Committee Meeting 28 June 2017 on Fire Safety

Here are the minutes of our meeting on 28th June 2017 on Fire Safety, including a Question and Answer list, as a downloadable document:

MINUTES for CTHG meeting on Fire Risk (28 June 2017) Version 5 (pdf)

Here are the same minutes as a web page:

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)  

MINUTES for additional Committee meeting 28 June 2017

19:00 in the Podium Room

This is an additional Committee meeting convened to follow on from our CTHG Committee Meeting the previous day, to focus specifically on Fire Safety issues in Cromwell Tower.

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman)
Jane Northcote (Secretary)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer)
Lesley Bradshaw
Alan Budgen
Frances Calman (absent)
Christopher Gorman-Evans (absent)
Julian Hale (absent)

Barbican Estate Officers (BEO):
Luke Barton
Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Helen Davinson
  1. John Tomlinson summarized a communication from the City of London. 
  • The Department of Community and Children’s Services is taking the lead on the City of London’s actions to keep residents safe from fire.
  • Independent Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) have previously been done every three years. They will now be done annually. The last Independent FRA for Cromwell Tower was done in November 2016. Another Independent FRA will be completed by August 2017.
  • The policy for Barbican Towers continues to be to “stay put” unless the fire is within your property or you are affected by smoke.
  • If there is a need to evacuate, this decision will be taken by the Fire Brigade.
  • Exit routes must be kept clear. City of London officers will intensify efforts to inspect exit routes, remove items blocking fire exits and keep the lift lobbies and communal areas clear.
  • There will be a programme to replace all flat front doors across the Barbican Estate. The new front doors will be fire resistant for 60 minutes. There is currently no timescale for this programme. It is anticipated that this will be paid for by long leaseholders via the service charge.
  • There will be a programme of “Drop In” meetings organised by the Department of Community and Children’s Services to communicate with residents on fire safety issues and to answer questions, exchange ideas and understand concerns.
  • There is a “Firebox” held by the porters and used by the Fire Brigade. This contains the names and flat numbers of people who might need special help in the event of fire, for example due to hearing impairment, blindness, or disability.

2.  Helen Davinson and Luke Barton reported on a meeting in the Barbican Estate Office, adding to the above.

  • There will be further communications to all residents. Please give your email address to Luke Barton to receive news from the Estate Office by email.
  • Storage of items in the Mezzanine of Cromwell Tower is a fire risk. This usage will end. The BEO will take the following actions:
      • The Mezzanine will be cleared of all items
      • The lift settings will be changed so that it does not stop on the Mezzanine
      • The pamphlets distributed by the BEO will be updated to remove the Mezzanine as a location to place items for  larger/bulky items.
      • Residents will be informed about alternative places to put items for larger/bulky items, namely Beech St Garchey Bay or Breton bin store
      • The cleaner’s stores will be kept elsewhere. Residents will be able to obtain spare rubbish bags from the porters.

3. As a result of these communications, here is advice and instructions from the City for residents of Cromwell Tower:

  • Install fire alarms in your flat. The London Fire Brigade will do free home safety visits to advise you about fire safety and install free fire alarms. You can book these visits via their website http://www.london-fire.gov.uk  or phone 0800 028 44 28
  • Know the exit routes from your flat to the fire stairs. Go and try them out. Identify them. Make sure you can open the Fire Doors. If you are not sure, ask the House Officer, Luke Barton (email address above)
  • Make sure your exit routes are clear. If your exit route is blocked, contact Luke Barton to get it cleared.
  • When you put out rubbish for daily collection, put it inside your rubbish locker and close the door. This is because rubbish left in lift lobbies is a fire hazard. If your rubbish does not fit inside the rubbish locker, then take it down to the disposal area which is adjacent to Cromwell front door. Do not leave any rubbish in the lift lobby at any time. If you cannot open your rubbish locker contact Luke Barton.
  • Take larger/bulky items of rubbish and recycling to the Garchey Bay in the Beech Street tunnel, or call the City of London Collection Service for collection of bulky items. Do not leave anything in the Mezzanine or your lift lobby.
  • Inform the  London Fire Brigade and Luke Barton if you consider anyone in your flat to be disabled and in need of extra assistance in the event of fire.  In this case it is particularly important that you ask the London Fire Brigade to carry out a home visit.

4. Questions

Since there is no fire alarm, and no loudspeaker system, how will the Fire Brigade inform us that we should evacuate?

Answer(BEO): That’s a very good question that we will put to the Emergency Services. Using the Threat alarm is one possibility, but that requires changes to the current procedures. We are currently taking advice.

Are there identified Muster Points where people should assemble after evacuation?

Answer(BEO): If there is a need for evacuation, the Fire Service will direct people where to assemble. The current policy is one of “stay put”, so there is no need for muster points.

Will sprinklers be installed, at least in the common areas?

Answer(Court of Common Council)): A feasibility study is being undertaken.

Lift C: this is labelled “Fire Fighting Lift” for use by the Fire Brigade. However, at the moment the door sticks and it is making a strange creaking sound. It is surely essential to get it fixed?

Answer(BEO): Yes, we are on the case. We have instructed the lift contractor and asked for a clear plan of work to fix this lift.

Is there the possibility of being evacuated by helicopter from the roof?

Answer (BEO and John Tomlinson): No. The London Fire Brigade do not have any helicopters. They do not plan to rescue anyone from the roof. The evacuation plan is to go down not up.

When do I get my fire-proof front door? The locker door next to the front door is not fireproof either. Will that be fireproofed?

Answer(BEO): This is a huge programme of work to be initiated across the entire City Housing Stock. This programme will address the entire door area including the lockers. We do not yet have a timescale.

IMG_0409In order to test my exit routes I need to open my fire-door, the one with the semi-circular top, which leads out from my “dining” area. This has glass that I break in an emergency. It also has a keyhole. Where do I get the key?

Answer (BEO): We have had several keys cut which are currently at the Estate Office and will need to be signed out to use/try. If Residents are unable to open the door with the key then they need to contact the Property Services Team on 0207 029 3909 or Barbicanrepairs@cityoflondon.gov.uk and arrange for the lock/door to be repaired. If residents want a copy of the key to retain for themselves, then they get this in the normal way by arranging it via the Reception at the Estate office.

The Plumbers Duct Access (PDA) spaces connect one floor with another. These are the spaces behind the bathrooms, which contain, for example, hot water cylinders and toilet cisterns. Are they a potential fire risk? We’ve seen flat renovations where big holes have been made through the concrete and into the PDA ducts so that the bathrooms can be redesigned. So if there were a fire in that flat, fire would travel to other floors via the PDA duct.

Answer (BEO): 

  • In principle, the PDA spaces should not be a Fire hazard because they contain only metal and asbestos and are totally surrounded by concrete, with access only by concrete doors which are locked shut. In practice, however, they may contain wood or flammable rubbish, renovations of flats may leave holes from flats into the PDA, and the doors to the PDA are sometimes left open. Flat renovations have to be signed off and so in principle the integrity of the concrete shielding is maintained, but this needs to be checked again.
  • The BEO will contact Building Control to come and inspect the PDA spaces.

Is there any mechanism to remove smoke from the fire stairs?

Answer (BEO): In theory, there is nothing to burn on the fire stairs. The BEO will look to see if any specific mechanism has been installed elsewhere on the estate and seek further technical advice.

Will we receive training in how to use the Fire Extinguishers?

Answer (BEO): No. In fact, the Fire Risk Assessments, and advice we have received from the Fire Brigade, indicate that the fire extinguishers should be removed. This is to ensure they are not used by untrained individuals in a dangerous manner. The best thing to do in the event of fire in your flat is to get out of the area, close the doors, and call the Fire Brigade. 

Committee Meeting 27th June 2017 MINUTES

Here are the Minutes  of our Committee Meeting 27th June 2017 as a downloadable pdf document:

MINUTES for CTHG (27 June 2017)Version 2

Here are the minutes as a webpage with pictures:

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)

MINUTES for Committee meeting 27 June 2017

19:00 in the Podium Room

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman)
Jane Northcote (Secretary)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer)
Lesley Bradshaw
Alan Budgen
Frances Calman
Christopher Gorman-Evans (absent)
Julian Hale

Barbican Estate Officer:
Luke Barton
Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

1.    Welcome

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed those present. Mike Bristow, Cromwell resident, joined the meeting as a potential new Committee member.

The Committee noted that there was much to discuss concerning Fire Risk, Fire Precautions and actions to be taken in the event of Fire. Accordingly, we agreed to convene an additional CTHG Committee meeting to focus on this important topic. This meeting was held the following day: 28 June 2017, and the Minutes of this additional meeting are on this link.

2.    Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Christopher Gorman-Evans.

3.    Minutes of the previous committee meeting

The minutes of April 20th 2017 were approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

Matters Arising from previous COMMITTEE meeting 20 April 2017

4.    Threat Alarm

See Minutes of meeting on Fire Safety.

5.    Fire Risk Assessment

See Minutes of meeting on Fire Safety.

6.    Bicycle Parking

Christopher Gorman-Evans had noticed cycles fastened to the railings next to the music shop, obstructing the stairs. Although there are cycle stands nearby, these are quickly used up. So cycles get fastened to railings.

Christopher is in contact Albert Cheung, citytransportation@cityoflondon.gov.uk, with a view to asking for more cycle parking in the area.

7.    Information about the House Group

To inform residents about the work of the house group, John Tomlinson suggested that notices be put up in the lifts listing items under discussion, meeting dates and committee members’ names. Luke has drafted a notice. Committee members were keen that the existing useful information in the lifts was included in this notice (contact information for the House Officer, the Porters, and the Repairs Line).

Action: John to review Luke’s draft

8.    New Porters

Kalpesh Patel and Abdi Harouma have joined our existing porters Flo and Andrew to make our team of four porters in Cromwell Tower. Abdi joined recently. A notice will appear in the lifts to introduce him. Please say hello to our new porters.

9.    Void Space

There is a planning application to transform the Void space at the base of Cromwell Tower into a residential dwelling. This is awaiting Landlord’s approval. This new residence will have its entrance at Mezzanine level.

10.Cromwell Tower House Group Online

These minutes and other documents, including the Fire Risk Assessment are now online at https://cromwelltower.wordpress.com.

Action: Jane to continue to develop this website, and acquire the domain
http://www.CromwellTower.org
DONE: This domain now acquired and in operation

11.Art in the 01 Lobby

Alan Budgen reports that the Van Gogh exhibition of art by Guildhall Students was very well received by residents. It will be taken down within the next few weeks. The next exhibition will be by a local photographer.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

12. Licence application by The Brewery

The Brewery on Chiswell Street has applied for a licence to supply alcohol and entertainment in a property on the North side of Chiswell Street, nos. 41-46. They apply to do this until midnight on Mon and Tues, 1am on Wednesday, and 2am Thursday to Saturday, 11pm on Sunday. The noise inside the venue won’t be a problem as it is underground. The problem is rowdy partygoers leaving in the small hours, plus associated mini-cab noise. Many residents will remember the problems with “Parker MacMillan” in the same location. Individual residents have submitted objections. In addition, the Committee agreed that we should submit an objection as a registered tenants association.

Action: Jane to draft and submit an objection by the deadline, which is 28th June.
DONE: Here is the objection as a downloadable document:
CTHG Objection to 41-46 Chiswell St(pdf)

13. Jugged Hare patrons obstructing the pavement

Drinkers at the Jugged Hare pub tend to block the pavement on the Chiswell Street side. Passers-by are then obliged to walk in the roadway, which is dangerous. Following a request from John Tomlinson and others, pub staff now encourage drinkers to stay close to the pub and not obstruct the pavement. Drinkers are not allowed to use the pavement on the Silk Street side as this creates noise disturbance.

14. Car parking Charges increase

The City of London made proposals for a large increase in Car Parking charges. Following representations from residents and elected representatives, the proposal has been withdrawn for the time being. It is now subject of a Working Party under the Barbican Residential Committee (BRC). John Tomlinson is a member of the Working Party.

16. Electric Car Charging points

Prototype Electric Car charging points will be introduced into Car Parks around the Barbican. There will be some in Cromwell Car parks. They will be in place within a few months, September 2017.

17. Rubbish in the Car Parks

There is rubbish on the floor of the Car Park – crisp packets, rubbish bags and other waste. This is surprising, as the Car Parks should be being cleaned daily.

Action: Luke to check the cleaning schedule and inspect to ensure the Car Parks cleanliness is up to the required standard.

18. Cables going into the basement

Thick orange cables lead from the Barbican Centre into the basement of Cromwell, over the entrance of the 02 Car Park. At first they looked temporary. Now they are more substantial and have been there a number of months. What are they?

Action: Luke to discover what they are and how we can know they are safe.

19. Planters in Cromwell Place

The newly planted and colourful flowers in the tubs outside the front door of Cromwell are the work of Helen Likierman and Julian Hale. We thank them for their initiative and energy and for funding the planting. Julian said that if the BEO would provide further planters, for example one in front of each pillar, then he and Helen would stock them with plants. The minutes of our meeting on 21st June 2016 state that Luke will put in a strong case for additional planters in the year 2017/18.

20. Changes to the Committee

Lesley Bradshaw announced her intention not to stand for re-election at the next AGM. The Chairman thanked Lesley for her contribution to the work of the House Group and to the Tower in general. Lesley’s heartfelt representations concerning the lobby redevelopment meant that the implemented design was better for everyone.

DATES

Next Committee meeting: 7pm Monday September 25th 2017

AGM and Christmas Party: Wednesday November 29th 2017

What is the Cromwell Tower House Group?

The Cromwell Tower House Group is the body recognised by the City of London and the Barbican Association as representing the residents of Cromwell Tower.  

All Cromwell residents are encouraged to join. To join the House Group at any time, please contact Frances Calman (flat 232). The joining fee is currently £5 per flat. This is a once-off payment. There is no annual fee. The Annual General Meeting is in November or December each year and is open to all members of the House Group.  

Between the Annual General Meetings, issues that arise are addressed by the Cromwell Tower House Group Committee, whose names are listed at the top of these minutes. This is a group of Cromwell residents, elected at the Annual General Meeting, who give their time to address issues affecting the Tower. We generally meet once a quarter. Minutes of these meetings are circulated to all flats in the Tower. We also meet members of the Barbican Estate Office and other organisations, as needed, to represent the interests of Cromwell Tower residents. If you would like to raise an issue, or would like to participate in the resolution of any of the items described in these minutes, please contact the Chairman, John Tomlinson (flat 133), or any other Committee member.

CTHG Minutes 20th April 2017

Date for your diary:
CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP SUMMER PARTY
8pm Tuesday 27TH June, Podium Room, Cromwell Tower
All welcome: £5 entry, children free of charge.

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)
MINUTES for Committee meeting 20 April 2017 (V2)
19:00 in the Podium Room 

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman)
Jane Northcote (Secretary)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer) (absent)
Lesley Bradshaw (absent)
Alan Budgen
Frances Calman
Christopher Gorman-Evans (absent)
Julian Hale (absent)

Barbican Estate Officer:

Luke Barton (absent)

Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

Sarah Styles of the Barbican Estate Office attended this meeting in Luke’s absence.

1.    Welcome

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed those present. He thanked Sarah Styles for standing in for Luke Barton. The meeting asked Sarah to convey our congratulations and good wishes to Luke on his marriage.

2.    Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Luke Barton (BEO), Laurance Jones, Lesley Bradshaw, Christopher Gorman-Evans and Julian Hale.

3.    Minutes of the last committee meeting

The minutes of 24th January were reviewed. On behalf of Luke Barton, Sarah Styles requested a change to point 6 about the Threat Alarm. Luke wrote:

“It may be easier to break it down into 3 (sub) points a, b, c. with part a being the main part of point 6.
a; Intercom this is the connection to the flats in Cromwell (essentially your doorbell). It is the on-going maintenance cost of repairs to this which I am monitoring. The costs occur as this system is different other Towers and can’t be maintained by the Resident Engineers.
b; Threat Alarm, while this uses elements of the intercom system this only requires the annual testing (which last took place November 2016).
c; Fire Alarms, there are no fire alarms in the communal parts of the building (apart from the car park).”

There were no other requests for changes. The secretary made the requested change after the meeting, and the revised Minutes (V3) were then signed by the Chairman.

Matters Arising from previous Committee meeting  24th January 2017

4.    Threat Alarm

The Threat alarm was triggered accidentally on 10th Feb 2017 at 4:45pm
On that occasion many people thought it was a fire alarm.
There are no fire alarms in the public spaces of the Tower except the Car Parks.
Sarah Styles recommended that residents re-read the laminated sheet which has been recently distributed.

5.    Fire Risk Assessment

In November 2016 there was an independent Fire Risk Assessment of the Barbican and Golden Lane Estates.

Here is a link to the document: FireRiskAssessment 18 Nov 2016

We are pleased to note that the Fire Risk Assessment for Cromwell Tower was excellent, and low-risk in almost all aspects.
There were no areas of high risk.
The only two areas of medium risk were:

  • “in some instances residents use escape routes for storage purposes” and
  • “in some instances service risers and similar are used for storage purposes” (this refers to the lockers outside our front doors)

In both cases the recommendation was to “implement robust arrangements to ensure such areas are maintained clear of storage”.

One low-priority action area was “consideration should be given to replacing or upgrading all flat doors so they provide a minimum of 30 minutes fire resistance”. This seemed to be in contradiction to comments made elsewhere in the report, and it’s not clear to which doors this refers.

Action: Sarah Styles to get clarification on this point.

6.    Parking on the North side of Chiswell Street (resolved)

IMG_0482 (small)
Yellow line on the North side of Chiswell Street

There is now a yellow line on the North side of Chiswell Street, preventing parking outside Sundial Court, and enabling safe pedestrian passage.
Thank you to Islington Council, and to John for maintaining the dialogue with them.

7.    Bicycle Parking

Christopher Gorman-Evans had noticed cycles fastened to the railings next to the music shop, obstructing the stairs. Although there are cycle stands nearby, these are quickly used up. So cycles get fastened to railings.
Luke gave us the contact information for the City officer responsible for cycling. He is: Albert Cheung, citytransportation@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Action: Christopher will contact Mr Cheung, with a view to asking for more cycle parking in the area.

8.    Information about the House Group

To inform residents about the work of the house group, John Tomlinson suggested that notices be put up in the lifts listing items under discussion, meeting dates and committee members’ names. Luke has drafted a notice. Committee members were keen that the existing useful information in the lifts was included in this notice (contact information for the House Officer, the Porters, and the Repairs Line).
Action: John to review Luke’s draft.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

9.    New Porters

Sarah Styles gave us an email announcing the arrival of two new permanent lobby porters for Cromwell Tower. Kalpesh Patel joins us from Lauderdale and will start training with Vic on April 25th. The other candidate is Abdi Harouma, an external candidate who is currently going though the usual checks and will start with us within two months. Sarah will draft a notice for the lifts.

10. Void Space

Action: Sarah will find out what the current state is with the development of the Void Space and use of the Mezzanine.

11.Cromwell Tower House Group Online

Jane offered to upload these minutes to an online archive/blog for easy access by residents via a website. Various other useful documents, such as the Fire Assessment Report, could also be put online.

Action: John and Jane will discuss options

12. Art in the 01 Lobby

The Committee thanked Alan Budgen for arranging the Van Gogh exhibition of art by Guildhall Students.

DATES

27th June 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting
27th June 2017 20:00 SUMMER PARTY, following the Committee Meeting
September Meeting: date proposal –  25th Sept.

CTHG Minutes 24 January 2017

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)

Minutes of Committee Meeting 24 January 2017

19:00 in the Podium Room

These minutes are VERSION 3 – edited after comment from Luke Barton, 2o April. 

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman)

Jane Northcote (Secretary)

Laurance Jones (Treasurer) (absent)

Lesley Bradshaw (absent)

Alan Budgen (absent)

Frances Calman

Christopher Gorman-Evans

Julian Hale

Barbican Estate Officer:

Luke Barton

Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

1.    Welcome

Our Chairman John Tomlinson opened the meeting and welcomed those present.

2.    Apologies for absence

We received apologies for absence from Laurance Jones, Alan Budgen, and Lesley Bradshaw. We understand that Lesley is unwell, and send best wishes for a speedy recovery.

3.    Minutes of the last committee meeting

Minutes of the previous Committee Meeting 27th Sept were approved by those present as a correct record and signed by Julian Hale, acting chairman for that meeting.

Matters Arising from previous COMMITTEE meeting

27th Sept 2016

4.    Carpets (Item 4)

Carpets in the lift lobbies on the 7th and 34th floor were replaced on the 3rd and

4th January 2017. Another two will be replaced during the year starting April 2017, and two more each year thereafter until further notice.

5.    U-turns and bollards (Item 5, and also item 5 of AGM)

Bollards have been installed across the entrance to Cromwell Place to deter traffic from making dangerous U-turns in this pedestrian area. The porters report that they are effective.

6.    Threat Alarm (Item 6, and Item 10 of the AGM minutes)

(a) In previous years there have been problems with the intercom connecting the porter’s desk to the flats (essentially the doorbell for the flat). Luke is monitoring the on-going maintenance cost of repairs to this intercom. The costs occur as this system is different other Towers and can’t be maintained by the Resident Engineers

(b)The Threat Alarm uses elements of the intercom system. This alarm only requires the annual testing (which last took place November 2016).

(c) There are no fire alarms in the communal parts of the building (apart from the car park).

7.    Procedure in the event of Fire (Item 7, and Item 11 of the AGM Minutes)

In September 2016 there was an Independent Fire Risk Assessment of the Barbican and Golden Lane Estates. Luke had expected to deliver to us a report. This is still awaited.

Luke confirmed that the doors of the flats are fire-proof for at least 30 minutes, which is compliant with standards prevailing at the time when the estate was built.

Recent new cabling via the rubbish lockers in the Tower provide a potential route for smoke to travel upwards, and there will be a programme of work to “fire‑stop” the cable holes to prevent smoke penetration.

Action: John Tomlinson to write to Paul Murtagh, Barbican Estate Office, to chase up the Fire Risk Assessment report. As residents, we need up-to-date information on actions to be taken in the event of fire.

8.    Additional Planters for Cromwell Place (Item 8)

Luke will put strong case for plants and planters in Cromwell Place in the financial year 2017/8.

9.    Visitor Parking (Item 9)

There are eight bays available for visitors in the 01 ground level car park, accessed from Cromwell Place. The porters have a list of the bay numbers. These are for short-term use.

Parking in Cromwell Place is limited to 20 minutes, and must not obstruct emergency vehicle routes or the rubbish collection lorries.

10. Parking on the North side of Chiswell Street (Item 10)

Chiswell Street 24 Feb 2107
People walking in the street outside Sundial Court

Vehicles park on the North side of Chiswell Street, opposite the Brewery, where the foot-way and kerbstone disappear. This means people have to walk in the road. That side of the street is in Islington. John has approached Islington Council to ask for a continuous footway, so that pedestrians have a safe route. Chiswell Street is a designated “quietway”, marked with a “Q” on the road. We don’t know the significance of this. It doesn’t seem very quiet at the moment. Walking on the road is still unsafe for pedestrians. 

Action: John Tomlinson will meet Islington Councillor Jenny Kay on the site, on 15th Feb 2017, to find out what’s happening.

11.Bicycle Parking (Item 14)

Christopher Gorman-Evans had noticed cycles fastened to the railings next to the music shop, obstructing the stairs. Although there are cycle stands nearby, these are quickly used up by Guildhall School students and visitors to the Barbican Centre and local businesses. So cycles get fastened to railings.

Luke gave us the contact information for the City officer responsible for cycling. He is: Albert Cheung, citytransportation@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Action: Christopher will contact Mr Cheung, with a view to asking for more cycle parking in the area.

Matters Arising from AGM 1st Dec 2016

Noted above.

Thank you to Alan Budgen for organising the current exhibition of pictures in the 01 Lift Lobby.

12. Replacement for Peter Finch (Item 14 of AGM Minutes)

On 31st August 2016 our lobby porter Peter Finch retired due to ill-health. The Barbican Estate office are currently holding interviews to fill the vacancy.

Any other business

13. Low Emission Neighbourhood – charging points for electric cars in Barbican Car Parks.

The City of London, together with the Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority (GLA), is funding and supporting measures to make the Barbican area a Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN). The project manager is Ben Kennedy, Ben.Kennedy@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

One measure is to install electric charging points in Barbican Car Parks, as a trial, to encourage the use of electric vehicles. John Tomlinson is Deputy Chairman of the Electric Vehicle Working Party. He reports that spaces have already been identified, including some in the 02 level Car Park in Cromwell. Action is proceeding quickly and we can look forward to having charging points installed with the next few months.

14. Information about the House Group

To inform residents about the work of the house group, John Tomlinson suggested that notices be put up in the lifts listing items under discussion, meeting dates and committee members’ names. 

Action: Luke undertook to draft a notice.

15. Thank you

Committee members applauded the flowering branches currently in the ground floor lobby vases. We thanked Christopher Gorman-Evans for these and the other flower displays he has provided in this public area.

16.DATES

20th April 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting

At this meeting we will allocate tasks for the summer party.

Luke is away 17th April to 8th May. Sarah Styles from the BEO is one of the people covering for him in his absence, and she will attend our meeting.

27th June 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting

27th June 2017 20:00 SUMMER PARTY, following the Committee Meeting

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8pm.

 

Minutes of AGM December 1st 2016

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP

Minutes of the A.G.M. on Dec 1st 2016 at 19.00 in the Podium Room

1.    Chairman’s welcome

The Chairman, John Tomlinson, welcomed those attending. There were 23 members at the meeting including the following committee members: Frances Calman (Membership Secretary), Julian Hale, Laurance Jones (Treasurer), Jane Northcote (Secretary).

We were joined by Luke Barton , Cromwell Tower House Officer from the Barbican Estate Office (BEO), and Ben Kennedy, LEN Project Manager from the City of London.

2.    Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from the following members: Lesley Bradshaw, Christopher Gorman-Evans, Alan Budgen.

3.    Low Emission Neighbourhood (“LEN”)

The City of London, together with the Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority (GLA), is funding and supporting measures to make the Barbican area a “Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN)”. Ben Kennedy, LEN Project Manager from the City of London, described what is going to happen. There will be a 3-year project to reduce air pollution. It starts with a consultation and Launch Event in the City of London Girls School at 6pm on 11th January 2017 to which all residents are invited. Measures under consideration include:

  • awareness-building in schools and in the general public
  • making the Beech Street tunnel a zero-emission road: only electric vehicles and bicycles would be allowed through, enforced by cameras with number plate recognition
  • actions to discourage drivers from leaving their engines running while stationary
  • increased cycle parking and more electric charging points in Barbican car parks
  • making the Silk Street taxi rank an “electric only” rank
  • trial of “green screens”, a wall with plants on it, to remove noxious chemicals from the air.

All these are subject to consultation. Mr Kennedy encouraged us to go to the meeting on the 11th Jan or to contact him: Ben.Kennedy@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

4.    Minutes of 2015 AGM (Accuracy)

The minutes of the 2015 AGM were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.

5.    Matters arising from the minutes of the 2015 AGM

The bollards are now in place to prevent fast and dangerous U-turns in Cromwell Place. We, as Tower residents, are not paying for this.

Two lift lobby carpets are being replaced this year. Two carpets will be replaced every year until further notice. The carpets to be replaced will be determined by the House Officer. The cost for these carpets is shared by all Cromwell Tower flats and will appear on the service charge.

6.    Financial Statement

The Treasurer presented the financial report for the last year. The accounts were approved by the meeting.

7.    Chairman’s Report

Apart from the items listed below, there are no major issues affecting the Tower.

The Chairman thanked Luke Barton, our House Officer, for his successful work to get the bollards in place, and for supporting us on numerous other matters throughout the year.

8.    Concrete

There has been a long-running dispute between the Barbican Association, representing residents, and the City, about who should pay for concrete investigation and remedial work done in August 2013. This dispute is now ended. The Barbican Association took the view that there was not sufficient advantage to be gained for residents from pursuing the case. Therefore the City’s position prevails, and residents must pay for this work. All but one resident have already done so.

9.    Pictures in the 01 level lobby

Alan Budgen sent through a note to say that a photographer will very shortly be putting up her work on the hangers in the 01 lobby. After her, there are two other artists ready to exhibit.

10.Tower Intercom

Luke reported that he is investigating options to replace the intercom between the porter’s desk and out flats. It has had intermittent problems which are expensive to fix.

11. Procedure in the event of Fire

Following an independent Fire Risk Assessment, Luke has prepared a dossier of information which will be distributed to residents shortly. This will include instructions to be followed in the event of fire.

A resident reported that they had obtained excellent fire alarms for use inside the flat, free-of-charge, from the London Fire Brigade.

The estate office has investigated whether the rubbish lockers are a potential route for fire to travel vertically from floor to floor. This was a concern after the additional drill holes were made for installation of new cabling. The locker floor and ceiling were found to be adequate proof against fire. Work will be undertaken to seal the cable holes to prevent smoke travelling up the tower in the event of fire.

12.Beech Gardens

The City is about to seek approvals for the renovation of the East part of Beech Gardens, including the walkways next to our Podium door. Precise details are yet to be confirmed. This work will be similar to the work already completed on the East part of Beech Gardens. It will include totally new flowerbeds. Since this area is a public walkway, it will be paid for by the City and does not come out of our Service Charge.

We understand that that the “Yellow Corridor” on Ben Jonson Highwalk, which currently leads to the Exhibition Halls, will be removed as part of this work.

13. Update on Peter Finch

Peter was a member of our Lobby Porter team until he became seriously ill. He was on long-term sick leave and then resigned his job. Residents contributed to a gift for Peter and sent messages of support. Peter has received the cheque, and sent a note which is appended to these minutes.

14.Question: Update on recruiting a replacement for Peter Finch

After the meeting Luke investigated and reported that recruitment advertisements will be placed in the New Year.

15. Question: Weekend Cyclists on the Podium

A house group member reported that he had encountered unruly cyclists on the Podium on more than one occasion. Some had been abusive. Cycling on the podium is a contravention of the City Bye-laws.

Luke Barton and others recommended calling the City Police directly on 101. Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour is a City of London Police Priority identified in their 2016-19 Policing Plan. Calling the police directly is likely to be more effective than going via the estate office.


16.Leaseholder Service Charges Working Party

All work on the Tower appears in our service charges. So when a lobby carpet is replaced, or a contractor mends a window in a flat, the charge is shared amongst all the flats in the Tower. In addition, we bear a portion of estate-wide charges.

The Leaseholder Service Charges Working party was formed at the request of the Residents Consultation Committee (RCC) in February 2016 following concerns at the apparent above-inflation rise in Service Charges. It aims to scrutinise the Service Charges we receive, and the processes by which they are derived, and thus to propose how the Service Charge can be better managed. Jane Northcote is one of the eight residents who are members of the Working Party, which is chaired by Anne Mason of the BEO. The Chairman thanked Jane for her initiative and perseverance in this matter.

17.Election of Committee

The committee were re-elected. People in the meeting thanked the Committee for their work.

The 2016/7 committee is:

John Tomlinson (Chairman) (john@johnandpaula.com)

Lesley Bradshaw

Alan Budgen

Frances Calman (membership secretary, fcalman@doctors.org.uk)

Christopher Gorman-Evans

Julian Hale

Laurance Jones (Treasurer)

Jane Northcote (Secretary, Jane@JaneNorthcote.com)

 

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8pm.

 

CTHG Minutes 27th Sept 2016

 

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)

Minutes for the Committee meeting 27th September 2016

19:00 in the Podium Room

 

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman) (absent)

Jane Northcote (Secretary)

Laurance Jones (Treasurer)

Lesley Bradshaw

Alan Budgen

Frances Calman

Christopher Gorman-Evans (absent)

Julian Hale

Barbican Estate Office (BEO):

Luke Barton (House Officer)

Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

1.    Welcome

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

  1. Investigate the long-term plan for security and visitor entry to the Towers.
  2. Discover the date for the next test of the Threat Alarm
  3. 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.

Action: Luke

(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.

Actions:

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

CTHG Minutes 21st June 2016

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)

Minutes for the Committee meeting 21st June 2016

19:30 in the Podium Room

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman)

Jane Northcote (Secretary)

Laurance Jones (Treasurer)

Lesley Bradshaw

Alan Budgen

Frances Calman

Christopher Gorman-Evans

Julian Hale

Barbican Estate Office:

Luke Barton (House Officer)

Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

1.    Welcome

2.    Apologies for absence – All members present.

3.    Minutes of the last committee meeting

Minutes of the CTHG on 14th March were signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.

Matters from previous meetingS

4.    Carpet renewal – issue now resolved

The two carpets on floors 30 and 3 have been replaced. These carpets cost £3372 each, which is recharged to the whole block. This will appear as an addition of about £70 to the Service Charge of a typical flat. Luke proposed a replacement schedule of two carpets per year, and the committee accepted this proposal. The replacement schedule will be reviewed in future years if needed.

5.    Void space development – use of mezzanine

Planning permission has been granted to transform the Void space at ground, podium and mezzanine levels into a flat. There is no start date yet agreed for the building work. When the Void space is developed, the Mezzanine will provide access to the new flat, and so will need to be clear.

As the Mezzanine level lobby is currently used informally as a storage space for items awaiting recycling. Luke is currently investigating options.

6.    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 is seeking approval from the Planning department of the City. He is awaiting a meeting to agree the plans and funding.

It is now 12 months since the initial request.

John will talk to the relevant City department with the intention to expedite matters.

7.    Threat alarm and intercom

There are a number of difficulties with the combined threat alarm system and intercom. This 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.

The Cromwell system is different from that in the other towers. It could potentially be replaced by the simpler system used by the other Towers. This simpler system does not include the alarm. In this case the maintenance would be done by Resident Engineers which is cheaper and quicker than Antron.

Action: Luke to

(1) Find out about Fire Safety and Fire Alarms: do we need a Fire Alarm? What do the other Towers do?

(2) Investigate the long-term plan for security and visitor entry to the Towers.

(3) Discover the date for the next test of the Threat Alarm, ideally in September.

(4) Investigate options for replacing the intercom, with or without the alarm.

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.

Actions:

Luke – will put in a strong case for large planters for Cromwell Place for the 2017/8 year.

John – will ask the Gardens Advisory Group to ensure steps are taken to improve the quality of planting in Cromwell Place planters and island.

9.    Concrete Repairs

(a) Major Concrete repairs done in August 2013:

There is an ongoing dispute between the Barbican Association, representing residents, and the City as landlord, regarding who should pay for concrete repairs and remedial work done in August 2013. John Tomlinson reported that experts commissioned by the City have now delivered technical answers to queries. The City lawyers are now initiating proceedings against anyone who has withheld payment. The Barbican Association is considering options.

(b) Repairs to concrete in internal exposed areas: e.g. on inside of balconies

Some residents have noticed that the concrete has flaked off the inside of balcony walls, exposing rusting steel re-inforcement bars.

Luke reported that repairs will start in the next 6 months. The contract will go out to tender in the next 3 months. The cost will come through on the Service Charge. The City surveyor advises that the rusty steel bars will not deteriorate markedly before the repairs occur.

10.Visitor parking.

The former visitor parking spaces in 01 ground level car park are now in use to provide disabled parking. Porters now send visitors to spare spaces in 02 or 03 car parks. This means that visitors must be given garage entry keys.

The Committee asked that the BEO reserve four places in the 01 level for visitor parking and as a contingency for future disabled use.

Luke reported that so far no more spaces have become available in the 01 car park, and that as soon as spaces are released they will be retained for Cromwell visitors.

11.Noise issues – Brewery.

If any resident is disturbed by noise from the Brewery please tell them, and report the time of the noise:

24-hour Manned Reception (Brewery) 0207 065 5700

Brewery Duty Manager Mobile 07920 203 823

It would also be helpful if you could tell the City’s Pollution Control team:

Call 020 7606 3030 to report noise and request immediate action or

email publicprotection@cityoflondon.gov.uk to notify them after the event.

Also please email John Tomlinson: john@johnandpaula.com. This is so we can take an informed view of the size of the problem and use data to make a case for action.

12.Bright lights from St Paul’s area – issue now resolved

Flats on the South of the Tower have been flooded by light intended to illuminate St Paul’s. Christopher has been in correspondence with the City of London Environmental Health Officer, Rachel Sambells. These lights will now be turned off. LED lights will be installed which can be more accurately directed. We are optimistic that this will solve the problem.

13. Service Charges Working party

The first meeting of the Service Charges Working party will be on 27th June. Jane will be participating. The broad aim is to ensure that processes are in place to manage, control and forecast service charges so that costs to leaseholders are contained and predictable, and service quality are maintained.

14. 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 request an update

15.Glue Lines on each side of Utility doors – issue closed

On some floors there are glue lines, straight or wavy, each side of the utility doors in the lift lobbies. These were made by contractors who secured protective sheeting to the utility doors with glue. On the 23 Feb 2016 Laurance Jones raised this issue with Steve Murray, Property Services Team Manager,

City of London Corporation. Luke reported Steve Murray’s view that removing the glue lines would make the cleaned area paler. This would be unsightly.

We decided to take no further action to clean existing lines.

Action: Luke will alert fellow House Officers to this problem. If plans for renovations include asbestos removal, House Officers will include in the Planning Approval an instruction not to stick sheeting to visible areas of concrete.

16. Lobby door banging on Ground Floor – issue resolved

On 24 Feb 2016 Luke noted that the front door was banging. The brake on the door has failed, so the door closed violently, possibly endangering the glass.

Luke says this has now been fixed and is awaiting redecoration.

17. Broken tiles and Chewing Gum on Cromwell Place – issue resolved

Broken tiles have been mended. Removing chewing gum is now a routine part of the cleaning services actions.

18. Items left in Lobbies

On certain floors, there are bicycles, shoes and other items in the lift lobbies. This is in contravention of the lease, and a fire hazard. Over recent months Luke has taken action to enforce fire regulations and get items removed from lobbies.

Action: Luke to continue enforcement action.

19. Water hammer noise on higher floors

There has been intrusive noise from water hammer on upper floors.

Luke reported that this problem has now been solved. It took a very long time to resolve, and Luke assured us that lessons have been learned.

MATTERS ARISING SINCE THE LAST MEETING

20. Doors coming off the parcels cupboard under the porter’s desk

This seems to happen repeatedly.

Luke to discover from Metwin (contractor) why the repair does not work.

21. Stop-cock on the 20th Floor

A resident reported a very long wait for a stop-cock replacement.

Luke reports that this has now been replaced.

22. Notice Board

The Notice Board on Level 01 is for use by Cromwell residents only. The best way to advertise services to Barbican residents is to use Barbicantalk. http://www.barbicantalk.com

23.Damage to public areas by contractors

Thomson Bros undertook to repaint the ceiling of the B lift, which they damaged during a recent renovation. They have not done this yet. More renovations are expected this summer.

Action: Luke to repeat the request to Thomson Bros.

Action: Luke will photograph lifts and lobbies so that we have a record of the state of public areas. Contractors who damage public areas will be asked to make good at their expense.

24. Côte Restaurant variation of licence – no action needed

Côte have applied for a change to their alcohol licence so they can offer a home delivery service which includes delivery of alcoholic drinks. Certain blocks are considering objecting to this. The CTHG Committee decided that this variation of the licence will not make a difference to us and we will not object.

 

FORTHCOMING DATES

27 Sept 19:00 Committee Meeting

1st December 19:00 AGM and Christmas Party

31st January 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting