Open Garden Squares Weekend

June 14, 2016

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.

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Garden Party – 2 July

June 9, 2016

garden party


AGM – 27 June 2016

June 3, 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.

Sub-letting

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

Geoff@ashworthmansions.com

 

 


Tree Report

July 5, 2015

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

May 30, 2015

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


AGM – 1 June 2015

May 21, 2015

The AGM will be held at Paddington Sports Club at 7pm.


Water Pressure – update

March 27, 2015

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.