Two newsletters to mention: one you should of seen already and one that will be with you very soon. The first is the 5th in the series from Hackney Council’s Cultural Program Officer Lucy McMenemy. Everyone in the development should have received a copy in their post-box but if you missed it you can download a copy from our discussions forum HERE (if you are happy to simply view it in your browser simply look for the thumbnail images at the bottom of this post). This ‘Autumn’ edition gives more info on the light-box installation currently in the square, plus news of upcoming events. Also one sad piece of news: After the success of last year’s City Showcase Christmas Market, they have decided they need more space than the square has to offer and so will not be coming to Dalston Square this year. Instead they will be moving to St. John’s Churchyard in Hackney Central and re-branding themselves as City Showcase Winter Village. Disappointing news but we wish them lots of success.
The second newsletter, from the DSRA (Dalston Square Residents’ Association), is being completed now ready for printing, and could be in your post-box as soon as next week. I will not go in to detail here until it has been posted out, other than to mention one issue it covers, namely the DSRA Christmas social. Every year we hold a social event for residents, an informal get-together to meet your neighbours, and a chance to meet those involved with the DSRA and help us get some views and feedback. In the past we have held early evening, family parties with candles, lanterns, mulled wine, and music: Last year it was held in the greenhouse of the Eastern Curve garden, previous years it was held on the roof terrace of Gaumont Tower with it’s spectacular views of East London and beyond. We could do either again, but new ideas are also welcome. Anyone with an alternative idea, or who would like to help with organisation, please get in touch via the comments section immediately below this post or by email to DalstonSquareRA@gmail.com.
I am a little late with this as it has been running for a while now, my apologies, but there is still a week to register your opinions. Hackney Council are now consulting on the future of transport in the borough for the next ten years with the launch of the Draft Transport Strategy 2014 – 2024. The transport strategy consists of an overarching document which sets out the Council’s strategic transportation aims, objectives and priorities, and six daughter plans that will make up the Hackney Transport Strategy:
- Hackney Transport Strategy Overarching Document
- Walking Plan
- Cycling Plan
- Public Transport Plan
- Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan
- Road Safety Plan (2014-2016)
- Sustainable Transport Draft SPD
If you are interested in downloading and reading these documents, and giving feedback to the council on them, click through to THIS webpage. The closing date for submissions is November 7th.
As any resident who own’s a car, or has visitors who own one, will know, parking in and around Dalston Square can be an expensive nightmare. It was planned to be this way right from the start: To boost the green credentials of the development it was agreed between Barratt Homes and Hackney council that no resident would be eligible for a permit for local street parking. Add to this the fact that over half of the development sits above a rail tunnel, greatly limiting underground parking solutions, and you see why available parking is at a premium. A ray of hope then for those in need of a parking space that the issues surrounding the spaces on the ground floor of the southern end of phase 3 buildings have finally been cleared. There are of course only a limited number available, and at £1850 per annum rental fees not cheap (this is though a very fair price for under-cover parking in this area), but if interested contact Richard at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org for details and availability.
As those of you who have followed this website for a while will probably know (or the on-going thread in our discussions forum on this subject HERE), while Openreach (the infrastructure arm of BT) continue to delay rolling out their fibre to the square, Hyperoptic have been working with Barratt to offer us the super-fast speeds only fibre-optics can bring. It has been a fairly lengthy process to firstly secure enough interest from residents to make the project financially viable, and secondly get the go-ahead from Barratt to retro-fit the network cabling to the entire development, but finally this work is under way. Openreach have been contracted to bring the fibre into block basements (strange they could do it as a contractor but not as a supplier) which has now been done, where the necessary hardware will be installed to switch over to the copper that is being laid right now. In a matter of just weeks we should see the whole system ready to go live. With all of that in mind, now is the last chance you have to take advantage of the excellent deals Hyperoptic are offerings to early adopters. Free connection to the network (connecting your apartment into the building network will incur charges after the work crews have left site) and as much as 40% off of monthly fees for the first 2 years (the discount varies depending on the speed you opt for: 40% is the discount on their fastest, 1Gb, connection). Of course there will be folk who are locked in to a contract with their current suppliers, but even then it may be worth looking in to seeing if a saving can still be made by buying yourself out of it. Full details of the offers available , along with the discount code required when registering (this code will only work for Dalston Square residents so please do not bother trying to use it if you are not resident here) can be found HERE. Also, Hyperoptic are sending their ‘Hyper-Ambassador’ Peter (not too hyper I hope – bouncing off the walls and into the furniture) here for a couple of visits next week to answer any questions residents may have regarding the service. He will be stationed in the lobby of Gaumont Tower on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th November from 4pm until 8pm.
Meet your neighbours, make new friends, bring the family!
6pm to 8 pm and beyond.
Friday 20th December
In the warm …
Eastern Curve Garden (click HERE if you don’t know where this is)
Bring along mince pies and Xmas snacks!
Mulled wine, warm pineapple juice and…. yes! Roasted chestnuts from the open fire!
Invitations will be posted in all letter boxes – Bring them along for drinks at special rates.
See you there!
Chair Residents Association
First the reminder: Tomorrow evening, Thursday 14th November, Hackney Unites are initiating their second community discussion about the future of Dalston. The meeting, open to all Dalston residents, is at 6:30pm at the Trinity Centre on Beechwood Road. Full details can be found HERE.
And now the report. Following last weeks DSRA open meeting, Ben Collins has produced the following for all those unable to attend:
This meeting, held in a residents flat, was for residents new and established, to have the opportunity to meet face to face with active members of the DSRA. If anyone wishes for more detail on any of the items reported below, please do not hesitate to contact us via the comments link below this posting.
The Agenda covered:
1) Service Charges and the Budget
On the basis of current predictions our 2014-15 service charges look like going up significantly. Our current grievance over Consorts inaccurate and erratic budget setting remains unresolved, and as a result we are very suspicious about the way service charges are established for each of us. A key question for the DSRA is how common electricity costs are obtained (some buildings, for example, are costing thousands of pounds more than others for the electricity to run lifts and corridor lighting). There are also questions about building insurance costs, as well as water and cleaning charges. We remain concerned that concierge wage increases continue to be held up by Consort’s inability to establish a properly costed budget. Concierge wages are we are told, lower than average for London. Over the past year the DSRA ‘Finance Committee’ has repeatedly met with Consort officers in an attempt to establish transparency on costs and income, and agree a consultative approach on levels of expenditure. However, we remain frustrated by a lack of progress on Consorts behalf in getting the costings right. Our current service charges are, in effect, based on historical budget figures along with a sum added (or subtracted for some) according to very unclear criteria. Given this situation, a fresh ‘high level’ meeting between the DSRA committee and Consort’s new Senior Operations Manager, J0-Ann Deeks, was arranged to clarify our concerns and call for urgent action. This face to face meeting was held on November the 7th with three DSRA Committee members present.
(Stop Press: The meeting with Jo-Ann Deeks on Thursday did result in a fresh acknowledgement by a senior Consort Officer that the company was not managing residents’ interests to a satisfactory standard. Promise was given of a fresh drive to focus on areas of poor delivery. There was also acknowledgement of poor budget setting practices, and poor communications with the Association and wider residents. It was acknowledged that greater support and supervision of the site management team in Dalston was needed. That the site manager was working very hard was not in question, however, he and his teem were working with an evolving situation and too often stretched to the point in which the site team was unable to maintain a good service. Changes were promised. We will see what this means in time!)
2) Buildings Maintenance and Repairs
It was noted that the long list of repair items was now shortening (however by no means eradicated!). The main issues were:
a) Restaurant foul air extraction
With the new restaurants opening the issue of foul air ventilation needed addressing by Barratt. Emails had been exchanged with Barratt about the restaurant kitchen odours and smoke that waft along the service tunnel, into lift shafts, and even into flats. The DSRA has received verbal promises from Barratt that a new ventilation system is to be installed to take odours directly out of the building and up to roof level.
b) The flood problem in the basement garage
This remains a big problem. There seems to be drips from the drain pipes running below the building in several places. Also water may be coming up through the basement slab itself. Furthermore, that water is not draining away as their are no drains at basement floor level. Water levels can prevent access to cars after periods of heavy rain. The DSRA has persistently chased this issue up with Barratt. Barratt are aware and claim they are pursuing the matter as a priority issue. We will keep on at them! Individual residents should complain directly to Barratt Customer Care (0208 522 5500). It was noted that phases 2 and 3 buildings are not well represented on the DSRA ‘Buildings Committee’. We were pleased to have a new volunteer join that committee.
Other issues on the ‘to do’ list, include sorting our bicycle security, clarifying cleaning schedules, and the provision for the redecorating of corridor and lobby walls. Warnings on unsightly balcony contents, and the provision of proper garden maintenance where also touched on. Some of these are ongoing, but need discussion and decisions to be made. Any resident who wishes to join this committee is most welcome. Contact us!
3) Christmas Social
Finally, our concern to remain a fun loving association led us to discuss a winter/Christmas social event. It was agreed that we should aim for an indoors event this year. Two members volunteered to research some indoor venues that could serve food and drink. The idea of a buffet meal in a local cafe space seemed to be favoured. Any one wanting to help organise such an event, please contact us, again via the comments section below this posting. Cafe Route is being approached as a possible venue. Watch this space!