Summary of February 2013 Board Meeting

Communal heating & hot water

Niall Carey, the lawyer acting for Ashworth Mansions Ltd has produced a draft application for the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) to consider. This is the body that needs to grant permission for us to vary the leases to remove the obligation to provide heating & hot water. Once accomplished, we can then manage the move to independent boilers.

The draft was agreed with minor changes along with a covering letter. This will be sent to the flat owners forewarning them.

It is unlikely that the LVT process will reach a conclusion before the Spring and it was agreed to revise the target date for switch-over to Summer 2014.

The overwhelming majority of flat owners support the move to independent heating and we have recently received backing from Freshwater, the former freeholder, that still owns a number of flats. We know of only one flat owner likely to object.

It was agreed to ask Peter Ellis, the consultant engineer who produced the initial report, to prepare a plan and brief specification to help flat owners understand their options.

Major works

We have only undertaken two of the four phases of refurbishment begun in 2010.  Phase three (rear of Elgin Avenue blocks) had been rescheduled for Spring 2013. However, we have some unexpected, emergency work (see below) to undertake which means that we may not have quite have enough money in our budget to complete Phase three in the current financial year to end September 2013.

The board looked at the options; including to raise additional money from flat owners this year or to proceed with Phase 3 regardless, knowing that, if there was an over-run on the emergency project, finances could become very tight. In the end, we decided (not unanimously) to replan Phase three so that it begins late Summer 2013 and runs into the 13/14 financial year.

The emergency work is the replacement of some of the link bridges connecting the front doors with the street. A number are badly rusted, causing water to enter and cascade over the mains electricity and gas heads. These will need to be relocated and kfh will be writing to flat owners with a short questionnaire so that UK Power Networks can install the correct capacity to meet our future demands. It is thought that the total works will be c.£100K but there is enough uncertainty to make budgeting for Phase 3 difficult.

The good news is that our insurance claim for reconstruction of the collapsed lintels in blocks 6/7 has been paid at £123K less a £10K excess. This was not a surprise but it has been frustrating that the whole process has taken the best part of a year. The insurance company has asked for a survey of the drains and a trial hole.

Repairs

It was agreed to go ahead with repainting the internal walls to the blocks this spring and to clean the carpets. This work is budgeted and kfh were asked to obtain quotes.

We are undertaking damp proof work in one garden flat.

One flat owner on the top floor has complained of a sloping floor. A surveyor has examined this flat and, after a long time spent negotiation access, all the other flats beneath. A report is being prepared but no evidence of generalised movement has yet been found.

Pigeons are becoming a problem on the Grantully side once more. Kfh has a quote for £8.5K to completely pigeon-proof the building. A second quotation was asked for before the board takes a decision.

Gardens

The plane trees will be pollarded on 5 March.

The garden committee has circulated a note for residents.

Kfh hasked the tree surgeons to quote for tidying up the ornamental cherry tree and for completely removing the tree of heaven.

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