A website & blog for residents (and neighbours) of Dalston Square

Summer Round-Up & DSRA Autumn Get-Together

Hello again. Here, as promised, is a general update of what the DSRA have been up to over the summer months. This report has been compiled by DSRA Chair, Ben Collins:

What’s happening with the Dalston Square Residents Association?

The DSRA  committees have been active on your behalf. We know that the first years of a new development are the time to get things right. There have been many strange accounting procedures and building glitches which we have pursued.

The following are brief reports from the two committees that have been active over the summer.

The Finance Committee

Ever since the first blocks were occupied, residents have been unhappy about the way in which Consort calculates and presents its budget. There have been a string of errors followed by increasing costs. Whether you pay for these via your rent, or directly via your service charges to Consort, these costs are passed on and there have been some inexplicable and rapid rises for some buildings.

The DSRA has this year called for Consort to publish its budget and explain it to our finance committee. We have been dismayed that, despite several meetings, the management company has still not sorted out its common electricity costs. Some buildings appear to have electricity costs running up to ten times more than others with no explanation given. As this report goes to press the DSRA has just met again with the Consort regional manager to insist the issue be sorted out.

The Buildings Sub-Committee

Progress on getting the many construction glitches around the Square sorted out is more positive in as much as Barratt appear to be taking our request seriously, and in the last few months have been pushing hard for the Square’s high standards to be maintained.

Trees have been replanted and watered, broken bricks, gutters, and paving slabs replaced, and planters looked after. Some improvement to bike storage has been agreed, although there appears to be a limit to what is possible. The sheeting on the canopy over Blue Street (the passageway between the library and Gaumont Tower) will be replaced soon. We have also worked to ensure street and gutter cleaning is maintained by Barratt, while awaiting full hand-over to Hackney Council. The Council is currently only cleaning the area at the top end of the Square, by the library.

As far as we know, two new eating establishments are expected to occupy ground floor retail spaces in the Phase 1 buildings on the east of the Square. Kitchen air extraction will need attention: Those living in Gaumont Tower are currently getting a fair dose of smell coming into their lobby and lift shafts and the current fan system is not adequate. We have pressed Barratt for a review of the system. Another issue brought to Barratt’s attention is the lack of  both windows and ventilation in the office of Consort Site Manager Sean Stone: They have promised a window and ventilator. We will continue to chase them on both of these issues.

Door security remains a worry, with occasional tampering causing the lock systems to be damaged. We have insisted on daily checks to ensure security is maintained and ask that residents report any questionable locking or damage to any front door, to the concierge in Gaumont Tower, as soon as possible.

Threat To The Eastern Curve Garden

Things are a-stirring with plans to make the land currently occupied by the Eastern Curve Garden into a thoroughfare as set out in the Dalston Area Action Plan. The DSRA met with the developer and architect some weeks back and impressed upon them that the loss of this much-loved community space and garden would be resisted by local residents. Since then, expressions of concern to Councillors have been flowing in, but it is important, if you feel the garden should be kept into the future, for you too to contact the council to express your support of the garden: There is currently no guarantee it will be there in a year’s time.

Cultural Events In The Square

Hackney Council have set up a local Forum for residents to contribute ideas and express views about what events should happen in the Square (minutes of past meetings of this group are available for download from the ‘What’s On’ section of our FORUM HERE). We note that on the week-end of the 28th and 29th of September there is the following event:

House of Amau summer weekend – Saturday 28 September, 11am – 8pm, including steel drum workshop 3pm – 4.30pm.
 Sunday 29 September, 11am – 7pm, including African drumming workshop 3pm – 4.30pm.

Look out for stalls selling a wide variety of books, including works by the African Caribbean Writers Group.

If you want to get involved (and we need resident volunteers) in helping to plan next summer’s Dalston Square events, contact Lucy McMenemy via the Dalston Square dedicated page of the Hackney Council website HERE. This link is also in our link-list in the right-hand column of our website’s homepage, and will keep you abreast of all council-planned events that are coming to the Square.

That’s all for now. I do have some info on the commercial units in the Square as well as an update from Barratt regarding their schedule for finishing up in the Square, but will save that for a post in a few days. Until then, have a good week. 😉

Oops, nearly forgot: Did I mention that the DSRA have their autumn get-together planned for next Sunday, 29th September? 5.30pm until 7.00pm followed by a fountain switch-on in the Square at 7.15. This flier says it all:

Autumn Get-tog

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4 responses

  1. Ben Collins

    Hi Mark

    Many thanks for doing this Reads well and looks very professional

    Ben

    Sent from my iPhone

    Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 at 1:32 pm

  2. Martha

    Thank you for all your hard work here, I for one really appreciate the updates. Re Consort, enough is enough, what action can we realistically take against them, surely it is a case of not fit for purpose?

    Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    • Hi Martha, thanks for your continued support.

      With regard Consort, you are not alone in feeling frustrated. The RA has worked hard, since it’s inception, to work with Consort to get answers to fundamental questions about our service charges (as well as many other issues). Progress has been slow, and there have been multiple staff changes at Consort, but there has been progress: Many new systems have been put into place (allegedly) to give us the answers we seek, our finance committee now have copies of accounts from previous years which are being inspected, and we have been promised answers to our latest batch of questions regarding this years budget very soon. All the time we are making progress we are keen to continue working with Consort rather than fighting against them. That said, should that progress cease, there are a number of avenues open to us, and should it come to that, we would advise everyone, by way of this website, what actions we are taking.

      Sunday, 29 September, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      • Martha

        Than. mark for your reply, can appreciate that it could well be from fire to frying pan and better to work with, they just seem so disorganised…..

        Sunday, 29 September, 2013 at 7:46 pm

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