Oct 022016
 
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We have come a long way already and the RA would like to express their thanks and gratitude to everyone who has been able to get involved in any or all of the recent activities below.
  • RBK&C/Ask the Architects events
  • Residents Association
    • RA Officer and Committee Meetings (Minutes 24th August and 7th September)
    • ITLA discussions with RBK&C
    • Joining Westway Trust – as a member organisation and affected neighbours
    • Talking with our resident ‘neighbours’ – Lanc West, St. Helens, Colvin House, Warwick Gardens
    • Met with Dominic Curran – the Senior Housing Policy Officer at the Greater London Authority (GLA)
  • Community events
    • Members of the RA and local community have hosted three ‘Maxilla’ meetings (a fouth is planned for 12th October)
    • We had a great, well attended and enjoyable Estate Fun afternoon
    • Open Garden Estates and Exhibition – Constantine, Lex, James and Nahid displayed some amazing Artwork
From the discussions I’ve had I feel that the strength of our community and relationships has shone through. It’s not about one person or one point of view, it’s about all of us participating, influencing and being part of the discussions.
So that is an overview of how far we’ve come since the Cabinet Meeting in May
What Next?
In meetings we have had with Ruth Angel, (the Senior Project Manager for Housing Regeneration) and from Issue 3 of the RBK&C Silchester Newsletter we know that;
  1. the Feasibility Study will continue based on four of the original six options
  2. a further two options have been added to the feasibility study;
    1. Continue with the current maintenance plan i.e. ‘Do Nothing’
    2. Refurbishment and Infill
  3. between now and early December the focus will be on ‘Refurbishment and Infill’ – Read more below

Refurbishment and Infill Options

As mention previously RBK&C have added in an option to consider ‘Refurbishment and Infill construction’. Whatever the reason for this, whether campaigning by the RA, comments from Residents at the ‘Ask the Architects’ events, or for legal reasons, the fact is that this option is now up for real consideration. The Request for Quotation can be found at this link and we understand that the organisations that have been asked to tender are: Baily Garner; Calford Seaden; Hunters; & Frankham.

The RA is formally requesting that we are given the opportunity to participate in this process.

ITLA (Independent Tenant, Leaseholder and Freeholder Advisor)

As an RA we have taken the decision that now is the time to start the process of appointing an ITLA (Independent Tenant, Leaseholder and Freeholder Advisor). This is something that the RA has been putting on hold whilst we; a) negotiate the brief for the ITLA to suit Silchester residents and b) wait for the right time. And so, we are pleased that we have been able to negotiate the Brief (Link: here) and members of the RA Committee are on the Interview and Selection Panel. Both of which are successes for the RA And Residents.

What will the ITLA do?
The ITLA will be expected to provide clear, unbiased and independent information about how regeneration or redevelopment plans may affect residents and their homes. This includes working with residents to ensure they are fully engaged with the process and understand and influence any plans that are developed.  Click on this Link to see the full brief.
As part of the Interview and Selection Panel the Silchester Residents members will be looking at how to ensure that the ‘independent’ aspect of the role is Independent.
And Finally
We are a strong, diverse and talented community and we believe that we have the right to be key players in plans which affect our future and further believe that we have the ability, drive and commitment and that by maintaining a positive relationship with all other parties involved we have a great opportunity to influence this process.
Whatever decision the Council makes, it will be based around the options for example;
  • If the chosen option is ‘do nothing’ except continue with the current maintenance plan, do we want that? What about lifts, windows and access; all the things we get raise at RA meetings?
  • If the chosen option is refurbishment/infill, what does that look like, what gets refurbished, to what standard, what will be removed for infill to happen?
  • If the chosen option is complete demolition or anything in between, what does that look like for existing tenants, leaseholders, freeholders and tenants of other providers and other stakeholders, shops, Community Spaces, etc.
The RA have always stated that we want to be involved in getting the best result for the most number of residents. We will continue to hold RA meetings about the existing estate and the feasibility study, hold the Council to account for it’s promises and actions as well as constructively challenge at every stage.
Ultimately and at some point the Council will be making a decision as to what happens on Silchester; refurbishment or nuclear. When that time comes we want and hope that the RA will be in that position of influence, not just on the outside waving our banners and shouting foul.
Derek White
Chair to the Silchester RA
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