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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd
The AGM will be held at Paddington Sports Club at 7pm.
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.
The water has now been turned back on. Good news.
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.
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 pumps.to 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.
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.