Membership and administration
Membership increased this year to the highest figure for several years: 170 members and 17 associate members (compared with 148 and 11 last year). This included 29 new members. Membership represents over half the estate of 315 households. We paid for some admin help during the subscription campaign in April, May and June, which enabled us to process subscriptions and reminders quickly, chase up late payers, knock on doors and deliver Fact Files.
A committee of 13 members was chosen at the AGM and one more member was co-opted shortly after. Officers were elected at the first committee meeting in May. 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. Committee members attended a number of Borough and Bankside Community Council meetings to listen and comment on issues, particularly traffic and planning.
Landlords and estate management
The big event of the year has been the transfer of management of the estate from Cluttons to Nelson Bakewell (NB). NB contacted TNRA before they took over. We had initial meetings with them and prepared briefings on lease and rental issues and TV reception. We invited NB staff to attend the autumn general meeting and have continued the system of management meetings with two TNRA committee representatives and the managing agents. Tim Horsler, Helen Holden and Ali Walker have attended these meetings. We welcomed the staffing of the Trinity Street office again and have so far found NB’s management style more open and approachable than we have previously experienced. We are pleased that progress seems to be being made on repairs issues such as TV reception, asbestos removal and emergency cover. At NB’s invitation, we made suggestions of items which might be included in their Tenants’ Handbook.
Communication and information
• Two newsletter booklets were produced and distributed to members in Summer 2005 and Spring 2006.
• Through the year, 20 news sheets or flyers were distributed to residents.
• Members who have e-mail addresses received 20 TNRA e-mail bulletins.
• The TNRA website, set up and maintained by Tim McNally, is now a major source of information about TNRA action and activities and other local news and information. New items are posted quickly to the site, which is updated weekly.
• TNRA Fact Files are now given out to new tenants by NB or can be requested from TNRA. Updated pages were issued to members in May, September and February, including a rewritten section on political representatives and council services. We have paid for some research to update more pages in the leisure and entertainment sections and are applying for a grant to enable us to complete this work in the coming year. Items from the historical section of the Fact File were used in an artwork on local history still on display outside Tate Modern.
Through these five methods, we have kept members and others informed about a wide range of topics and events.
For incoming information and queries, members and others have used e-mail or answerphone to contact TNRA. Questionnaires were used to collect comments on noise, lighting in Falmouth Road and refuse collection.
Meetings and events
• The 2005 AGM was held in Henry Wood Hall in April, with guest speakers Tim Godsmark (HWH architect), Simon Hughes MP, and Cllr Lorraine Zuleta. A general meeting was held in October also in HWH with Nelson Bakewell as guest speakers.
• Following concern expressed at the autumn meeting about community safety, and a discussion in the TNRA committee led by Justin Allison, Adele Morris organized a meeting on ‘Safe Neighbourhoods’ in March. From this has emerged the committee proposal that TNRA should apply to become a Neighbourhood Watch organization.
• Two meetings were arranged for long leaseholders and their managing agents, Douglas and Gordon: in July with Cluttons and in January with Nelson Bakewell.
• TNRA’s annual Garden Fête in Merrick Square in June 2005, part of Open Garden Squares Weekend and in aid of Rockingham Estate Play Association (REPA), enjoyed good weather and was a success, thanks again to the organiser, Maria Linforth Hall. The considerable expenses involved in running the fête meant that we did not make a large profit, but a £500 donation was given to REPA.
• We held Porch Sales in front of Henry Wood Hall in May (two), September and April, selling a large number of secondhand books and bric-a-brac in aid of TNRA funds. We also organized a doorstep sale in October for residents to sell their own goods. We plan to hold another of these this summer.
• Tim McNally organised three Wine Club evenings in the crypt of Henry Wood Hall, ‘Wines from Oz’ in July, ‘Wines for Winter’ with Waterloo Wine in October and ‘Affordable Wines from Spring’ in March.
• Paddy Hyams organised another trip to Boulogne, in November, which was undersubscribed but enjoyable for those who went.
• Martin Galton hosted a Poetry Evening in Gallery 33 at which he and four other residents entertained the audience with their poems.
• Carol singing by candlelight took place in December in Trinity Church Square garden. Thanks to Janet Taylor for playing the accompaniment.
We are very grateful to Andy and Charles at HWH for making the hall available for our meetings and events and to Tony and Maria at Gallery 33 for hosting TNRA events over the past five years. We greatly regret the closure of the gallery, which has been a focus for community activities and helped TNRA in many ways.
TNRA trading and income
• We printed more winter scenes as Christmas cards, which sold well, and 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.
• Filming in Trinity Church Square also provides some income from location fees. Ali Walker negotiates with film companies and Southwark Council’s film officer, and tries to minimize disruption for residents.
• We received a legacy of £500 from Mr Eddie Deeks of Trinity Church Square, who died aged 99.
Streets, traffic and parking
Penny Hinves has continued to lobby the council for progress on these issues, in particular for provision of more parking spaces.
The junctions of Trinity Street with Swan Street and Globe Street have been made permanent and trees have been planted. The trial weekend opening of Trinity Street/Great Dover Street junction has yet to take place.
TNRA opposed the proposed road humps in on the estate as being unnecessary and we are grateful to Cllr Zuleta’s help in putting this on hold until a survey of traffic in the wider area is undertaken.
Some roads have been resurfaced and Penny is pressing for pavement repairs.
A TNRA questionnaire suggested that a majority of residents were happy with the level of street lighting in Falmouth Road, so no further action was taken.
Planning and conservation
Robert Holden, Helen Holden and Penny Hinves appeared at the Public Inquiry on the Southwark’s UDP in June to object to proposals to build on Dickens Square Park. We also alerted residents in October when the council proposed to sell the land for development. We are pleased that the UDP Inspector has recommended that the park remain as open space and hope that the council will honour this.
We continue to be interested in the fate of the Amec building on Trinity Street, for which Cluttons are drawing up development plans.
We have kept residents informed about the progress of work on Henry Wood Hall. After the opinions expressed at the 2005 AGM, we were pleased that HWH withdrew removal of the tree from their planning application.
We are liaising with the council to take part in a forthcoming consultation about the Trinity Church Square Conservation Area.
Recycling and community skip
We have continued to publicise the council’s recycling scheme and to give out boxes and bags, and to organize the monthly skip on the estate, provided free by the council and promised for another year.
Rents and leases
We have advised tenants about rent levels proposed by both Cluttons and Nelson Bakewell. In the last throes of Cluttons’ management, we advised three tenants who appealed against their market rents to the Rent Assessment Committee. We prepared evidence in one case which was eventually withdrawn. Neither of the other cases reached a full hearing.
Ali Walker and Lesley Exton met NB to brief them about current issues with leases, and asked them to resolve the question of renewal of 9-year assured leases.
We have advised two tenants who inherited tenancies on the death of their parents.
There continue to be huge problems in the management of long leasehold blocks. Tim Horsler has repeatedly brought matters to the attention of both Douglas & Gordon and NB. TNRA contributed to the cost of a management audit commissioned by one of the blocks which should give some guidance for all long leaseholders.
Lesley Exton, Secretary