Communal Heating Boiler would be replaced – at a cost of between £15,000 – £27,000 per flat (depending on No of bedrooms) to all Residents via Major Works charges and Rents. The TRA were successful in getting Camden Council to take a more appropriate approach and undertake a consultation which resulted in ALL flats on the estate being installed with their own Individual boiler so that each flat can regulate their own heating needs. With the TRA hi-lighting specific wording in the Leases – these were installed with NO CHARGE to any resident – saving everyone the very large sums quoted above. This saving could not have been made without the intervention of the TRA.
- Boundary Wall work – saving of over £60,000 (quoted estimate of total cost) to Kilburn Vale residents. The TRA continued to question Camden Council for 2 years to gain information on a Boundary wall which had been propped up by supports as it was clearly unsafe. After two and half years Camden Council carried out a Consultation which allowed residents to make observations. The TRA requested proof that the wall belonged to Camden as it was widely suspected that this wall was not Camden property and therefore could not be charged to residents. Six months after the consultation period started Camden Council confirmed that this wall was NOT the property of Camden and therefore even though the work would still need to be done, it could not and would not be charged to any residents via Major Works or Rents. Your TRA were instrumental in getting this vital piece of information. April 2015.
- Noise Pollution – The TRA intervened and assisted residents of Lorton House to get the Environmental Health department to sort out the very disturbing motor/generator noises that were coming from the roof of M&S. This was down to a faulty generator and after 3 months of disturbance was finally sorted. (Dec 2015)
- Roof work refund – £2812.12 – Bishopsdale House leaseholders queried several roof repair works. It appeared that the same problem was “repaired” twice with only months apart, putting forward that the repair was not done properly first time round, Camden agreed to refund the above amount and each Bishopsdale leaseholder received a refund on that Service Charge Adjustment of £250. (Jan/Feb 2016)
- Planters installed at the front of Holmesdale House: As part of the TRA’s attempt to improve the “look” of the estate for all our residents, following on from having got the rosebeds planted and the Walled Garden filled with bulbs (with all the generous help of residents) we have managed to get some heavy wooden planters installed at the front of Holmesdale House (facing West End Lane) to create a more pleasing border to this boundary of the estate and continue our aim that all residents should have a nice view from both sides of their block. (March 2016)
- Video Footage of the roofs of all blocks on Kilburn Vale Estate: The secretary gained access to the roofs of all 7 blocks within the estate with Camden permission to video the state of the roofs. These can be found by going to the “How Estate is Run” tab, scrolling down to “Infrastructure”, scroll across to “Roofs” and then across the Block you are interested in. These were filmed on 25th and 26th May 2016 – they are to provide a visual picture of what is positioned where on the roof and give an idea of what state they’re in. Any repair work taking place from this point, should be photographed and put on the website so that Residents can SEE what work was done and be charged appropriately. (July 2016)
It is important to point out that if you have any queries regarding BLOCK charges, please liaise with others within your block. The TRA/RTA can direct your query to the correct department/staff member at Camden but you will have to ‘put the query forward’ yourselves as a group from your block.