Old and failing utilities in Trinity House properties
TNRA has become aware of gas and electrical installations in several Trinity House properties that are old and need replacement. Residents in 30/31 Trinity Church Square were without heating and hot water for several weeks after a gas leak necessitated a new installation. A tenant in another property was unable to replace an electricity meter giving unreliable readings because the electrical fittings/wiring were "in a poor or dangerous condition". TNRA is planning to approach Trinity House to suggest a rolling programme to up-grade ancient pipes and wiring during the refurbishment of common parts and when flats are refurbished. In advance, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org your experiences of gas and electrical installations in Trinity House properties that are old and need replacement.
King's Place development
TNRA attended a public exhibition in January on the proposed development of King's Place, the site on the north corner of the junction of Newington Causeway and Harper Road. The latest proposal is for the construction of a 13-14 storey hotel with 430 rooms.
TNRA will strongly object to the proposal in its current form. It shows no real consideration of the impact of the development on the character and heritage of the surrounding area. The tower block will be over-bearing and form the dominant element in the streetscape. The project will deliver minimal new homes and none that are affordable. The small mews planned off Harper Road will be insufficient to accommodate related traffic flows and will result in greater congestion in an area where traffic reducing measures are now a priority (see below).
Borough Triangle development
Peabody has announced a consultation on its development of the Borough Triangle, the 2.5-acre brownfield site on the corner of Newington Causeway and Borough Road. They are planning to build around 675 homes, of which 35% will be for people on lower incomes, as well as new retail and commercial units. There will also be a new public square for local residents and a contribution to the creation of "The Low Line", a project aimed at transforming the public realm along the railway line from Camberwell to Blackfriars. TNRA repesentatives attended a public exhibition on Saturday 10 February at the London School of Musical Theatre at 83 Borough Road.
Swan Street development
TNRA continues to monitor Galliard's non-compliance with planning permissions and relevant legislation with respect to the development of the site. Construction and demolition work can only be carried out within specified hours or with permission from the Council and is considered a nuisance outside these hours: Mon to Fri - 8am to 6pm, Sat - 9am to 2pm.
TNRA approached the Council in January seeking a "stop notice" so that the contractor is compelled to adhere to these working hours. The Council rejected our request on the grounds that there are no "on-going" breaches and that past breaches have been "rectified" - which will come as a surprise to residents afflicted by continued work at anti-social times. We have followed up by distributing a letter to residents of Gloucester Court, Swan Street and the east side of Trinity Church Square reminding them to tell Southwark Council by emailing email@example.com when the contractor works outside these hours. Please copy in TNRA at firstname.lastname@example.org when you report such matters to the Council so we can build up a record of the contractor's performance.
Harper Road local area enhancements
There are a number of smaller scale projects currently underway in the vicinity of Harper Road.
The Council is trialing width restrictions of 6'6'' (2m) on Harper Road, between Bath Terrace and Rockingham Street, and at Bath Terrace, for eight months from February / March to Autumn 2018. If successful, any measures will be made permanent by Autumn 2019. Council officers have confirmed in a public meeting that steps will be taken "mid-trial" if there is "a major increase in traffic" in Cole Street.
The Council will shortly be publishing a report on the community meeting held on 27 November to consider the proposed regeneration of the Dickens Square Park. The proposed design will be further developed, informed by the feedback from the meeting, with a third community meeting planned for early March 2018. If all goes to plan, construction works should begin in about March 2019.
Formal consultation is planned on shop front improvement work in the Harper Road parade between June and October 2018.
Finally, the Council is securing funding from TfL for a new cycle route (the Southwark Spine) to run along Harper Road, from Borough High Street to Falmouth Road, aimed at less confident cyclists and based on TfL's Healthy Streets initiative.
Outcome of the Rent Officer's visit to Trinity Village
Most of the 36 tenants with old (pre-1989) Rent Act protected leases have their rents assessed and registered by the Rent Officer every two years. 25 of these have just received notice of their new registered rents from the Rent Officer, who visited several of the properties. We are pleased to report that in many cases the percentage increase is lower than it has been in previous years. It may be worth all tenants noting that rents in Trinity Village do not seem to be increasing greatly at present (for instance, most Merrick Square rents increased by 4.5% over two years). And for three tenants in Gloucester Court the rent has actually decreased because of the building site opposite! We shall be contacting all members with Rent Act leases to give more details.
Cleaner, Greener, Safer
Southwark Council's "Cleaner, Greener, Safer" initiative funds ideas from residents and organisations in Southwark which improve the local area. We are pleased to report that TNRA has been successful in 2017/18 with two applications, securing £5,000 for the repainting of weathered lamp-posts in Trinity Village and replanting around the Roebuck "piazza" at the east end of Trinity Street. When applications open for 2018/19 in September, TNRA will be asking for funding to install a new bike rack at the southern end of Merrick Square, reflecting feedback received from local residents.