St George’s Fields Notice Board

Coffee morning

The next coffee morning will take place on Saturday 5th October at 10:30am and will be held in the back room of Abasto just around the corner in Connaught Street.  We have chosen a Saturday thinking that will be convenient for the members of our community who work!

This is a great opportunity to chat to your neighbours, so do join us.  SGF will buy your first cup of coffee or tea.

 

 Pub evening

Following the success of our get together in April your Social & Community Committee proposes another pub evening.  Please join us at the Duke of Kendal on Thursday 21st November from 7:00pm to 9:00pm (or later if you wish!).  There is also good pub food available if you are hungry.

In case you need any extra encouragement, and for added cheer, the first round of beer, house wine or soft drink will be on SGF.  No need to book, just come along!

 

WhatsApp group

If you are not already one of the 61 members of the very social SGF residents WhatsApp group, do join it to help keep in touch with your neighbours and hear what’s happening.  Recent threads have included discussion of electricity tariffs, help in finding a plumber, and milk and paper deliveries.  Zoe Dundas is the Administrator, and she will add you if you send her a text on 07976 388364.

 

Social & Community Committee

St George’s Fields Ltd

One of the outcomes of the AGM in 2018 was a request for the Board and Management of St George’s Fields to review the parking arrangements at ground floor level. It was observed that parking was haphazard, inconsiderate and, on occasion, without a permit.

Since the AGM, Management have been more rigorous in reminding offenders of the parking rules with the use of stickers. Many residents have fed back that there has been an improvement. However, there are still repeat offenders. Some of the offenders are residents, not just visitors or contractors. As a response, Management have developed a new parking administration tool and revised the process for parking at ground floor level.

From Monday 4th March, Residents and Visitors will no longer need to obtain a paper parking permit and can instead book parking sessions online by visiting the St George’s Fields Website and completing the online form. This new system is accessible 24 hours a day and at weekends. Management have an oversight of who has and has not booked parking and will place stickers on those parked vehicles that have not followed the process. Details on accessing the parking booking form will be shared next week.

If you do not have access to the internet, or have unexpected visitors arrive and cannot book parking online, then please get in touch with the Estate Office and we will organise this for you. Alternatively, your visitor can still pop into the office to organise parking or call in advance during the Estate Office’s opening times.

Parking is only available on the West side of the tunnel areas to the Step blocks – this is on the even door number side to all Steps blocks.

If there is no parking available, then please park outside the estate. Parking in a haphazard fashion may impede an emergency service vehicle’s access.

If you have a car parking space, please do use it as often as possible. I appreciate that, on occasion, it is more convenient to park at ground floor, but, as space is limited, you are asked to use the space allocated to the apartment.

If you are a tenant of a landlord who has not rented the car parking space with the flat, then you should not be using the ground floor to park your car for extended periods of time.

Parking for up to 1 hour is permitted without booking parking.

Contractors will still be required to visit the Estate Office to obtain a contractor parking permit. As a rule, contractors should only be onsite when the office is open.

Parking at ground floor level is subject to a fair and reasonable use policy. One should not abuse the facility by continually parking on consecutive days out of fairness to all. If Management observe the same individual abusing the process, then they will be asked not to, using a sticker reminding them of the rules.

When reviewing the policy and processes for parking at ground floor level, one of the options that the Board and Management considered was to contract with an external parking enforcement company who would issue incorrectly parked vehicles with a Parking Charge Notice to fine offenders. The Board preferred not to take this action but want to put all Shareholders and Residents on notice that, if there are further and continuous abuses of the parking rules or there is a constant refusal by some not to adhere to these rules, then the Board will be left with no alternative but to employ the services of an enforcement company.

The Board and Management would like to remind everyone that the rules are in place for perfectly sound and reasonable estate management reasons. Therefore, you are asked to respect the rules that are in place to allow bona fide visitors and contractors access to the estate while preserving access for attending emergency services if needed.

If you are a landlord, or have another agent manage your property, please forward this email to your tenant. If you allow SGF2 to manage your tenancy, then we will ensure your tenant receives this and future newsletters and notices accordingly.

Gareth Targett

St George’s Fields Ltd

Background

As has recently been written, there have been a number of break-ins/attempted break-ins within St George’s Fields. Management asked the Safer Neighbourhood police officers to attend to provide some help and advice on SGF’s security measures. They attended a meeting with the Board of directors and provided some insight to what had happened, their progress and helpful tips and advice for SGF and residents. This security notice has been encouraged and approved by the Police

What has happened?

The police have received reports of 7 break-ins/attempted break-ins between 15th December and 3rd January. As many of the break-ins were to apartments where the occupants were away over Christmas, they are unable to be more specific about dates.

All break-ins were to ground floor Step block apartments and at each break in the point of entry was through the balcony. The stolen property has been recorded by the Police as x2 laptops and x2 coats.

Following the breaks-ins, forensic officers attended and have gathered evidence to assist with crime detection and aid future prevention. They are also reviewing CCTV footage that they have requested. Although they cannot be certain, the Police feel that on the balance of probability it is the same individual and that from their experience burglars act alone. The police are content with both the number of CCTV cameras and quality of images at St George’s Fields, but will visit again to check that the coverage is adequate.

The police produced statistics for the local area that confirmed, apart from this unusual spike, St George’s Fields has a very low crime rate. However, there are increasing numbers of online deliveries and food deliveries which means more people are gaining access to St George’s Fields and are aware of the estate. As has been pointed out to me, professional burglars are not necessarily put off by gates or CCTV and residents should not be complacent.

What can SGF do?

The Board of directors listened to the advice of the Police and Management and are taking the following steps:

  • Introducing signage regarding the filming and recording of CCTV.
  • Removing the automated closing mechanism from the main pedestrian gate so that it closes quickly behind individuals. It will still work with the intercom but requires a pull or a push and will close on the mag-locks on a self-closing mechanism.
  • Trimming the hedges to ground floor balconies to discourage any potential break-ins.
  • Installing some sensor lights on motion detection to darker areas of the estate.
  • Asking residents not to walk through the main vehicle gate as it keeps it open for longer than it should. I have asked the School to remind their parents of the same requirement.

What can you do?

Do what you can to protect yourselves and your neighbours. Whilst SGF will be working on measures and advice to help, it is ultimately a resident’s own responsibility to address their own security.

The Police recommended notifying every one of the following:

Make sure you lock all windows and doors when you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Make your home look and sound occupied. Leave a radio on – preferably a talk radio channel. Purchase timers for lights and lamps.

Do not advertise your possessions. Always keep valuables out of sight.

On your balconies, arrange garden furniture and pots so that it is more awkward for potential burglars to gain access and they would need to move items. In so doing they could potentially leave good forensic evidence for the Police to gather.

If you are going away for lengthy periods, let your neighbours know. If you have let them know and there is an unexpected noise, your neighbours will be more aware and may call the Police if necessary. You can also let the office know that you are away if you like.

Tailgating – When you drive through the main gates wait. Once past the opening ground sensor stop outside the school gate until the main gate closes behind you. I realise that visitors, contractors and delivery drivers will not do this but the more people that do will assist with preventing those that should not be in the Estate getting in. This same broad principle applies to all the pedestrian gates to make sure they are closed behind you.

Challenge anyone waiting at a gate – Ask them whether they live here, which flat. If they are visiting, who are they visiting? If you feel uncomfortable doing so, use an alternative gate yourself.

If you see a crime taking place call 999 immediately. Do not call or email the Estate Office first. Do so once you have called the Police.

Similarly, if you see or hear anything suspicious call 999 immediately. Do not call or email the Estate Office first. Do so once you have called the Police.

If you return home and disturb a burglar in the middle of the act do not engage with them or attempt to stop them to protect yourself from coming to any harm.

With thanks to a shareholder who researched some of these security measures, the Police were very supportive of the following:

This lock wraps around the handles of a sliding patio door. These are easy to secure yourself.

Here is a link to Amazon where you can purchase.

These types of locks are installed at the top and bottom of the sliding door into the frame so that the doors are secured but also cannot be lifted out. Simon Tarpey can help fitting these.

Here is a link to Amazon where you can purchase.

This is a door jamb preventing the patio door from being slid open unless you remove it first.

These are easy to secure yourself. Here is a link to Amazon where you can purchase.

Motion detector LED lights on your balcony. It does not have to be the make or model in the image.

You might need an electrician to fit these and help with the sensitivity settings. It should be set up in such a way that it does not shine onto/into neighbouring windows

Should you need an electrician, HMS Electrics know the estate well and Mark can be contacted on 07801 745 146.

An Indoor Security Camera that works over your WiFi can also be a step in the right direction to help with crime detection.

If you decided that you wanted an external camera to cover your balcony, please remember that it should be set up in a way that does not film neighbouring properties/balconies.

When you purchase these cameras, they usually come with a sticker that you can place on your balcony window to state that you are recording CCTV images. This will also act as a deterrent.

A set of retractable security grills as some ground floor flat owners have installed will be an excellent deterrent.

You can source these quite easily, but Barry Brothers on Praed Street can assist with this. Their telephone number is 020 7262 9009.

Finally, if you do happen to be the victim of a burglary, call the Police immediately, not the Estate Office.

Do not touch anything and resist the urge to tidy up as the Police may be able to get good forensic evidence. Let the Estate Office know once you have called the Police.

Gareth Targett

St George’s Fields Ltd

Leaks from one apartment’s plumbing arrangements into another apartment or to the common parts can on occasion be quite damaging.

There is a regulation contained in the fifth schedule that intends to ensure leaseholders have their water systems inspected by a competent person annually and any defects found made good, but it may be that even by undertaking this annual check it will not always prevent leaks occurring.

The information handbook at pages 11-12 tells leaseholders the procedure and what to do in such an emergency.

When a leak occurs into your flat or you spot one occurring into the common parts, and the Estate Office is open, please let us know. If we hold the keys to the flat and have the permission of the owner, we can enter to turn off the stop cock which will stop the leak pending the leaseholder repairing the fault.

If a leak occurs in an out-of-hours situation, then the steps you must undertake are also contained in the handbook at pages 11-12. Please also email the office to let us know if a leak occurs in an out-of-hours situation.

Leaseholders can help protect each other by ensuring that the office has a complete and up to date, working set of keys to your apartment and instructions to any additional security measures you may have installed. If you have not given the office a set of keys, then please reconsider this decision.

If you are relying on the Estate Office to provide any contractors with keys to your flat for works you wish to undertake, please impress upon your contractor the importance of returning the keys at the end of each day.

A recent incident of a contractor holding onto keys overnight meant that the office did not have access to turn off a stop cock that could have prevented a leak spreading and getting worse.

Please click this link to view the St George’s Fields Renovation Study Report:

St George’s Fields – Renovation Study Report

Dear Shareholders,

In my letter of 14th September, I informed you that the Board had created a brief for design architects to rejuvenate and modernise the estate and I said that Cayford Design, the architects we had appointed, were keen to solicit the opinions of shareholders by way of a questionnaire.

The Board and Management are very grateful to those shareholders – over 70 in number – who completed the questionnaire that I attached to my letter.    Both Cayford and the Board took careful account of the responses in moving to the next stage which has been the preparation by Cayford of a Renovation Study Report designed to set out the possibilities for a coherent plan for future work on the estate.   

Having considered the Report, the Board are excited by it and wish to share it with you all in the hope that you will share their enthusiasm. As the document runs to some 16 pages clicking the link will take you to an online version. If you would prefer a printed copy then please come to the estate office to collect one or ask us to post one to you.

As I explained in my letter of 14th September the reason for the appointment of design consultants is with a view to ensuring that there is a cohesive long-term plan for the overall “look and feel” of the estate. The attached report touches on all aspects of the estate and the possibilities for improvement. It does not go into any detail but provides a “roadmap” of how to proceed.

The next task for the Board will be to work out an order of priority with a view, initially, to identifying two or three projects on which more detailed design work should be undertaken. In the meantime, I would like to reassure you that:

  • the Board remains determined to manage our budgets sensibly and avoid any significant impact on the service charge with the prudent management of your money.
  • we will consult you before committing to any project(s).

I should make it clear that the attached report is sent to you to keep you informed and not by way of formal consultation.    However, if you have any immediate thoughts or ideas you are of course welcome to send me an email or note of your observations.  

 

Gareth Targett

St George’s Fields