St George’s Fields Notice Board

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Park Steps Tunnel and Rejuvenation Project – Consultation Responses and Outcome

 

Link to the combined proforma responses and comments: Rejuvenation Project Consultation Responses

 

Dear Shareholders,

The Board is pleased to share the outcome of the consultation about the refurbishment of the tunnel under Park Steps. It is intended for Park Steps to be the first project and then to progressively refurbish all the tunnels.

The Board is very conscious that this will be a substantial project and is keen to ensure that the overall objectives of enhancing the look of St George’s Fields and improving the lighting and safety of the tunnels are met.

The Board is also conscious that the expense needs to be carefully managed within our resources and without major changes to the service charge.

The consultation resulted in circa 75 replies, about 25% of the shareholders.  The Board has assumed that the responses, are representative of all the shareholders.

The initial consultation with shareholders gave overwhelming support for the tunnel areas to be improved. The Board then consulted with shareholders about this potential project by sharing plans, explaining the detail of the proposals, and providing computer generated images of the designers’ proposal.

As there were many elements to the project the Board wanted to seek the views of shareholders for these different elements.

The Board committed to sharing the comments and observations and the link at the top of the page shows the detailed results of the consultation. If you would like a hard copy of the detailed responses, please ask the Estate Office who will provide one. However, here is a summary of the results of the survey and the comments and observations received.

There were no nominations of suitable contractors to assist with the project.

 

Q1 – Lighting.

There is support for improving the lighting as proposed. 53% in favour and 38% not in favour.

Q2 Roadway colour or covering.

The questionnaire shows equal support for this, 44% in favour, 45% not supportive, but the comments section is generally not supportive. The designers view this element of the project as a way to shift the balance between vehicles and pedestrians in favour of pedestrians, so it will be kept under review.

Q3 – Hiding/Cloaking the Pipework

The questionnaire shows support for this. 50% in favour 41% not supportive.

Q4 – Entrance Doors

The questionnaire shows support for improving the appearance of the doors. 60% in favour 40% not supportive. However, the method of improving them has a variety of views.

Q5. Door furniture- Uniformity

The questionnaire shows support for this 52% in favour 41% not supportive.

Q6. Entrance Mats

The questionnaire shows significant support for a pre-approved free-standing entrance mat 75% in favour 25% not supportive.

Q7. Entrance Canopy

The questionnaire shows support for this. 49% in favour 46% not supportive.

Q8. Block name and number

The questionnaire shows significant support for this to be displayed at every door. 68% in favour 22% not supportive.

 

Overall Analysis

The Board together with the designers have analysed and discussed the ‘free hand’ comments and general observations as well as the voting outcomes.

From the comments there is concern about the potential overall expense of this project, a concern shared by the Board. However, the Board is also mindful of the many supportive comments for rejuvenating the estate and providing better signage and wayfinding.

 

The Board has decided:

  1. To improve signage and wayfinding. Companies with expertise in this area have been asked to provide options to improve these items to assist visitors and delivery persons in finding their way around the estate. Once the options are completed, they will be shared with shareholders. This work will also be used as part of the Park Steps project, door numbering and block labelling etc, to achieve a consistent look and ambience throughout the estate.

 

  1. The lighting and the baffle down stands are an integral part of the Park Steps project and have the support of those shareholders who responded. The Board is concerned that the work on the pipes in the tunnel may not have been fully understood. The pipework will not be fully encased but rather have a fitting put in place as a down stand. This will disguise the pipes while leaving them accessible for maintenance.

 

  1. The doors are an expensive item, improving their appearance is difficult to implement, particularly without a clear agreed direction on how to modernise them. Difficult to implement also is the uniform door furniture. Over time shareholders may have improved/upgraded or simply changed their locks. The Board has decided to keep this under review but not to do this now.

 

  1. Free standing doormats are easier to purchase and maintain, as opposed to taking up the glazed brickwork. A standard design will be considered, and options provided in due course.

 

  1. During the consultation process a resident suggested a proposal for improving the sense of homecoming, door numbering and block naming without having the canopy over the front door. It was felt by the designers and the Board that this was an excellent solution and would be a cheaper solution without detracting from what the designers are trying to achieve. The Board is in the process of obtaining quotes for this work as part of the Park Steps project.

 

Summary

Overall, the Board has decided, taking the comments and observations of shareholders into account, that the project will go ahead in a smaller way, with some elements of the project removed and some altered. The roadway will not be changed at this stage.

 

Next Stages

The Board is now seeking competitive quotations on the scaled down/amended project from contractors and seeking the input of graphic designers for the wayfinding project and intend to run these two parts of an overall project hand-in-hand.

Once the quotations are received by contractors, they will be shared with shareholders as part of the statutory consultation process. The proposals for improving wayfinding will also be shared with shareholders for feedback on some of the options provided.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gareth Targett

Please click here for the Rejuvenation Project Consultation: 2020 Rejuvenation Project Consultation – merged

Rejuvenation Project Consultation

 

Background to Consultation

 

Since 2017 the Board has been considering a project to rejuvenate and modernise the estate.  This would also meet the concern that aesthetic improvements were being undertaken without any cohesive plan, that often individual tastes were imposed on projects and that many of the completed projects did not hang together leaving St George’s Fields a mish mash of changes.

 

It was agreed by Board members to instruct design consultants to produce a renovation report which was circulated to shareholders later in 2017, and it was decided that various projects would be considered with a view to rejuvenating the overall appearance of the estate to a cohesive standard.

 

Following the feedback from the shareholder consultation, the Board asked Cayford Designs, the architectural designers chosen, to consider several initial improvements. However, the replacement of the Low Voltage Electrical Infrastructure to the estate was a priority and was expensive, and so the Board decided at this stage that the rejuvenation project was not to be forgotten but had to be put on hold.

 

This electrical work was completed within timescales set and within budget. The Board has since considered in detail the adequacy of shareholders’ reserves and believes there are adequate funds available to proceed with an initial project whilst ensuring that reserves are maintained at a sufficient level.

 

In March of this year the Board was ready to start a consultation process with shareholders but very quickly the effects of the global pandemic meant that a further short delay was required. The Board now feels that the time is right to restart the process.

 

When shareholders were consulted originally in 2017 about potential improvements there was overwhelming support for an upgrade to the tunnel areas.   It was thought that enhancing the lighting and overall appearance of the tunnels would be of benefit to the greatest number of residents.   Accordingly, the initial scheme that the Board has asked designers to work on is the Park Steps tunnel.

 

The Board is also aware that there has been an increase in online shopping meaning there are more deliveries being made. The Board appreciates that on occasion items are misdelivered. While not the sole issue, clearer signage around the estate could assist with directing delivery drivers and visitors to their intended destination, and the Board would like to include a review on how this can be improved as part of this first phase.

 

The Board has been working with designers to develop a scheme that considers much of what was said by shareholders yet is faithful to the original design of the buildings and resonates with the desire for a cohesive approach to any rejuvenation project.

 

It is important to point out that no decisions have been made and the Board is seeking input from shareholders on the scheme as proposed.

 

 

What is the purpose of this consultation?

The Board is supportive of a rejuvenation project to the Park Steps tunnel but not wedded to any of the individual ideas contained in this document and wishes to hear constructive observations and opinions on the proposals.

 

Who is being consulted?

We are only seeking the comments and observations of shareholders of the Company.

 

With this consultation are the Computer-Generated Images (CGIs) of how the tunnels might look both in the daytime and at night time, close up CGIs of the doors, architectural drawings for those who might appreciate the detail and also a document itemising the colours intended to be used.

 

What is the proposal for the pipework in the tunnels?

The pipework needs to be accessible for maintenance reasons – the proposal sees the pipework ‘cloaked’ to distract the eye from the pipes whilst keeping them permanently accessible. Any scheme will ensure that the pipework is cleaned and painted at the same time.

 

What is the proposal for the lighting?

The tunnel can be dark and when coming from outside the tunnel areas it can take a while for eyes to adjust to the changing light levels. There are 3 areas for improvements to lighting in the tunnel areas.

 

  1. better coverage and direction for the column lighting of the pedestrian walkway;
  2. better and improved lighting onto the roadway; and;
  3. new lighting over the front doors to create a sense of home to the maisonettes at ground floor level.

All lighting will be LED lamps to ensure energy efficiency.

 

All lighting will have measures in place for lighting to be controlled during the day and night with a view to ensuring that appropriate light levels are in place at the right times.

 

What is the approach used for the roadway?

It is possible to paint the roadway in a lighter colour which will help bounce light off the roadway rather than absorb any light as is currently the case with a dark resin paint.   It is important that any lighter colour can be easily cleaned.  At the same time the scheme allows for the kerbs to be repainted

 

What is the approach to the doorways and apartment entrances in the tunnel area?

The broad concept is to provide a sense of home and homecoming to each of the apartments.

 

The wooden panel that separates the door, the rubbish cupboard and door surrounds will be redecorated.

It is proposed that new numbering and signage will be provided to show at each door the apartment number and name of the step block. This is to help visitors find their way and hopefully to assist delivery drivers deliver to the correct door more often. In addition, better signage generally around the estate is being proposed to direct people to the various blocks.

 

Each ground floor apartment has 3 doors – the entrance door, the utility cupboard door and the under-stair crawl space door. At this stage the preferred plan is to completely redecorate the doors by stripping them down, staining them and varnishing them. However, there are some logistical problems with decorating an entrance door for those flats whose owners are not resident permanently or for those residents who are out during the day.

 

 

To meet these issues –

One option is to provide a secure enclosure behind which decorators will work while the door is open during the day.

Another option is to purchase new entrance doors for all the flats decorate them on a workbench and then install the new entrance doors.

 

No firm view has been taken on either of these options, and your opinions are sought. One option is to tender for both options and consider the costs of each option also.

 

Our designers are proposing new door furniture to each door so that the scheme will be uniform throughout. If this approach were to be adopted, it would require the future strict control of any replacement or additional door furniture because otherwise the intended design impact of the scheme (uniformity and rhythm) will become obsolete over time.

 

You will see that in the proposed design the doorways also have a small canopy over the door lintel with some lighting within it – this will also help with overall lighting and the sense of homecoming.

 

The feedback from designers is that both the variety of design and size of residents’ entrance mats do not help with the overall look of these areas and upsets the design rhythm here.

 

The designers propose, and the CGIs show, a cut out section of the glazed pathway slip tiles to allow the installation of a recessed foot mat.

 

Another option is to purchase similar sized mats to be provided to these apartments as an ‘approved’ entrance mat. These mats would be free standing and so could be picked up to clean the pathway. The apartments were originally built with mats inside the front door to avoid having mats outside the properties, in the common parts.

 

It should be noted that the cutting out of the glazed pathway slip tiles is a more expensive option.

When undertaking the project, it will be specified that the pathway slip tiles are to be commercially cleaned and, if possible, polished too.

 

What about ongoing maintenance and cleaning to the new scheme?

It will be important to specify that all new materials are safe, compliant and as maintenance free as possible.

The tunnel areas are in part high and difficult to access.

 

Are all the tunnels being rejuvenated?

It is planned to undertake the works to Park Steps first as a pilot and then another tunnel each year thereafter. The lighting under Park Steps is worse. As it is a shorter tunnel it does not have a central LED panel light that is on permanently. Phasing the works will also help with cashflow. This phased approach accords with previous improvement projects such as the lifts and pathways.

 

How will it be paid for?

The service charges have been set at a level to allow for the reserve funds to pay for the renovations, and the phased approach should ensure that contingency levels within the reserve funds are preserved.

 

Will these works require planning permission?

No – Westminster City Council has been consulted. However, the scheme is works as defined by the Building Control Act, and it will be necessary to have appropriate building control inspections and approval signed off at various stages.

 

 

If the works to the tunnels proceed, how will you preserve access to homes and areas during the works.

It is very early days for this project, but should the works go ahead this will be a consideration to provide for the needs of residents and other users of this area.

 

What is the cost of these works?

This very much depends on the tenders received from contractors at the tender stage – should this initial consultation proceed to further stages. However, a quantity surveyor has been appointed and a schedule of works produced for a pricing document to be completed. If shareholders are supportive of the proposals, then the cost for the Park Steps tunnel is estimated to be in a range of £150,000 to £200,000 including VAT and fees.

 

Why has it taken a while to share these designs with shareholders?

As mentioned previously, the electrical works took priority. However, these are very complex issues and the Board wished to be entirely clear about the financial implication before consulting on potential projects.  The Government’s instructions for lockdown in consequence of Covid-19 has caused this consultation to be put on hold for several weeks.

 

Can I see the materials being proposed?

Yes. Should shareholders be broadly supportive then it is intended that we will make specimen samples available for inspection on certain days and mock-up certain aspects of the scheme.

 

What about proposals for clearer signage?

The Board will share these proposals too to invite comments as soon as the proposals from the designers are received.

 

Can I recommend a contractor?

Yes – this notice, although a little more detailed than usual, is fully intended to comply with Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act (LTA). Nominations of suitable contractors should be made in writing to G Targett c/o The Estate Office, St George’s Fields London W2 2YE no later than 5pm on the 10th September 2020. The nominations will only be used though if the consultation demonstrates a broad consensus of positive opinions for this project.

 

How will my comments and observations be used?

Only comments made in relation to the scheme will be considered, and comments/observations need to be specific. No greater weight will be given to comments made by those who live in the ground floor apartments than to comments made by other shareholders.

 

With the notice is pro-forma that asks whether you are supportive/unsupportive/neutral on each of the proposals and also a free form box for an overall comment at the end.

 

Observations and comments will be grouped by category, tabulated and at the end of the consultation period shared with all shareholders as required by the statutory consultation process under the Landlord & Tenant Act.

 

 

Accompanying documents:

 

  1. Overall Proposed Design
  2. Existing Doors
  3. Proposed Doors with Light Box – Detail
  4. Proposed Doors Electrical Supply – Detail
  5. Proposed Floor – Detail
  6. Proposed Pipework Baffle – Detail
  7. Proposed Lighting – Detail – with handwritten mark ups
  8. Door Decoration Enclosure – Detail – hand drawing
  9. Colour Palette
  10. CGI – Day Tunnel
  11. CGI – Day Doors
  12. CGI – Night Tunnel
  13. CGI – Night Doors