On Friday 1st September, residents volunteers circulated the first of Ledbury Action Groups newsletters with updates from the meeting held on 23rd August:
Ledbury Action Group
Summary of the residents meeting with Southwark Council Wednesday 23rd August 2017
New website: www.ledburyestate.com
Facebook: Ledbury Action Group
The Ledbury Action Group are a small group of resident volunteers campaigning for answers and a resolution to the crisis on the estate. Please do visit our new website above to find out more about us, get involved, and to stay up to date with the latest developments via the ‘Campaign Blog’. Feel free to get in touch with us via the email address or via the contact form on the website.
For the benefit of those without internet access, we will continue to hand deliver leaflets like this one to all residents with important information to keep you updated.
The meeting on Wednesday 23rd August 2017, was attended by many Ledbury Estate residents. In attendance from Southwark Council were:
- Eleanor Kelly (CEO)
- Peter John (Leader of Southwark Council)
- Cllr. Stephanie Cryan (Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Housing)
- Gerri Scott (Strategic Director of Housing & Modernisation)
- Dave Markham (Asset Management & Head of Major Works)
- Tony Hunter (Head of Engineering)
Summary of Southwark Council’s promises & assurances from the meeting
Heating, Hot Water & Cooking:
1) An electricity upgrade is required by UK Power Networks to enable the towers to be able to support the use of the new immersion water heaters, plus the greater use of electric cookers and other appliances such as fan and oil heaters. This upgrade is expected around 6th September.
2) The council are currently working their way around the flats installing the water heaters.
3) Southwark Council have proposed a new diesel-powered heating system which is expected to be in place by mid-October.
4) The immersion heaters are described as a ‘temporary solution’ until mid-October and it was suggested that they would no longer be needed once the permanent hot water and heating system is installed.
5) Full size electrical cookers will be provided by Southwark Council for those who previously had gas cookers, once the new electricity supply is able to cope with the higher usage.
1) Southwark Council are currently in negotiations with Hyde Housing to buy the nearby new build development of 80 flats to use exclusively for Ledbury residents. It is hoped to be ready by November. The tenancies would be council tenancies, not Housing Association.
2) 94 Ledbury tenants are currently in ‘Band One’ on the council’s homesearch list. 31 residents are in the process of applying for ‘Band One’. 12 households have moved so far. 4 households have chosen to take up the offer of emergency temporary accommodation and are in B&B hotels.
3) The Housing Options team based at the Ledbury TRA hall on Pencraig Way will now be adopting a more flexible approach with tenants in relation to their bedroom needs. No-one is required to downsize.
4) Leaseholders were advised that there would be individual offers dependent on circumstances. (One resident leaseholder is trying to form a leaseholders group - please do contact her at email@example.com)
5) The ‘Right To Return’ was once again promised for all who move out.
Structural Works & Issues:
1) An initial report from the ARUP engineers was released on 31st August and is available to view on the councils dedicated section of the website at: www.southwark.gov.uk/ledburytowers hard copies are also available to view at the Ledbury Estate TRA hall.
2) Further ARUP investigations will be undertaken on the panels and joints starting on 11th September. The full report is due from ARUP with those findings on 20th November. The report will be made public.
3) No records have been found relating to the Greater London Councils (GLC) ownership period, but records have been found from the date Southwark Council took over ownership of the towers in the 1980’s.
4) Gerri Scott stated that the towers are safe, which was later partially retracted by Peter John.
Major Works programme:
1) The nature, timing and level of disruption is still unclear at this time as this all rests on the final ARUP report of 20th November. There is still no definitive answer as to whether residents will have to move out during major works or not.
2) Full redecoration and refurbishment of the flats was promised as part of the major works
1) Specific financial issues must be dealt with via the staff in the Ledbury TRA hall, these will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
2) A cheque for £200 to cover higher utility costs will be hand delivered to all residents by 1st September. An increased payment will be made to the Peterchurch residents who have been without heating/hot water for longer.
3) A further ’compensation package’ will be considered as part of the council's investigation into the whole Ledbury situation.
Any other business:
1) Cllr. Stephanie Cryan has promised a full investigation into the Ledbury towers issues which will be completed by the end of the year.
2) Cllrs. Peter John & Stephanie Cryan have made a commitment to keep the Ledbury land exclusively for council Housing in the future.
3) Cllr. Stephanie Cryan promised to look into and solve the multiple issues reported relating to treatment and information received from staff at the TRA hall.
Notes and updates from Ledbury Action Group:
1) Southwark Liberal Democrat and Southwark Labour Party have both agreed that the Ledbury land should remain exclusively council Housing and have promised this will be in their upcoming manifestos.
2) Gerri Scott (Strategic Director of Housing & Modernisation) resigned on Friday 25th August. She will serve out her notice period and leave Southwark Council at the end of the year.
3) The Ledbury Action Group are working with the Tenants & Residents Association and the Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations to explore the possibility of employing the services of an ‘Independent Tenants & Leaseholder Advisor’ for the estate. If you are interested in finding out more about this or getting involved in the selection process please email: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible as the TRA will begin interviewing next week.
4) Southwark Liberal Democrats had requested an Emergency Full Council Assembly to address the Ledbury crisis - this was subsequently rejected by Southwark Mayor due to a full diary. It has been suggested instead that there may be an opportunity for councillors to discuss Ledbury at the next Overview & Scrutiny Committee Meeting on 11th September, though the date and agenda for this are yet to be confirmed.
5) On a lighter note, Ledbury Action Group are in the process of trying to organise a fun day for all residents. Further updates will be sent out in due course once arrangements have been made.
Ledbury Action Group
At the same time Southwark Council also released their own meeting notes, available here