Fob Recall, Service Charge Bills, And Dalston Futures Meeting
Consort will soon begin the process of wiping the database of the development-wide fob entry system. All residents/fob holders will receive notification direct from Consort to your post-box to advise of the days your building is being reset thus requiring you to visit the concierge to have your fob re-programmed. The reset renders your fob useless until you pay that visit to the concierge where you will need to present your fob PLUS the forms you also received in your post-box, properly completed. The process will begin with Collins Tower next Monday & Tuesday, then make it’s way around the square. Check your post-box regularly for your block’s dates: You should get approximately one week’s notice. A little bit of a nuisance I know, but it should be a quick and painless procedure (completed by the end of the month) and will help tighten security for us all.
Service Charge Bills
By now, all Dalston Square property owners should have received their supplementary charges bills for the financial years 2012/13 and 2013/14 (if you do not yet have yours it should be with you very soon). These charges, fully explained in Consort’s letter I think, vary widely depending on which block you own in and which year you look at (2012/13 sees rebates in excess of £500.00 for some phase 3 residents while some phase 1 residents saw bills in excess of £500.00, and in 2013/14 we see bills, some quite substantial, across the development). This though should be the last time we see supplementary charges like this: After years of campaigning and meetings between the DSRA and Consort, with the DSRA demanding transparency in Consort’s accounting and budgeting processes, the 2013/14 budget was set with the DSRA’s full approval. For the first time our finance committee (a small group of owner-residents who just happen to be professionals in the fields of accountancy and finance) were presented with full development accounts and budget plans, and were able to make sense of them (what has been passed to us as accounts in the past were anything but). Going forward, these newly established practices should ensure that unexpected items and shortfalls are kept to a minimum, and all future service charge rises can be fully explained and justified. It has taken 3 development managers, umpteen area managers, and several different accountants from Consort to give us the financial reports and transparency we have been demanding, but finally during the past 6 months or so, since the appointment of new development manager Gerald Bernard and Senior Property Manager Helen Goldstone (Gerald’s line-manager), we have finally been dealing with people who have not just listened to our concerns, they have acted on them and delivered results where their predecessors continually failed. (See HERE my post from March regarding the 2014/15 budget)
Dalston Futures Meeting & News
A reminder that Dalston Futures’ community organising master-class is tomorrow night at the Trinity Centre, and to pass on THIS LINK to catch up on their latest news.
Buildings Glitches & Playground Voting Results
With there being the possibility of a meeting between DSRA reps and Barratt Homes senior management later in the week (Thursday), we were wondering if there are issues we need to raise with them (beyond the ones we are working on and have been mentioned or discussed either here or on our discussions forum)? We are not talking about maintenance issues (Consort’s responsibility), or anything regarding the public square (down to the council) but rather issues with the construction or structure of the blocks themselves. If there are problems you have reported to Barratt but which have not been properly addressed, please let us know asap. We are also always on the lookout for any resident who is interested in being part of the DSRA Buildings & Maintenance sub-committee. If you are interested, and able to attend occasional day-time meetings in the square (usually quarterly) please do get in touch.
Voting has now closed on the selection of the replacement playground equipment and the top 3 choices were the Balance Blocks (20 votes), See-saw (20 votes), and Wobble dish (10 votes). The full voting list can be find in the last post of THIS forum thread, which has now been passed on to Cory Defoe at Hackney Council.
DSRA Open Meeting Plus….
DSRA ‘Open’ Meeting – Thursday 6th February, 6.30pm to 8pm. Venue to be advised.
Are you free Thursday next week between 6.30pm and 8pm? And are you a resident of the Square (owner or renter)? Cool, see you at the next DSRA Open Meeting! 😉
As usual, the venue is still to be decided (it will be very local) but we have a date and time for the next ‘Open To All Residents’ meeting of the Dalston Square Residents’ Association. It does not matter if you have been to one before or not, or even that you have nothing in particular to say (although hopefully you do), come along and find out how the DSRA has been working on all residents’ behalf, learn of the challenges currently being tackled, and show your support. Items likely to appear on the agenda include:
Consort’s 2014/15 budget proposal: As owner’s costs rise, so do rents, so this is not just an owner’s issue. We will have feed-back from our finance committee on their recent meeting with Consort. The news is unlikely to be good.
Sean Stone’s replacement as Development Manager: As Consort and Barratt go through the motions of hiring, the DSRA is keen to be involved in the process. This also makes it a good time for us to assess how we feel about Consort’s ‘on site’ performance generally, and ask if changes are needed.
Outstanding buildings and maintenance issues: With final completion of the Square very close to hand there are still issues that need addressing before Barratt pack up and leave for good. What are the issues and how best do we ensure they are dealt with.
I will post again before the day of the meeting to publicise the venue. Until then, please keep that Thursday free and show your support by turning out for a couple of hours: If the Square is your home, we would love to hear your opinions.
Now to the ‘Plus’ part of the post. Hackney Unites are in the process of organising their next ‘Dalston Futures’ community meeting but in the meantime have co-sponsored an event with campaign group HOPE not hate. The event, to be held in the Arcola Theatre (ignore the Dalston Lane address if you click through to them – the venue has changed) on Feb 17th, will be an introduction to, as well as a masterclass in, community organising. Their full explanation of the event can be found HERE. It is expected that this will be oversubscribed so, to reserve your spot, check HERE.
Completion Of The Square Plus Other Development Plans
A couple of weeks have passed since I promised an update on the completion of the Square and apologise for not getting back to you sooner. Basically, things should be wrapped up(ish) by the end of the year. Sledge Tower is, as you will know, now complete, and Joplin House, the last block that will complete the development, should be finished by the middle of November. Once that is complete, the Barratt site huts will be moved out of the Square (with the remaining tradesmen moving into the offices behind the Barratt sales office) and the remaining public area will be finished off. The sales office will continue to be manned until January, at which point, with the completion of building works, the tradesmen will depart, as will the sales staff who will be moving on to a new Barratt development over Islington way. For those of you who know Richard in the sales office (who has been manning the office from day one of it’s opening), you will be glad to hear he is to become a resident of the Square and so will not be leaving us completely.
With regard the commercial units around the Square, the biggest news is probably the imminent opening of the Smooth You Town Spa in the double unit beneath Burke and Dekker. As you will no doubt have seen, work is well underway and should be finished by the end of November(ish). They have advised us, via our Twitter feed (@DalstonSquareRA), that as well as a general public launch party, an invitation-only party for residents is also being planned (more details as soon as I have them). The only other definite news is the recent signing (2 weeks ago) of contracts for the unit to the left of the Barratt sales office (the one with the Cafe Rica graphic in the window). No confirmation yet on who has taken it, but no doubt we will hear soon.
There is also news regarding the Holy Trinity School saga. A date has now been set for the GLA (Mayor Boris Johnson’s office) public meeting: 19th November. All those that made representations to the Hackney Council hearing on this development will be contacted 14 days before the new hearing with details of how they can be involved if they wish to. You will be pleased to know that the group of concerned Square residents who campaigned so brilliantly the first time around will again be active on our behalf. While the idea of expanding the school and creating much-needed places is to everyone’s benefit, the plans as they stand were rejected for very good reasons and we can but hope that Mayor Johnson and his representatives will support Hackney Council in their original rejection of the plans as they stand.
One last thing to mention, yet another new development has become public. Some residents have received a letter from Hackney Council regarding development of 514 – 600 Kingsland Road. This is the strip of retail units from, and including, the noodle bar on the corner with Dalston Lane, right down to, and including, Oxfam on the corner of Forest Road. Details are very sketchy but Square resident Kevin (forum post HERE if you have further info to share) found an online reference to it that mentioned buildings of 7, 10, 18, and 19 stories. Apparently plans are available for viewing at the Hackney Service Centre. A quick look at the DAAP (Hackney Council’s own Dalston Area Action Plan) shows that ‘opportunity sites’ on Kingsland only exist north of the Balls Pond Road/Dalston Lane junction. I will pass on more info on this and all other proposed developments in our neighbourhood as I receive them.
I think that is it for now: All up to date. Have a good week all!
Hello neighbours. Two meetings to talk about, one past and one up-coming. Firstly the meeting past. July 18th saw the latest meeting of the Culture and Community Engagement Forum, and I have posted the minutes from this meeting to our discussions Forum HERE. Secondly, the next DSRA general meeting is to be held Tuesday of next week, 14th August, 7.00pm at 32 Raddon Tower. As per usual it is expected to last an hour and a half to two hours, and all Dalston Square residents (owners and renters alike) are invited to come along: The more active members we have, the stronger our voice in negotiation.
And here is the agenda for that meeting:
1. Buildings Sub Committee report back. Progress on our back-log of repair requests
2. Anti Social Behaviour issues – A report back re meeting in July with Consort and Council
Progress in establishing positive expectations/good neighbourliness
3. Cultural events in the Square – Cultural Sub Committee
Making the Square a community space for all.
4. Where next for the DSRA?
One Committee for whole complex? Democracy? Open Committee with sub Committees? Keeping it manageable. Time to cover a full agenda? Are some items best left to sub-committees? Elections or appointment of officers? Chair, Secretary etc.: Is this desirable? Continue with current ‘semi formal’ structures of self appointed volunteers?
a) email lists – i) ‘Activists list ii) Full residents list
6. Summer Social
Roof Garden – Sept 9th – People back from summer breaks and closing ceremony of the Paralympics so fireworks?
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.
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:
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 email@example.com, or telephone 0207 2540896.
Consort Property Management
Alerts, Minutes, & Tariffs
Hello friends and neighbours, three things to mention.
Firstly a customer alert from Consort PM: The Main entrance door to Thomas Tower will be fixed tomorrow, 17th May. Parts had to be ordered which is why it has been out of action for the last few days.
Secondly, there seems to still be some confusion regarding E-on’s supply of electricity and heat to residents on the Square. To hopefully, finally, clear this up I have made a post over at the forum explaining exactly how it all works and offer advice as to how you can reduce your bills. You can read my post HERE. You do not need to be registered at the forum to read this, but will need to register (if you have not already done so) if you wish to comment or ask any questions.
Finally, the latest DSRA meeting was held Thursday of last week, and the minutes of this meeting are available for download from the Document Depository in the DSRA specific section of the forum HERE. To even see the DSRA specific section of the forum you must be registered AND have left me a message (and of course received an answer) in the application section HERE.
Meeting Reminder And Agenda
Hello neighbours. Just a reminder that we have our next association meeting on Thursday 10th May. The meeting will be hosted by Ben (the committee Chair) at 69 Gaumont Tower, starting at 7.00pm. Generally, our meetings run for approximately an hour and a half and I expect this one to be no different. As always, if you are a resident of Dalston Square, and would be interested in participating, you are more than welcome to attend: The more members the association has, the stronger our voice. Listed here below is the agenda for the meeting:
DSRA Meeting Agenda For 10/05/12
1) Consort Service Charges – [i] Offer from Regional manager for meeting to discuss charges [ii] Report on Circle shared ownership campaign
2) Buildings maintenance – [i] Report on progress from sub-committee [ii] New issues to report
3) Cultural events – Cultural events for Dalston Square: Cultural forum
4) Local council DAAP (Dalston Area Action Plan) – A future open meeting with the council regarding school places and Dalston Lane
5) RTM (Right To Manage) – Update on progress/Urang
6) Social Committee – [i] Report on Easter ‘Egg Hunt’ [ii] Summer Social: Rooftop event to coincide with Olympic closing firework display?
7) Communications – Update on progress of website/blog, newsletter, Facebook: How well are they working?
8) AOB (Any Other Business)
Next DSRA Meeting
Hello again neighbours. Two more things to mention. We now have a date set for the next Dalston Square Residents Association Meeting: Thursday 10th May, 7.00pm. The venue is yet to be decided but as usual will probably be a residents apartment: I will advise you as soon as I know. Secondly, it seems that while full-ownership residents have seen a small decrease in their service charges for the coming 6 months, shared-ownership residents have seen a large (sometimes very large) increase in theirs. If this applies to you and you would like to join other affected residents in voicing your outrage, drop an email to Carmen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agenda For Next Week’s Meeting
Hello neighbours. Just wanted to share with you the agenda for next week’s DSRA meeting. If you have suggestions for other topics, do feel free to make contact with Ben through the forum with them. Or you can of course attend the meeting and raise them in AOB.
Dalston Square Residents Association Committee Meeting
March 20th 2012, 7pm to 9pm, Flat 61 Gaumont Tower
Draft Agenda. (comments by return please)
Intro: Welcome to new members.
1) Report on March 13th meeting with Council (Dalston Action Plan and it consequences for us).
2) Report and discussion on changes in services charges 2012-2013
Information for 2012 -2013?
Have the charges been consistent in different blocks/different status of residents?
Charging for the Consort undercharging of 2010-2011?
3) Buildings Sub Committee – report back on mtg with Consort managers
Progress on buildings and maintenance
Response and analysis of residents questionnaire
4) Concerns about some residents (tenants?) breaching leasehold conditions to detrimental effect of standards. What can/should be done?
5) Right-to-manage progress
6) Communications. The website – making it work for us
7) Easter Social – Easter Egg Hunt
June 2nd Street Party Beechwood Rd.- Trinity Centre
8) Future DSRA Committee meetings venues
Sub Committees and new people joining them. Helping keeping track and sharing info etc