Author: a5h-Man5 (Page 1 of 12)

Garden maintenance contract

We’re tendering the garden maintenance contract. Flat owners will have receive a formal section 20 notice about this.

Here’s the detailed contract specification.

If you know any good gardening contractors who would like to tender for the work, please get in touch with kfh.



Regular garden maintenance

Ashworth Mansions Limited (AML) is seeking expressions of interest to maintain the gardens of the Estate. It is intended to appoint contractors within the next three months.

The Gardens

Ashworth Mansions consist of two blocks of approximately 55 flats each fronting Elgin Avenue and Grantully Road W9, with a central garden between the blocks.

Elgin Avenue Gardens

The frontage on Elgin Avenue consists of a central garden area with a paved area providing entrance to the flats. The garden consists of lawn, clipped cotoneaster and beds planted principally with roses, lavender, narcissus and pelargoniums (in summer) and cyclamen (in autumn – spring).

Either side of the main area are 4 smaller beds planted with perennials and ground cover roses. There are also clipped shrubs adjoining the flat entrances. Along the frontage there are also pollarded plane trees (maintained by specialist tree surgeons).

Grantully Road Frontage

Along this frontage are planted a number of shrubs. It is intended to replant this area as soon as some major works to the flat entrances and lower areas has been completed (expected by the Spring of 2017) but maintained meanwhile

Central Garden

Approximately 0.5 acre mature garden with trees, shrubs and perennials, 9 defined beds and amenity grassed area. Residents hold keys for the use of the central garden and some seating and tables are provided for their use.


The gardens at Ashworth Mansions are much valued by the residents and the Board is looking for gardening contractors who have the necessary skills and resources to maintain the gardens and to follow a programme of gradual improvement and renewal.

The gardens on Elgin Avenue and Grantully Road are principally to complement the appearance of the flats and enhance the environs. The central garden provides a quiet oasis for residents to look at from their flats and to provide a place for residents to sit out, enjoy the plants and to have lunches and dinners in the summer months. Children play in the garden, but there is no segregated play area and dogs, bicycles and ball games are not permitted in the gardens.

A specified member of the AML Board is designated responsibility for the gardens and liaison with gardening suppliers (The Garden Representative). They are supported by an informal garden committee of interested residents. Appointment of contractors is subject to a consultation with residents and formal approval by the Board.


We are looking for gardeners who have the necessary skills and resources to maintain the gardens and to follow a programme of gradual improvement and renewal, where necessary. Desirable characteristics

  • qualified in horticulture
  • knowledgeable
  • suitably experienced
  • reliable
  • passionate
  • flexible
  • up to date with relevant law, rules and regulations
  • possess necessary permits and certificates (e.g. spraying, waste)
  • aware of health and safety procedures
  • in possession of professional grade tools and machinery
  • fully insured for the tasks undertaken



  • Regular mowing of the lawn areas throughout the growing season, usually once per week, less when appropriate owing to weather conditions and at end of season. Grass clippings to be removed from lawn with each cut and put in composting bins on site.
  • The edges of the lawns against the beds to be trimmed once per two cuts.
  • At least one application of a Spring/Summer lawn fertiliser and one of an Autumn/Winter lawn fertiliser. Further applications may be applied depending upon weather and growth conditions, as appropriate.
  • Spray lawns with selective lawn weed killers as necessary to check spread of weed infestations, but the general aim is not to keep lawns completely weed free. Application as required of moss killer (prior to scarifying).
  • Power scarification of lawn areas as required to remove thatch and moss.
  • In areas of compaction, aerating with a hollow tine spiker, filling in with a sandy top dressing.
  • In areas where damage has occurred, bare patches worn etc. repair by over-seeding and top dressing where necessary.


  • All beds to be kept weeded as necessary so as to keep essentially weed free by digging, hoeing or hand weeding
  • Pruning of shrubs to be carried out in accordance with normal horticultural practice as required according to season and variety.
  • Hedges and screens to be trimmed regularly so as to keep compact and of neat appearance.
  • Regenerative pruning to be carried out from time to time within the normal routine maintenance contract and agreed with the Garden Representative in advance.
  • Occasional spraying for major infestations of pests and diseases on perennials, roses and shrubs. Note that routine spraying on a regular basis is not required so as to keep to a minimum the quantity of pesticides used in the garden. However, it is not required that the garden be run on organic principles.
  • Seasonal displays of bedding plants to be planted twice annually to the beds on the Elgin Avenue frontage and to the knot garden in the central garden.
  • Planting pattern and plants to be agreed in advance with the Garden Representative.
  • All bedding to be deadheaded, picked over, watered and fertilised as necessary to maintain the quality of display.
  • Leaves are to be removed from the lawns weekly during the Autumn leaf fall season.
  • A thorough removal of remaining leaves from beds, bases of shrubs, hedges etc. to be carried out once they have all fallen.
  • Leaves to be composted in the purpose built container mixed together with grass cuttings and other compostable garden refuse.
  • Composted leaves etc. to be spread as mulch on the garden beds at the end of Winter.
  • Removal of any garden debris arising out of routine maintenance (prunings, deadwood etc.), which is not suitable for composting.
  • All grass clippings and leaves to be composted for reuse in the garden.
  • The bases of trees to be kept free of suckers.
  • Compost container and its surrounds to be kept clean and tidy.
  • Watering to be carried out during site visits (using Ashworth Mansions on-site hoses and watering sprinklers) as necessary to grassed areas and to newly planted shrubs, perennials and bedding plants.
  • Consult with the Garden Representative of Ashworth Mansions on a regular basis (minimum quarterly) on condition of garden, planned maintenance and any improvements, planting proposed etc.
  • Any work proposed to be carried out in addition to the base specification should be agreed in advance with the Garden Representative, including a written specification and price quotation. Quotation/estimates to be given free of charge.
  • Access to all areas can be provided between the hours of 08.00 and 18.00. Gardeners should check in with the on site caretaker’s office on arrival.
  • Works are not permitted at weekends, except by special arrangement.
  • Motorised machinery, leaf blowers etc. must not be used before 09.00
  • There is a small garden shed where tools, fertilisers etc. can be stored, but it is expected that larger equipment items will be brought on-site as required and removed on the same day.
  • All work to be carried out by direct employees of the contractor and not by subcontracted firms or persons except by specific agreement with the Garden Representative. We prefer a continuity of personnel, who get to know the garden, at least at the supervisory level.
  • Full Public and Employers liability insurance is required for all of the contractor’s employees working in the garden. We shall require a copy of the relevant current certificate to be provided each year.
  • All work to be carried out with regard to the appropriate Health and Safety regulations both for employees and for users of the garden.
  • All spraying and other application of fertilisers and chemical products to be carried out by direct employees holding the appropriate certificates of competence.
  • The contract will initially be for one year. The agreed contract cost will be divided by 12 and paid at the end of each month worked and will be the same fixed monthly charge despite the fluctuations in the hours worked over that period.
  • Invoices should be submitted to our Managing Agents, who will make payment monthly.
  • Payment for fertilisers, grass seed, bedding plants, mulches etc. are subject to agreement whether to be included in the contract price or not.

Open Gardens

We welcomed over 180 visitors to Ashworth Mansions this afternoon including two tour parties of Russian tourists. Nice to get some complimentary tweets too.

Open Garden Squares Weekend

Open Garden Squares Weekend

Ashworth Mansions, Sunday 19 June 2016

We’re delighted that Ashworth Mansions has been selected to participate in this year’s Open Garden Squares Weekend. This means that our garden will be open to the public on Sunday 19th June from 10.00 to 16.00.

We think this is a great opportunity to raise the profile of the estate, show off the excellent work of our gardeners and meet our neighbours from other blocks in the area. Three other gardens locally will be participating – Triangle, Formosa and Crescent in Little Venice.

People can’t wander straight in. Entry will only be through the Ashworth Road gate by the boiler room which will be manned some of our residents. The event is ticketed and visitors need to buy a Open Garden Squares pass which also covers over 200 gardens across London.

We’ve not done this before so don’t know how many people to expect but it’s possible that the garden could get busy at certain times. Please make everyone welcome and, of course, you’re free to use the garden as normal yourselves.

The organisers tell me that there has never been a burglary related to Open Squares – the event attracts gardeners not criminals. We’d still suggest that ground floor residents make sure that doors and windows are locked.

Finally, we’d be keen to hear from any residents willing to help out on the day. The only tasks are to check tickets on the gates, keep an eye on things and to answer any questions from visitors. We’ve prepared a short explanatory handout for visitors too.

Please get in touch if you can spare an hour or two on Sunday.

AGM – 27 June 2016

Dear Flat Owner

Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held at Paddington Sports Club, Castellain Road on Monday 27th June at 7pm. We will present the accounts for the year ending September 2015 but the most important item for discussion is the lease extensions.

Accounts 2014/15

You’ll find a copy attached with this note along with some brief notes. I’d like to thank Nick Parker who has worked with kfh and the auditor to put these together. Our finances are in good shape.

Lease extensions

The leases on our flats are getting shorter. It’s not yet an urgent issue as it’s only when they drop below 80 years that things start getting tricky but we feel that now is a good time to address the issue. We also see this as an opportunity to tidy up the governance of Ashworth Mansions and to modernise the lease documents themselves.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve formed a sub-committee led by Renee Marais and taken advice from our solicitors, Teacher Sterne. We’ll be writing to you in more detail before the AGM. The broad outline of our plan is to offer shareholders an improved lease with a long extension, for the lowest amount that covers our costs including any potential tax liability for the company. Non-shareholders will need to purchase a share to take advantage of this offer.

We’ll present our plans at the AGM after which we’ll be open for consultation before putting the final proposal to an extraordinary meeting of shareholders later in the year. Nothing we’re proposing will affect your legal rights as leaseholders to compulsorily renew your existing lease at the market price.

Please read and comment on the documents we will be circulating and come the AGM for a discussion. We’ve invited our solicitors along to answer questions too.

Open Gardens

Ashworth Mansions has been invited to participate in London Open Garden Squares weekend. We’re proud of the garden and are delighted to have been selected. The garden will be open to the public on Sunday 19 June from 10am until 4pm. People can’t just wander in. They need to buy a ticket, costing £12, which is valid for all the gardens across London.

If you’re willing to help out on the day, either on the gate or by showing people around, please get in touch.

Garden Party

The annual garden party will be on 2 July so please put the date in your diary. Thanks to Pamela and Peter once again for organising.

Link bridges

This year has been very quiet regarding building work. In part, we are taking a rest following the four year rolling refurbishment, but we’ve also been bogged down in negotiations with the utilities regarding the link bridges. These are the walkways that connect the front doors of each stairwell with the pavements and are generally in a very poor state of repair. This isn’t obvious from the top but underneath we’ve had to install a number of props. It’s not straightforward to repair the link bridges because the electricity runs through them and UK Power Networks is not the most responsive organisations. Again, we’ll be back in touch when we have more news and an agreed work schedule.


We’d like to remind you that flats can only be used as single-family dwellings and the tenants are not permitted to sub-let. Also, short-term lets such as Airbnb are not acceptable.

Garden rules

Now the good weather is upon us, I’d like to draw your attention to the garden rules. You should already have received these but they’re also on the website. I’d also like to remind you that sound travels a long way around the block. You may think you’re having a romantic dinner but, trust me, everyone can hear your conversation.

Looking forward to seeing you at the AGM,


Yours truly


Geoffrey Barraclough

Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd



Tree Report

We’ve commissioned a tree surgeon to report on the condition of our trees. You can download the report here.

One specific question we asked was concerning the Copper Beech. The tree surgeon confirmed that there is no current threat to the foundations of the buildings. The tree was significantly pruned last year and the surgeon advises that “as a species Beech do not tolerate significant crown reduction or thinning works.” On that basis, we don’t propose to cut back this tree further for the moment.

AGM Letter from the Chairman

Dear Flat Owner

I’m writing with a copy of the 2013/14 accounts to remind you that our AGM is on 1 June at 7pm at Paddington Sports Club on Castellain Road.

This was a busy year. We finished the final stage of the estate refurbishment, moved every flat to independent heating and switched to a live-out porter for the first time.

The final stage of the four phase estate refurbishment, the rear of the Grantully block, was completed on budget and we will finish this year with around £250K in the reserve fund. This leaves our finances in good shape although we now need to start building up the reserves for the future.

We have now commissioned SHW, our surveyors, to draw up another ten year plan. This will include another full refurbishment cycle and also some other outstanding works such as reinforcing the garden retaining walls, rebuilding parts of the perimeter wall and refurbishing the common parts.

The switch to independent heating has been a success. We are not aware of any other leaseholder owned block that has managed to achieve this and we would like to thank the heating committee and Linda Foss from kfh without whom this would not have been possible. The project is not quite finished though as we will need to have the old boilers removed for scrap.

David Thomas has settled in well as our new porter and has been joined by Mustafa Betari who works part time. As a result of hiring Mustapha, we have in-sourced the cleaning and believe we are now getting much better value for money. If you haven’t already, please make yourselves known to David as he does his rounds.

I mentioned in my last letter that we would be looking at extending the leases. We are obtaining legal advice as this is a complex area but are keen to make progress. This project is being led by Renee Marais who will update us at the AGM.

You will have noticed that Hyperoptic have cabled the estate for high speed broadband. The initial installation was not well done and we had to stop the project while we escalated our concerns to its Managing Director. The issues highlighted have now been resolved and Hyperoptic are now just waiting on a connection from BT before they can go-live. At that point, they will write to individual flat owners with details of how to subscribe.

The central garden area is looking good and is testament to the commitment of the garden committee. In contrast, the front gardens do need attention. The four side beds on the Elgin Avenue side will be dug over, composted and replanted imminently. The news on the Grantully side is not so positive. We have had to postpone the major repairs to the link bridges due to interminable delays with UK Power Networks and believe it would be wasteful to replant this part of the garden before the works are complete. This means it could be as last as 2016 before we’re able to bring this area up to standard.

For many years, the Ashworth porter has put the rubbish sacks directly into the black skips on Biddulph Road. We now understand that Westminster Council may take issue with this arrangement and oblige us to store the sacks on our premises until one of the twice weekly formal collections. Nothing is certain yet but we are looking at possible short term arrangements and may need to use part of the bike store.

This year’s garden party will be on 18 July. Pamela Knudson has once again kindly agreed to host. Please put the date in your diaries and let Pamela know ( if you can help.

Finally, Devika Malik has resigned from the board. She was a great help to the running of the estate for a number of years and the heating switchover could not have happened without her. We do have vacancies for new directors so please get in touch if you’re interested in helping. Professional qualifications such as law or accounting are useful but commonsense and a willingness to take ownership of projects is equally important.

Yours faithfully,

Geoffrey Barraclough

Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd

Water Pressure – update

There has been a flood in one of the flats on the Grantully Rd side. We’ve had to turn the booster pumps off while Thames Water deal with the incident.

More soon. 

The water has now been turned back on. Good news. 

Water – update at 20.18

There is a problem with the Ashworth mentions water pumps this morning. The technicians are working on it. More news when we have it.

UPDATE: There is a fault with the three phase electrical supply – the engineers have by passed the pumps and the flats should now all have water, albeit at a lower pressure than normal. We have contacted National Grid who are sending out engineers to investigate.    They are hopeful that someone will be out within three hours.

UPDATE. 15.02 from Linda Foss at kfh.

National Grid are on site and have identified a problem in the street to the three phase supply for the pumps.

They have called in their digging team and may have to turn off the supply to some or all of the flats for possible two hours or more. They are a bit vague at the moment. David is going to print out some notices to put in flat doors but he can’t be certain either which flats will be affected or what time the electricity will be interrupted. He will give residents the number for national grid so that they can enquire if they want to. The engineers will be in the street working and so I would imagine some residents may ask them directly what is going on.

UPDATE 17.00

UK Power Networks have cut the electricity to blocks 6 to 10 while they repair the problem on Ashworth Rd. They say it may take a couple of hours but this is an estimate only.

Meanwhile, David has bypassed the give us direct water supply from the mains on Ashworth Rd. This should restore supply but at lower pressure than normal.

UKPN tell us they are bringing a generator as a fall back in case of further delay.

The power cut may mean that you can’t open the street door into your stairwell. If so, please call David to unlock the door for you. He’s on 07946 589322.

UPDATE 20.18

Power was restored to blocks 6-10 at 7pm. UKPN have installed a generator which is now powering the water pumps which are now back in service. UKPN are continuing to work on site to locate the problem with the mains electricity.

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