TNRA Annual Report 2001–02
Fact file and 25th anniversary
A major event in this TNRA year was the launch of our Fact File at our 25th anniversary concert in November. The file was compiled by a small subgroup, who worked very hard researching and writing the various sections. Its production was paid for by a grant from the Millennium Festival Awards for All programme. The file was issued to all paid-up TNRA members and will be given to new residents as they arrive on the estate. Its launch, with the theme ‘Changes and Chances’, was an opportunity to look back at TNRA’s achievements over 25 years, to see how the estate and the local area have changed, and to begin to plan how we should respond to and take advantage of those changes in future.
Committee, subgroups and individuals
The committee continued to try to delegate specific work to subgroups and to use our monthly meetings to discuss strategic matters. Thus, subgroups dealt with the Fact File, events in general, the garden fête, the anniversary concert, the Wine Club, the Trinity Arms planning application, recycling schemes, etc. Since January, subgroups of the committee have met to generate ideas for TNRA’s future development in the areas of finance and grants, publications, local planning and ‘green’ topics (see the spring newsletter pages 1 and 2). More recently, we have been approached by Henry Wood Hall management and begun to discuss a closer relationship with them in future.
In addition, a pleasing number of individuals did work on issues that concerned them most (see list in Spring newsletter page 5). A particularly successful example of this was the trip to France in March organised by Paddy Hyams and Pat Drake, who had the idea and ran with it, underwritten by TNRA.
Three of this year’s committee are not standing for re-election and we thank them all for their services: Penny Dearsley, who gave a huge amount of time to compiling the leisure facilities section of the Fact File, and brought a wealth of ideas to the events subcommittee, has moved away; Kate Greenwood has served for several years as assistant secretary, taking minutes and delivering TNRA mail indefatigably; Adele Morris gave the committee valuable input on planning and environmental issues.
This year, we had 171 members – one fewer that last year, but nevertheless a good total, representing over 50% of the 310 households on the estate. The membership responded well to subscription reminders and almost no door-to-door collection was done, partly because committee members did not have time. In the coming year, we hope to be able to speak to more people on the doorstep and also to communicate with other members via e-mail, thanks to Kate Nicholls who is setting up a TNRA e-mail group.
Including last year’s AGM, we have held three meetings for members this year. In October, in the Blue Eyed Maid, Robert Pennant Jones gave us an interesting talk and video presentation on ‘Shakespeare’s Seven Stars’. In February, Revd Tony Lucas spoke about the history of St George the Martyr Church and its current restoration appeal. We continue to search for the perfect venue for our meetings and are grateful to St George’s for accommodating us in the crypt in February and in April for the AGM.
In spite of the social events questionnaire suggesting that two social events a year was enough, we seemed to manage to hold several more than that, with reasonable success. Once again, in June we took part in the London Garden Squares Day, with a Sunday afternoon garden fête in Merrick Square. In spite of a rainy afternoon, a good crowd of residents and guests enjoyed a wider variety of stalls than before. Thanks to Graham Hughes for organising the live music and Mat Ricardo for his juggling display. Stalls selling plants, homemade food, Traidcraft products and bric-à-brac were particularly popular. The committee agreed a procedure for liaising with Cluttons over future events in Merrick Square, arranging insurance etc.
A wonderful additional entertainment, also in Merrick Square, in August, was a free performance of The Taming of the Shrew by bold and saucy theatre company, run by resident Sarah Davey Hull. A large crowd enjoyed a sparkling performance on (at last) a fine summer evening.
The TNRA Wine Club, run and hosted by Jamie Wynne Griffiths, has proved very popular. Three meetings have been held in Henry Wood Hall crypt, and much wine has been tasted and enjoyed.
We are grateful to the Hall management for allowing us to hold events there, both Wine Club meetings and the Anniversary concert in November. At the concert, we enjoyed a recital of trumpet and piano music and welcomed several former residents to join in our celebrations.
Finally, as mentioned above, there was the coach trip to Boulogne in March, which proved to be a splendid day out for 40 residents and friends.
Publications and sales
This year kept up the good flow of information to members established last year. In addition to the Fact File, two newsletter booklets were produced in summer 2001 and spring 2002, and eight four-page news sheets were circulated to all members. All meetings and events were well publicised with information addressed to members individually, general flyers to all households, and window posters.
We have set up a Traidcraft account through which TNRA members can order, giving us a small profit from the discount. Goods were sold at a secondhand book sale in July and a Christmas Sale in November.
With the help of Simon Morris who organised the printing, we produced a range of Christmas cards picturing Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square, which proved very popular at the Christmas sale.
We worked with Southwark Community Recycling to publicise and set up weekly collection of paper for recycling, with blue bags and boxes, on the estate. This is working well and greatly reduces the amount of rubbish in our ordinary bins or sacks.
We have liaised with Community Recycling in Southwark Project about composting bins and pilot schemes have been tied in Gloucester Court and 34 Trinity Church Square. We hope to expand on this and hope to initiate other recycling projects next year.
The long-running saga of the fate of the Trinity Arms pub continues. Trinity House have applied for planning permission to convert it into flats. TNRA publicised the planning application and urged residents to respond. We opposed this application, because along with most residents, we want it to remain as a pub or bar in order to provide a valuable community facility, and we believe that this is a viable option. The application has not yet been heard by the council’s planning committee.
Cole Street redevelopment
TNRA also alerted residents to a planning application by Bellway Homes to build 131 flats on the vacant site in Cole Street. We supported Richard Townsend, who co-ordinated objections to a number of aspects of the scheme and spoke at the planning committee. However, planning permission was granted.
Traffic: Trinity Street closure
Details of the scheme to calm traffic through the estate continued to be discussed by the council. While there are doubts about how the scheme will affect some parts of the estate, we are convinced that it should be implemented in order to make the whole estate quieter, healthier and pleasanter. So we continued to urge the council to get on with implementing it, and this seems to be imminent. Thanks to Judith Stephenson, who helped progress by pursuing a complaint to the local ombudsman. We publicised the display of the traffic plans in John Harvard library, listened to residents’ concerns and relayed them to the council.
Elephant and Castle: proposed redevelopment
Jim Greenwood and Adele Morris have attended numerous meetings about this scheme, which it now seems may be abandoned. Jim has spent many hours on the telephone and has kept the committee up to date with progress by regular written bulletins. They both lobbied, it seems successfully, to oppose the proposed use of Dickens Square and the Swan Street ‘dog park’ for associated housing developments.
Other environmental matters
• Jim Greenwood has attended the Southwark Conservation Advisory Group, monitored planning applications and kept a general watch on planning issues.
• Robert Holden wrote a response to the area plan consultation for Southwark Council’s Unitary Development Plan.
• We were approached by the Green Lanes/Home Zones schemes for ideas about improving our street environments, and have begun to draw up a ‘wish list’.
Management matters: Cluttons
Alison Walker and Helen Holden have had four meetings with Julian Briant, Marguerita O’Sullivan and Derek Brown of Cluttons, discussing a range of management issues, including external redecoration of Trinity Church Square; internal refurbishment of common parts; empty properties conversion/refurbishment; TV reception – cable, aerial or satellite; bicycle storage; gas safety certificates; communal gardens.
We organised a meeting for the long leaseholders on the estate whose properties are managed by Cluttons Berkeley Square office. A small number of members attended. Cluttons partner Janie Strange discussed management, repairs, TV reception etc and Simon Holden spoke about extending leases.
We have advised several tenants about levels of rent increases and their implementation by Cluttons. We obtained details of all current registered rents on the estate from the Rent Officer.
Nine-year leases are coming to an end. Cluttons are still considering the form of new lease to be offered. We have advised tenants to consider what they are offered – it is not necessary to take a lease. Cluttons are suggesting rent increases at the end of leases. We advise always to negotiate. We are representing one tenant with an assured tenancy at the Rent Assessment Committee.
Equipment for hire
We have bought a number of items – tables, glasses, extension leads – for use at TNRA events and for members to hire. Henry Wood Hall have kindly offered to store them for us free.
Lesley Exton, Secretary