October CHORA Newsletter
Promoting a sense of community
CHORA represents everyone who owns, rents and/or lives in County Hall Apartments. We aim to promote a sense of community, deal with your concerns and inform you of what is happening in the neighbourhood. Our purpose is to give you a greater voice than you would have as an individual. CHORA also organises social events, negotiates discounts with local businesses and runs occasional surveys to ensure that County Hall is providing the best environment in one of London's iconic buildings.
Please visit the CHORA website at https://www.chora.org.uk where you can join our mailing list to receive e-mails about future CHORA activities, newsletters and other useful local information. Obviously, we won’t have any social events until after the pandemic.
Results from the AGM and management survey
We have received an excellent response to the CHORA survey highlighting the key issues with the AGM process and the management of the estate. Sadly, almost all have been very critical. I have included a few quotes below with a more extended list available on the CHORA website https://www.chora.org.uk/chora-survey-2020
Annual General Meeting
“I am disappointed about the way the AGM is being handled, particularly the appointment of directors and changes to the constitution”.
“New Articles are offered but with no description of the changes being proposed or the advantages to be gained by adopting them. If learned counsel, the company's solicitors and a sub-group of directors have all come to the conclusion that we would be better off by adopting these proposed Articles, they should have given us their reasons. This is a board which should know that its reputation for PR is abysmally low and that this stems from its consistent failure to explain its actions”.
“I am deeply uncomfortable about the AGM. I do not understand why new directors are not being elected nor why the existing directors are not retiring by rotation”.
Management of the estate
“The Estate under the ’new’ regime has been grossly inferior to that which went before and has been disastrously amateurish”.
“We are completely behind on Project 2020. The gym could have been refurbished during the 6 months it was closed as (many restaurants and pubs etc have done)”.
“The whole estate is in decline. This needs to be remedied as a matter of urgency to avoid costs escalating. Scrimping on maintenance is a false economy as it only becomes more expensive in the long run. An external, professional managing agent should be appointed to provide oversight”.
“The board should communicate clearly with owners and whilst CHORA represent the interests of the residents and owners, on both internal and external matters. We have over the past couple of years found communication with the board to have basically collapsed, which is very concerning”.
“Decisions when made have been so poorly carried out that major problems still remain. A great deal of money is paid into County Hall, but where does it go. There is nothing left here to indicate any positive sign of care and attention. Just miserable lifts, still unfinished, plenty of damp, water damage, the answer to that simply a completely new roof”.
And “The upkeep and management of the estate seem reasonable in East Block”.
Elizabeth House update. H B Reavis, developer of the Elizabeth House site, say they are still working through the legal agreements needed before a demolition and construction timetable can be finalised. In the meantime, they are enabling York Road retailers to reopen on a temporary basis and providing St Thomas’ Hospital with free parking on-site for NHS staff. It remains unclear if the pandemic is likely to delay development of such a major site.
Waterloo City Hub scheme on hold. The deterioration of Transport for London’s finances has led to an indefinite shelving of the scheme to do away with the Waterloo Roundabout and create a new public square between the Imax and Waterloo Station. It is unclear when or if the scheme, planning for which was well advanced, will be revived.
Bourne Capital, which owns the site between Waterloo Road and Cornwall Road from Sainsburys up to Emma Cons Gardens, is starting public consultation on proposals for a 19-storey office building
Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital has been given permission for a temporary building on the riverside for its Simulation and Interactive Learning Centre, which provides clinical skills training.
Lambeth and Southwark Councils and Transport for London are planning to close The Cut to through vehicle traffic. This is part of Transport for London's plan to develop "low-traffic corridors" in central London, to discourage more motor vehicles while COVID-19 deters use of public transport. The suggestion is to close The Cut between Short St and Hatfields, with access still possible from either end. The closure is a pilot, likely to last between 6 and 18 months to assess the impact.
The BFI South Bank has re-opened as of 1 September
The National Theatre is planning to resume socially-distanced live performances in the Olivier Theatre from 21 October, with a new one-person play – Death of England: Delroy, by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, and set during lockdown.
Hayward Gallery is now open again. Booking is required.
CHORA is planning to launch a Facebook Group to provide all owners and residents with a forum to communicate with all other County Hall Facebook subscribers. The site will provide a platform to express and potentially identify individual concerns along with positive messages regarding the estate and the local area. It could also be a way for residents to recommend a plumber, cleaner etc.