CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)
Minutes for the Committee meeting 27th September 2016
19:00 in the Podium Room
John Tomlinson (Chairman) (absent)
Jane Northcote (Secretary)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer)
Christopher Gorman-Evans (absent)
|Barbican Estate Office (BEO):
Luke Barton (House Officer)
Julian Hale opened the meeting and welcomed resident Tessa Harfield, who wished to make some specific contributions to this meeting.
All Committee Members listed above were present except Christopher Gorman-Evans and John Tomlinson. Alan Budgen arrived later.
2. Apologies for absence
Our House Group Chairman John Tomlinson was absent due to illness, so Julian Hale kindly volunteered to chair this meeting.
Christopher Gorman-Evans was unable to be present and sent his apologies.
3. Minutes of the last committee meeting
Minutes of the CTHG on 21st June 2016 were signed by Julian Hale, acting Chairman, as an accurate record.
Matters from previous meetingS
4. Carpet renewal – lift lobbies
Two carpets will shortly be replaced. Two carpets will be replaced each year until further notice.
5. Beech St./Silk St. junction.
We have requested that the vehicle entrance to Cromwell Place be reduced in width so as to discourage taxis and lorries making dangerous U turns. This work will be funded by the City of London.
Luke reported that bollards will be installed within two weeks from the date of this meeting. The bollards will discourage fast U-turns in Cromwell Place. Waste collection and other large vehicles will still be able to enter. Two of the bollards will be removable, to accommodate exceptionally large vehicles. The porters will have the keys to remove the bollards.
6. Threat alarm and intercom
Our tower intercom, uniquely in the Barbican, has a “threat alarm” originally installed for alerting residents if a bomb alert was received. There are a number of difficulties with this combined threat alarm system and intercom. It is supplied and maintained by Antron, a private firm.
- The Threat Alarm has been tested but John Tomlinson and Laurance Jones did not hear it.
- There are intermittent problems with the intercom, which have caused considerable inconvenience to several residents. Antron have been called out a number of times, at a cost to leaseholders, last year, of some £6000 for the block.
This special Cromwell system could potentially be replaced by the simpler system used by the other Towers. This simpler system does not include the threat alarm. In this case the maintenance would be done by Resident Engineers which is cheaper and quicker than Antron.
However, replacement might be overtaken by an estate-wide project. There is a long-term plan to replace the current key-entry system. Keys have not been changed for over a decade. The RCC (Residents Consultative Committee) are investigating proposals.
Action: Luke to
- Investigate the long-term plan for security and visitor entry to the Towers.
- Discover the date for the next test of the Threat Alarm
- Investigate options for replacing the intercom, with or without the alarm.
7. Does our block need a Fire Alarm?
This question arose at our previous meeting. There is no Fire Alarm in any of the Tower Blocks. The Estate Fire Officer, Terence Short, has told Luke that Fire Alarms are not needed. The flats are compliant with all regulations applying to fire risk in tower blocks, and there is a programme of inspection to check compliance. Lift lobbies on all floors must be clear to ensure compliance with Fire Regulations for everyone’s safety.
Luke reminded us that the advice to residents in the event of fire in the building is to remain in our flats and call the fire service.
(a) to check with the Fire Officer about the fire resistance of the doors of the flats. How long are they resistant for?
(b) to check with the Fire Officer about the fire resistance of the rubbish lockers, both with the doors open and closed. Are they a means of transmission of the fire from floor to floor?
(c) to communicate more widely with residents about the instructions in the event of fire.
8. Additional planters for Cromwell Place
There has been a long-standing request for additional planters following an incomplete replacement last year (2015). The plants in the containers just outside the doors are not in a good state, and the island in Cromwell Place needs attention.
Cromwell Tower residents Paula Tomlinson and Helen Hale were at a recent meeting with Helen Davinson, Resident Services Manager from the BEO, to discuss this. Helen Davinson told them that there is no funding for a major overhaul at this time. So no replanting will be done this year and there will be no new planters. She noted that any future works to waterproof the podium will include Cromwell Place as it is above a Car Park.
The House Group Committee confirmed to Luke that Tower residents do not intend to take over replanting or maintenance of the plants in Cromwell Place since this is the work of the Estate Office.
Actions: Luke will put in a strong case for plants and planters in Cromwell Place in the year 2017/8.
9. Visitor parking.
Some bays in the 01 level Car Park have now become available for use by visitors. The porters will direct visitors to these locations.
The Committee asked that the BEO reserve at least four places in the 01 level for visitor parking and as a contingency for future disabled use.
New resident places will be allocated in the 02 and 03 car parks.
10.Parking on the North side of Chiswell Street
A better footway arrangement will be built on North side of Chiswell St outside Sundial Court to protect pedestrians as part of Islington’s “Quietways” programme. We hope that this improvement will be made in 2016.
Action: John to continue to pursue this matter with Islington Councillors.
11.Glue Lines on each side of Utility doors – issue closed
On some floors there are indelible glue lines, straight or wavy, each side of the utility doors in the lift lobbies. This damage was done by contractors who secured protective sheeting to the utility doors with glue.
Planning Approval letters now include an instruction not to deface the concrete. Luke showed us such a paragraph in a recent letter.
12. Rubbish bags left in Lift Lobbies
Residents have complained to Luke about rubbish bags left in the lobbies. Action: Luke to circulate an instruction to remind residents to use the rubbish lockers rather than leaving rubbish bags on the carpet, and also to tell porters to remind cleaners of this procedure when they hand over the keys.
13.Damage to public areas by contractors
Thomson Bros have repainted the ceiling of the B lift, which they damaged during a recent renovation.
Luke has photographed the public areas around the lifts and confirmed that contractors or residents who damage public areas will be asked to make good at their expense.
MATTERS ARISING SINCE THE PREVIOUS MEETING
14. Bicycle Parking
Christopher noticed bicycles locked to the railings of Cromwell Place. He photographed a cycle on the railings next to the Music Shop, partially blocking the steps. This is unsightly, dangerous to pedestrians, and risks damage to the bike wheel. It happens because the cycle racks nearby are full.
Luke to discover the name of the person in the City Transport department responsible for cycle facilities.
Jane (cyclist) and Christopher (non-cyclist) to approach this officer and ask for more cycle parking or other solution to this problem.
15. Peter Finch’s collection and card
Many residents contributed to a collection for Peter Finch, our porter, who retired due to ill-health on 31st August 2016. Barry Ashton of the Barbican Estate Office gave the card and cheque to Peter.
FORTHCOMING DATES –
1st December 19:00 AGM and Christmas Party
31st January 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting
20th April 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting
Luke is away during this period. He will extend the invitation to our April meeting to Helen Davinson or to the person covering for him in his absence.
27th June 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting
The Summer Party 2017 will be scheduled in the January meeting