Recent discussions with Capita
On 15 June, TNRA had an introductory meeting with Paul Stammers, who has taken over from Chris Vollers as the director at Capita's head office responsible for the Trinity House relationship. We encouraged Capita and Trinity House to put in place a policy to support Protected Tenants who want to downsize but stay in Trinity Village.
We discussed the recent bad experience of the small handful of Assured Tenants left in Trinity Village. Capita initially asked for a 13-15% increase in their rents. TNRA worked closely with the tenants involved and increases of under 5% were eventually agreed. TNRA has also supported Assured Shorthold Tenants about negotiating rent increases with Capita.
We highlighted delays to implementing the new key fob access system for the two gardens (see below).
We encouraged Capita to communicate pro-actively with tenants regarding fire prevention measures and emergency arrangements given the recent tragedy in north London.
We also encouraged Capita to take steps to smarten up Trinity Village. We have subsequently learned that Capita's cleaner in the communal blocks has been replaced. Further, at our suggestion, beds in Swan Street and outside Shaftesbury House have been weeded, brass fittings on communal front doors have been polished and Capita is reviewing the back garden of 38 Trinity Church Square for improvements.
Long leasehold update
Mainstay manages the long leasehold properties in Trinity Village on behalf of Trinity House. TNRA was impressed by their work under Andy Murray in 2015 to resolve problems left by a succession of previous managing agents. However, there now appears to be a significant decline in the quality of Mainstay's communications, responses and action. TNRA has written to Graham Hockley, Secretary of Trinity House, to highlight these deficiencies.
On 29 June, we received an email from Paul Stammers, responding on behalf of Mr Hockley. At a meeting with Adeel Akhtar, Associate Director of Mainstay, Mr Stammers "put Mainstay on notice that if they did not improve to our satisfaction they would be replaced. We have received verbal assurances that we will be provided with a tracker of actions to be undertaken on a regular basis with follow up meetings on site with Adeel and their local manager, Rebecca Cox also attending every two weeks until we are happy with their performance and then six weekly thereafter. We will receive a copy of the minutes of their meetings with TNRA and actions arising will form part of the regular meetings held with us. Adeel will ensure improvements in the response times on all their communications with Capita and the TNRA including from Mainstay's help desk."
TNRA has a follow up working level meeting with Mainstay arranged for 13 July and we are meeting Mr Stammers on 20 July to discuss progress.
Dickens Square redevelopment
Consultation on the long overdue £1.2 million redevelopment of the Dickens Square park has started. On 5 July, a TNRA delegation and other local stakeholders attended a meeting with council officers and Cllr Ian Wingfield, Southwark's Cabinet Member for Environment and the Public Realm. The Council is aiming to submit a planning application in Spring 2018. Subject to planning approvals, construction will start in January 2019 with the new square opening later that year. The transformation of Dickens Square into an attractive and well designed park and leisure facility along the southern border of Trinity Village is a project that TNRA supports. However, that support is conditional on minimising the noise and nuisance that Dickens Square causes to local residents. With that objective in mind, we oppose moving the REPA adventure playground up to the border with Merrick Square and Bedford Row. The adventure playground should stay where it is or be moved closer to Harper Road.
Access to the square gardens
The new key fob access system to the two square gardens is now operational. Key fobs are distributed by Capita on behalf of Trinity House. It is not a process over which TNRA has any control. We understand from Capita that all tenants of Trinity House have been contacted and advised of the process for receiving their fob.
Long leaseholders and freeholders in Trinity Village have a different relationship with Trinity House and have historically had no access rights to the two squares and lacked a clear process for obtaining a key. However, a process is now in place. Long leaseholders and freeholders are required to sign a licence and pay an annual fee of £100. Capita has contacted those long leaseholders and freeholders for whom it has details to advertise the availability of key fobs. If you would like access to the squares but have not yet been contacted, you should email Shaun Roberts at the Capita office in Trinity Street at Shaun.Roberts@capita.co.uk