Committee Meeting 5th March 2018 MINUTES

To download  the Minutes  of our Committee Meeting 5th March 2018 as a printable pdf document, click this link: Minutes for CTHG 5 March 2018 version 3 (pdf)

Below are the minutes as a webpage with pictures:

Date for your diary: Cromwell Tower House Group Summer Party

June 26th 2018 – 8pm – Podium Room

All residents invited.  

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)

Committee meeting 5th March 19:00 in the Podium Room, Minutes of meeting

Committee Members:

John Tomlinson (Chairman) (apologies received, he was at the RCC)
Jane Northcote (Secretary)
Laurance Jones (Treasurer) (apologies received)
Mike Bristow (apologies received)
Alan Budgen
Frances Calman (apologies received)
Christopher Gorman-Evans
Julian Hale

Barbican Estate Officer:

Luke Barton

Luke.Barton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

1.  Welcome

In John Tomlinson’s absence, Christopher Gorman-Evans agreed to chair this meeting. We welcomed David Candy, a resident of the Tower, as a potential new Committee member.

2.  Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Mike Bristow, John Tomlinson, Frances Calman. Laurance Jones had hoped to join us, but was in hospital. We send him our good wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.

3.  Minutes of the last committee meeting: 27th Sept 2017

The minutes of our 27th Sept 2017 meeting were approved as accurate, and signed by Julian Hale who was acting Chairman at that meeting.

Matters Arising from previous COMMITTEE meeting

27th Sept 2017

4.  Fire Safety

Luke gave us an update on the current position and answered our questions. His answers are below.
a) What is the Fire resistance of our front doors? Will our flat front doors, and surrounding area, be replaced or not?

Answer: A front door section from Shakespeare is being sent away for destruction testing. Once the results have been received, along with the Fire Risk Assessments, reports will go to the Barbican Estate Residents Consultation Committee (RCC) and Barbican Residential Committee (BRC).

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

Answer: It’s highly unlikely that sprinklers will be installed in the Towers at this time.

c) What about the Fire Extinguishers?

Answer: The advice of the London Fire Brigade is that the Fire Extinguishers should be removed from all the common parts areas on the Estate. In the event of a Fire, people should prioritise calling the Fire Brigade and getting to safety as needed. All the Fire Extinguishers will be removed, including those in the Car Parks at the same time.

d) There was a London Fire Brigade Training exercise in Cromwell Tower on 14 Feb. What did we learn?

Answer: The Training exercise was very useful to both the London Fire Brigade and the Barbican Estate Office (BEO). The firefighters were able to test new equipment and had very positive feedback for the provisions put in place by the BEO. The test showed that the Fire Brigade can easily access and use the Fire Service Information that is held in the Tower. The porter(s) are well briefed and able to direct them to the various areas of the Tower as required. The exercise confirmed that the “stay put” policy is correct: firefighters use the fire stairs for access and for their equipment, which constricts access along the stairwell. Anyone trying to exit past them while they are ‘firefighting’ will find it very difficult to pass them on the stairs. Further to this the lobbies that are used to set up become very constricted so unless you are directly affected by smoke or fire the advice to remain in your property still stands.

Here are some pictures from the exercise:

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

Answer: The Fire Risk Assessor (Carl Dennis of Frankhams) has visited the Tower and visited a number of flats. He still has some common part areas of the Estate to visit before completing his report which will be reviewed and then made available on the COL website.

It worth is noting that some of the flats we visited still didn’t have smoke alarms. You can still arrange to get smoke alarms installed by the London Fire Brigade by contacting them on 0800 028 44 28

Or http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/HomeFireSafetyVisit.asp

5.  Art in the 01 Lobby

There’s a new exhibition in the lobby! Thank you Alan.

6.  Electric Car Charging points

Luke reported that there will be Electric Car Park points in the 02 or 03 levels of the Car Park under Cromwell. The wiring is in place. This prototype was due to start November or December 2017. This start date is now delayed until May 2018 because there is a problem that in order to connect the system, it looks as though UK Power Networks will need to interrupt the local power supply.

7.  Rubbish in the Car Parks

Luke reported back. He told us:

‘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 you have 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 and toys etc). Initially these items will be stickered with a date after which time they will be disposed of.’

8.  CTHG response to Mike Saunders’ proposal for internal redecoration

On 17th August 2017 residents received a letter from Mike Saunders proposing internal redecoration of Cromwell Tower. Most of this is repainting the woodwork on and around the front doors of our flats. Since there is a study in progress, Item 4 above, to evaluate the possibility of replacing all this woodwork and upgrading its fire resistance, it didn’t make sense to repaint it at that point. Jane wrote a letter on behalf of the House Group to ask that this redecoration be delayed until the result of the fire-resistance study is known. Then the schedule can be adjusted. The House Group Committee emphasised the importance of maintaining the internal redecoration programme, without too much of a gap. Luke confirmed that the redecoration will simply be delayed, and certainly not missed out altogether. As noted above, we are still awaiting the results of the test on the fire resistance of the door from Shakespeare, so the redecoration is on hold.

9.  Huge puddles on Cromwell Highwalk

IMG_3094 (1)There is a huge puddle on the Podium, by the steps next to the disused Exhibition Hall entrance. This is inconvenient for pedestrians, and degrades the tiling. Beech Street Gardens work is planned to be continued towards Cromwell, and the drains would be fixed as part of this work. The work is currently scheduled for Autumn 2019. There is so far no decision on whether the Exhibition Hall entrance (“Yellow Corridor”) will be removed as part of this work.

 

10.         General Data Protection Regulation – Advice for House Groups (Barbican Association General Council meeting 21 Sept 2017)

The regulation will apply from 25th May 2018. It may apply to CTHG because our membership secretary holds a list of members, as required by the Registered Tenants Association rules.

Action: Christopher will write to Jane Smith at the Barbican Association (BA) to ask for specific advice.

11.         Update on Barbican lease enforcement issues, specifically: Pets, Wooden Floors, Short-term holiday lets

The lease specifies that living areas are to be carpeted, pets are not allowed and short-term holiday lets (‘AirBnB’) are also not permitted. Barbican Estate officers want guidance on how to respond to lease infringements. They prepared a paper which was discussed in the Barbican Estate Residents Consultation Committee (RCC) meeting, Dec 11th 2017.  The resulting protocol, which sets out the procedure for the BEO to follow, was passed by the RCC meeting 5th March 2018 and is awaiting approval by the Barbican Residential Committee (BRC) meeting 19th March 2018.

On short-term holiday lets, Luke reported that the BEO have been taking enforcement action, and this has been effective. If anyone sees that a flat is used for short-term holiday let, please let Luke know.

12.         Noise from kitchen vent in the Jugged Hare

A committee member had been contacted in Sept 2017 by a resident whose family is disturbed by a very noisy ventilator fan from the kitchen at the Jugged Hare.

This ventilator is not only noisy, it also emits kitchen smells. The problem is greater in summer.

Action: Luke to follow up with the resident, and let the House Group Committee know if the problem persists. We can then take it up with the Jugged Hare.

Matters Arising from The AGM Nov 28th 2017

13.         Jugged Hare drinkers blocking the pavement

After the November 2017 AGM minutes were issued, the problem with Jugged Hare patrons blocking the pavement has recurred. A house group member sent Jane a picture of Jugged Hare patrons blocking the pavement on 10 Jan 2018 at 7pm. Jane wrote to the Jugged Hare and they responded. Their CCTV showed that this obstruction occurred during a 15 minute period and was soon cleared. They said that they were taking the matter seriously and were working to prevent recurrances. We will continue to try to resolve this issue by maintaining a dialogue with the Jugged Hare. There have been no recent problems but the weather has been very cold.  If anyone sees the pavement blocked, forcing passers-by into the road, please send a photograph to Jane (Jane@JaneNorthcote.com).

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

14.         Carpets in the Lift Lobbies

A house group member queried how the carpet replacement programme worked, since the carpet on his floor was fine and didn’t need replacing.

Luke gave us an update. Four carpets will be replaced in the next two months. These are carpets in poor condition on the 5th, 11th, 17th, 18th floors.  After this, there remain 12 which have not yet been replaced as part of the current programme. Some of these are in good condition. Luke does an inspection and manages the replacement programme. The ones in poorest condition are replaced first, regardless of age. Sometimes a carpet is damaged by use or by leakage onto the carpet from rubbish bags. We are currently replacing two per year. This will be reviewed once all the carpets in a bad state have been replaced. The cost of this is shared by all flats in the Tower and goes on the service charge.

15.         Beech Street Tunnel event (16th 17th 18th March)

The Barbican Centre will stage a classical music event in the Beech St Tunnel. This will close the tunnel for certain periods around the weekend of 18th March. Our House Group and other House Groups welcomed the partial closure of the tunnel to traffic, which will improve air quality, albeit temporarily, and we look forward to a world class event on our doorstep. With other House Groups we submitted an objection on the grounds that the event organisers had not sorted out access to Cromwell Place, noise containment, crowd dispersal and other issues.

By the time these minutes are distributed, residents should have received a communication from the Barbican Centre: two A4 printed sheets, including an access map. Access to Cromwell Place will be restricted.

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

IMG_2524
Bin store outside the front entrance of Cromwell Tower

a) Bin store – to the left of the door as you leave the building.

This bin store and the surrounding area are often a mess. There may be a problem that, with increased deliveries to the Tower in cardboard boxes, this storage area is no longer large enough for our needs.

Action: Luke to speak with our cleaner, Paul, and see what can be improved.

b) Storage of traffic cones, brown food bin, Waitrose trollies, cigarette butts, in this area

Currently there is the brown food bin, traffic cones, and a number of Waitrose trollies on Cromwell Place outside the bin store.

There is no Waitrose trolley “collection service” from Cromwell Tower.

Action: Luke will investigate further, with the aim of tidying up this area.

17.         Items left in lift lobbies

The Committee has heard concerns from House Group members about shopping trollies, rubbish bags and cardboard boxes being left in the lift lobbies over the weekend and during the day.

The Fire Exercise (Item 4 above) showed how important it is that lift lobbies are clear so that firefighters can manoeuvre their equipment.

Action: Luke will investigate and if needed, re-issue the notice about the procedure for rubbish disposal.

18.         DATES

Tuesday 26th June 2018, 7pm Committee Meeting

Tuesday 26th June 2018, 8pm Summer Party

The acting Chairman closed the meeting at 20:15.

 

Committee Meeting 25th Sept 2017 MINUTES

Here are the Minutes  of our Committee Meeting 25th September 2017 as a downloadable pdf document:

MINUTES for CTHG (25 Sept 2017) Version 5 (PDF)

Here are the minutes as a webpage with pictures and embedded links to documents:

CROMWELL TOWER HOUSE GROUP (CTHG)
MINUTES for Committee meeting 25th Sept 2017
19:00 in the Podium Room

Committee Members:

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

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

Julian Hale opened the meeting. Mike Bristow joined us as a potential new Committee Member (see item 24 below).

  1. Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from John Tomlinson and Lesley Bradshaw.
In John Tomlinson’s absence, Julian Hale was our acting Chairman for this meeting.

  1. Minutes of the last committee meetings: 27th and 28th June

The minutes of the Committee Meeting on June 27th were approved by the Committee and signed by the acting Chairman.  The minutes of the meeting on June 28th (Fire Safety) were approved by the Committee and signed by Laurance Jones.

Matters Arising from previous COMMITTEE meetingS 
27th and 28th June 2017
(for details please see the minutes of these meetings on these links: 27th June Committee Meeting, 28th June Fire Safety Special Meeting)

  1. Fire Safety

Cromwell Tower and Shakespeare Tower House Group Chairmen wrote a letter to Andrew Carter, City of London Director of Community and Children’s Services, requesting a meeting and a full risk assessment of the Towers to cover both fire and other threats. This meeting took place on 26th Sept. Andrew Carter said that further Fire Risk Assessments will take place in Dec 2017 to Jan 2018. In parallel there are studies to assess sprinklers, fire alarms, and enhanced front doors to the flats. A further meeting will be scheduled.

The City of London maintains a list of Questions and Answers on Fire Safety. See this link:
https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/housing/Documents/barbican-estate-fire-safety.pdf

We requested that an official from the City of London be present at our AGM 29th November to report on actions taken and to answer questions.
Action: Luke

  1. Bicycle Parking (CGE)

 

Visitors to nearby businesses increasingly arrive by bicycle. Sometimes the bike racks in Silk Street are full, and cycles are fastened to the railings round Cromwell Place. On occasions these bicycles have obstructed the stairs.
Christopher was in touch with Albert Cheung of the City of London Transportation Department. Mr Cheung says,
“We do appreciate at peak times demand can out strips supply. Therefore, we will closely monitor the cycle parking in Silk Street and review the need / feasibility for additional cycle parking.
We have recently undertaken a cycle parking audit of the Barbican and the outcomes have been shared with the Barbican Centre and the Barbican Estate (car parks) for their consideration and if appropriate to install new cycle parking facilities.”
We will monitor the situation and draw further problems to his attention. Item resolved for the time being.

  1. Information about the House Group (JT/LB)

John Tomlinson was keen that information about the house group should be more visible to residents. Luke will draft a notice to go in the lift. This will mention the website: www.CromwellTower.org
Action: Luke

  1. Void Space (LB)

The owner of the Void space on the podium level has submitted plans to develop this as a residence. The plans are with the Barbican Estate Office awaiting Landlord’s approval.

  1. Cromwell Tower House Group Online (JN)  www.CromwellTower.org

This site is now live, and contains the minutes of House Group Committee meetings and other public information about Cromwell Tower.
The Committee thanked Jane for her effort.
Please send comments and feedback to Jane@JaneNorthcote.com or click the comments button on a post or webpage on the site.

  1. Art in the 01 Lobby (AB)

The Committee thanked Alan for arranging the art exhibition in the 01 Lobby. Further exhibitions are planned.

  1. Licence application by The Brewery (JN)

The Brewery applied to open an establishment on the North side of Chiswell Street, with music and dancing to the small hours. CTHG submitted an objection. We received a letter from their solicitor advising that hours had been reduced and measures were in place to manage customers leaving the premises. We withdrew our objection. No further action.

If residents are disturbed by noise from the Brewery or its patrons, contact the City of London Environmental Health team. Call 020 7606 3030 to get action for noise now (24 hours), or after the event email publicprotection@cityoflondon.gov.uk.
If there is a persistent problem, please let a House Group Committee member know, so we can co-ordinate a joint response.

  1. Jugged Hare patrons obstructing the pavement.

On sunny days, drinkers and smokers outside “The Jugged Hare” obstruct the narrow pavement on Chiswell Street. Passers-by then have to walk in the street. Managers in the Brewery, who run the Jugged Hare, have said that they will corral drinkers and keep them to one side of the footway. They don’t do this consistently and the footway is often blocked. This is dangerous and inconvenient, especially to those with pushchairs or wheelchairs.

Action: Please take photographs which show the problem. Send them to Jane (Jane@JaneNorthcote.com). When Jane has three photographs, she will compose a letter to the Jugged Hare to ask that they take more determined action.

13th Oct (2)

  1. Car parking Charges increase

The City wrote to residents proposing to make a large increase in Car Parking Charges as part of a policy to bring charges in line with market rates. There was opposition from residents and their elected representatives. The proposal was rejected by the Barbican Residential Committee (BRC). A Working Party was initiated by the BRC to look at Car Park revenue and costs, with the objective that Car Parks will generate reasonable income, to cover the costs, while not imposing an onerous burden on residents.  For the time being, the City have proposed a more moderate increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, in a letter 28th June 2017. 

  1. Electric Car Charging points (JT) 

Luke reported that there will be Electric Car Park points in the 02 or 03 levels of the Car Park under Cromwell. The wiring is in place. This prototype will start November or December 2017.

  1. Rubbish in the Car Parks (LB)

The cleaners have removed obvious rubbish from the Car Parks. However there are still items in the Car Parks which should not be there. Only cars should be stored in the Car Parks. Luke is expecting to receive approval from the City legal team to remove from the car parks such items as oil cans, trolleys and toys. These will be tagged, and notice will be given. Then these items will be taken away.

  1. Planters in Cromwell Place (JH/LB)

Julian has requested additional small planters for Cromwell Place, so we can have one in front of each pillar. The minutes of our meeting on 21st June 2016 state that Luke will put in a strong case for additional planters in the year 2016/17 which is this year. However Luke now reports that there is no money from the landlord for additional planters. None are available from elsewhere on the Estate. Therefore no more planters will be supplied.

  1. Key for Fire door (exit door from Dining Area) (JN) 

Advice on the City of London website says that we should test that we can open the fire doors which provide an exit route from the dining areas of our flats. There is a keyhole in this door.IMG_0409

The advice says:

“The key is there so that the door can be checked. Keys are available to sign out Redecoration Letter17 Aug 2017from BEO reception. Should you have any problems opening this door (which you may if the door has not been opened for a long time) then please contact your House Officer who will have an order raised for this door to be opened by our contractors for you.”

In practice, the key is tricky to operate, and may not work atall. The Committee asked Luke to review the information given to the BEO Reception staff who dispense the keys, so that they can advise residents of the correct procedure.

Most of these fire doors give exits via the balconies and fire stairs. Certain flats need to exit via neighbouring flats. Luke will take action to help residents test these non-standard escape routes.

OTHER BUSINESS

CTHG response to Mike Saunders’ proposal for internal redecoration (JN)

Residents received a letter from Mike Saunders dated 17th August proposing to go ahead with internal redecoration of Cromwell Tower. Most of this is repainting the woodwork on and around the front doors of our flats. Since there is a study in progress to evaluate the possibility of replacing all this woodwork and upgrading its fire resistance, it didn’t make sense to repaint it right now. Jane wrote a letter on behalf of the House Group to ask that this redecoration be delayed until the result of the fire-resistance study is known. Then the schedule can be adjusted. The Committee emphasised the importance of maintaining the internal redecoration programme, without too much of a gap, and Luke confirmed that the redecoration will simply be delayed, and certainly not missed out altogether.

  1. 18. Huge puddles on Cromwell Highwalk (again)

There is a huge puddle on the Podium, by the steps next to the disused Exhibition Hall entrance. This looks bad, is inconvenient for pedestrians, and degrades the tiling. Luke said that the Beech Street Gardens work was planned to be continued towards Cromwell, and that the drains would be fixed as part of this work.

fullsizeoutput_1954

Action: Luke – report on when the drains problem will be fixed.

  1. General Data Protection Regulation – Advice for House Groups (Barbican Association General Council meeting 21 Sept)

We are awaiting advice from the City of London and the Barbican Association.

  1. Update on Barbican lease enforcement issues, specifically: Pets, Wooden Floors, Short-term holiday lets

Currently, officers of the BEO sometimes take a hard line on lease enforcement issues, and sometimes not. A Barbican resident has engaged in legal action to get the City to enforce the lease condition which specifies that floors must be carpeted. Officers want guidance on how to respond to lease infringements. They have prepared a paper to be discussed in the next Barbican Residential Committee meeting, currently scheduled for December 11th 2017.

http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=188&MId=19004&Ver=4

http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/documents/s83540/lease%20enforcements%20V%202.pdf

  1. Thank you to Luke for replacing the bollard on Cromwell Place

The Committee thanked Luke for replacing the bollard that had been damaged by a City of London refuse collection vehicle. Luke assured us that there is now a spare bollard, so future replacements will be quicker.

IMG_1459 (1)

  1. Noise from kitchen vent in the Jugged Hare

A committee member had been contacted by a resident whose family is disturbed by a very noisy ventilator fan from the kitchen at the Jugged Hare.

Action: Luke is going to contact the resident to find out more.

  1.  Electrical Recycling

Question: Now that the Mezzanine is not available, where do we put electrical items for recycling,  such as spent light bulbs, broken fan heaters etc?

Answer: There is an electrical recycling skip under Bunyan House. Go down the ramp from Fann Street, between Blake Tower and the Wildlife Garden, and into the Car Park. There is also clothes recycling there.

  1. Changes to the Committee

In a previous meeting, Lesley Bradshaw had advised us that she intended to step down from the Committee with effect as of the AGM on 29th November. Mike Bristow, a Cromwell Tower resident, had indicated that he would like to join the Committee and it was agreed that Mike would be officially proposed as a Committee Member at the AGM.

The Committee thanked Julian Hale for stepping in as temporary Chairman in John Tomlinson’s absence. Julian closed the meeting at 20:38.

  1. DATES

AGM and Christmas Party: Wednesday November 29th 2017, 7pm

Committee Meeting: Monday 5th March 2018, 7pm

Committee Meeting and Summer Party: Tuesday 26th June 2018, 7pm

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 and are online at http://www.CromwellTower.org. 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 .