This year has seen a huge leap in TNRA’s ability to communicate with members, residents and neighbours. In a large part, this is thanks to new committee member Tim McNally, who set up the TNRA website in June 2002. The site provides a lot of information about TNRA and an opportunity for people to contact us by e-mail. The site can be updated weekly so that topical information can be given out quickly.
During the year we have gathered e-mail addresses for over half of TNRA members. These, in addition to paper news sheets, have been used to send out news bulletins to alert and remind members about topical issues and events.
We have also set up a TNRA telephone line on which we encourage people to leave messages, rather than ringing committee members directly. The line is monitored weekly and has been put to some use, which we hope will increase.
We have continued to produce 4-page news sheets – 10 in all – informing residents about, eg, traffic, the Trinity Arms, Cluttons meetings, and TNRA events. In July 2002, we circulated a questionnaire about television reception. Where appropriate, we sent news sheets to non-members and residents in neighbouring streets, with the aim of communicating as widely as is feasible. Newsletter booklets were produced and sent to members in summer 2002 and spring 2003.
TNRA events were publicised by flyers, posters, e-mails and the web page.
Loose-leaf pages to update the Fact File were produced and delivered to members in August.
Another major area of progress this year has been in the making of links with neighbours and nearby organisations. A lot of this has become possible through the use of e-mail.
We had discussions with Henry Wood Hall about a possible closer relationship with them as they sought to become more involved with the local community; this did not materialise because HWH trustees decided not to pursue that route. However, we remain on good terms with HWH management, who have made the hall available for several TNRA events this year: the Wine Club, Christmas concert and the porch sale. In addition, they have provided storage space for our tables, glasses, books and other equipment. We hope to be able to help in their fundraising in the future.
We are grateful to St George the Martyr Church for use of the crypt for meetings and pleased to have made closer links with them over the year. TNRA had a stall at two of St George’s Open Days and they had one at the TNRA Garden Fete. The recent TNRA porch sale was on the same day as a St George’s open day and jumble sale. We put out joint publicity which benefitted both events: a number of people came to both.
We have now established contact with our new neighbours in Chadwick Square in Falmouth Road, Berwick Court in Swan Street, and Brockham Street/Harper Road. We have been in touch with them in particular over traffic and the Trinity Arms; some of them have come to some TNRA events; and they have been very helpful in recommending window cleaners! Again, communication with these groups is made easier by the existence of e-mail.
We have contacted residents of Trinity Street and Brockham Street to invite them to be associate members of TNRA (see ‘Motions’ later on the agenda).
This has been one of the big issues of the year and we are very grateful to Penny Hinves who has led the TNRA work on it. What we hoped would be an occasion for general rejoicing when the gate closed Trinity Street to through traffic turned out to be a nightmare for Falmouth Road, Cole Street and Swan Street. Penny has listened to residents’ complaints and views, liaised with council officers, the police and Transport for London, publicised council exhibitions, got signatures on a petition, presented the petition to the council’s traffic committee, and lobbied Simon Hughes MP. We will continue to campaign for a solution which restricts traffic in Falmouth Road as well as other parts of the estate, while preserving easy access for residents as far as possible.
The application by Cluttons and Trinity House for planning permission to convert the Trinity Arms building into four flats was finally heard in July 2002. TNRA opposed this application by sending evidence to the planning officers and committee members, and our vice-chair, Tim Horsler, spoke on behalf of objectors at the planning meeting. The committee rejected the application and Cluttons appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in January 2003. The appeal was by written representations with a deadline of 12 March. We not only sent in our objections but also publicised the appeal, particularly via e-mail and the website, to encourage residents to respond. At the time of writing, the result is awaited.
Rents and leases
We have continued to advise (a) protected tenants about registered rents, including obtaining copies of all registrations from the Rent Officer; (b) assured and assured shorthold tenants about market rents; and (c) about rent arrears. Lesley Exton represented one assured tenant at a Rent Assessment Committee to establish a market rent.
As most 9-year assured leases are coming to an end, we wrote to Cluttons asking for new leases to be drafted in plain English, because we believe that the old leases do not comply with recent European legislation on unfair terms in contracts. Lesley Exton attended a course on this topic. Trinity House agreed to redrafting and referred this to their solicitors in September 2002. We await a response. Meanwhile, we advise assured tenants not to sign new leases but to hold over when their old ones end.
We have advised residents about their status on relationship breakdown or death of the tenant, and paid part of the cost of a legal opinion in one case.
We responded to two Law Commission consultation papers about private rented housing.
We are supporting the leaseholders in 45–47 Trinity Church Square who are commissioning an audit of the management by Equity of their properties.
Alison Walker and Georgina Infield or Lesley Exton have had three management meetings with Julian Briant, Marguerita O’Sullivan, Derek Brown and Richard Spencer (building surveyor) of Cluttons to discuss management matters including: empty properties and refurbishment, external redecorations, tenants’ responsibilities under internal repairing leases, television reception, the square gardens, electrical and gas safety checks, garages and bike sheds.
We were pleased that one of our newly elected local councillors was Lorraine Zuleta, who until recently lived in Trinity Church Square. Lorraine spoke at our autumn general meeting about her work as a councillor and has been helpful to TNRA over council matters, particularly the Trinity Arms.
Councillor Richard Thomas attended a meeting with committee members at which we discussed traffic and environmental issues, which are his responsibility on the council’s executive. He recommended that we get involved in the council’s Street Leader scheme, promoting cleaner streets. This was launched in spring 2003. Paddy Hyams has joined as TNRA representative for Trinity Church Sq.
We continue to be part of the SURE weekly doorstep paper recycling scheme, having survived some confusion when the council launched a borough-wide fortnightly collection in July 2002.
Robert Holden wrote responses to Southwark Council’s draft Unitary Development Plan documents, on behalf of the committee. Jim Greenwood has reported to us on various planning and conservation issues.
TNRA goods for sale and hire
We have continued to sell TNRA goods and Traidcraft products at a number of events: the Garden Fete, St George’s Open Days, the Christmas concert, and via the web page. New greetings cards were produced by Simon Morris for the Garden Fete and for Christmas. They continue to sell steadily, as do TNRA pens and Traidcraft goods, which make a small profit for TNRA.
We purchased a hot water urn and tea pot for use at the Garden Fete, and to be available for hire. During the year, TNRA members have hired marquees, tables and glasses, producing a small income.
Membership and meetings
Membership this year stood at 160 households, representing about 60% of the occupied properties on the estate.
The TNRA committee has met monthly to co-ordinate strategy, work and events. Apart the AGM, we held only one general meeting, in October, at which Cllr Zuleta and PC Arthur Hazel spoke. The committee decided not to hold other general meetings because they are not usually very well attended and members have plenty of opportunity to contact TNRA about matters of concern either at social events or by phone or e-mail.
Our programme of events expanded again this year. The first was our annual Garden Fete in Merrick Square as part of London Garden Squares Day. Unfortunately, a wet day for the second year running did not encourage visitors, but we managed to run some reasonably successful stalls and made a small profit. Trinity House agreed to donate the cost of insurance for the day.
Inspired by Disley Jones hanging his pictures on the railings at the Garden Fete, and thanks to the generosity of Tony and Maria Linforth Hall in making Gallery 33, Swan Street available, we arranged two TNRA art shows in September/October, showing theatrical designs by Disley Jones and Simon Beresford, photographs by Rosie Barnes and Sam Spurgeon and a video by Hannah Holland. These attracted a lot of interest; the private views, to which all TNRA members were invited, were well attended, and several works were sold.
Following the successful outing to France in Spring 2002, Paddy Hyams organised another trip, this time via the Channel Tunnel, in November. This was again fully booked and an enjoyable day out, involving much eating, drinking and shopping, was had by all.
Jamie Wynne Griffiths has continued to challenge our palates at the TNRA Wine Club, with a bin end sale in September and ‘Around the World in Ten Pinots’ in March 2003, both held in the Henry Wood Hall crypt.
In December, our Christmas celebration, also in HWH crypt, featured the Clink Street Jazz Band and a special session by Simon Beresford on spoons.
In March, HWH let us use the church porch on a Saturday for a sale of secondhand books, videos and discs, TNRA cards and pens, and Traidcraft produce. This was financially successful and well attended.
Lesley Exton, Secretary