WDCO Community Forum Spring 2024

WDCO Community Forum 2024
WDCO Community Forum 2024

WDCO’s Second Community Forum

The Woodberry Down Community Organisation held its second community forum in the Redmond Centre on 11th April 2024.

With about 40 people in the room the meeting felt very well attended and there were lively discussions.

Actions Arising

Monthly Vital Energy Drop Ins – ITLAProvide the Masterplan webinar for the website – ITLA
Provide the Commonplace Boards for the website – ITLAAdd a redirect from the old website to the new

Play Facilities

The first question related to play areas for young families. At present there are no soft play facilities on the estate but there is an area for Under Fives at the east end of the east Reservoir. There is a regular One O’Clock Club in Rowley Gardens which takes place in a bus, and there are pop-up parks. There is a hub for older young people.

The Library in the Redmond Centre has many books for young children.

Access to Sport runs holiday camps and other sessions , notably in Finsbury Park.

Play Facilities in the Masterplan

Some explanation was given of how the provision for play areas works within the master plan. Whilst the next stage of the plan is very clear and subject to a planning application by Berkeley Homes, the stages beyond are not so well defined, so whilst we know that by the end of the entire regeneration there will be play areas for a wide range of ages, we do not at this stage know exactly where they’ll be. Some have yet to be provided.

At the moment children centre is in Portakabins but shortly the Children’s Centre will move into the John Sutton Centre.

Block D / Community Space

A question was raised about the section of Hartingtons building which is known as Block D. At present this is a large barn-like area which has temporary pop-up uses, for example as a food bank. But agreement has been reached with a provider called Millco to turn this part of the building into a centre for community use. Exactly what this will result in is not known at present. Negotiations between Millco, the London Borough of Hackney and Berkeley Homes on the costs and nature of the fit out are well advanced. There is some frustration over the length of time this is taking.

It is a condition of Millco’s tenure that they provide space for community activities at nil or low cost.

Community Space in Phase 3

It is known that in Phase 3 which is nearing completion there will be a community space set aside and this will be behind Sainsbury’s. Phase 3 is the phase which is currently nearing completion.

Friends of Woodberry Down (Facebook page) are very concerned about the provision of this space because at the moment they do not have a fixed place to hold their meetings. This club can be as large as 60 to 80 people, and because they provide meals require kitchen facilities. At the present they are sharing facilities which are given over to young people and school children During school holidays. So the friends have no home for 12 weeks of the year.

The Artificial Pitch Provision

There was a brief discussion on the removal of the artificial pitch from its present location to a new position beside the Children’s Centre. The necessity to move the pitch arises because the next phase of development (phase 5) will mean that the current pitch is inaccessible. So the move of the pitch, which has always been in the master plan, is being brought forward and it is being given a location between the South and the Hartingtons and the New River. The new pitch will be considerably larger than the existing one. The question was also a raised about whether other sports should be supported and what facilities are provided for girls who don’t necessarily want to play football.

Nearby Sports Facilities

It was pointed out the facilities for other sports are available very close by, for example the basketball courts in Finsbury Park are very extensive. Finsbury Park also has a new skate Plaza. There are tennis courts in Finsbury Park and in Clissold Park. Inevitably it will not be possible to provide every facility that everybody wants on the regenerated Estate.

Podium Design

A question that often arises during the WDCO board meetings is that of the podium form of design, in which a raised area is set entirely within a building, taking the form of a raised courtyard. The extent to which these enclosed courtyards are used is not clear but it was suggested that these could be used as safe play areas.

Billing for Heat and Power

The question of billing for heat and power was raised. For some time Insite has provided the Billing for both private blocks and for Notting Hill Genesis blocks. Recently Notting Hill Genesis blocks have changed over to Vital Energy. It was generally agreed that both Insite and Vital Energy leave a lot to be desired in the service they provide. Inaccurate estimates and overcharging were both mentioned.

It was suggested that vital energy having been recently appointed should provide a mechanism for residents to raise issues and come to understand how the billing process works and that this should take the form of a monthly meeting between Vital Energy and any residents with issues. The ITLA staff were happy for this to take place in the WDCO office and will pursue the setting up these monthly arrangements.

Cyclical Redecoration

A question arose on the redecoration undertaken by Notting Hill Genesis on some of the older/new blocks. There was a feeling that some blocks fare better than others during the course of the redecoration. ITLA staff were able to explain that this is because the so-called cyclical redecoration take place not on a strictly timed basis but on the basis of the condition of the blocks as determined by a surveyor .


Some concern was expressed about the presence of pests from the estate particularly rats and mice and maggots. Part of the cause of this is the fact that resident fobs do not work to open the doors of the areas where bins are stored, so that rubbish is left outside the storage areas which makes the problem worse.

Both the pests problem and the redecoration it was suggested that the existence of a Residents’ Association brings about a better result so that those residents who perceive they’re getting a lesser service would do well to organize and bring pressure on the managing agents.

Design Committee

WDCO members sit on a design committee with representatives from the other partners. It is influence from this committee that has brought about the dual aspect in most of the blocks recently and about to be built, which helps with creating a through draft for coolness in hot weather and to clear cooking smell.


The WDCO board will be renewed this summer with elections to be held in June or July. The new board begins work in September. Look out for the publicity if you would like to be on the board and stand for election.


  1. In response to the heading “Community Space in Phase 3” above Anthony Green of Notting Hill Genesis has replied to ITLA (who provide advice to residents, and administrative and other support to WDCO) https://wdco.org.uk/itla-services-and-surgeries-for-woodberry-down/

    Hi Roda – NHG have chosen to engage with MHDT with a view to the organisation leasing the dedicated community space as part of Ph3.

    MHDT has a long standing commitment to the area and the local community and already delivers a number of successful projects, including working with Friends of Woodberry Down, My Place and other local organisations, all which could benefit from this new facility.

    There is also a need for the facility to be commercially viable (NHG will not be charging any rent) and with this in mind MHDT will look at options to generate revenue by hiring out the venue at an affordable cost.

    The details of how the venue might operate and the commercial terms are subject to ongoing talks and ‘heads of terms’ are still to be agreed.

    I hope this clarifies the current position.

    Best wishes,


    This comes as a slight surprise to WDCO board members who did not realise that the space was within the gift of NHG, nor that negotiations were taking place

  2. In response to “Cyclical Redecoration” Jada Guest (NHG) wrote to Cllr Sarah Young

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for your email.

    Please see attached letter sent to both Birchwood and Maplewood residents in Nov 2023, which also includes info on NHG’s criteria for planned investment/cyclical works.

    We said we would arrange for a surveyor to attend Birchwood to inspect which has not yet happened, I apologise. @Nicholas Oemcke please can you make the referral and get a date booked in for this to take place as soon as possible. If you would like us to raise a case for Watersreach and Reservoir we can do this too?

    To confirm, the ground floor entrance lobby carpets in both Maplewood and Birchwood will be replaced at end of this week/early next week which should make a considerable improvement. We’ve also had initial internal discussions about the possibly using Claude to complete ground floor re-paints in the interim, this summer. We are yet to have a discussion with Wates about this (so cannot confirm as a definite yet) but is something we will explore in the coming months when things are less busy.

    For your info, I also attach my email sent to you all recently re queries relating to balconies and cyclical works at Rowan and Hornbeam. We are meeting our planned investment team on site at R&H this Friday to begin planning cyclical works for Hornbeam.

    Please feel free to share with WDCO members as I know they have made enquiries about this.
    I hope this helps
    Jada Guest
    Estate Operations Manager | Places & Estates

    and in respect of balconies Jada wrote to the WDCO Liaison committee

    Hi all,

    Following your questions on this at the liaison meeting on Tuesday evening, I have spoken to my colleagues who have provided some context on balcony timber decking.

    Both Rowan and Hornbeam were referred to the strategic planning team by an NHG surveyor in Aug 2022 for timber decking/balcony condition.

    Rowan was assigned as a CAT 1 condition so was placed on the 23/24 programme.

    Hornbeam as a CAT 2 and therefore was not on the 23/24 programme.

    The 23/24 programme was much more condition driven and due to the sheer volume of CAT 1s, we had to prioritise those over CAT 2s. There are 200+ CAT 2 buildings referred waiting a programme year just to give you an understanding of the scale.

    Hornbeam was not identified as a priority for the 2024/25 Cyclical programme. However, after speaking to our Strategic Planning team, they confirm that there is a building coming out of the 2024/25 programme of a similar size and value that means they can put Hornbeam onto the 2024/25 Cyclical programme.

    More detail on this will follow in time.


    Jada Guest
    Estate Operations Manager | Places & Estates

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