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AGMs, reports and accounts

The TNRA AGM is held in April each year. At each AGM an Annual Report of TNRA's activities in the previous year and the Audited Accounts for that year are presented to members.

TNRA annual report for 2019/20

Covid-19

The lockdown resulting from the arrival of corona virus came just after our very successful wine-tasting event held on 12th March 2020. Since then our ability to do things as we used to do has been seriously compromised, resulting in our having to postpone our April AGM and to cancel or postpone for the time being all planned social events for the year ending March 2021. Further information concerning the way the pandemic has continued to affect our activities since the end of March 2020 is set out below. Meantime we have managed to keep well on top of key issues through our monthly Zoom Committee meetings and by continuing to pursue emailed requests from our members for action and advice. In addition we are also managing to maintain close contact (often daily) by email, phone and a few socially distanced meetings with the Knight Frank estate office staff.

AGM and Committee

In April 2019 Edward Heckels stood down as Chair after having held the post for six years. The entire membership owes him a huge debt of gratitude for his energy, commitment to the cause and all that he has achieved on our behalf. I am exceedingly grateful that he still continues to serve us as Vice-Chair.

Following lockdown in March 2020 we reported in various e-Letters our decision to postpone the end April AGM and to continue operations with the existing Committee members subject to these changes and provisos:

(a) in April 2020 Annie Wingfield decided to stand down after many years of valuable service;

(b) Tanja Jost left Trinity Village during 2019/20 so is no longer eligible to be a Committee member. She is, however, continuing to process membership subscriptions, design and send out monthly e-Letters and administer the TNRA Facebook group. She also attends Committee meetings when required;

(c) having told us in June 2020 that she would like to stand for election we co-opted former Committee member Meera Rajan to serve with us.

If by any chance it will be possible to hold the AGM by the end of October 2020 we will do so, in which case we will then seek the general membership’s formal approval to our emergency measures. Otherwise we will abandon this year’s AGM altogether in the expectation that all decisions can be ratified during the April 2021 AGM.

Important changes at Trinity House and Knight Frank during 2019/20

Very significant and welcome developments took place at Trinity House, where following Graham Hockley’s retirement in November 2019 Martin Atherton took over his duties as Secretary; and also in the Knight Frank estate office, where Louie-Mae Gibson took up the new post of Director, Trinity Village, in October 2019. Relevant details concerning the positive effect of these appointments are high-lighted below.

Estate management

Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

TNRA set up a sub-Committee to research and propose amendments to the existing unsatisfactory policies and practice pursued by Knight Frank and their predecessors concerning AST contracts. Following much hard work and an unsatisfactory meeting with Graham Hockley and Knight Frank’s Charlotte Last we decided to ask that our case be presented to the Trustees of Trinity House in November 2019. To our considerable gratification and surprise we were pleased to be told at the end of December that the Trustees had agreed to make significant improvements to the AST terms, most especially deciding that:

(a) the standard period for all future contracts should be three years;

(b) annual rent increases should be based on actual local market rates; but that if no agreement could be reached between Knight Frank and the tenant then the fall-back position should be the current Retail Price Index (RPI).

The introduction of these new terms early in 2020 caused some inevitable teething problems but these were quickly resolved. Nevertheless we are surprised that Knight Frank initially appears to be proposing rent increases round about 3% (the previous contract made provision for a 3%–5% range). However, the advice we provide to TNRA AST tenants by means of regular help and advice surgeries is currently enabling many if not all to negotiate lower rates.

Meantime we continue to research contract law and practice with the aim of pressing for further improvements to AST leases, including the replacement of the fall-back RPI index (recognised by many as being an inappropriate and outmoded measure to use as the basis for annual rent reviews) by the much more relevant CPI or CPI+H indices.

Property repairs, maintenance and service levels

Prior to the appointment of Louie-Mae Gibson in October the service provided by the estate office – responses to requests for action and information and the provision of communication in general – was marked by delays and inefficiency as well as a lack of consistency and clarity. These issues were also clearly confirmed by the survey we carried out during the autumn. However, following an initial meeting in November during which we handed over a detailed schedule of delayed, unfinished and unsatisfactory works, Louie-Mae rapidly carved her way through the backlog. It is gratifying to be able to report that thanks to her hard work and that of her team, coupled with very close and regular communication between TNRA and the estate office, service and response levels are now incomparably better than they have ever been. TNRA will continue to maintain close liaison with Louie-Mae so as to ensure that the new high standards are maintained.

Long leasehold properties

Only a handful of residents have contacted TNRA to bring complaints to our attention concerning their managing agents, Mainstay, who report direct to Trinity House. However, those who have reported their issues to us tell a tale of delayed and poor responses, inaction and failure to provide information. This situation has not been helped by Mainstay’s failure to find a replacement for the previous property manager (who left in March) until July. We have brought the matter to the attention of both Trinity House and Knight Frank, and will continue to press for a significant improvement in service or a change of managing agent.

Trinity House

I was able to have a long and productive meeting with Martin Atherton in late January, when I was impressed by his openness and pragmatism and a declared wish to work with TNRA in a spirit of mutual cooperation, involving inter alia regular (at least quarterly) one-on-one liaison meetings. This impression has been reinforced through subsequent correspondence and a long phone discussion (necessitated by the lockdown) at the end of April. Martin has much to do and has many competing priorities on his time but we remain hopeful that his approach will signal the continuation of a new and better relationship with our ultimate landlord.

Gardens

During our regular bi-annual garden action days many volunteers have cleared, weeded, pruned, mulched and watered the gardens of Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square under the supervision of Penny Hinves. Penny has also taken a leading role in supervising the work carried out by Gould Landscaping’s gardeners, including providing them with regular to do lists and monitoring their work throughout the long lockdown when Gould's management were not available for site visits. Special thanks are also due to Andrew Berton and Mike Chaproniere for their various contributions to the gardens in the squares and elsewhere.

A substantial amount of other work has also been carried out, again under the general direction of Penny. A recovery programme has been initiated to restore the neglected gardens in Gloucester Court, involving inter alia cutting back and pruning overgrown and out of shape shrubs and climbers. In addition the box parterre in Merrick Square has benefited from continuing care, the provision of new plants and the bulking up of the previously planted standard roses. Finally the garden at 21–27 Swan Street has been cleared of dense shrubs to make it lighter and more spacious prior to bedding in new plants.

The result of all this work is already beginning to show, but it will not be until next year that all the benefits will become fully evident. Meantime we need to make sure that the gardens in the two squares – real havens for everyone in recent months – do not suffer from increased usage and footfall. We will also continue to press Knight Frank to significantly increase their gardening budget so as to ensure that all the gardens on the estate can be properly tended and maintained.

Planning applications and developments

Details of the various planning proposals and projects we have worked on and the important concessions and improvements we have won are as follows:

(a) with significant input from Knight Frank in the shape of a specialist report prepared by a firm of traffic consultants we overturned the Council’s plans to ban traffic turning left from Borough High Street into Harper Road and to reroute it via Trinity Street and Trinity Church Square – if carried through it would have turned those streets into a rat run;

(b) we persuaded the Council not to remove the two Automatic Number Plate Recognition (“ANPR”) cameras at the Trinity Street gate, both of which were installed in August 2016 to deter and fine motorbike riders ignoring the no entry signs;

(c) we have closely followed plans to redevelop the Falmouth Road surgery site, concerning which our impressions continue to be positive;

(d) we have similarly made our wishes known regarding the forthcoming redevelopment of Dickens Square. Construction work is now scheduled to start in the autumn, the Council’s aim being to re-open the park during the summer of 2021;

(e) despite our and other’s objections to the plans for the redevelopment of King’s Place on the corner of Harper Road and Borough High Street the Council gave the go-ahead for the construction of a 14 storey tower block comprising 328 room hotel and 20 residential units. A detailed traffic management plan covering the movement of lorries during the construction period is still pending, as are the long term arrangements for vehicles dropping people and deliveries off at the hotel and providing services;

(f) in negotiation with the Council and the School of Osteopathy and with the aim of dissuading miscreants we have arranged for one of the CCTV cameras on the side of the School to be re-directed to point into Avon Place along with signs stating that CCTV operates in the area.

Grant applications

Successful applications to fund improvements to the built environment have comprised:

(a) £790 from the North-West Multi-Award Neighbourhood Funds to pay for our December 2020 Christmas Carols. NB as it is almost certain that government regulations will now not enable us to hold this event we have requested that the grant be held over till December 2021;

(b) funds to install two arc-type bike storage racks in Falmouth Road;

(c) £3,700 won in conjunction with the Roebuck Action Group (aka the RAG) to purchase three large stone former horse troughs. The troughs will be installed during the autumn to create a barrier that will separate the piazza and the pub’s table-benches from a pavement strip alongside Gt. Dover Street and the road itself. Once the troughs are in situ we will fill them with robust plants.

We will continue to apply for grants to fund the replacement of the considerable number of concrete paving slabs, rough concrete infill and sections of tarmac up and down the estate by York stone, objectives that are consistent with Southwark’s Draft Supplementary Planning Document that takes account of the criteria set out in their Planning Obligations and Community Infrastructure Levy as well as their Appraisal for the Trinity Church Square Conservation Area.

Refuse collection and street cleaning

Even before Covid-19 had begun to cause disruptions to normal street-cleaning operations funding cutbacks had caused the Council to reduce litter-picking to just three days a week in place of the former daily visits. Similar financial restrictions plus various unexpected consequences resulting from the introduction of the Ultra High Emission Zone also led to the termination of the highly valued monthly skip. Meantime we continue to maintain close contact with the Council’s cleaning team to press for the speedy removal of refuse left by fly-tippers and the removal of leaf-fall and pollen etc.

Community safety

We continue to monitor and take action concerning incidents of crime, anti-social behaviour and other similar issues by means of regular attendance at meetings of the Chaucer Ward Safer Neighbourhood Panel and in meetings and correspondence with the local police. We also share relevant information and pursue action when appropriate with the Trinity Street estate office and others to e.g. improve security lighting and replace inadequate door and gate locks with stronger and more secure versions.

Events

As in previous years, in 2019/20 TNRA organised a regular programme of well-attended events and activities, as follows:

Pop-up Bookstall – most fine Saturdays

Spring Porch Sale – Saturday 27th April

Garden Action Day – Saturday 11th May

Open Garden Squares Weekend – Sunday 9th June

Trinity House Tour – Monday 8th July

Borough Welsh Choir – Sunday 28th July

Late Summer Porch Sale – Saturday 31st August

John Constable Historical Walk – Thursday 5th September

Pub Quiz – Wednesday 30th October

Garden Action Day – Saturday 9th November

Christmas Drinks in the Rectory – Wednesday 4th December

Carol Singing – Monday 16th December

Antiques Show & Tell – Wednesday 5th February

Pancake Races – Tuesday 25th February

Wine Tasting – Thursday 12th March

Membership

Our continuing programme of activities, lobbying work with Trinity House, Knight Frank, Mainstay, the Council, the Police and others plus the valuable benefits available through our Discount Scheme all contribute to our being able to maintain a strong membership despite a significant number of residents moving elsewhere each year. TNRA’s membership ended the year 2019/2020 with a total of 211 households (cf. 210 in 2018/19; 223 in 2017/18; 206 in 2016/17; 216 in 2015/16; 204 in 2014/15; 210 in 2013/14; and 201 in 2012/13). It is noteworthy that as a result of the Committee’s efforts, initiatives and activities in recent years our membership is significantly greater than it was ten years ago (173 in 2011/12; and 139 in 2010/11).

The disruption to normal life caused by Covid-19, however, has had a significant impact on renewals and new subscriptions, as a result of which we are forecasting a reduction in household memberships to 170–180 households for the year 2020/21. Nevertheless, assuming a return to some form of normality over the course of the next twelve months we believe there is a good chance that total household membership during the following year (i.e. 2021/22) will revert to 200 plus.

Discount Programme

Members continue to be able to rapidly recoup the cost of their annual subscriptions by buying goods and services from a wide range of local shops, restaurants and other establishments. Before lockdown 22 such outlets were offering discounts ranging from 10% to 20% to those presenting their TNRA membership cards. We are currently in the process of asking all the firms open for business post-lockdown to confirm their continuing participation in the scheme.

Filming

The estate – and Trinity Church Square in particular – continues to be used by a variety of advertising, TV and film production companies. Although some disruption is inevitable at such times, TNRA’s coffers benefit from valuable income in recompense for such disturbance. Having earned the greater part of our total £6,600 annual filming receipts from the three days devoted to shooting a new HBO feature film in July 2019 we therefore declined further shooting requests for the rest of the year.

Finances

We always aim to maintain a healthy reserve. This is to ensure that if we need to pursue our members’ interests by seeking legal advice or incur exceptional expenditure we have sufficient funds to cover the costs. It is also to safeguard our ability to continue all essential activities on behalf of our membership should there be a significant downturn in our income due to e.g. fewer film shoots or a totally unexpected turn of events such as Covid-19.

The highlights from our audited accounts shown below (full details can be seen on the TNRA website) clearly demonstrate that our finances were in good shape at the end of our financial year in March 2020. It should be noted that following the introduction of the lockdown in late March we immediately adopted emergency measures so as to avoid all but essential expenditure. Since then we have continued to follow the same policy.

A continuing consequence of the baleful effects of Covid-19 has also led us to forecast a significant drop in income (mainly due to a fall in membership, minimal filming receipts and no events), matched by much lower expenditure (most notably no events costs) for the year ending March 2021. Nevertheless we are confident of being able to continue to provide a fully responsive service for our members and to produce our regular bi-annual Newsletters without any need to draw on our reserves.

 

 

Detail

YE 2020

£

YE 2019

£

Diff’ce

£

 

Notes

INCOME

 

 

 

 

General

 

 

 

 

Subscriptions

2,603

2,878

(275)

Slight fall is due to varying size of households

Misc.

700

699

1

-

Filming

6,600

2,500

4,100

Typically varies very significantly from year to year

Total General

9,903

6,077

3,826

Filming accounts for the big increase

Events

5,568

5,500

68

-

Other

37

19

18

-

Total Income

15,508

11,596

3,912

See above re film income

EXPENSES

 

 

 

 

General

749

681

68

-

Events

6,694

7,198

(504)

-

Overheads

4,258

4,478

(220)

-

Total Expenses

11,701

12,357

(656)

-

Surplus/(Deficit)

3,807

(761)

4,568

Significant recovery

Reserves

22,169

18,362

3,807

Significant increase

 

Communication with members

We have kept our members abreast of current issues, developments, events and news by means of the TNRA website, bi-annual Newsletters, the Trinity Street noticeboard, flyers, posters, the TNRA Facebook site and monthly e-Letters.

Equipment for hire

Members continue to benefit from very reasonable rates to hire a wide variety of equipment including gazebos, tables, chairs and glasses.

The Work of the Committee and TNRA Volunteers

None of the above can be achieved without a huge amount of work carried out behind the scenes. Our events programme alone necessitates very significant planning and organisation, following which comes setting up and running each event before clearing up afterwards. In many cases this also involves considerable physical effort in carrying tables, chairs, gazebos, goods and other items to the venues and then back again. I salute the commitment of the Committee to these activities and everything else they do for our members, and I also warmly thank all those volunteers who have helped us throughout the year.

I also urge other members – especially the younger ones! – to provide us with their help, advice and expertise. It will be even better if they will bring new blood and fresh ideas to what we do by standing for election to the Committee.

Tim Horsler, Chair

See the audited accounts for 2019/20 here: TNRA Final Accounts at 31.03.2020.pdf

 

TNRA annual report for 2018/19

1.    Introduction
TNRA has been working since 1976 to improve life for the residents of the Newington Trust Estate (now Trinity Village) in their dealings with their managing agents and Southwark Council and to foster a sense of community by organising events for local people.

2.    Tenants
On 1 April 2018, Knight Frank replaced Capita as the managing agent of Trinity Village for Trinity House. On 10 April 2018, TNRA had an introductory meeting with Lucy Jones, the Partner at Knight Frank with responsibility for the Trinity House relationship. Little changed for the next six months but then in early December we learned of a new approach to leases for assured shorthold tenancies (“ASTs”).

Knight Frank’s new proposal is for a standard lease of three years with a two month break clause option from month 10 with rents “reviewed in accordance with the retail price index. The Landlord and the tenant must agree that the rent is to be increased a minimum 3% and a maximum of 5% in years two and three in line with RPI and your renewal date.”

We have asked Graham Hockley to delay the implementation of the new policy so that a more reasonable approach can be adopted for setting rents in years two and three. Cdr Hockley has written back to say that they are implementing the new approach without change. We have responded, arguing that RPI is a discredited measure of inflation.  Also, CPI is a more relevant measure in the context of rent setting – it uses rent as a proxy for housing costs while RPI includes mortgage interest costs (renters don’t have mortgages). We have also argued that the new AST contracts are neither clear nor transparent. They are made out to be three year contracts. However, with a landlord’s two month break clause from month 10, the new leases are in practice 12 month agreements with a provision to roll on. Rent increases in years two and three are made out to be RPI linked. However, a minimum increase of 3% in each year means that the RPI link only applies if RPI is above 3% (it has been below 3% for most of the last five years).

The approach Knight Frank has adopted – rents “linked” to RPI not CPI, a floor of 3%, a disingenuous approach to drafting - will maximise revenue in the short term but has risks for Trinity House thereafter. Rent increases of between 3% and 5% a year are above the typical increases of the last few years and will be unaffordable for many tenants. As unhappy tenants depart, there will be greater turnover in properties, more void periods, increased refurbishment costs and more costs incurred in finding new tenants.  There is a balance to be struck between maximising income over the short and long term. Our view is that the new policy is one for the short term. Trinity House’s revenue will be maximised over the long term by encouraging reliable long-term tenants through a less aggressive approach to setting rents.

TNRA has taken legal advice on behalf of members and feels strongly that these terms are unfair. We have sent AST members a summary by email to solicit views which is also displayed on the TNRA notice board. In the meantime our advice to all tenants under pressure to sign a new AST lease is to urgently contact TNRA in confidence so that we can advise them as we campaign for a fairer policy.

TNRA received several queries towards the end of 2018 on what happens when one ten-ant leaves a shared tenancy.  When there are several tenants under a joint and several tenancy and one wants to move out, it has been standard for the managing agent to charge an administration fee to find a new tenant and a fee to conduct reference checks on the new tenant. However, Knight Frank had started charg-ing the remaining tenants a fee for undertaking new reference checks on them as well. We contacted Lucy Jones at Knight Frank and she agreed to only reference the incoming tenant when there is a change of sharers, unless existing tenants are taking on a higher financial commitment.

Lucy Jones has told us that Knight Frank’s policy is to undertake new Right to Rent checks on existing as well as new tenants when a sharer changes. However, the law states that Right to Rent checks are only needed if a tenancy started after 1 February 2016. For tenancies entered into after 1 February 2016, for which a Right to Rent check was required by law, a landlord must do a follow-up check (within 12 months) only if a Right to Rent check shows there’s a time limit on permission to stay in the UK.

We have complained to Graham Hockley about the treatment of the three tenants in Gloucester Court with Rent Act protected leases (pre-1989). In January 2018, the Rent Officer registered figures lower than the rents then being paid. Capita (and subsequently Knight Frank) appealed to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (formerly the Rent Assessment Committee). They employed lawyers and a surveyor to produce evidence for the Tribunal. The Tribunal eventually met in July and registered rents that were in two cases at or below the Rent Officer figure. By taking the Rent Officer’s decision for three protected tenants in Gloucester Court to the Tribunal, Trinity House caused distress for elderly tenants and wasted legal and surveyors fees. We hope that the Tribunal’s recommendation of lower rents than in 2015 for properties not “in the condition that is considered usual for an open market letting” will be reflected in future rent increases for protected or assured tenants, whose properties could be described similarly.

Graham Hockley has told TNRA that he is finalising a proposal to the 46 protected (Rent Act and ATs) tenants which will help tenants who want to down-size but stay in Trinity Village. Trinity House has said it will share the details of this new initiatives with TNRA when it is agreed.

3.    Long leaseholders
Tim Horsler has continued to represent long leaseholders with Mainstay, who manage their properties on behalf of Trinity House. He arranged a meeting for long leaseholders with Jacob Saddington of Mainstay on 7 August 2018 at which they were able to discuss accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017, service charges, repair and maintenance needs and other property management matters. The collective enfranchisement of 4-6 Trinity Church Square completed on 31 August. The long leaseholders now own the freehold of their building and have full control over the way in which their building is managed and maintained. TNRA has provided support and financial assistance to the long leaseholders in the collective enfranchisement process. During the year, Mainstay circulated the first edition of a long leaseholders’ newsletter, with input from TNRA.  The next meeting between long leaseholders and Mainstay will be arranged once draft accounts are available for the year ended 31 December 2018.

4.    Gardens
TNRA had two meetings in the year with Knight Frank and Greenmantle, their gardening contractor – on 13 September 2018 and 21 March 2019.  In TCS, we discussed planting in the four central beds, more bulbs in the side beds and improved paving at the entrance. In Merrick Square, our focus was on maintaining and spraying to protect the central box parterre and planting bulbs within the parterre to provide height. In both gardens, we asked for the re-seeding of “bald patches” in lawns and treatments for the grass. Greenmantle is undertaking a survey of the communal back gardens in Trinity Village, identifying those where work is required, considering options and making recommendations on which should get priority treatment. When it is agreed that action is required, we have suggested that a hard landscaping plan and a planting plan is produced for agreement, including with the tenants. Greenmantle is quoting to replant the beds running along the pavement on the south east end of Swan Street now that the Swan Street/Harper Road development is nearing completion. There were more cases of noisy parties, littering etc in the two square gardens in 2018 than in previous years. At our suggestion, Knight Frank’s policy on the use of the gardens is being uploaded onto the Trinity Village web-site (only the access policy has been on the web-site to date). There were two garden action days in 2018 – on 19 May and 10 November – when local volunteers spread manure and weeded beds in the two gardens. The Roebuck Action Group gathered on 31 March in the piazza outside the Roebuck for weeding and planting, funded by TNRA.

5.    Planning & development in Trinity Village and its area
TNRA attended two consultation meetings on the development of the Dickens Square park on 30 October 2018 and 28 March 2019. We are generally supportive of the Council’s plans. The existing REPA building and playground will be removed and replaced with a modern play area, open to all, occupying the current footprint (ie well away from the wall with Bedford Row and Merrick Square). Gym equipment and a “trim trail” will be installed. The Brockham Street entrance will be opened up, with the wall replaced with railings, to discourage anti-social behaviour. The redesign of the park will be more coordinated with schemes to improve Harper Road in relation to the park’s entrance on Harper Road. There will be a planning submission in June followed by a 12 week formal consultation period. Work will begin in October 2019 with the new park opening some time in 2020.

The results of traffic monitoring in September 2017 and 2018 of the trial width restrictions in Harper Road indicate a significant fall in overall traffic flows and HGVs through Trinity Village. However, not every resident has benefitted - there has been a rise of around 30 vehicles a day travelling through Trinity Village along the Cole Street to Falmouth Road route. TNRA has addressed this point in our response to the formal consultation. We have expressed concern that increased flows along Cole Street are causing more vehicles to turn into the Quietway cycle route along Globe Street, often at speed. We have asked for a Stop sign to be installed on Cole Street at the Globe Street junction to encourage drivers to reduce their speed and halt before entering Globe Street. We have also suggested that all residential properties north of Harper Road should have general refuse and recycling collections in the same day to reduce the number of rubbish trucks travelling through the area.

Southwark Homes Ltd has submitted revised plans for a mixed-use scheme at King’s Place, the site on the north east corner of the junction of Newington Causeway and Harper Road, running up to the police station in Borough High Street and the current Swan Street/Harper Road development. TNRA submitted comments in the public consultation that closed on 25 January. While we welcome the reduction in height of the tower at the centre of the development from 13 storeys to 12 storeys, the visual impact assessment shows that the tower will still be clearly visible from the ground within the Trinity Church Square Conservation Area. From upper floors within the square, the impact is much greater. We therefore continue to strongly object to the height of the development which represents a visually obtrusive (and ugly) addition over the slate rooftops of Trinity Church Square. We await confirmation of the date when the Planning Committee will consider the King’s Place planning application.

In Autumn 2018, patients of the Falmouth Road doctors’ surgery were invited to a meeting at the practice where they were told that the site had been “sold” and a planning application had been submitted for a 13 floor tower block. We understand that Southwark Council is the freeholder of the site and has agreed a 127 year lease with a third party which has sold it on to Greyport Ltd, which will be leading the re-development. Patients were told that the surgery will be accommodated on the lower levels of the new building but that in the interim the surgery will be located in temporary cabins over the road in Newington Garden. Our councillors advise that the project is still at a very early stage and will keep us up-to-date with developments.

On 12 December, a delegation from TNRA met with Cllr Johnson Situ, Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Planning, and Simon Bevan, Director of Planning, the top civil servant at Southwark Council with responsibility in this area. We expressed our concern about the harm to views out of the Trinity Church Square Conservation Area caused by the construction of “tall” buildings in the immediate vicinity. We referred to the plans for the tower blocks on both Harper and Falmouth roads. Mr Bevan clarified that, for planning purposes, a building is “tall” if it is over 30 metres (roughly equating to 10 storeys) or significantly taller than the buildings that surround it. Cllr Situ referred to statements about heritage assets and their settings in the New Southwark Plan. We highlighted, however, that these statements are often fairly general and open to wide interpretation. We were pleased to learn that a supplementary planning document (“SPD”) governing heritage assets and conservation areas will be subject to consultation and hopefully finalised during 2019. This will provide essential guidance on how the statements in the New Southwark Plan should be interpreted and applied in practice. TNRA looks forward to seeing the draft heritage SPD and commenting during the consultation.

TNRA has applied for funding under the “Cleaner, Greener, Safer” initiative in 2018/19 to pay for new bike racks in Falmouth Road. At the Community Council meeting on 9 February, we learned that our application was successful.

The repaving of Falmouth Road with York stone has been completed. There has also been repaving on the north east side of Swan Street and in Brockham Street, in both cases joining up with areas of pavement upgraded in recent years.

6.    Community safety issues
Trixie Cartwright, Annie Wingfield and Tanja Jost have represented TNRA’s interests at meetings of the Chaucer Safer Neighbourhood Panel. The Panel meets every two months and is part of an initiative aimed at getting residents working with police to identify and tackle crime and safety concerns in their local area. Crime in Trinity Village is usually minimal and limited to minor incidents. However, from time to time, we experience an uptick in crime and this has been the case recently. In the early hours of Saturday 3 November, there was a “very nasty sexual assault” on a woman in Avon Place off Swan Street. This is the second such incident in five years – there was an attempted rape in Avon Place in 2013. We approached our councilors requesting CCTV in the alleyway. They have obtained funding for more limited measures, including improved lighting. There have been three recent burglaries – two in Merrick Square on 11 December and 13 February and one in Falmouth Road on 23 February. A car was stolen outside a house at the north end of Falmouth Road in the early hours of 2 October. A car was broken into on Brockham Street on 24 February. We have been in contact with the local police, who have visited houses in the area to raise awareness and provide advice. We understand that they will be increasing their visits to Merrick Square when on their “beat”.

7.    Events
Our events have comprised: Open Squares Weekend (10 June 2018); John Constable’s annual walk (5 September 2018); Opera in the Square (14 September 2018 after rescheduling due to the weather); porch sales (21 April and 15 September 2018); our Pub Quiz (31 October 2018); TNRA’s Christmas Drinks & Canapes at the Old Rectory (6 December 2018); Carol Singing in TCS (18 December 2018); Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races (5 March 2019); and an Italian Wine Tasting and Supper (18 March 2019). In addition, the Rehearsal Orchestra has kindly invited residents to attend performances of Wagner and Mahler free of charge in the HWH. Lesley Exton has organised pop-up bookstalls on Saturday mornings during the year. Porch sales and bookstalls made a profit of £2,358 for TNRA funds (£1,581 in 2018). TNRA thanks Henry Wood Hall for providing the venue for several of these events.

8.    Membership
TNRA’s membership ended 2018/19 on 210 (compared with 139 in 2010/11; 173 in 2011/12; 201 in 2012/13; 210 in 2013/14;  204 in 2014/15; 216 in 2015/16; 206 in 2016/17; 223 in 2017/18). TNRA members benefit from discounts at local shops, restaurants and other service providers – more than 20 local businesses are now members of TNRA’s discount scheme.

9.     Filming
Trinity Village is a popular location for TV and film production. TNRA receives payments via the Southwark Film Unit as a reflection of the inconvenience caused to local residents. In the year, TNRA received payments totalling £2,500 (£8,075 in 2017/18) for filming which included most recently Duty/Shame on 7 March and Ironbark on 24 March 2019.

10.    Finances
In the year to 31 March 2019, total income was £11,596 (£17,281 in 2018) and total expenses were £12,357 (£11,421 in 2018) giving a deficit of £761 (there was a surplus of £5,860 in 2018). The change from a surplus to a deficit mainly reflects the reduction in revenue from filming in 2019 (£2,500 vs £8,075 in 2018) and a bill for £1,200 incurred when seeking legal advice on behalf of tenants. TNRA’s reserves at the end of the 2018/19 year were £18,362 vs £19,122 at the end of the 2017/18 year. A healthy reserve is necessary to provide a fighting fund when TNRA requires legal representation on behalf of tenants and also allows us to subsidise events on behalf of the community. TNRA’s policy is for subsidised events to be open to and affordable by all residents. Our policy is that events where admission is restricted (such as our annual wine tasting) should ideally break even or make a profit. We are grateful to Michael Whitlam for again auditing TNRA’s account.

11.    Publicity and community involvement
TNRA has enhanced the community by keeping members and all residents informed about issues and events through two newsletter booklets, letterbox flyers, the Trinity Street noticeboard, emails and the TNRA website. A TNRA Facebook site was launched in June 2018 and already has over 100 members. Residents have been able to contact TNRA via email and Committee members have dealt with queries about many matters. TNRA’s stock of equipment for hire has provided a service for both members and other local people and groups.

See the audited accounts for 2018/19 here: /drupal/sites/default/files/TNRA%20ACCOUNTS%202018-2019.pdf