Month: March 2014

Letter from the Chair, March 2014

I’m writing to update you on the progress of the major works. The good news is that phase 3 is almost complete. It has passed off without incident and within the budget we’d set.

We can now proceed to undertake phase 4 – the refurbishment of the rear of the Grantully block – in the summer. To do this, we will be raising the fourth and final special contribution. This will be £175.000 and we will collect this in two phases, with half due with the March service charge and the balance with the July bills.

With phase four ready to invite contractor tender, we are now considering alternative options for the future running of the estate in 2015 and beyond. We will be able to discuss these further at the AGM

The outstanding questions are (1) whether to in-source building work through the hiring of an estate manager and (2) whether we want to finance all work through quarterly contributions to a reserve fund or to make irregular but possibly quite large demands as and when necessary.

Porter/caretaker

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. The results indicated strong support for option 2 – an enhanced service provided by non-resident porters.  You can view the full results with flat owner’s comments here.

Caretaking options

We have given notice on the porter’s flat to Freshwater and begun drawing up job descriptions for one full-time Head Porter and one part-time Assistant Porter. The part-time porter will also clean the common parts. Many of you will have met Sean, who has been working for us since Daron’s illness. Sean has done an excellent job but has told us that he plans to move away from London and so doesn’t want to be considered.

Heating and Hot Water

We are still on track to turn off the central heating for the final time in May. After this date, flat owners will need to install their own boilers and related pipework for both warmth and hot water. According the schedule circulated by the Heating Committee you should now be in the process of finalising quotes and selecting central heating/boiler installer in preparation for submitting plans to KFH in April.

If you don’t know what you need to do, please contact the Heating Committee or Linda Foss at kfh.

Superfast Broadband

We have been approached by a new broadband company with a proposal to install cabling to Ashworth Mansions for up to 1 Gigabyte connectivity, at their own expense. They are currently carrying out a survey and will make a formal proposal. Details will be circulated to residents when received.

Yours faithfully

Geoffrey Barraclough

Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd

editor@ashworthmansions.com

Security update from the Ashworth Mansions Neighbourhood Watch

Please remain very vigilant and security conscious. The greatest risk we run is as a result of our own carelessness in not closing doors properly, allowing strangers access and not being alert and reporting suspicious behaviour and activity. Due to all the contractors and activity we will have in the coming year as people change their heating systems, we please need to be extra cautious. Try and break through that reserve and get to know your neighbours and keep an eye out for their welfare!

Get to know your neighbours.  Knowing who your neighbours are, when they’re away and looking out for each other is one of the most effective ways to improve security. Consider circulating e-mails and telephone numbers within a block. Daring, we know…

Please let us know of your concerns. Please e mail us if you have spotted any incident providing the time, date, a description of the incident and the people involved and any other relevant information at:  neighbourhoodwatch@ashworthmansions.com.  The data we receive will be turned into a log, which in turn, will be given to the police.

Please also report incidents as usual to the relevant police authorities as per the recent brochure distributed: Dial 101 for crimes that have already happened and local issues and 999 for emergencies. Logging crime and ASB on 101 assists the police in gathering intelligence and they have encouraged us to use this means of communication

We have the following of interest to report (well, we think it’s interesting!):

  1. A security review was done with our local safer neighbourhoods representative (Sergeant Lawrence Knight)  of the exterior of Ashworth Mansions and the abutting roads. The goal was to review current weaknesses and also to identify potential solutions. He was positive about the impact of CCTV on the street and the AMNW team will look into the potential costs thereof as it is not something the council will fund.  As for the buildings, he thought our doors seemed secure enough on balance.  The Grantully Road side has poorer light and is quieter which although very pleasant for residents, can pose greater security challenges.
  2. The Ashworth Mansion board has decided to have a security sub-committee which will encompass the AMNW. It was agreed that potential security proposals and actions to improve security would be considered by the board going forward. We are looking into a variety of measures which we believe will improve security and when the costs have been established, this will be presented to the board.
  3. We continue to keep a log of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and also kept track of continual problems with raiding of the SCOPE bin and dumping of its contents on the corner of Ashworth and Grantully Roads. Incidents of ASB have declined markedly which we believe is due to reporting of incidents and drawing it to the attention of the Safer Neighbourhoods team. With the sterling help of our local councillor, Jan Prendergast, the SCOPE bin has been removed for a trial 12 week period and we hope this will be permanent.
  4. A meeting was held with the Safer Neighbourhoods team to update on local crime. It was reiterated that Maida Vale remains a low crime area but that in particular, burglary had seen some increase in the last few months. The two blocks between Grantully Road and Elgin Avenue had been affected by this. In particular, a flat on the 1st floor of Ashworth Mansions had been broken into through a window from the garden side.  Some 7 incidents of burglary in our immediate area had been recorded in the 8 week period to mid-December. There as an interesting link that can be accessed for local crime statistics: http://www.police.uk/ click “crime map” link, enter postcode, select type of crime and month from drop down you will see “bubbles” containing summary stats, click on this for a street level breakdown
  5. Pamela Knudsen, who is chairing the AMNW, attended a local neighbourhood watch co-ordinators meeting to meet other local initiatives and get feedback on local trends and issues.

So, we hope we are making some difference….

Many thanks for your support!

The Ashworth Mansions Neighbourhood Watch

neighbourhoodwatch@ashworthmansions.com

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