Month: October 2009

A plan for the lawn

You will probably have noticed that parts of the lawn are looking a little tired. One reason for this is the lack of sunlight and this will be addressed by pruning some of the larger trees over the winter. The other is that the gardeners have not had machinery sufficiently slender to fit through our narrow entrance gates. Until now. Read on as the gardeners explain:

“At a recent trade show we found a spiking machine that is not very large and heavy that we will definitely be able to get into your garden. It guarantees a depth of spike to 3 inches (when the soil is wet of course) and works in a completely different system of forcing the tines into the ground using a spring loaded entry mechanism rather than relying on the weight of the machine. This should mean that we will be able to spike your lawns with a 3″ hollow tine spike. We will then need to top-dress with a sandy dressing to get the maximum effect and need to do the whole job several times in the first year to really make a difference to deep compaction. This machine called a DECOMPACTAIR is not actually available yet and they do not expect to be selling it until the end of the year (but then your soil won’t be ready to use it on until at least then).

Secondly: We will purchase a medium sized scarifier that can get through your gates. This will take longer to use than our top of the range professional one and not leave the surface looking as good to start with. But it will still get dead grass, moss and thatch out and the grass will grow back. The scarifying will allow the fertiliser and seed to get in as well as the water to better get to where it is needed and the long term results should be a much better lawn.

So with the above in mind I can now say we intend to follow the lawn care plan below in an attempt to get your lawns looking as good as possible:

Terry [one of the gardeners] will be spraying the worst areas with a selective lawn weed-killer in the next week (weather permitting).

He will over seed the barest patches soon after with Barenbrug Bar Stadia seed – which we have had very good results with this year on areas of less light.

We will then spike and top-dress the lawn in winter (providing we can get the new DECOMPACTAIR machine) and when the ground has softened up sufficiently.

We will scarify the lawn in late winter.

And then reseed and lightly top-dress (either straight after scarifying or slightly later depending on the weather and timing).

Then fertilise with a slow release fertiliser in about April – again depending on weather etc.

With just a little luck the above will give as good a lawn as it is possible to get and the results should start to be clear in early summer next year. However the full results won’t be apparent for probably another year.

As for costs the only additional costs to the garden in the short term will be for the materials: Grass seed, top-dressing and fertiliser. We will not be charging anything for the two machines purchased primarily to use in your garden as we will be able to use them elsewhere.”

Summary of August Board Meeting



The board discussed the long term maintenance plan put forward by SHW surveyors. The proposals were discussed at length and the directors agreed to proceed with the first phase of the works – the refurbishment of the Elgin Avenue frontage, to commence in Spring 2010.

It was agreed, in principle, to collect the additional funds required over three years (for a four year programme) although on the first year’s budget could be set at this meeting. The proposals were discussed at length, and it was agreed to raise the reserve income for the year to £125,000 and to issue one-off demands for £175,000.

It was agreed to maintain the general service charge budget at the previous year’s level but to increase the central heating budget to cover the expected higher cost of gas. The board thanked Linda Foss of kfh for her efforts in managing the block but declined to fund an increase in managing agents’ fees.

For budget details, please see the Chairman’s letter on the subject.


A company owning four flats is in arrears. It was agreed to request the full amount within 7 days and then to pass the matter to solicitors.

Water Mains

BTU has finished surveying the first stage flats where they had access and have returned initial drawing to kfh.

Lauderdale Model

The directors discussed a report outlining the way that general repairs, maintenance and major works were addressed at Lauderdale Mansions. That is, by employing a full time estate manager and directly employed tradesmen. It was agreed to investigate this option further.


An application has been made to Westminster Council to cut back some of the trees in the garden to give more sunlight to the lawn.  We have received revised proposals from the Council which are acceptable.

The board is happy with the state of the garden and the current gardening arrangements. Many compliments were received over the summer. It was agreed that the Mulberry tree will be replaced with a Rowan.


Kfh has asked the owners of the cars that park in front of the garages not to park their vehicles there any longer.  We will now arrange to put notices or posts in place to prevent any further unauthorised parking

Garden Lighting

It was agreed to remove the old lights as they were becoming dangerous. It was further agreed to buy one of the lamps which had been previously suggested to see if members were happy with it. The intention is to reinstate the garden lighting.

Porters Flat

The directors signed the new lease for the porters’ flat. This was much delayed due to changes in the terms demanded by Freshwater.

Individual flats

The owner of one flat has applied to refurbish and alter its layout. One of the proposals is to convert the current bedroom at the front of the property to a kitchen, with the bedroom being located to the rear of the property. It was agreed that permission would NOT be granted if the new kitchen were to be above a living/bedroom in the flat below.

Another flat owner requested permission to remove two of the radiators in the flat. This was given subject to her agreement to pay for the drain down of the system and the subsequent refilling and venting.  Permission was also conditional on Heatserve confirming that the removal of the radiators would not affect the rest of the block.


Daron has touched up the main entrance doors. We have requested quotations to paint the white frames.

Work is underway to repair damp problems in two garden flats.

Unbloc have cleared the drain outside the rear of block 5 and have exposed the manhole cover so that the drain can be accessed in the future.

We have ordered 30 of the new lamps and light fittings for the stairwells and we have asked the electrician to start fitting them.  We will start the fitting in block 5 and once all of the lights in this block are changed we will inspect them again.  If satisfactory we will order the balance so that all of the fittings can be replaced.

It was agreed that Daron should read the electricity meters once a month to ensure that accurate bills are received. This month’s estimated bill for block 5 was exceptionally high and kfh will investigate.

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