Residents were invited to meet with local Councillors Richard Livingstone and Michael Situ as well as the Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr. Stephanie Cryan at the Ledbury Estate TRA hall on Monday 24th July. In order not to take up the residents' time with the Councillors, we instead forwarded them our list of questions. The questions and the responses can be viewed below. The answers were received on 31st July from Cllr. Stephanie Cryan and again confirms that Southwark believed at this time that the Ledbury Estate blocks were 'Type B' blocks, (not Type A like Ronan Point.)
Q) Can you explicitly confirm, that regardless of the outcome of decisions made on the future of the Ledbury Estate and the major works, the land covering the estate will always remain to be exclusively and entirely for council housing? Even in the unlikely event of demolition/rebuilding or regeneration? And that the 'right to return' promise includes the same tenancy basis and rent rate?
A) We are committed to undertaking works that will allow the Ledbury Estate to remain on the site and confirm that the right to return promise includes the same tenancy basis and rent rate.
Q) Can you confirm when and how the compensation payments for 'distress and disruption' will be calculated and paid to residents and if this includes residents planning to move? Can you also confirm that these payments are not attached to conditions or disclaimers restricting any future claims?
A) Any compensation payment will be discussed individually depending on the scope of works being carried out and therefore we will not have a blanket formula for this.
Q) Can you confirm that for residents wishing to move, that the £5,800 mentioned to 'assist with the cost of moving' will be paid in cheque/BACS form directly to the resident with time to clear ahead of their individual moving dates? (Rather than be reimbursed onto a rent account, thus potentially taking months to be withdrawn via cheque) Again, I refer to Michael Situ's speech in the deputation relating to residents not dipping into their own pockets. I would have assumed that by releasing the details of this, the arrangements would have already been made and further details would have been forthcoming sooner.
A) The home loss payment of £5,800 is triggered for processing on the day the tenant signs up for their new tenancy . In addition to this we are offering support to those moving with regard to arranging removal services , including help with packing , boxes etc with all costs being picked up directly by the council in addition to the £5,800. The home loss payment itself is processed through Finance and normally takes 2/3 weeks however we have already spoken to colleagues in Finance to try and ensure they turn payments around for Ledbury tenants as soon as possible. The payment would be made by BACS payment or cheque.
Q) Can you appreciate that some residents are feeling alarmed by the new resident liaison officers who are wearing badges from the Aylesbury estate, and what that implies and insinuates to residents who are already nervous about the future of our estate?
A) A member of staff from the Aylesbury Team has been supporting and helping residents of the Ledbury Estate in recent weeks . At this time it may be necessary to transfer in additional staff from other areas staff to help support residents of the four Ledbury Blocks. They are all Southwark staff and their ID badge reflects their more permanent role.
Q) Can you explain why the fire marshals are still doing 12 hour shifts when Gerri Scott confirmed to Richard at the council meeting on 21st July that they'd been reduced to 8 hour shifts?
A) Staff working for the council are on 8 hour shifts however we have had to secure resources from external fire warden companies who still run 12 hour shifts. We have specified what is expected of the fire wardens and they are thoroughly briefed before each shift. We are in the process of procuring and installing a communal alarm system which will reduce the need for fire wardens in the four tower blocks.
Q) Can you assure Leaseholders that in the unlikely event of future CPO's on their properties they will be offered full market value?
A) We have no plans to CPO any leaseholder properties.
Q) Can you confirm whether the request for wind loading capability/progressive collapse testing on the Large Panels within the Ledbury towers will be undertaken and the results will be published as soon as that is completed?
A) We have asked Arup to carry out a 5psi test on the tower blocks and will share this information once we receive it.
Q) Can you confirm that you have investigated the decision to supply gas to the towers and that this concluded that gas is wholly appropriate and does not pose any danger? (As per question 7)
A) Again we have asked Arup to carry this investigation out and will share this information once we have received it. The BRE report from 1985 confirms that the blocks on the Ledbury are type B and were built after Ronan Point.
Q) Can you confirm when you expect the full ARUP investigation to be completed and that the results will be published?
A) Arup hope to have completed their investigations in around three weeks time and once they have produced their report we will be making that public.
Q) Can you appreciate that residents do not feel comfortable with the removal of fire marshals until the cracks are permanently remedied?
A)Once the communal alarm system is installed we will scale back fire warden cover but there will still be fire wardens present to help vulnerable residents until the works needed have been carried out.
Q) Can you confirm that the single residents who came into the Ledbury towers under the 'Hard To Let' scheme (and thereby occupy two-bed flats) should not be punished if they feel unsafe and wish to move and will therefore not be downgraded to one-beds?
A) There will be no down grading for residents who were on the Hard to Let scheme.