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

Posts tagged “Info

Autumn Newsletter

Hello everyone. Bit of a long one today, but please do read through as there is definitely something here for everyone. The main thing will be an update in the shape of a newsletter to keep you all informed of what has been happening in a slew of recent meetings. But first a couple of other notices. First up, another public event has been organised by Hackney Council for this coming weekend (Saturday 27th October) here in the Square. Running from midday until 4.00pm, to celebrate the opening of the new Young Hackney Centre on Forest Road/Beechwood Road, there will be free, yes FREE, bungee trampoline! Trained instructors will be there to ensure complete safety and no booking is required: First come, first served. For full details visit the council’s dedicated Dalston Square website HERE. The other quick mention I wanted to make is regarding the new permit system for the underground parking here on the Square. As you will all be aware (thanks to Consort posting out to every residence) the new system is now up and running. If you have a vehicle parked in the underground parking but do not have a permit to display in your vehicle’s windscreen, get one asap from the concierge guys or you will very soon find you have received a parking ticket (if you didn’t get one already). Okey dokey, newsletter time (courtesy of DSRA Chairperson Ben Collins, thanks Ben).

Dalston Square Residents Association Newsletter – Autumn 2012

Damage to glass canopy

The glass canopy (between Gaumont and Collins Towers) was vandalized by persons unknown throwing stones from one of the nearby building roof-tops. It seems that an intruder entered through a poorly working security door in either Collins or Gaumont Tower on both Friday 29th and Saturday 30th of September. The damage and repair costs are estimated at around £25,000.00. It is not yet clear who will pay for this. The residents association will argue that the damage was caused by care-taking negligence, resulting in a lapse in building security. There is also a case of inappropriate design and use of materials, on behalf of Barratt Architects. The DSRA will campaign to ensure any costs are not met retrospectively by an increase in our service charges for 2013-2014. We need your support for that so please come along to our next meeting.

Changes to site management staff

The residents association have long been concerned that Consort site staff have not been delivering value for money for the high service charges we all pay to keep the building in a good state of cleanliness and repair. The smashed canopy was in part a result of site management negligence. There have been ongoing small issues which we feel have not been properly addressed. Amongst these have been keeping all entrance doors in good working order, keeping paintwork in corridors clean, ensuring rubbish containers are accessible, and keeping entrance thresholds and lobbies clean and litter free. Consort management are aware of our concerns regarding these matters, as well as a number of others. We will continue to monitor progress on these items under any future site team, to ensure we get value for money.

Co-op and new café to open on the Square

Work is now under way on the new Co-op which will soon be opening in the North West corner of the Square beneath Ocean House (next to Dalston Junction overground station). We do not have a date for that opening but assume it will be soon. Also, a new café by the name of Café Square is to open in the commercial unit beneath Gaumont Tower, facing Collins Tower. While this is clearly a welcome development, residents are concerned about proposals for a vent grille at ground level, which could well see kitchen odours travelling up to resident’s balconies and windows above. If you want to respond to this plan, you may do so by visiting the Hackney Council website HERE. Simply enter the application number 2012/2818 (all comments must be in by October 31st). There is also some concern regarding the café’s licencing request to the council: The application request seems more suited to a bar than a café. More details available at our discussions forum in this thread HERE.

Good Neighbourliness and noise abatement

The issue of noisy parties into the early hours continues to cause many residents stress on week-end nights. The resident association appeals for respectful consideration of the right of others to a quiet night’s sleep. Those who are subjected to unreasonable noise by unreasonable neighbours at night should not hesitate to contact the concierge service who will keep names private but will intervene on your behalf. You can pop down to speak to the concierge or call them on 0751 630 2926. It is also advisable, should there be a repeat, or a noisy late night event outside the building, to contact the Hackney Council Noise Pollution Team on 0208 356 4455 (alternatively you can contact them through there website, a link to which is in the link list on the homepage of our website). Following repeated complaints by several neighbours about noisy parties at one particular residence on the Square, the resident association has been informed that the tenants responsible were evicted earlier this month. They were in breach of the terms of both lease and tenancy agreements, which stipulated that noise should not be audible in neighbouring flats after 11.00pm or before 8am. So if you suffer because of thoughtless neighbours, you can do something about it.

Bike Storage – a design shortfall

The residents association is campaigning for an improvement in the bike storage and security in the Square, both inside and outside the buildings. It seems that while good space was made for cars, the provision for bikes was an afterthought. Secure bike stores are either not secure or often not easily accessible to the user. Both these defects mean that many, if not most, are obliged to take bikes up in the lifts causing a number of problems. We are meeting with Barratt to push for some changes in location and design to see if matters can be improved. We need the backing of cyclists on this! Let us know your views via our discussion forum HERE.

Next DSRA meeting: Nov 20th 2012 – Looking ahead to 2013 Service Charges

The Dalston Square Residents’ Association is keen to ensure all resident’s voices are heard. We invite all residents, owners and renters alike, to our open, 6 weekly, committee meetings. The next open committee meeting is on Tuesday Nov 20th. More details nearer the time on our website. We also encourage everybody to make use of our discussions forum. Anyone can read the posts on the forum but to reply to someone’s post or start a conversation yourself you will need to register (a quick and simple 2 minute process). If you have any opinions regarding anything mentioned here, or anything else come to that, don’t keep them to yourself, share them.

 

Advertisements

Meeting Reminder & Parking Permits Update

Hello neighbours. Just wanted to, firstly, remind you all that the DSRA have a committee meeting this evening to which all residents of the Square are invited: Owners, renters, long-time DSRA members, and those who have never attended a meeting before. Whether you have something to say or just want to listen in, every resident is invited and welcome to join us: 7.00pm, 69 Gaumont Tower. See HERE for the agenda

Secondly, an update regarding the new parking permit system for the underground parking at Dalston Square. Due to many owners/renters having not yet collected their permits from the concierge guys, the implementation of the checking routines will be delayed by a couple of weeks. Consort will conduct a second round of posting notices on all parked vehicles to advice everyone of the new system (to catch anyone who may have been overlooked in the first round), and then full implementation of the new system will start in a couple of weeks time. Once that new system starts, any vehicle found parked that is not displaying the correct permit and/or is parked in the wrong parking bay, will receive a parking ticket (just as you would if parked illegally on any public road). Checks will be conducted several times each day by an independent contractor who will accept no excuses for illegal/incorrect parking. And Consort will not be able to help you if you feel you have been incorrectly ticketed: You will have to appeal against the ticket in exactly the same manner as if incorrectly ticketed by a traffic warden. Friends and neighbours, if you own or rent a space in the underground parking and have not yet got your permit, get it soon: Being caught without one will soon become very expensive. You have been warned.


A Bit Of This…..

Hello all, I have some news and updates to share and will try not to ramble too much.

Firstly, some good news for those of you still using E.On as your electricity supplier (not to be confused with E.On heat supply). It has been pointed out that most energy suppliers now offer discounts to customers who use a single supplier for both their electricity and gas supply, and how unfair it is that although we have no gas we are tied to E.on for our heat, but still we do not qualify for some kind of discount also. Well, thanks to some great detective work from Andy T. (resident of Labyrinth Tower), it seems we are eligible for a discount after all. There is, however, a problem in that although E.On have agreed to give us the discount, it is not yet set up in their billing software: I have spent over an hour in total, in four phone calls, over 3 days trying to get it arranged for myself. So, I have an arrangement with a supervisor at E.On whereby as soon as things are set within their systems, I will be advised that they are ready to receive calls from all residents for whom this will apply, and of course I will then let you all know exactly how to claim this discount for yourselves. And do not worry that you are missing out whilst being delayed: E.On are back-dating the discount to the beginning of your account with them! Pretty cool I think you will agree. It could be 4-6 weeks I am told but will get back to you all as soon as I hear from E.On.

Next up, another find from Andy T. (he has been a busy boy) that will be useful for anyone struggling with anti-social neighbours and loud parties. As well as being able to phone the Hackney Council noise pollution team to make formal complaints (020 8356 4455), they also have a website for the same purpose: Click HERE to go straight to it. Just one request though: If you do contact the council directly regarding a party or generally noisy neighbours, please be sure to report it to the concierge as well so it gets logged in Consort’s log-book. Thanks.

On a more positive note, Hackney council now have a webpage dedicated to Dalston Square and the activities organised by their Culture & Community Engagement Forum. You can find it HERE. As you will see, there is already quite a lot of events on the cards, with plenty more to come I believe. Check it out to see the details of this coming Sunday’s (tomorrow’s) t-shirt design & printing event that is completely free for under 18s: Very cool. Do please note that under 12s must be accompanied by an adult. The event will take place in the library, spilling out into the Square if weather permits. Click the thumbnail image at the bottom of this post to see their advertising poster.

Lastly, a word regarding posting comments to these blog posts. Please do not use fake names and spurious email addresses, and please keep the comment relevant to the post you are commenting against. All other comments or questions should be posted to the discussions forum. Many thanks.


DSRA Late-Summer Social

Hello friends and neighbours. As you all know, we held a DSRA meeting during the week and I will be posting the minutes of that meeting soon. In the meantime, we did finalise plans for a late-summer get-together. Open to all residents of Dalston square (and any friends you wish to bring with you), it will be a BBQ event held on the 9th floor terrace of Gaumont tower. The RA will (fingers crossed) supply the grill, so bring some food & drink (something to share?) a plate and a glass, and come to meet your neighbours! Click the thumbnail image below to see the poster with the details.

 


Two Dates For Your Diary

Hello neighbours. Firstly, Gerard Hayes, our on-site development manager from Consort Property Management, is holding another surgery to answer any questions you may have for him: Wednesday 1st August, 6.00pm to 8.00pm. To reserve your 10 minute slot contact Gerard by email at gerard.hayes@consortpm.co.uk, or by phone on 0207 2490896.

Secondly, a plug for a charity event. I am sure most of you are aware of Oxfam, and the incredible work they do around the world. Most of you will also be aware that they have a shop here in Dalston at 514-518 Kingsland road (just 2 minutes from the Square and recently declared London’s best charity shop for books and records by Time Out magazine – click HERE to read the article). Now, just for the sake of transparency I will tell you I volunteer one day a week to work in the shop (volunteers are always needed to help process donations and keep the shelves and racks on the shop floor stocked, so if you can spare a half-day or more each week, please do drop in and speak to a staff member). Also, instead of contributing to the local land-fill, please consider donating your unwanted items: No electrical or electronic goods please, but clothing, books, music & movies, general housewares and any other unwanted goods in good condition are always welcome.

And so to the special event. Over the past several months the guys at the shop have been saving the high-fashion and quality designer and vintage clothing and accessories that have been donated. These will go on sale at a special late night shop opening on Friday 3rd August. Titled ‘Oxfam Chic’, the sale will run from 6.30pm to approx 9.00pm. There will be light refreshments and nibbles available, and Steve, the shop manager, will be donning his DJ hat to supply some cool tunes. There really are going to be some amazing bargains to be had, so get yourselves along there! Click the pic below to see the full-size advertising poster (designed by the Squares own Stephen Humphries – thanks Steve).


Olympic Torch In Hackney

Hello friends and neighbours. I have received another event flyer from Cory Defoe, Town Centre Manager from the Regeneration Delivery Team of Hackney Council, to share with you all. This flyer covers the course of, and events surrounding, the Olympic torch through Hackney as a whole. There is a Dalston specific flyer in the works and I will share this with you as soon as I receive it. Click the thumb-nailed images below to see the full size version.

 

 

 

 


Dalston Square As A Public Space

As you may or may not know, Dalston Square is the largest public space created in London since the 1940s. What you probably do not know is that the local council are very keen to make the Square a place for the whole community to enjoy (not just the residents) and, to this end, have created ‘The Dalston Square Culture & Community Engagement Forum’.

Though the Square is still some way from finished (early 2013 is the latest estimate I have heard for this), some small events have already happened: You surely saw the kiddies climbing wall some weeks ago, and if you were lucky you caught one of the 2 contemporary dance performances a couple of Saturdays ago (I have to say dance is not normally my thing but I thought it was great: Very clever and imaginative).

Anyhow, the Engagement Forum held a meeting a couple of weeks ago and I have been sent a copy of the minutes of that meeting, by Lucy McMenemy, the Cultural Programme Officer for Dalston at Hackney Council, so I could share them with you all. I for one am very pleased to know that the local council are serious about making the Square not just a great place to live, but a public space the whole community of Dalston and beyond can enjoy.

I have posted those minutes in a new thread over at our discussions Forum which you can access directly by clicking HERE.


Consort Customer Alert

Hi folks. A new alert from Consort that will be very important for all those phase 1 residents who use the underground bicycle storage facilities:

Bike Stores – Phase 1
Please note lock codes are changed as of to day. Please contact Concierge for new codes Labyrinth/Raddon/Gaumont.
Regards, ConsortPM


Consort Property Management Surgery

Gerard Hayes, our on-site Consort Manager, is holding another surgery for residents with questions about any aspect of Consort’s management of Dalston Square on 4th July between 6pm and 8pm. To reserve your 10-15 minute slot contact Gerard by email at gerard.hayes@consortpm.co.uk, or by phone on 0207 2490896. This works on a first come first served basis so be quick to get the slot that best suits you.


Residents Association Newsletter

Dalston Square Residents Newsletter

Developments in the Square

We are told that the Co-op has exchanged contracts on the premises by the main entrance to the Station, but as yet we have no information on exactly when it will open. The site of the rumored Mediterranean Restaurant is still under offer according to the estate agent managing commercial properties in the Square. The Library Café is due for a new fascia board soon to replace the plastic banner currently in place. Watch this space for future developments!

Consort getting some repairs out of Barratt, but…

The new dialogue between the residents’ Building Sub Committee, Consort management, and Barratt is paying off more in some areas than others, and the process can seem very slow. It is difficult at times to know if it is Barratt or Consort who are holding things up. The Buildings Committee meets every 6 weeks with Consort for a site walkabout to assess progress on what needs fixing. Consort says that they are chasing Barratt and we hope that they are now being properly held to account and repairs are being made. If you have concerns let the building committee know. (This is best achieved via our Forum.)

The following are the result of the Associations pressure.

  • Roof gardens have been freshly weeded and with the help of rain are looking better, if not as they should be according to original planting.
  • Water outlets have now been installed on roof terraces so that plants can be watered. (Anyone willing to help with the upkeep of the planters is very welcome to volunteer! Please speak to Gerry Hayes, Consort’s Site Manager.)
  • New locking arrangements are to be installed so that Ocean and Dekker residents cannot lock themselves in the bin rooms.
  • The stonework outside Collins has been re-leveled to stop the puddle forming. (We are aware that this has only been a partial success and we are again chasing for more work to be done.)
  • Glass roof panels (between Gaumont and Collins Towers) to be fixed following battle between Consort and the building insurance company. (Frustratingly, the repair has again been held up by the installation company, which Consort is chasing as we got to press.)
  • Barratt have yet to step up and deal with the flooding that follows heavy rain in the underground parking. The Building Committee will keep pressing for this.

Consort’s Service Charges for Next Year… An open book?

There are ongoing concerns about the level of service charges as well as transparency of calculations. There is a general crisis of confidence in how fees are arrived at. The Residents’ Association plans to meet with the Consort Regional Management Team ahead of the next round of budgeting to discuss next years’ charges.

E.on Heat Charges

E.on have a monopoly on Heat, which is a challenge. Ben Collins has written to Barratt’s about the nature of the Heating contract originally negotiated with Eon when planning the complex. Barratt’s response was posted to this blog Here.

Many residents have moved their electricity supplier from E-On. As far a heating is concerned many have found that it is best to pay a lower standing charge and higher per unit charge.  On behalf of the Residents Association, Mark has been in discussion with Eon about getting better information to residents about how to cut their fuel bills, and his findings can be read in his forum post Here.

Right to Manage

Many residents remain unimpressed with Consort’s performance and ability to run the complex efficiently and effectively. As we have pointed out before, the law allows flat owners to replace a management company if 50% or more of the leaseholders vote for that change.

Urang, a London based property management company, have been invited by a group of residents to consider taking over the management. The company has a reputation for efficiency and prompt delivery. Urang are now completing the lengthy research needed to contact all leaseholders, or their agents. Following this, and working with a group of resident ‘Directors’ from Dalston Square, Urang will contact all Dalston Square owners to seek approval for taking over the management from Consort.

Web Presence

Thanks to Mark, we now have a Dalston Square website (used for DSRA announcements and information), and a Forum (for resident discussion and communication). Register on the website to receive all new posts directly to your email (guaranteed no spam… Ever… We promise), and register on the Forum to participate in the discussions (you can read the posts without registering, but not make your own contribution).

Residents’ ‘Get Together’ – A roof party at the end of the summer

The Easter egg hunt at the Eastern Curve Garden was a great success. Marked by its youthful spirit when even adults couldn’t resist searching out eggs in the higher brambles! This event is to be followed by a ‘roof social’ for all residents, planned for Sunday 9th September on the 9th floor roof terrace of Gaumont Tower.  This coincides with the closure of the Paralympics. The stadium is very visible from the east-facing roof so we hope for a firework display, although the Olympic committee has not yet fully responded to our request!

Join us! Watch for posters in August. If you would like/are able to help with organisation, please get in touch via the Forum.


Dalston Square’s Resident Artist

Hello again. Just a quick plug for the Square’s very own resident artist.

Alex Blum has recently completed some paintings of the London Skyline from the 9th floor roof terrace of Gaumont Tower, and is having an open studio exhibition of her work at the Chocolate Factory, just up Kingsland High Street towards Stoke Newington.
 
Here is her publicity poster, and a sample of her artwork (click on them to see a bigger image). The exhibition will be open on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July, between 11am and 6pm. If you have the chance, please pop in and show your support. Who knows, maybe you will find something to hang in that blank spot on your apartment wall. 😉
.
.

Upcoming DSRA Meeting.

Hello neighbours. Just a quick post to advertise our next meeting: Wednesday 20th June, 7.00pm, 61 Gaumont Tower. As per usual the meeting is open to any resident of the Square who is interested in getting involved in our little community. These meetings usually last for an hour and a half or so, and our planned agenda is as follows:

1)  Buildings and management issues. Discussion and report back from May’s Buildings Sub Committee meeting with Consort..  Security issues. etc.
2) Communications issues – The Website/Forum/Newsletter etc.. How are they working?
3) Arts and community events in the square. Eastern Curve Garden issues.
4)  Social event – Summer roof top party! Using new roof garden above Phase 2 blocks?
5) Any Other Business (to include follow up on idea of an ‘open’ meeting on Dalston Area Action Plan in Autumn)
Hope to see you there!

Important Consort Customer Alert

Hello again. Two new Customer Alerts from Consort today, the second of which is really very important. The first concerns the replacement of the broken panels in the canopy above the passage between Gaumont and Collins Towers (from the Square through to Beechwood road): We have received further apologies from the supplier (technical problems with their glass ovens) but been assured the 2 broken panels will be replaced next week.

The second alert is both important and troubling. Over the last 3 weekends, 3 residents from different towers (one each from Collins, Dekker, and Thomas) have had laptops stolen from their apartments. The thieves (not residents) have been identified from CCTV footage, and this footage has been passed on to the police. The thieves M.O. is very simple: They (2 young guys) hang about outside their targeted block until a departing/arriving resident gives them access. They then move from apartment to apartment, trying every door until they find one to be unlocked and walk right in. If there is someone home and attentive to their opening door, the thieves apologise and leave claiming they have the wrong apartment. If there is no-one home, or the resident is perhaps in the bathroom or in a bedroom, the thieves grab what they can (laptops seem to be their main target), and scarper double time. Dear friends and neighbours, it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security with fob operated tower entrance doors and CCTV cameras, but do not forget we are in a relatively poor area of East London here: Keep your apartment door(s) LOCKED at all times. You have been warned.


E.ON Heat Supply

Hello neighbours. Ben Collins, Chair of our residents association, recently wrote to Barratt Homes with a number of questions regarding our contract with E-on to supply heat to the Square. Steve Thompson, Technical Director for Barratt Homes (East London Division), has sent a reply. As this is a subject that affects us all, we felt you would be interested in this response:

Thank you for your letter dated 14 May, 2012, and received by this office on 22 May, 2012.

 To respond to your letter, I have considered the questions you have raised and my response follows:
·         Is E.ON fully responsible for the running and maintenance of the CHP system in our building?
E.ON is contracted to undertake the operation and maintenance of the entire communal heating system at the Dalston Square development up to and including the Heat Interface Unit within each apartment.  This responsibility includes for the replacement of any defective plant or plant which has reached the end of its service life during the course of their contract.
·         For how many years does the current E.ON heating contract for Dalston Square run?
E.ON are contracted for a period of 25 years.  The term of the contract is in line with similar ESCo Contracts being placed in the market place at this present time.  Some are actually for a longer period.  The principle reason for this is in order for the Energy Service Company to operate and maintain the communal heating system efficiently, and to ensure that the risks associated with plant replacement in the long term can be adequately financed.  It should be borne in mind that one of the principle benefits of an ESCo is that residents are not subjected to unforeseen and substantial costs associated with major plant replacement.
·         To whom is E.ON accountable?
E.ON is accountable to the residents as part of their direct contract for the supply of heat to each resident’s property.  Additionally, E.ON are responsible to the landlord of the Dalston Square Development which currently is Barratt Homes.  Should Barratt Homes dispose of its interest in the future, E.ON’s responsibility would transfer to the new landlord.  However, E.ON also have an affiliated responsibility to the Building Management Company who maintain the building on behalf of the landlord.
·         Who at present monitors E.ON’s performance as the heat generator for our buildings?
Part of the contract obligations on E.ON require annual reporting which covers the running of the system to ensure compliance with the development’s planning obligations.  Additionally, as part of E.ON’s Guaranteed Standards for heat supply they commit to reporting to customers on an annual basis.
·         Who, at present, negotiates with E.ON over the price set for the hot water/heat energy?
The contract with E.ON places stringent controls on the methodology for establishing the heat price.  There are two variables within the formula for ascertaining the heat price which include for the variable gas tariff as purchased by E.ON, together with the ability to increase the price annually based on RPI relative to E.ON’s Management costs only.  Heat prices are set annually on 01 April and are calculated in accordance with a heat price formula which is set out within customer contracts.  The price formula provides strict rules on how E.ON can change prices and ensures transparency.  In addition to the price formula, E.ON provide a price comparator to demonstrate how heating bills compare to heating similar properties via a standard gas boiler system.  E.ON have informed us that based on this comparator methodology, residents at Dalston Square are currently achieving savings of over 30%.
·         If Barratts agreed the original contract for the hot water supplied by E.ON, what information was brought to the table by E.ON and Barratts to use to establish a fair price for heat energy in first instance?
The original heat price and pricing formulas as referred to in the point above were set to provide savings to residents.  This methodology was thoroughly tested throughout the contracting process via industry experts.  This price formula methodology coupled with the price comparator is designed to provide residents with both price protection and transparency.  It is worth pointing out that the price covers the full service to residents including maintenance of Heat Interface Units within apartments and therefore, the comparison is against a similar complete service cost for gas heating.
I trust I have addressed your concerns, however, please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss further.
Kind regards
Steve Thompson
So there you have it: we enjoy savings in excess of 30% over comparable heating/hot water systems. Disagree? Please do head over to the forum where I have started a discussion thread for this topic. We would love to hear your views, and you can also view a copy of the ‘Guaranteed Standards For Heat Supply’ leaflet supplied by E.ON.

Consort Customer Alert

Hello everyone, hope you are all enjoying the warm, sunny weather. Just a quick post to advice you of a new Customer Alert from ConsortPM. If you have any complaints, or questions, with regard to the management of the Dalston Square development, this is your opportunity to speak directly with Gerard Hayes, Consort PM’s on-site manager. Book your 10-15 minute slot soon to get the one you want. 😉

The message (edited to correct atrocious punctuation):

Dalston Square surgery on May 30th, 6-8pm. Reserve a 10-15 minute slot via e-mail to gerard.hayes@consortpm.co.uk, or telephone 0207 2540896.

Regards,
Consort Property Management