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 (party@ashworthmansions.com) 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

Geoff@ashworthmansions.com

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