30th August 2015 at 12:56 #1678
Can leaseholders opt out of communal systems?
Millman Street/Millman Place are scheduled for early complete heating/hot water replacement, and I understand from the comment of a senior Apollo person that 17 such major schemes are in their pipeline.
Leaseholders and tenants are expressing very serious misgivings about the project, not merely because individual leaseholder contributions of some £22k are to be required.
There is conflicting advice about opting opt in favour of individual leaseholder provision. The Guide on this site says that opt out is possible, but the current draft Council policy says clearly that it is not. Does anyone know what the actual situation is?30th August 2015 at 17:31 #1680
Sorry if the guide is not clear – I’ll have a poke around and see if I can improve the language. Opt out is on the basis that it is practical and reasonable. For many large estates this not be possible for infrastructure reasons but what IS possible, it binning the whole proposed scheme and going for something that all (ok, the majority of) tenants and leaseholders are happy with.
To put it another way, an estate can opt out of communal central heating and opt for individual boilers. This would depend on infrastructure, but given the proposed costs of some of the schemes, even paying for that infrastructure is worthy of detailed consideration.
The Forum has now (just!) got a copy of the latest Heating Optional Appraisal and this clearly states that individual boilers should be considered: http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/documents/b16759/Appendix%20A%2028th-Jul-2015%2018.45%20Leaseholders%20Forum.pdf?T=9 / “Replacement of inefficient systems with individual or communal heating whichever provides best overall value for money and secures the required carbon emission reductions” to be considered.30th August 2015 at 18:35 #1682
Yes but the draft Policy – para 7 on page 2/10 – says
However residents will not be permitted to opt out of the bulk gas network for their heating as this would not provide a cost benefit to either the Council or the resident.
I suppose “opt out of the bulk gas network for their heating” does provide for individual systems accessing this fuel source, but I’m not sure that the Council would not insist that this excludes individual systems.
Do you have a view?30th August 2015 at 19:20 #1683
My view is absolutely, this does allow for individual systems, using the council gas network and the former head of housing, Julian Fulbrook, agreed with this viewpoint. The Leaseholders’ Forum spent some time emphasising our point of view to him and other officers which is, I feel, a significant part of the reason that council policy on this issue changed for the better. That said, it doesn’t appear to have stopped the Major Works department recommending communal central heating and never recommending individual boilers (as far as I am aware) – the battle to change attitudes continues!30th August 2015 at 19:32 #1684
Thanks Paul, that’s very useful.
Communal systems ought to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly…….but the Council’s capital cost estimates are absurd, and some five times those estimated in the 2012 Options Report for our estate!
In fact the current proposal for our estate bears no relation to the Options Report. Does anyone know if there is a requirement (of any kind) that there should be a discernable continuity from the Options Report to the subsequently implemented system? Or is the Council in order in constructing something that was not considered in the Options Report?30th August 2015 at 19:44 #1685
Peter Wright, chair of the Leaseholders’ Forum is very much of the opinion that you can state/observe (demand??) that they need to revisit the options appraisal, since the current figures base no resemblance to the original proposals (therefore invalidating the exercise) especially as it appears, from what you say, that the work has not yet started on your area.
I’m not sure, being honest, whether anyone has tried that tack with Camden; do feel free to give it a go and contact me/us here, letting us know how it goes. As this is a pan-borough issue, if it gets refused out of hand, I’m happy to escalate it via the Leaseholders’ Forum to see if that would have any more success (no guarantees!).
Best regards, Paul, Leaseholders’ Forum member.30th August 2015 at 20:01 #1686
Thanks again Paul.
Consultation observations closed last Thursday. Both the TRA and an informal group of leaseholders “observed” the discrepancies between Options Appraisal and construction proposal and asked for clarification etc. The differences are not only of cost but also of engineering structure – current proposals are for two commpletely separate systems, a possibility not previously entertained.
Following your comments I will suggest to the TRA and leaseholders that this is followed up by a clear “demand” for a new appropriate Options Report.8th November 2015 at 11:30 #2033
Following up on leasehlder’ request for a revised Options Report – the Council have now arranged this, via their partner Apollo. It does now include the currently proposed works – which, surprisingly, emerge as the winner! whilst a proper analysis of the available material woukd find a more restrained approach to be better.21st November 2015 at 17:08 #2073
I don’t know if anyone reads this…..but if so they may be interested in hearing that, in the face of resident pressure, Camden have withdrawn their heating proposals for Millman Street for the time being. The fact is that the proposals were badly conceived, apparently by greedy Apollo, and, because of overstretched Council resources, were not processed in the most sensitive manner. The residents’ “success” in defeating the proposals was achieved by active residents – both tenants and leaseholders working closely together – making written and face-to-face objections, submitting a petition and fully involving key Councillors.3rd March 2016 at 19:22 #2605
Updating the position on this particular project – this was received by leaseholders on 1st March 2016: “In order for us progress this work to the satisfaction of the resident’s at Millman Place & Millman Street we have decided not to deliver the scheme through Apollo. We will instead look for a new contractor to carry out the work by going through the tendering process, which is where registered companies compete for the work to ensure best value for money. We are also looking at the design again to confirm it is the best option for the estate.”3rd March 2016 at 19:41 #2606
Well done. Ask to see the specification before the tendering exercise, and ask if a resident can join the selection panel for the contractor.
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