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Annual report 2013-14

TNRA Annual General Meeting 10 April 2014

The AGM was held in Henry Wood Hall. TNRA chair, Edward Heckels, presented the annual report.

TNRA Annual Report 2013/14

1. Introduction

For over 30 years, TNRA has worked to improve life for the residents of the Newington Trust Estate (now Trinity Village) in their dealings with their managing agents and Southwark Council and to foster a sense of community by organising events for local people.

2. Assured Shorthold Tenancies ("ASTs”)

TNRA’s priority has been greater security for residents on shorthold tenancies. Our MP, Simon Hughes, working with Cllr Tim McNally, has exchanged letters with the Deputy Master of Trinity House arguing forcibly for a more flexible rental policy that is able to distinguish between new tenants and reliable ASTs who have lived in the Village for more than 10 years. Trinity House has confirmed that they will charge commercial rents and will not differentiate between long term residents and others in the rent they pay. TNRA has provided detailed commentson Capita’s two new guides for tenants. We have received complaints regarding poor maintenance work undertaken by Capita’s contractors and have lobbied for improvements going forward.

3. Long leasehold properties

Bray Property Services resigned as managing agent of the long lease properties in Trinity Village with effect from 23 December 2013. Capita invited long leaseholders to forward nominations for the post and agreed to include Duncan McKenzie as a representative of the long leaseholders,identified through TNRA, to assist in connection with the final selection. London Residential Management Limited ("LRM”) was appointed as a replacement. In order to facilitate more efficient communications, each long leaseholder block has been encouraged to agree a main contact/representative. A meeting between LRM and block representatives on 5 March went well. However, subsequent communications with long leaseholders have been slow and lacked co-ordination within LRM. We now understand that LRM’s appointment is not continuing and that the new managing agent will be Mainstay Group, a larger company with more resource.

4. Gardens

Trinity House again provided limited ad hoc funding for improvements to Trinity Church Square garden in2013. The work and on-going maintenance was undertaken by TNRA members, led by Penny Hinves, with more than a dozen volunteers turning out to help on four Garden Action Days during the year. TNRA has argued that the increased revenue generated from Trinity Village in recent years justifies more investment and the engagement of a qualified gardener by Trinity House. We understand that additional funding has been approved for the gardens in 2014/15. Penny has met with Capita for detailed discussions and TNRA awaits an update. During the year, TNRA has requested a clearer policy on access to our two square gardens. We have argued that all residents of the squares and also residents from the rest of Trinity Village who rent directly from Trinity House should have free access to both gardens. Other residents of Trinity Village should have access if they pay a yearly fee. Capita’s initial position would take away access rights for residents who live outside the squares and give residents of the squares access to their own square only.

5. Southwark Council

The park at Dickens Square is to be upgraded in a £1.5 million capital project. As an interim measure, the Council has undertaken to cut back trees and clearundergrowth to discourage drug dealing and rough sleepers. TNRA has obtained a grant from the Council for improvements to Avon Place. TNRA supported the successful campaign led by Claire Maugham of Borough Babies to create a pedestrian crossing at the junction with Trinity Street and Great Suffolk Street. We are lobbying representatives of the LibDems and Labour to preserve the Trinity Street gate in its current form and to prevent the partial re-opening of Trinity Street to two wheeled motor vehicles. We have lobbied the Council, without success, to reinstate missing York stone on the junction of Trinity Street and Globe Street and to replace an acacia felled in Globe Street. The Council continues to fund the TNRA Community Skip on the first Saturday of the month.

6. Communitysafety issues

Trixie Cartwright and/or Annie Wingfield have represented TNRA’s interests at meetings of the Chaucer Safer Neighbourhood Panel. There have been more than 30 incidents of car brake cables being cut in our area in the last year. Under-cover surveillance has failed to identify the vandals. The police have suggested that foxes could be responsible, which TNRA contests. There have been several incidents of rowdy and threatening behaviour by individuals believed to be students. The police have raised this at recent visits to local halls of residence. TNRA has warned members of several scams operating in the area. Residents are reminded to report non-serious incidents to the police on 101 and to obtain a crime reference number. The police are only able to respond to crimes that are notified to them. TNRA should also be notified.

7. Planning

Adam Towle has joined the TNRA Committee to cover planning matters and to attend the monthly meetings of the Council’s Conservation Areas Advisory Group. We learned during the year of Trinity House’s plans for the land occupied by the Southwark County Court and the self-storage business along the west side of Swan Street. Trinity House owns the freehold of the land and is in early discussions for the redevelopment of the site, mainly for residential purposes, possibly in a joint venture with a developer. The development is currently in "pre-application”. Capita has suggested that the project could include space for "community use”.

8. Events

Our events have comprised: Open Squares Weekend (9 June 2013); a Mid-Summer Night’s Shakespearean Walk led by John Constable (19 June); Porch Sales (10 August 2013 and 5 April 2014); Long Leaseholders’ Drinks (2 September); a talk on The Romans in Southwark (1 October); Christmas Craft Fair (27 November); Carol Singing in Trinity Church Square (17 December); a talk by Mark Hill from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow (28 January 2014). Lesley Exton has organised pop-up bookstalls on Saturday mornings during the year. Porch sales and bookstalls made a profit of £1,129 for TNRA funds. TNRA thanks Henry Wood Hall for providing the venue for several of these events.

9. Membership

TNRA’s membership stood at 210 households at the end of the 2013/14 membership year (201 in 2013; 173 in 2012; 139 in 2011) an increase of 51% in three years. The majority of households in Trinity Village are now TNRA members. TNRA members benefit from discounts at local shops, restaurants and other service providers – 25 local businesses are now members of TNRA’s discount scheme.

10. Finances

TNRA’s income in 2013/14 was £8,880 as against £6,510 in 2012/13, the increase being due to higher income from filming (£3,100 in 2013/14 vs £65 in 2012/13). Total expenses increased from £5,671 to £6,982, including a grant of £1,200 made to support an initiative by long leaseholders. TNRA’s total funds ended the year at £13,980, slightly higher than £13,519 in 2012/13.

11. Publicity and community involvement

TNRA has enhanced the community by keeping members and all residents informed about issues and events through two newsletter booklets, letterbox flyers, the Trinity Street noticeboard, emails and the TNRA website. Residents have been able to contact TNRA via email and answerphone and Committee members have dealt with queries about many matters, from rents to dustbins. TNRA's stock of equipment for hire has provided a service for both members and other local people and groups.