Membership and administration
Membership numbers this year were slightly down from last year, but higher than the year before: 151 members and 14 associate members (compared with 170 and 17 in 2005/06 and 148 and 11 in 2004/05). This included 19 new members. Membership represents about half the estate (approx 320 households).
A committee of 13 members was chosen at the AGM. Tim McNally resigned in May after he was elected to Southwark Council. We thank Tim for his time on the committee and his work on the TNRA website. Three of the other 12 are not standing for re-election and we thank them for their time on the committee: Penny Hinves, Paddy Hyams and Georgina Infield. We especially thank Paddy for many years service to TNRA – she was on the original committee and was the first secretary in 1976.
The committee met monthly to discuss and direct TNRA’s policies, actions and events and oversee expenditure.
Smaller groups of committee members and others also met on specific topics (see Planning below) and to organise events. Committee members attended a number of Borough and Bankside Community Council (B&BCC) meetings and Ali Walker and Penny Hinves met other TA chairs at an evening organised by the ward councillors.
Communication and information
• Two newsletter booklets were produced and distributed to members in Autumn 2006 and Spring 2007.
• Through the year, seven news sheets or flyers were distributed to residents.
• Members who have e-mail addresses received 10 TNRA e-mail bulletins and many members used e-mail to contact TNRA.
• Jessica Evershed took over management of the TNRA website from Tim McNally. She is reviewing and restructuring the site to make it an even better source of information about TNRA action and activities and other local news. (She has also set up the ‘Borough Babies’ group website for parents of small children.)
• We maintained the TNRA answerphone service for calls to TNRA and committee members were often called direct by residents with problems or queries.
• The second edition of the TNRA Fact File was completed in January 2007 with all the sections rewritten and updated. A lottery grant of £1,600 from Awards for All paid for research work for this, for printing the new edition and for more binders. New pages were sent to all current members and a stock of Fact Files was given to NB to give to new tenants.
Through all these methods of communication, we have kept members and others informed about a wide range of topics and events.
Meetings and events
• Two meetings were held in Henry Wood Hall: the AGM in April and an Autumn Meeting in October. We are very grateful to HWH staff for making the hall available for our meetings and other events.
• We held another Garden Fête in Merrick Square in June 2006, as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend and in aid of St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots Project for Homeless People, to whom we sent donation of £500. We thank Maria Linforth Hall for organising this and fetes in earlier years. After the fete the committee decided to take part in Open Garden Squares Weekend again in 2007 but not to hold a fete.
• A few brave souls accepted Ali Walker’s invitation to join in early morning yoga sessions in TCS garden.
• We held a Porch Sale in front of Henry Wood Hall in August, selling a large number of secondhand books and bric-a-brac in aid of TNRA funds, combined with a doorstep sale for residents to sell their own goods.
• Wine Club evenings hosted by Peter Ledgerwood from Waterloo Wine were held in the crypt of Henry Wood Hall in November and February.
• We planned another trip to Boulogne in October, but had to cancel it because of lack of bookings.
• Eighty people came to carol singing by candlelight with mulled wine and mince pies in December in Trinity Church Square garden. Thanks to Janet Taylor for playing the accompaniment and to Lucy Williams and local children for making decorations.
• Rosie Barnes organised another pancake race in Merrick Square on Shrove Tuesday.
• We have started to plan other different events for 2007: self defence with jiu jitsu in TCS garden; a walk round the Borough with John Constable; and a possible day out to Lamberhurst Vineyard.
Landlords and estate management
For TNRA, Ali Walker and Helen Holden have continued the system of management meetings with Dan Bray and Susie Hewett of Nelson Bakewell (NB). They have had two meetings, in July and December. Matters discussed have included: external redecoration; fireproof doors and fire alarms; new entryphones; keys kept by NB; boilers, heating and gas safety; government grants for central heating; asbestos removal; pest control; emergency cover; and an NB newsletter.
In addition, in Autumn 2006, Ali Walker, Penny Hinves and Lesley Exton had two walkabouts with Dan Bray and Susie Hewett to look at all communal halls and back yards/gardens. Following these, NB have installed hooks to keep back doors open and noticeboards in all halls and have removed rubbish from some back yards. TNRA wants to encourage tenants with communal gardens to keep them in good order, with help from NB if necessary.
We remain pleased that the estate is once more managed from a local office (though dismayed that they will no longer accept rents there) and are grateful to NB staff for attending a B&BCC meeting on traffic and the parking consultation exhibition.
Rents and leases
We have advised tenants about rent levels proposed by Nelson Bakewell on renewal of assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) and under assured tenancies.
We have advised tenants about rents currently being proposed, written to NB about anomalies in the suggested agreement and are in communication with the Rent Officer about registered rent levels.
Tenancy deposits with ASTs
The Spring newsletter carried an article about new laws on tenancy deposits which came into force on 6 April 2006, giving tenants more protection if there is a dispute over return of the deposit. Beccy Clayton wrote the article and corresponded with both NB and the government department to discuss whether the new rules apply if current tenants stay and sign a new AST – they do.
Tim Horsler has continued to do battle with both Douglas & Gordon and NB on behalf of the blocks of long leasehold flats – see separate report.
Planning and conservation
We were pleased that, after the public inquiry on the Southwark Unitary Development Plan, to which TNRA gave evidence in 2005, it was recommended by the inspector and accepted by the council that Dickens Square Park should not be built on and should be designated as Borough Open Land.
In November 2006 we set up a planning subcommittee to monitor planning, development and environmental issues and report to the main committee. Subcommittee members have responded to a number of planning applications and council consultations – see separate report.
One of the speakers at our AGM in April 2006 was Gary Rice from Southwark Council’s Design and Conservation Team, who told us that the draft Conservation Area Appraisal for TCS conservation area would soon be published. This is still awaited but the planning subcommittee drafted a list of items that we should like included in the Appraisal and communicated these to the council officers via Cllr Tim McNally.
Streets, traffic and parking
The trial weekend opening of Trinity Street/Great Dover Street junction was abandoned by the council because the technology was not available. TNRA members attended the November 2006 and April 2007 B&BCC meetings which collected comments about the traffic calming measures.
TNRA sent the council our suggestions to improve parking availability in the area. We publicised the exhibitions of proposed changes in Controlled Parking Zone D, encouraged residents to respond to the council’s questionnaire and welcomed the proposed provision of extra parking spaces. As she leaves the committee, we thank Penny Hinves for several years’ sterling work on traffic and parking issues for TNRA.
In June 2006, John Criddle organised a ‘street audit’, with members from the council’s Street Leader Team. As a result the following was achieved: overhanging vegetation cut back along Falmouth Road pavement; lampposts repainted in Merrick Square; old grit boxes removed from Trio Place.
Rubbish, recycling and community skip
We have continued to publicise the council’s recycling scheme and to keep a stock of boxes and bags for residents. After an initial hiccup at the beginning of the financial year, the free monthly skip on the estate was restored by the council. In April 2007, we are conducting a sticker and leaflet campaign to encourage residents to keep our streets free of rubbish.
Policing and Neighbourhood Watch
At the 2006 AGM members voted unanimously in favour of TNRA becoming a Neighbourhood Watch (NW) Scheme. Rosie Brooks volunteered to be NW co-ordinator and has liaised with the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team. PS Jon Wilson from the team attended our Autumn meeting. From 2007 residents will be invited to join Neighbourhood Watch as well as TNRA on their subscription forms. Rosie will also attend the Police Ward Panel meetings.
TNRA trading and purchases
• We printed 500 more TNRA cards, with one new scene, and sold about 200, mostly at Christmas.
• We continue to keep a small stock of Traidcraft (fair trade) produce for sale.
• TNRA equipment (gazebos, tables and chairs) for hire provides us with a small income, which covers storage expenses.
• We used the legacy of £500 received last year from Eddie Deeks of Trinity Church Square to buy winter lights for a tree in TCS garden, sharing the cost of installation with NB.
Lesley Exton, Secretary