Redecoration of SEC

paint For those who went along to The Roebuck last year to meet with Dorothy Gardner from Camden Council, you may remember lots of vision boards showing lovely smooth walls in various colours with samples too of various floor covering options.

As a leaseholder you would also have received a letter from Camden Council with an estimate for the planned works of £2000+

Dorothy has since left Camden and I received a call a while ago from the chap who has taken over from her. He informed me that they plan to carry out the works shortly HOWEVER…

There will be no floor coverings – this idea has been ditched. Fine by me if they can get proper cleaning machines and give the staircases a good once over for the first time in the 26 years I’ve lived there.

The walls WILL NOT be sanded down to a smooth finish. Yes you read that correctly. The ugly ‘swirl’ patterns will remain all over the walls. Why? Because, as he told me, it would be ‘too difficult to get the swirls off’. Well that’s not our problem. It was Camden’s workers who put the swirls up there in the first place, the last time the communal areas were decorated, and the only reason they did was that they were too lazy to do the job properly (does this sound like a familiar pattern?!)

Oh and they aren’t even sure that they can clean down the metal grate running from top to bottom floor.

So yes my fellow leaseholders, it appears that the £2000+ bill will purely be for someone to come along with a pot of paint and paint straight over what we already have. Yes it will be nice to have clean walls again, but clean, beautifully decorated smooth walls would be my preference and a reason to pay.

I asked the chap to put this all in writing to me so that I could inform you of the full picture properly, updating us on a new lower cost per leaseholder as the job has obviously been stripped back completely and, guess what…he hasn’t.

I also asked him to check when they would expect payment from the leaseholders as everyone already had the Water Works bill to deal with.  No word on this either.

I have tried to find out who this guy is and spent the last half and hour being shunted around on the phone. No joy. Am I impressed? Not at all.


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SEC Leaseholder bill for water-pipe renewal work

tap You are probably wondering why I haven’t provided an update recently on the horrendous bills we received for Apollo’s  water-pipe renewal work in South End Close. Well the reason for this is that I am STILL awaiting the requested breakdown of costs from Camden!

Now of course, one would have expected these figures to be easy to provide. Surely Camden’s Leaseholder Services Dept who deal with billing would have been through Apollo’s invoice with a fine tooth comb before paying them and sending invoices out to us? That’s the least I would expect from them to justify their 10% management fee! But no, I don’t believe this is the case hence there is still no sign of the breakdown.

Now call me out of order, but this makes me slightly suspicious. Are people in the midst of providing ‘amended’ figures to justify the sums we are being invoiced for to make them look more acceptable to us? With so much time having passed by since I originally requested these figures (beginning of February), no one can blame me for my suspicious mind surely!

Anyway, I have made NO ARRANGEMENTS TO PAY THIS BILL and have no intention of doing so until I know that amount I am being charged is both fair and correct. If you are paying it already, I’d personally recommend you STOP RIGHT NOW – but that’s my opinion and it’s down to you to do what you feel best.

Best wishes to y’all.


Posted in Do you have a problem?, Leaseholders bill for water works, Something of interest, South End Close | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Dear Royal Mail

I would like to thank the postman who delivered mail to South End Close today for the lovely crease bang in the middle of the Mother’s Day card I purchased. Seriously, what part of Please Do Not Bend does he/she not understand? And no, it wasn’t in the midst of lots of other post. It was the only thing I received today. Image

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ImageProxy.mvc Keats Library Book Sale!

 Saturday 29th March – 10.00am-4.00pm

Renowned as great value with a big range of subjects Keats Library have had 1000’s of books donated to them including

  • Review copies (read once!)  of the latest paperbacks, fiction and non fiction
  • Non Fiction: Art books, Biographies
  • Fiction: Latest Novels and those you always meant to read
  • Ex Library books
  • Children’s books
  • House clearances – interesting old titles 

Prices  start as low as 50p with discounts for larger purchases (from  £50.00).


Music at Keats

Thursday 24th April –  7.30pm (in the library)

Lucy Jeal (violin)   – Winner of the LPO’s international ‘Young Soloist of the Year’; and Alexander Somov (Cello) –  Winner of the Gold Medal from the Guildhall School of Music.

Concert Programme Includes:
Duets by Haydn, Martinu, Bach, Paganini, Handel, Rebecca Clarke & Handel-Halvorsen

For more details please see Keats Library website; Tickets £10.00 from the library or as usual. Or call 020 7431 1266.

Art Fair

Saturday 26th April 10am to 4pm – Admission FREE

The first Art Fair held at Keats tempted over 30 people to buy works from 2 local artists and those at the Hampstead School of Art.

In 2014, this is being extending to 10 established  local artists  to show a range of works.
With prices from £50 (nothing over £900 and most well below), this is truly Affordable Art which supports  the artists and the library.

Artists this year will include:
Mychael Barratt, David Braunsberg, Ann Eastman, Andrew Flint Shipman, Clare Grossman, Markos Kampanis, Jane Mclean, Sarah Nutley, Glynis Owen ,Tony Rothon, Tina Vlassopulos, Christine Watson, Zoe Zenghelis & Students From Hampstead School Of Art


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Calling all carers in Camden


Camden Carers Service (CCS) offers a wide range of activities and services for carers. Here’s an update on some of their events taking place locally:

  • Increase your confidence – bite-size training, 19th March, 24pm
  • Guided walk on Hampstead Heath, 21st March, 11am–12.30pm.
  • The Pressure Valve – an evening support group for working carers, alternate Mondays, begins 24th March, 6.30–8pm.
  • Drop-in health check – discover your metabolic age – 25th April, 10am – 3.30pm.

They also run support groups for mental health, dementia, and older carers, plus a general group which includes former carers.

For further details about the events and other activities going on near you –visit their website or telephone 020 7428 8950/55.

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South End Close Tenant’s and Resident’s Association

tra Sadly our Tenant’s and Resident’s Association (SECRA) saw it’s demise at the end of last year. Why? Because of the lack of interest from the majority of those living in SEC. I would dearly love us to have an active TRA as there are so many things we can do to ensure that South End Close is kept a lovely place to live.

As Chairperson, I attended many Gospel Oak District Management Committee meetings (which are open to anyone) where other TRA’s applied for funding for various things for their estates. Following is an example of funding requests which were approved;

Repair uneven surfaces of Under-6 play area £1845

Bicycle rack for 10-12 bikes £2500

Resurfacing of football pitch £33227

We need a minimum of 10 residents of SEC (all living at separate addresses) to attend a meeting and to elect a new committee in order to get SECRA back up and running.

Please fill in the following poll and let me know your thoughts. You can also write to me at or via the blog.

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Update for leaseholders on Water Works bill from Camden

update5 David Cattell of Camden Water Services is getting the information I have been requesting for quite a while now together with regards to the breakdown of Apollo’s invoice to Camden Council. The plan is for us to sit down and go through the various items a.s.a.p.

Please let me know if you would like to join us.

In the meantime, my bill  for £4700+ for the water works issue to me by Camden Council remains ‘on hold’. Does yours?


Posted in Do you have a problem?, Important News, Leaseholders bill for water works, Something of interest, South End Close | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Update: Correspondence with Camden re Apollo/Camden Council Leaseholder Invoices for water works

fed up Following is today’s correspondence with Camden Council thus far following an email I received with the same breakdown for Apollo’s invoice which I’ve now been sent about five times instead of the FULL breakdown of their costs I have requested time and time again.

Dear All, 

(Mike Edmunds,  Russell Labibi, Rajiv Navin, Leaseholder Services, Terry Wiggett, David Cattell, Larraine Rever, Julian Fullbrook, Rhianne Ford)

Please see the email I received below from Michelle Omoruyi at Camden Council.

a) can someone please explain why I am repeatedly being sent the same attached breakdown of fees and not the breakdown I and the leaseholders of SEC have requested time and time again?
b) why, despite me clearly being a ‘Miss’ do Camden staff keep sending emails to Mr Reid?

I’m getting a tad fed up now to be honest. Can you blame me?

Best wishes,

MISS Pier Reid


Thank you for your email

The water services manager Dave  Cattell has been asked to provide further breakdowns, I understand he is visiting the properties where leaseholders have raised queries and concerns about the works.

One completed he will up-date leaseholders services and advise of any invoice adjustments and we will write to all leaseholders concerned.

Apologies for the delay , he has been asked to conclude his investigations as soon as possible


Mike Edmunds

Head of Leaseholders Services


Thanks for this, however we have been asking for a breakdown for the amount Apollo invoiced Camden for. We want to know how Apollo reached the figure they invoiced Camden for. Surely you already have this? Surely you would expect us to ask for this following the turmoil many went through and with bills of almost £5k being put through our doors?!

David has kindly informed me he is visiting leaseholders who have queries and concerns. I was unaware that David is now in charge of billing too.

We are expecting adjustments across the board, not just for those who have bothered to complain.

Thank you.

Pier Reid


Thank you for your email

Leaseholders services will adjust invoices,  but any adjustments will be based on the scheme managers conclusions on quality of work, management of scheme and findings from property inspections .


Mike Edmunds

Head of Leaseholders Services


So should I have been directing our request for transparency on the invoiced amount for Apollo from David Cattell? In which case, David could you please provide the invoice breakdown which you received from Apollo?

I am really starting to feel like we’re going round in circles! Surely this should be a simple request.

Logic would say;
1) You get estimated costs prior to work taking place
2) Work gets done
3) Contractor provides an invoice with full breakdown for costs provided
4) Camden should have checked with all residents of SEC to see if they were happy with the works which took place BEFORE paying Apollo and sending out bills

Or were Camden simply happy to have received an invoice from Apollo with the following?

1 Replacement of Cold Water Tanks        
2 Replacement cold water tanks & associated tank room refurbishment.         £      114,412.00
3 Omit Tank replacement, secondary supply to be replaced with mains supply.  Tanks de-commisioned and removed.  Tank rooms refurbished and safety works completed       -£        57,321.12
4 Above & Below Ground Cold Water Mains Replacement in accordance with contractors proposals, whole estate        £      268,169.40
5 Additional Mains Supply (due to removal of cold water) Design Costs        £           6,750.00
6 Additional Mains Supply (due to removal of cold water): Installation of 7 nr thermal stores and associated works        £         12,334.00
7 Additional Mains Supply (due to removal of cold water): New CWS to roof top flats, 26 number        £         18,070.00
8 Additional Mains Supply (due to removal of cold water):New CWS to 1st-3rd floor flats, 106 nr        £         39,114.00
9 Additional Mains Supply (due to removal of cold water): Associated builders work / boxing in / making good        £         14,000.00
10 Install wash down taps to base of each riser, lockable        £              800.00
11 Run new water main to care takers room        £           1,025.00
12 TOTAL WATER TANK REPLACEMENT WORKS        £      417,353.28
13 TOTAL COST OF WORKS        £      417,353.28
14 Contractors Running Costs & Fees        
15 Fixed Fee 7.07%     29,506.88
16 Performance Fee 1.00%     4,173.53
17 Contractors Running Costs 14.36%     59,932.19
18 TOTAL RECHARGEABLE COSTS        £      510,965.88

Well we are not satisfied that this bill is valid. We are already aware that not all pipes were boxes in/made good, we are aware that the job ran over as Apollo didn’t know who to contact at Camden to help in accessing properties until I told him who to speak to so how much extra did we incur on the bill for salaries whilst they sat doing nothing? We all know that the was repeated work thanks to the jobs not being done properly in the first place – how much has been added on the salary bills for this? What is the Fixed Fee? What is the Performance Fee? What are the Contractors Running Costs?

Aren’t you all sick of me asking the same questions? Can someone please come up with answers? I am doing all this on my own time and for no money and Camden seriously want to add 10% to my bill for management. Ridiculous!

If the work by Apollo had taken place with minor hiccups, I don’t think anyone would question their bills but we all know this isn’t the case. I am going to publish this letter on my blog to update the leaseholders who read it.

Kind regards,

Pier Reid


Posted in Blogs, Do you have a problem?, Important News, Leaseholders bill for water works, Something of interest, South End Close | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

An update on my requests to Camden Council re Water Works

baffled I received a letter from Camden’s leaseholder services department this week and a the same copy of the invoice breakdown which I’ve now been sent 3 times.

As an explanation I requested of the management fee,  they wrote:

In relation to the management fee “Management fees are charged in accordance with the lease, at 10% of the leaseholder’s contribution (Fifth Schedule). The fee covers the cost of the Leasehold Services in carrying out statutory consultation, answering observations from leaseholders and preparing and managing the service charge accounts. The fees also cover Capital Projects for project management.”

Now of course I understand there will be fees for the above HOWEVER, I’m a leaseholder and I do not feel that my observations are being responded to. I still have yet to receive a full breakdown for Apollo’s invoice, which I believe should be severely cut, which in turn would cut the 10% fee Camden receive for their so called management of this project.

David Cattell has kindly offered to attend a meeting of SEC leaseholders to discuss any ongoing problems and I am directing anyone who has any directly to him. However this issue is more about the work which took place and the nightmares (leaks, lies, lazy workers who had to have their work redone, stress, upset, etc) that came with it whilst it was all being done and the high costs we (the leaseholders) are expected to now pay for the pleasure of it all. On top of which we don’t have the ‘wonderful water pressure’ we were all told we would have once the work was done.

Did anyone in Camden think to ask the residents how happy they were with the work done in their homes and how satisfied with Apollo? If I had been in charge, I would have been asking these questions before getting out the cheque book to pay Apollo to ensure they were being paid what was deserved.

My suggestion would be to have an emergency leaseholders meeting once we are finally provided with the breakdown of Apollo’s invoice for us to go through together.

I still have absolutely no intention of making arrangements to pay my portion of the bill for the work which took place until I receive the responses I have requested. I also question why it is taking so long to get a copy of Apollo’s invoice/breakdown. Surely Camden want this situation resolved a.s.a.p.?

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Update for SEC Leaseholders on the bill for Water Pipe Renewal

unhappy  As previously mentioned, I questioned Camden’s Collection Dept as to why my bill for the Water Pipe Renewal work was £1000 more than my neighbour who is also a leaseholder and £500 more than another. This is the response I have had (so far):

Your contribution to these works have been calculated based on the rateable value of your property, as outlined in the original notice of intent.

The rateable value of your property was determined by the district valuation office (not a Local Authority employee, an independent and impartial professional service) many years ago, they assessed the relative values of all the properties in every block, estate & across the borough on the same basis, creating a fair method to compare units & apportion costs amongst them. These rateable values are fixed and will only be reviewed if your property has substantially altered since the valuation process (e.g. two flats knocked into one, a loft addition creating significant variation to floorspace). Please note they are not rental values or an assessment of the sales price of a house/flat; they are purely an index figure to compare one house/flat to other houses/ flats in the borough, as such your rateable value does not require recalculating.

I still do not believe this is either correct nor fair in light of the fact that we had exactly the same work done in our homes. Yes I may have one more bedroom than my neighbour, but I wasn’t having my flat decorated and therefore having more materials used in an additional room and more time taken by the workers- I had the same metal pipework put in exactly the same location and taking,  presumably, the same length of time for the work to be done.

As per many requests from leaseholders, I have requested a complete breakdown of the invoice provided by Apollo to Camden council for the work in SEC to be given a.s.a.p. I will forward these details to you as soon as I receive them.

Posted in Blogs, Do you have a problem?, Leaseholders bill for water works, Something of interest, South End Close | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment