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.
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.
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.
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) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Frances Calman (membership secretary, email@example.com)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer)
Jane Northcote (Secretary, Jane@JaneNorthcote.com)
The Chairman closed the meeting at 8pm.