Membership and management of TNRA
Members and associate members
Membership remained about the same as last year at 161 members, 16 of whom were new members. Residents were invited to renew or subscribe through leaflets, doorknocking, the TNRA website and letters given to new residents by Cluttons, and at TNRA events. Subscriptions came in more quickly than last year, with 100 being reached by 8 June. In addition, the new category of associate membership, for residents of Brockham Street, 49–59 Harper Road and 25–47 Trinity Street, attracted 10 members. A general meeting was held in Henry Wood Hall in October.
A committee of 14 members was chosen at the AGM in April 2003. Officers were elected at the first committee meeting in May. During the year, Rosie Milligan and Disley Jones resigned from the committee and Stan Lody and John Criddle were co-opted on. The committee met monthly to discuss and direct TNRA’s policies and actions. We are grateful to the Royal Oak and the Roebuck for providing us with meeting space.
Communication with members and others
Two newsletter booklets were produced and distributed to members, containing articles by a variety of contributors about TNRA events and activities, meetings with Cluttons, local services and organisations, local history and information etc.
News sheets, flyers and e-mail bulletins
Fifteen news sheets or flyers were distributed to all residents on topics including traffic, skip, recycling, Christmas holiday information, postal services and events.
About 120 members – well over half the membership – have supplied e-mail addresses to TNRA. These members received 16 e-mail bulletins over the year. This group is likely to increase as most new members have e-mail addresses. It provides a quick and easy method of sending information and reminders to members.
Website and phone line
The TNRA website, set up and maintained by Tim McNally, has been enlarged and updated weekly with TNRA and other local news and information. Many favourable comments have been received about the site and it has proved a useful way of attracting new members, informing them about TNRA, and encouraging them to get in touch with us. The TNRA answerphone, which is monitored weekly, also provides a means for residents to leave messages.
The Fact File, originally compiled in 2001, was updated with new loose-leaf pages in August 2003. Files were given to new residents as far as possible.
Unfortunately, Trinity House and Cluttons won their appeal against the refusal of planning permission to convert the Trinity Arms building into flats. There is, so far, no sign of this happening (though see report of latest meeting with Cluttons). TNRA expressed concern to Cluttons about public safety when the pub sign fell off in July.
Penny Hinves continued to lead TNRA’s work on traffic, with the immediate issue in May 2003 being to reduce the appalling level of traffic in Falmouth Road. Penny publicized Southwark Council’s exhibition and consultation in May, informed residents about the options, conveyed residents’ views to the council, organised a demonstration in Falmouth Road and spoke at the Borough and Bermondsey Community Council. Changes to the scheme were finally made in October, closing the junctions of Great Dover Street with Trinity Street, Globe Street and Swan Street with temporary barriers. Southwark Council and Transport for London are still considering whether the scheme should be made permanent.
For a short time in November, the postbox in Trinity Church Square was sealed up. TNRA orchestrated protests to Royal Mail and the collection service was restored. We also complained about misdelivery of mail.
There continue to be problems with the weekly refuse collection for 30–44 Trinity Church Square. We are grateful to residents there who contact the council about failures to collect, which we have followed up with Cllr Richard Thomas. Alison Walker is organising a TNRA campaign to discourage dumping of rubbish on the streets on non-collection days and to encourage recycling.
Recycling and community skip
Unfortunately, our weekly collection of paper and cardboard under the SURE scheme has ceased. Most of the estate is about to be brought into Southwark Council’s fortnightly recycling collection of paper, tins and glass. We are working with the council to make sure that all areas of the estate are covered, and that residents receive collection bags and boxes and information as soon as possible.
In June 2003, TNRA arranged with the council for a skip to be delivered free to the area once a month for residents to dispose of large items. This has proved very popular, with many items being put in and taken out of the skip. It remains on a trial basis, with the council agreeing three monthly dates in advance, and it sometimes fails to appear, but we hope that it will become a permanent facility on the first weekend of each month.
Meetings with Cluttons
TNRA’s chair and vice-chair, Stuart Milligan and Tim Horsler, have had three meetings with Cluttons, represented by Julian Briant, Marguerita O’Sullivan, Derek Brown and Richard Spencer, to discuss general estate matters, such as external and common parts redecorations.
Progress on many management issues, for example TV reception, is slow. We have continued to press Cluttons to install satellite dishes so that the estate can receive more television channels. Minimal progress has been made towards this in Gloucester Court, where one tenant in desperation has had his own dish installed, and in Swan Street.
Rents and leases
Having told us two years ago that they would redraft the 9-year assured leases into plain English, Cluttons have met Trinity House’s lawyers about this. However, there are only about 20 of these leases left, so the project may never be completed.
We have tried to clarify the exact meaning of the terms dealing with internal repairs where these are the tenants’ responsibility, in assured and protected tenancies, including where planning permission is necessary.
Status and security
We have advised protected tenants whose right to have the tenancies in their name following relationship breakdown has been challenged by Cluttons. We have also advised assured shorthold tenants who have initially been refused renewal of their leases because Cluttons want to upgrade the property. We have suggested to Cluttons that this is policy is unfair and unnecessary.
Market rents and fair rents
We have continued to advise tenants about rent levels, both market rents and fair rents. The Rent Officer has provided us with details of all fair rent registrations. We contacted Cluttons when they failed to use the correct procedure for informing protected tenants of their rent increases in April 2003; our intervention delayed the increases for several months.
Advice for tenants
At the instigation of Cllr Lorraine Zuleta, two officers from Southwark Council’s Housing Options Department came to our December committee meeting to discuss tenancy relations and housing advice in the light of their dealings with a number of tenants on the estate. They outlined several situations in which tenants should be referred to them for assistance. We publicised their service in the spring newsletter, sent them copies of our leases for their comments, which are awaited, and look forward to further discussion with them.
TNRA has been kept informed of the progress of an audit of the performance of Equity, the management company for these blocks, commissioned by leaseholders of 45–47 Trinity Church Square, and has agreed to contribute to the cost of the audit so that the final report can be made available to other long leaseholders.
Committee members Tim Horsler and John Criddle have pursued other management issues on behalf of 59–63 Trinity Church Square, including external and common parts redecoration and repairs, and insurance.
In the spring newsletter we published a short version of an article by Max Lewis about his experiences in extending a long lease in Trinity Church Square. This has generated considerable interest from other long leaseholders.
TNRA’s annual fete in Merrick Square in June 2003, part of London Garden Squares Day, enjoyed fairly good weather. Attendance of over 200 people was better than in previous years and a profit of about £400 was made. Maria Linforth Hall is in charge of arrangements for this year’s fete, which will be a bigger event, with the garden open from 10 am to 6 pm and more stalls, food and entertainments.
The third TNRA Art Show in Gallery 33 Swan Street in July featured work by four residents: Annie Wingfield, Olivia Bishop, Robert Pattinson, Steuart Graham. All the artists sold work and the two private views were successful social events. Thanks to Maria and Tony Linforth Hall for making the gallery available.
Arranged by Tim McNally and hosted by Jamie Wynne Griffiths, two more successful wine tasting evenings took place in September and December.
Trip to France
Paddy Hyams organised another trip to France in September, which involved most participants having a six-course meal in Bournonville.
At the October general meeting we exhibited photographs and information about the estate in the past, especially during World War II. This is the start of a project to gather evidence, photographs and maps of the estate for TNRA’s archives, which was taken forward by articles in the spring newsletter by Robert Holden.
Sales, hire and donations
A sale of books and bric-a-brac was held in the porch of Henry Wood Hall in August, raising over £100.
We have continued to sell Traidcraft goods, which generate a small profit for TNRA, and TNRA greetings cards, for which three new scenes were printed in time for Christmas. Cards were also sold at the Gallery 33 Christmas Sale.
Tables, marquees, glasses etc hired to residents for their own events provide another contribution to TNRA funds. We are grateful to Henry Wood Hall for storing equipment for us. We have recently bought 30 folding chairs to add to our stock.
We received donations of £250 and £500 from film companies for filming in Trinity Church Square.
Flora and fauna
John Criddle liaised with Trees for London to find suitable sites for trees, which have now been planted in Swan Street.
Foxes are becoming an increasing problem but apparently one that we have to learn to live with. We have informed the council and got advice from them and publicised advice and internet sites in the newsletter.
Lesley Exton, Secretary