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Out and about with Carol - Feb 2024



The rain had a rare day off during my estate visits in February which took me to three different schemes in the heart of Holborn and in the company of our hard working people from the neighbourhood management team, home ownership team, estate services and surveying team. 
First up was a converted Victorian house above a café in Kings Cross Rd which contains four shared ownership flats. A great location, but it was evident that the constraints on investment in recent years had taken its toll, with the communal stairway in need of redecoration. I’m pleased that now we are joining Places for People, that the additional investment agreed will, over time, mean we can bring buildings like this back to their former glory.  
Next along was Constable Court a mixed tenure block. On arrival we saw that an external door to the bin store was insecure. This has led to problems with intruders into the building and clearly represents a safety hazard. I was advised that the door has been replaced four times to no avail. With the key pad entry left disconnected on this occasion and the lock not working either. There needed to be a joint site visit with the neighbourhood manager and contractor to agree the solution – but things were getting stuck. A good example of how focusing on achieving a solution should drive agreement on the action needed. 

We then proceeded inside. The block is well designed and attractive, but we found a host of minor issues which together undermine a sense of wellbeing and order: including broken mail boxes, wonky fire notices, contractor waste left in the already unkempt communal garden (complete with a motorbike being stored there), lack of making good after replacement of a rear fire door and broken locks to meter cupboards to name a few. We also saw residents’ personal items such as bistro tables and chairs and plants on open walkways and discussed how we balance residents desire to look after their home with ensuring clear means of escape.

Finally, we visited Cubitt St. Here again, all three blocks are in need of communal area redecoration and new flooring, with windows in need of overhaul, pest infestation issues and work awaited to secure an area susceptible to people gathering to take and sell drugs.
All in all, a powerful reminder that we need to catch up on investment and find value for money solutions to persistent issues, as well as pay attention to the smaller things that can undermine residents sense of pride in their homes.

Focusing on our residents and working together better makes all the difference.

Carol Carter
Chief Executive