MANAGING AGENTS, RENTS AND LEASES
In 2008 managing agents Capita rebrand the Estate as “Trinity Village”.
When a TNRA questionnaire shows that 75 per cent of respondents with assured shorthold leases would like to have leases longer than the standard one or two years, TNRA asks Trinity House and Capita for longer leases. Simon Hughes MP and Southwark councillor Tim McNally negotiate with Trinity House for TNRA. TNRA gets legal advice about longer leases and puts proposals to Trinity House. After Merrick Square tenants express concern about being asked to leave so that their houses can be refurbished, TNRA chair Simon Webster facilitates meetings with Trinity House, Capita and individual tenants to make “property maintenance plans” for their homes to give them more security.
TNRA asks Trinity House for a policy if tenants want to “downsize” to another property in Trinity Village, gets legal advice about the draft policy and sends comments to Trinity House in November 2015. A response is awaited (November 2016). TNRA consults a solicitor and Lesley Exton prepares and circulates advice for protected tenants about succession to a tenancy when the tenant dies.
Simon Webster and Edward Heckels, in their successive stints as chair of TNRA from 2009 on, establish useful contact and have regular meetings with both Graham Hockley at Trinity House and Chris Vollers at Capita.
In 2012 new and redeveloped properties in Trinity Village are sold or let at: 28 and 30 Trinity Street and Bedford Row (site of the former pickle factory); Monck House (formerly Cole Street Chambers); and Walker House (formerly garages on Swan Street).
Closure of Trinity Street to through traffic makes Trinity Church Square garden a much more pleasant place to spend time and residents take full advantage of this.
In 2010 Penny Hinves writes a report for TNRA on the state of the gardens in the squares, which are in poor condition after several changes of contractors, and proposes improvements. TNRA volunteers do regular weeding, leaf clearing, composting and planting, mainly in TCS garden, from 2011 onwards. Trinity House pays for some plants and compost. Capita appoints Penny on a six-month gardening contract for two days a week in 2014 and the condition of the gardens gets better. In 2015 Greenmantle are appointed as gardeners and attend once a week.
TNRA negotiates with Capita about access to the gardens, arguing for free access for all residents of Trinity Village, but Capita insist that long leaseholders and freeholders must pay an annual fee.
In 2007 Southwark Council decides to close Trinity Street/Great Dover Street junction permanently. Penny Hinves for TNRA makes successful application to Southwark Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer Fund for landscaping the junction, completed in 2009.
After wooden gate across Trinity Street is broken twice, Southwark Council agrees to install metal gates, designed in style of Henry Wood Hall railings. TNRA committee member Ray Whitley liaises with the council. Metal gate is installed in 2009 and central panels in 2010. In 2014 proposals for a “Quietway” cycle route along Trinity Street threaten that the gate may be removed. After vigorous protests from TNRA, Southwark Council widen the central gap on a trial basis but put in cameras to catch and fine motor cycles that go through.
Abigail Hope and then Trixie Cartwright represent TNRA on Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings with local police. 2013 sees a spate of damage to brake cables of cars in the area. Culprits are never discovered – was it foxes?
Helen and Robert Holden monitor planning applications and policies, draft responses, represent TNRA and report back. When they leave Merrick Square in 2013, Adam Towle joins the TNRA committee to take up this work.
TNRA complains to Southwark Council about the state of Avon Place. Better lighting is installed, cleaning improves, trees are planted, a mirror is put in and a mural commissioned. TNRA suggests topics for the mural and committee member Annie Wingfield liaises with the artist, Morganico, (and gives a hand with the painting). The mural is finally finished in 2015.
• Lottery fund gives money in 2009 to improve the TNRA website to include management of subscriptions.
• In 2009 Southwark Council gives TNRA a grant for a street noticeboard. Managing agents want to control content if it is on Trinity House land, so council place it on public pavement in 2011.
• Discount scheme with local businesses begins in 2011.
• Sue Trinder obtains grant for pop-up gazebos from United St Saviour’s Charity in 2013, adding to the store of equipment for hire.
• Thanks to enthusiastic door knocking by TNRA chair Edward Heckels, TNRA membership increases from 139 households in 2010/11 to 216 in 2015/16.
• From 2015 TNRA contributes a regular page to Trinity Villager – twice-yearly newsletter produced by Trinity House for residents.
• TNRA’s own newsletter continues to be published in Spring and Autumn, having gone to full colour in 2012.
Ali Walker co-ordinates with the Southwark Film Office to ensure that filming in Trinity Village is not too disruptive for residents. Donations from film companies total £9,000 in 2014/15 alone.
Events include: visit to Chapel Down Winery, first annual walk led by John Constable in 2007, porch sales at Henry Wood Hall, first pop-up bookstall outside 57 TCS, yoga sessions in Trinity Church Square garden, garden fetes for Open Garden Squares Weekend, wine tastings, craft fairs, antiques show-and-tell, concerts, hustings for local elections, pub quizzes, carol singing, Opera in the Square. Some events are funded by grants from Southwark Council and United St Saviour’s Charity.