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1986-1996: the 2nd decade

LANDLORDS AND MANAGING AGENTS – RENTS AND LEASES

In 1987 TNRA briefs our MP, Simon Hughes, on the Housing Bill to ensure that current protected tenants retain their security of tenure and right to a registered rent. When the Bill becomes the Housing Act 1988, a barrister from Southwark Law Project tells a TNRA quarterly meeting about the new system of assured and assured shorthold tenancies with market rents.

In 1996, a meeting chaired by Simon Hughes MP, with representatives from Trinity House and new managing agents Daniel Smith, is attended by a large number of vocal residents, who urge Trinity House to develop a social policy towards renting to ensure that the community is maintained. Mr Dobb from Trinity House claims that there is no demand from tenants for leases longer than three years and that “removal vans in the squares are now a fact of life”. However, TNRA questionnaire results show that of 96 residents who replied, 80 say they hope to still be living on the Estate in five years’ time.

TNRA organises training for members to represent protected tenants at Rent Assessment Committee hearings. Rosie Milligan and Lesley Exton represent seven tenants at a lengthy hearing in 1996. The rents are reduced from those proposed by Daniel Smith.

COUNCIL TAX

In the run-up to introduction of council tax in 1993, Lesley Exton for TNRA coordinates appeals by tenants whose bandings appear to be too high and negotiates with the Valuation Officer. As a result, 102 properties are reduced to lower bands than first proposed, thus saving tenants up to £250 pa each. TNRA represents four tenants at an appeal hearing.

GARDENS

In 1990 TNRA asks Drivers Jonas and Trinity House if tenants can have access to the gardens in the squares. They refuse, with Mr Bishop of DJ saying that new assured shorthold tenants prefer that the gardens remain closed. TNRA secretary Gwen Rigby reports to DJ that her grandson thinks it is “weird” that he can’t go into Merrick Square garden, which is opened as a trial in 1994.

The resident gardener leaves in 1994 and contractors are employed. TNRA complains to Daniel Smith that the gardens are neglected.

TRAFFIC

In 1993 Trevor Wilding of Southwark Council’s traffic department meets TNRA to discuss traffic calming in Trinity Street. In 1994 TNRA officers attend Southwark’s traffic subcommittee to ask for traffic calming measures and a pedestrian crossing, finally installed in 1995 opposite 66 Trinity Church Square (replacing one pedestrian refuge).
In 1996, traffic in Trinity Street and Trinity Church Square becomes heavier. Simon Hughes attends TNRA general meeting in June, where members suggest that Trinity Street should be closed to through traffic. Simon Hughes writes to Traffic Director for London.

ENVIRONMENT

• TNRA volunteers help to clear up debris in Dickens Square Park and waste ground on Brockham Street (now Rutherford Lodge).
• TNRA supports Cole Street residents in complaints about night-time noise from courier company.
• TNRA committee members have regular walkabouts with councillors and officers to check roads, pavements, street lights, bins etc.

REDEVELOPMENT

Jim Greenwood represents TNRA on the Southwark Conservation Area Advisory Committee, monitors all redevelopments in the area, and comments on planning applications. Redevelopments on the Estate include blocks of long leasehold flats at 9–11, 45–47 and 59–63 Trinity Church Square and Wallins factory and chapel in Cole Street (now Horsemongers Mews and 26–28 Cole Street),

FILMING

In 1993 TNRA protests to DJ after several episodes of late night filming in Trinity Church Square, agreed by DJ without consulting TNRA or any residents. DJ promise in future to put film companies in touch with TNRA.

EVENTS

• Jumble sale held in 1991 and first bookstall in Trinity Church Square in 1995.
• Netti McLoughlin runs first TNRA pub quizzes in The Ship in 1991 and 1993.
• First TNRA walk is a “Southwark Stroll” in 1989 led by resident Peter Fitzgerald.
• Guest speakers at meetings include: Simon Hughes MP, Cedric Dickens (great grandson of Charles), Paul Strang and Terry Palmer of Henry Wood Hall, Sam Wanamaker and local police.
• Many parties held in Henry Wood Hall at Christmas and Valentine’s Day.