Committee Meeting 29 Oct 2018 MINUTES

Minutes for Committee meeting 29 Oct 2018 19:00 in the Podium Room

For a downloadable printable pdf version of these minutes use this link: Minutes for CTHG Committee Meeting 29 Oct 2018 (V3)

Committee Members:

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

City of London Barbican Estate Officer:
Luke Barton.

1.   Welcome

On behalf of the Committee the Chairman welcomed the following potential Committee Members as guests for this meeting:

Preneeta Mann, Tom Flanagan, Tim Cox, Iain Connor

2.   Apologies for absence

All Committee Members were present.

3.   Minutes of the last committee meeting

The Minutes of the previous Committee Meeting, 26 June 2018 were approved by those present and signed by the Chairman.

Matters Arising from previous Committee meeting,  26 June 2018

4.   Fire Safety

a) Will our flat front doors, and the surrounding area, be replaced or not?

Following the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower, a sample of Barbican Tower front doors and surrounds were tested for fire resistance. Luke reports that he is still waiting for the formal written report stating the results. We understand that the doors and surrounds are sufficiently fire resistant for the stay-put policy to remain valid, and so the flat doors and the surrounding area will not be replaced. In this case, internal redecoration scheduled for earlier this year can go ahead. This will be confirmed only when the formal written report is received, and a course of action approved by the Barbican Residential Committee (BRC).

b) Fire Risk Assessment – report from Frankhams July 2018

The City of London, as Landlord, initiated an independent Fire Risk Assessment. This was done by Frankhams in January 2018. They examined the inside of a selection of flats. The report was published on the City of London website in July 2018 and comments invited. Actions from this assessment included: inspection of car parks and removal of items (complete), removal of items left in communal areas including lift lobbies (ongoing), removal of fire extinguishers (complete), and recommendations for

  • a survey of the PDA (plumbing) lockers, and
  • a survey of compartmentation.
PDA (plumbing) lockers are behind these doors

Both these surveys are complete. Mike McGee, a former senior Barbican engineer,  surveyed the PDA lockers and actions were undertaken by the BEO to remove flammable items. CheckMate have completed their survey of compartmentation. This checked that flats are isolated from each other, so that fire and smoke do not travel from one flat to another. Alterations made to flats have the potential to compromise this isolation, for example by knocking holes into the plumbing ducts. Where problems were found, flat owners have been contacted. The Landlord’s approval process for checking proposed building works has been made more robust, to ensure that no future refurbishments will breach compartmentation.

5.   Electric Car Charging points

This is a trial, funded by the City of London “Low Emission Zone” (LEZ). There are charging points in the Cromwell 03 car park and elsewhere on the Estate. Please contact the BEO (Luke Barton) if you wish to use one.

6.   Arts Centre events

Christopher Gorman-Evans reported from a quarterly meeting between representatives of certain House Groups and the Barbican Association, with the Barbican Centre. The next event which may involve use of spaces outside the Centre is the “Sound Unbound” event in May 2019. No information is yet available as to whether this will affect Cromwell Tower residents. The Centre will communicate further, via these quarterly meetings, as its plans advance.

7.   Rubbish outside the front door – 01 level – Cromwell Place

Paul, our cleaner, has now cleared the alleyway between the bin store and our lobby. The bin store doors are kept closed. Luke has asked the Porters to prevent people from leaving shopping trolleys in this location: Waitrose does not collect them.

8.   Items left in lift lobbies

Following his monitoring and actions, Luke reports that residents now keep the lift lobbies clear. He continues to monitor. He is still, on occasion, finding shopping trollies in communal areas of the Tower, and reminds all residents to take their shopping trollies back to the supermarket.

9.   Bikes on Cromwell Place fences

The railings need painting

The railings along the Beech Street side of Cromwell Place have recently been repainted, repairing damage that is to some extent caused by bikes being chained up there. Bicycles left locked to the iron fences of Cromwell Place will be removed with bolt-cutters. Luke will remind the porters that they should call the BEO to initiate this action.

10.Plants and Planters on Cromwell Place

The large planters near the road in Cromwell Place have a tendency to dry out and look bad. Luke reports that the planters are watered on Mondays and Fridays, and more frequently in hot periods. There is no budget from the Landlord to provide self-watering planters.

We currently have two small planters, one each side of the front door. Some residents would like to have additional small planters, two or possibly three more, one in front of each pillar along the front façade. The Landlord has no budget for this. They cost £1200-£1500 for each small planter, that is about £12-15 per typical flat, per planter.

Do we want one planter in front of each pillar?

Action:The Committee will ask the AGM if House Group Members should be balloted to see if they are willing to pay for this via the service charge.

Action:Luke will ask the Open Spaces team to confirm that they would water and maintain such planters bought by residents.

11.Art in the 01 Lobby

Thank you to Alan Budgen, who organises this programme of art displays. After the current exhibition by Neelu Patel, there will be an exhibition of photographs from a local photographer.

12.Freeview problems

Problems with the TV service provided by VFM were reported at our previous meeting. VFM has now engaged a different sub-contractor for customer service. Residents should no longer be asked for credit card details when they report a problem.

13.Committee Members

If the four potential new Committee Members listed above wish to stand, they will be proposed for election at the AGM.


14.Membership Lists and Registered Tenants Association return to the City of London

Cromwell Tower House Group is a Recognised Tenants Associations (RTA). This recognition gives us the ability to make representations to the City of London, our landlord.

Cromwell has an opt-in membership system: people join the House Group. Many other House Groups in the Barbican have an opt-out membership system: residents and long-leaseholders are deemed to be members unless they state otherwise.

After a discussion, the Committee reached a consensus that we should consider moving to an opt-out system, and also take the opportunity to modernise the constitution of the House Group. Such a change needs approval from a general meeting of the membership of the House Group.

Secretary’s note: Members of the Committee looked in detail at this issue after the Committee Meeting. It will be discussed at a future Committee Meeting, and then specific changes proposed to a Special General Meeting of the House Group Members. 21 days’ notice will given of this Special General Meeting and all House Group members will be invited.

15.Light Pollution

A house group member wrote to John Tomlinson asking the house group to take up the issue of light pollution around the Barbican in the evening and overnight. John has asked the member to email Luke with his concerns, also Jonathan Poyner in the Barbican Centre. The City of London has also recently issued a Lighting Strategy, which includes measures to address light pollution.

16.Ongoing concrete repairs and people appearing unannounced on the balcony

Lift notice about concrete works (click to enlarge)

The notified time-window for concrete works has long passed. But people are still arriving on the balconies without notice.  The work appears to be ongoing.

We asked Luke to note and feedback the following comments:

  1. Can we please have an updated timetable of works: when will they end?
  2. It is unacceptable for people to appear unannounced on the balcony. This is a security problem and an invasion of privacy. For all future works, and for the remainder of this contract, we asked Luke to ensure that operatives buzz up before appearing outside our windows.

17.Health – do we want a defibrillator in the Tower?

defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest (“heart attack”). The British Heart Foundation website says:

There are many defibrillators available in public places such as train stations, shopping centres, airport and leisure centres. These defibrillators are often known as public access defibrillators (PAD) as anyone can use them in an emergency.

There may be a case for keeping such a device in Cromwell.

We understand that there is a defibrillator in Lauderdale Tower.

Action:We will ask Lauderdale Tower about the arrangement, and consider consulting the London Ambulance Service if this is a good idea. A volunteer is needed to take this action forward.

18.Security and the lift lobby doors

Inner door to lift lobby: do we want to replace it with an automatic door?

The inner door from the main entrance to the lift lobby is locked when a temporary porter is on duty. This heavy door is hard to manage for those in wheelchairs or with push chairs, although the porter often helps. So there is a suggestion that we could consider a fob-operated automatic door. There is one in Shakespeare. The cost of such a door, and its ongoing maintenance, wouldbe borne by Long Leaseholders via the service charge.

Action:The Committee agreed to raise this at the AGM and see what the level of interest is, before taking any further steps. The cost for the Shakespeare door was around £8000 or about £80 per typical flat, although this figure needs to be confirmed.

There is a bell to call the porter if you are in the lift lobby and need help to move the door.

19.Noise from Finsbury Square and elsewhere

Alan Budgen has identified a source of noise which has disturbed residents in the Tower. It comes from the roof terrace of the Montcalm on the North side of Finsbury Square.  Islington Public Protection team will investigate. If you are disturbed by noise from the Finsbury Square area, please contact Islington: 020 7527 7272.

If the noise comes from the Jugged Hare, the Brewery or other local venues in the City and their patrons, the people to call are the City Environmental Health team. Their number is 020 7606 3030, staffed 24 hours. After the event, email

The greater the number of residents that complain about a noise disturbance, the more likely it is that the local authorities will take action.


The AGM and Christmas Party are in the Podium Room on:

29thNovember 2018 starting at 7pm

The next Committee Meeting is 26thMarch 2019, at 7pm in the Podium Room.

Committee Meeting 26 June 2018 MINUTES

Minutes for Committee meeting 26 June 2018 19:00 in the Podium Room

For a downloadable printable pdf version of these minutes use this link: Minutes for CTHG Committee Meeting 26 June 2018 (version 2)

Committee Members:

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

City of London
Barbican Estate Officer:
Luke Barton

1.   Welcome

John Tomlinson opened the meeting at 7pm and welcomed those present.

2.   Apologies for absence

We received apologies for absence from Mike Bristow, Alan Budgen, and Christopher Gorman-Evans.

3.   Minutes of the last committee meeting

The Minutes of the previous Committee Meeting, 5thMarch 2018 were approved by those present. They are to be signed by Christopher Gorman-Evans who was acting Chairman for that meeting.

Matters Arising from previous Committee meeting,  5th March 2018

(for details please see the minutes:Committee Meeting 5th March 2018 MINUTES)

4.   Fire Safety

a) What is the Fire resistance of our front doors? Will our flat front doors, and surrounding area, be replaced or not?

Front door – tested as resistant for 36 minutes

Our front doors are resistant to 36 minutes. Here is the extract from the Barbican Residential Committee(BRC)Meeting 4thJune 2018 draft minutes:

“Members noted that fire testing of doors had taken place the previous Saturday, attended by some Members and officers, including RCC Members, and the Assistant Director advised that the test had gone well, with a combustion point of 36 minutes. Members also noted that the Fire Risk Assessments had not raised significant concerns on compartmentation.”

Although no final decision has been taken, the most probable outcome as a consequence of this fire resistance is that the front doors will not be replaced.

Luke reported that we are now awaiting an updateon the internal redecoration plan, which was paused awaiting a decision on replacement.

b) Are sprinklers going to be installed in the Tower?

Following discussion at the 4thJune BRC meeting, and the outcome of the Fire Risk Assessments, it is now unlikelythat retrofitting sprinklers will be recommended.

c) Fire Risk Assessment – has it been done for this Tower?

The independent Fire Risk Assessment has been done for the Tower. This was a “Grade 4” assessment where the assessor, Franklins, examined the inside of a selection of flats. The report will be published in July 2018.

Secretary’s note: this Fire Risk Assessment is now on the City of London Website and you can download this pdf via this link: cromwell-tower-FRA-January 2018

5.   Electric Car Charging points

Electric Car Charging points are now installed in various car parks in the Barbican, including three spaces in Cromwell 03 Car Park. The installation was promoted and funded by the City of London Low Emission Zone, who are also paying for the electricity in the short term.

If you would like one of these spaces, please contact the Barbican Estate Office Car Parking Team.

6.   Rubbish in the Car Parks

At the last meeting Luke updated us as below.

‘The cleaners have and should be removing obvious rubbish from the Car Parks regularly. The Estate Services Manager has confirmed that we can start to remove anything from parking bays that should not be there. If youhave anything in your parking bay that is not a car you should be prepared to remove it or it will be cleared away (eg oil cans, trolleys, child seats, scooters, and toys etc). Initially these items will be stickered with a date after which time they willbe disposed of.’

Luke now reports that all items will be removed from the Car Parks after July 9th2018.

7.   Jugged Hare drinkers blocking the pavement

Since the previous meeting, we have had one further instance (23rdMay) of Jugged Hare patrons blocking the pavement. This was resolved by Eddy Williams, the manager.

If anyone sees the pavement blocked, forcing passers-by into the road, please send a photograph, with time and date, to Jane (

8.   Arts Centre events and use of the Beech St Tunnel

There are some more events planned. Christopher Gorman-Evans is representing Cromwell Tower residents at the consultation meetings with the Arts Centre. He has  given them comments on the March 2018 sound and light event. He has also collected and contributed comments, via the Barbican Association, on the Barbican Centre’s “Visitor Plan”. This Visitor Plan covers such points as communication with residents prior to outdoor events, managing noise from events in the Garden Room and Sculpture Court, and rules for coaches and other vehicles associated with the Centre.

There will be future events and consultations:

“The Arts Centre is planning another “Sound Unbound” weekend next year – the Barbican/GSMD/LSO. Most of the events will take place indoors but there will be some outside. The Arts Centre suggests setting up a small working group with residents to ensure that it goes off smoothly. “

“[To introduce] Clarisse Tavin, of the City’s Department of the Built Environment (Culture Mile), because she wants to consult residents about another proposed closure (part closure this time, I think) this summer in order to install an artwork on the panels on the south side of the tunnel. The art work is, I believe, static but installing it will involve closing part of Beech Street and presumably some noise.” (email from Jane Smith, Barbican Association, 19thJune 2018)

9.   Rubbish outside the front door – 01 level – Cromwell Place

In our previous meeting, we asked Luke to investigate how to improve the area outside our main front entrance, where the bins are stored. Luke reports that Paul, our cleaner, has now cleared the ‘alleyway’ between the bin store and our lobby.

Lobby Porters have been asked to prevent people storing supermarket trollies in this area. The cleaners and porters will ensure that doors to the Bin Store are kept closed. The Bin Store floor has also been cleaned.

There remains the problem of cigarette butts being dropped outside the front door.

10.Items left in lift lobbies

Luke has been inspecting balconies and lift lobbies, removing items to ensure that these areas are clear in accordance with Fire Safety advice. He reports that he is now down to floor 14. He is satisfied that people are mostly observing the need to keep lobbies and balconies clear for firefighters, firefighting equipment, and for resident exit routes.


The next Committee Meeting is at on 29thOctober 2018 7pm

The AGM and Christmas Party is on29thNovember 2018 7pm


12.Committee Members

The Committee would benefit from additional members, so that the Committee represents more of the Tower, and so that we have sufficient Committee members to represent the Tower on various working parties.

All residents are eligible to serve on the Committee, including City tenants, private tenants, and long leaseholders. Residents who are able and willing to serve on the Committee are encouraged to contact John Tomlinson,

Jane Northcote has been the Committee Secretary for three years. She is now looking to hand over to someone else. The Committee thanked her for her contribution. She will hand over the role at the meeting after the next AGM.

13.Bikes on Cromwell Place Fences

There are currently notices on the fence of Cromwell Place asking cyclists not to lock their bikes to the railings. Cycles are increasingly being locked here. Effective immediately, Luke will ask the porters to alert the BEO when bikes are locked to the railings. A BEO staff member will then come with bolt-cutters, remove the bike and take it to a storage location.

The Committee suggested that Luke consider a procedure for informing the bike owner what had happened to their bike.

Christopher is in touch with the City to request more bike racks in the area, including in Silk Street, and he has asked the Barbican Centre to support this request.

14.Plants and Planters on Cromwell Place

There are a number of issues with the planters on Cromwell Place. The big containers near the road are maintained by the BEO. The plants in the big planters dried out and looked in poor condition during the dry weather. Passers-by throw cans into these containers, treating them like rubbish bins.

Committee members asked Luke why these are in such poor condition, when the planting in big containers near Lauderdale is similar, but those are better cared for and look much healthier.  There are also healthy and cared-for plants on Silk Street and on Speed Highwalk.

The small containers directly outside the front doors are planted and maintained by Cromwell residents Julian Hale and Helen Likierman. Despite the dry weather, these small containers have colourful and flourishing displays.

Some people would like to see more planters in Cromwell Place, one in front of each pillar.

Luke will provide a watering schedule for the planters, so we understand why they dry out. He will also sort out who is responsible for removing rubbish from the planted containers.

Luke explained that if Cromwell residents want additional planters, then residents will have to pay for them. He will obtain prices, and find out if additional planters would be maintained by the BEO. He will also arrange for Paul Baldessari, the new Director of Open Spaces, to visit a meeting of the Garden Advisory Group. This is a Barbican-wide working party of the Residents Consultation Committee (RCC). They have already identified Cromwell Place as an area needing attention.

15.Art in the 01 Lobby

image007A new artist has just installed her work in the 01 Lift Lobby. She is Neelu Patel, who is the sister of Kalpesh, our porter., and on Twitter @neelupatel1973.

Thank you to Alan Budgen, who organises this programme of art displays.

16.Freeview problems

There is a television freeview service provided by VFM. This service has had problems recently, reported by John Tomlinson at this meeting, and also by other residents of the estate on Barbicantalk. VFM have a contract with the BEO, but they have subcontracted service of this freeview operation to another company. This other company declares it will charge a call-out fee if the problem is found to be the ‘resident’s installation’. The situation when the problem is estate-wide seems to be unclear. In any case, VFM is not providing the service it was contracted to provide, and Luke will take this issue up with Mike Saunders.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8pm precisely, as people started to arrive for the Summer Party.