Committee Meeting 5th March 2017 MINUTES

Here are the Minutes  of our Committee Meeting 5th March 2018 as a downloadable pdf document:

Minutes for CTHG 5 March 2018 version 3 (pdf)

Here 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.  


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

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


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 (


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

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.


CTHG Minutes 21st June 2016


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)

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.


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 to notify them after the event.

Also please email John Tomlinson: 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.


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.

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.



27 Sept 19:00 Committee Meeting

1st December 19:00 AGM and Christmas Party

31st January 2017 19:00 Committee Meeting