Addresses and Postcodes
Addresses are of the form 99 Street Name, Tooting, London SW17 9ZZ (Tooting is optional).
Periodically, the Management Company issues a Property Guide (PDF, 142kb), to meet ARMA-Q guidelines. This is version 4.1 dated 23 July 2017. The Property Guide is a summary that is updated infrequently, so you should refer to this website for more extensive and up to date information.
Rubbish and Recycling
Wandsworth Council collects household rubbish and recycling each Monday morning. Rubbish must be placed in plastic sacks in dustbins in the front garden for houses and in plastic sacks in dustbins in bin stores for flats. Material for recycling must be placed in special recycling sacks supplied by the Council for that purpose (originally orange, clear since April 2013) and left by the orange recycling posts on the Estate on Sunday evening.
Only rubbish in sacks will be collected, not anything loose in dustbins. There are several foxes on the Estate and nearby, so rubbish sacks must be left in dustbins, otherwise the foxes rip the bags open and scatter the rubbish looking for food. We also recommend use of bins with handles that hold the lids in place to prevent fox access, which can be bought for around £12 locally.
Only the recycling listed on our and the Council notices and on them may be put in recycling sacks, otherwise they will not be collected and we will have to pay to dispose of them. Clean paper and card, unbroken glass bottles and jars, metal cans, tins and aerosols, plastic bottles (without lids), plastic food trays, tubs and pots (after rinsing clean) and cartons including Tetrapaks can all be recycled. Currently, food-contaminated items, shredded paper, clothing, textiles, Pyrex glass, broken glass, metal foil, plastic lids, plastic bags, plastic film, plastic cups, food waste, garden waste and electrical items cannot be recycled, and must not be put in the orange sacks. This changed in May 2011 when new Council recycling facilities allowed more types of plastic to be recycled.
The refuse collection will not take large items, electrical items or building / DIY waste, so these must not be left in bin stores, recycling areas or elsewhere. Wandsworth Council provides a service to collect large household items and DIY waste. Contact them through its website or on telephone number 020 8871 8558 for this service.
If you have a large amount of waste to remove, this may only be stored in the parking space of your property (or in the garden of a house) for a short time awaiting collection. By law, you must use a licenced waste contractor. If you need a waste skip, this requires Management Company consent and will be subject to conditions, see this section.
If waste is not disposed of properly, we all have to pay for its disposal in our service charges. Currently, that amounts to over £1,000 per year. The cost of disposal will be added to the service charge account of the owner of any property found dumping waste improperly. This will be the Council charge or the cost of commercial disposal if higher. If waste is fly-tipped on Estate land, the owner will be reported to the police for this criminal offence.
For reference, here are the Management Company notices about refuse in blocks of flats (PDF, 90kb) and bin stores (PDF, 59kb), and here is the Wandsworth Council leaflet on the recycling service (PDF scan, 231kb). These have been updated now that more types of plastic can be recycled.
Rubbish disposal has been an issue since the Estate was built in the 1980s. The Directors at the time have considered every proposal by owners and residents, but none has obtained majority owner approval and been acceptable to Wandsworth Council. In particular, nobody wants a larger rubbish store near their property, many are unwilling to spend money on this issue and Wandsworth Council will not allow the use of large bins (as used on council estates), nor would these fit in existing bin stores, and their vans cannot handle wheelie bins (despite a petition on the Government website). The option to build wooden stores for recycling bags was rejected at the Annual General Meeting in 2010. Concrete was subsequently laid in St Benedicts Close and Limetree Walk where recycling bags are put as the areas had turned to mud.
The Directors have every sympathy with owners and residents as they are affected by exactly the same issues as everyone else. However, in order to do anything, it would be necessary (1) for someone to come up with a new proposal to improve the situation (not merely repeat those rejected previously), (2) for this to be acceptable to Wandsworth Council and (3) for the proposal and the costs involved to be acceptable to the majority of owners at a general meeting. Without such conditions being met, there is unfortunately nothing more that the Directors and Managing Agent can do other than communicating with residents to exhort them to adopt better habits, as we have done repeatedly, although this message is widely ignored.
Each property on the Estate includes a designated parking space, which is part of the property. All parking spaces belong to a property and there are none spare. The spaces are intended for private cars and motorcycles and may also be used for bicycles. Vans too large to fit in the marked space safely while still allowing access to neighbouring spaces, lorries, boats, caravans and motor-homes are not allowed.
Parking on the Estate is controlled at the request of the majority of owners as a way of preventing people in surrounding streets and other residents using their allocated spaces, especially since Wandsworth Council introduced charges for parking in surrounding roads. A parking contractor administers the scheme and owners decided at the Annual General Meeting in November 2012 to continue with Ace Security Services. Warning notices are displayed throughout the Estate. The Management Company issues parking permits, around every two years, to save costs and administration. There are two permits for each space, one for the resident and another for a guest or contractor working in the property. Both permits are for the same parking space, so only one can be used at any one time. Please report any loss to the Managing Agent to issue replacement permits.
The law since October 2012 does not permit clamping on private property, so enforcement is by parking charge notices. These can be pursued through the courts as civil debts, for which additional charges and court fees may be payable. Neither St Benedicts nor the Managing Agent receives any part of these charges and fees. We have no jurisdiction over the charge notices and cannot intervene on your behalf or on behalf of anyone who is charged. Any appeal must be made directly to Ace Security Services and can only be allowed if the photographic evidence that Ace supplies shows that it was mistaken in issuing the notice. Parking charges will not be cancelled for any oversight or mistake by the parking space or vehicle owner. The contact details for Ace are on the notices prominently displayed throughout the Estate warning that parking control applies. You may also contact Ace to report incorrectly parked vehicles, but there is no obligation for them to make special visits.
If any property owners do not wish parking in their space to be controlled, they are free to opt out at any time by notifying the Managing Agent in writing or, preferably, by email. This takes up to two weeks to process and you will be notified of the date when parking control will cease in your space. You will then need to return any parking permits held. The rules still apply elsewhere on the Estate and vehicles infringing these will still be liable to a charge, for example, if they park in the wrong space or obstruct adjacent spaces. If you opt out, neither St Benedicts nor the Managing Agent nor Ace Security Services will be able to help if someone parks in your space without your permission.
The rules for parking on the Estate are set to comply with the provisions on parking and nuisance in the legal agreements for the properties. Vehicles parked in a way that contravenes any of these rules are liable to a parking charge:
Unfortunately, no provision for bicycles was made nor required by the council when the Estate was built in the 1980s. Wandsworth Council has a scheme to install bicycle stands, the Directors applied successfully and the Council installed three stands in St Benedicts Close, Limetree Walk and Abbey Drive in 2013 and 2014. The stands are available for use on a first come first served basis at the bicycle owner's risk. Owners should chain the bicycle and both wheels for security.
As an alternative, you may store bicycles either in your property or chained to a low metal hoop installed in your parking space at your cost. To install a hoop, you must ask permission from the Managing Agent. The law requires fire exits to be kept clear of obstructions and flammable items (like tyres), so bicycles must not be left in flat communal areas and any that are will be removed immediately for safety and disposed of if not reclaimed.
At the request of some residents, the Directors had investigated other options for storing bicycles and reported these to the Annual General Meeting in November 2012. Buildings were prohibitively expensive and Wandsworth Council confirmed that these would require planning permission. Owners decided not to pay for buildings or open stands although these were later provided by the Council.
If you need a waste skip, this must be placed in your parking space for the minimum time possible so as not to cause an obstruction to other car park users, vehicles or public rights of way. If it does cause an obstruction you must remove it straight away. If you are a tenant, permission from the property owner is required and the owner must apply for permission from the Management Company. By law, waste must be removed by a licensed waste contractor.
Owners wishing to use a waste skip will be required as a condition of consent to repair or pay for any damage that may be caused. They must obtain consent in advance from the Management Company either by applying at St Benedicts Online or by printing and completing this form (PDF), then returning it to the Managing Agent.
Rights of Way and Security Gates
The Estate has a number of public roads and rights of way, shown in pink on this map (GIF image, 149kb), which legally prevent us from blocking off access to deter the nuisance sometimes caused by people from outside the Estate using it to congregate, as a short cut for bicycles and motorcycles or to fly tip waste.
We worked with our local Councillor to press the Council to make changes to prevent motorcycles from being ridden dangerously on the footpaths through the Estate. Unfortunately, the Council refused to take effective action to solve the problem, such as introducing a chicane barrier that wheelchairs and pushchairs can pass but motorcycles cannot, as has been done elsewhere nearby. However, the police did step up patrols and warn local shops offering delivery at the Councillor's request and the problem of motocycles ridden on footpaths then reduced considerably.
To try to reduce these nuisances, the Management Company, the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme installed lockable gates at some access points that are not public rights of way. Closing devices were subsequently fitted to prevent them from being left open, with padding to prevent slamming. The Management Company also installed additional lighting, altered walls and planted new bushes to deter people congregating in areas where this frequently occurred.
Keys for the security gates were originally distributed without charge and there is a small charge for replacing lost keys.
Police Safer Neighbourhood Team
The local police force is the Metropolitan Police. It has local Safer Neighbourhood Teams including one for our neighbourhood of Graveney, based at Tooting Police Station. Graveney Safer Neighbourhood Team regularly patrols the Estate. If you want to talk to them about any crime, anti-social or residential matter, contact them and they will visit you. They meet every three months to discuss policing priorities in the area and encourage local people to join the Ward panel to be involved in setting those priorities.
The Graveney Safer Neighbourhood Team can be contacted by telephone on 020 8721 2071, by mobile telephone on 07843 065884, at Tooting Police Station, 251 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London SW17 9JQ, or by email on Graveney.SNT@met.police.uk (click to send email). The Tooting Police Station Contact Point is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 7pm to 8pm and on Saturday from 2pm to 3pm (February 2014).
If you see a crime in progress, call the emergency number 999. For less urgent matters like anti-social behaviour, call the police non-emergency number 101. Report crimes on the non-emergency number or online at https://online.met.police.uk.
Residents of freehold and leasehold properties on the Estate all have a duty under the legal agreements for their properties not to cause nuisance to their neighbours, and this includes noise nuisance. There is a specific additional duty on residents of leasehold flats concerning noise - see below. These duties apply to tenants as well as owner-occupiers and owners have a duty to ensure that their tenants comply with these obligations.
Wandsworth Council provides a service for noise nuisance. Contact them on 020 8871 6170 during office hours or on the noiseline 020 8871 7869 out of office hours for this service. In extreme cases, they may be able to obtain an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) against the person or people concerned.
The Management Company can only take action against nuisance including noise as far as permitted by law and will generally only be able to take action if you have already had a complaint upheld by the Council. Courts are very reluctant to order the forfeiture of leases in such cases and there is even less remedy provided by law against owners of freehold properties. Under the legal agreements for leasehold properties, the owner making a complaint must indemnify the Management Company and pay the Management Company's costs for taking action.
You are much more likely to be able to obtain a court order yourself against the person or people concerned and enforcement is then a matter for the court.
There are over 100 trees in the Estate grounds, these make a major contribution to the nature of the Estate and have high amenity value. Since the Estate was built in the mid 1980s on the site of an old hospital, the builders and subsequently the Management Company have been required to keep surviving mature trees in the grounds. The property legal agreements provide protection from the consequences of allowing trees to grow. Mature trees are subject to Wansdsworth Borough Council tree preservation order (PDF scan, 131kb) number 99 of 2003. Under the law, this restricts the work that the Management Company and its agents can carry out to the protected trees and requires permission from Wandsworth Council in advance of any work to the trees. Property owners and residents are not permitted to do anything to the trees.
The Directors of the Management Company recognise that property owners and residents have different opinions regarding trees and have adopted the following policy to balance these viewpoints and meet obligations: to manage the trees on the Estate and allow them to grow in accordance with the legal and contractual obligations on the Management Company, following advice from a professionally qualified tree surgeon and, where applicable, as permitted by planning consent. The Directors have produced a tree management plan (PDF, 33kb) which sets out in detail how the trees on the Estate will be managed in accordance with this policy and legal and contractual obligations.
Snow and Gritting
The tarmac roads and main paths on the Estate are publicly adopted and are the responsibility of Wandsworth Council. They are identified on the map (GIF image, 149kb) of public roads and rights of way. After the snow in November 2010, the Council apparently did not grit any side roads and after the snow in December 2010 they gritted other side roads but not those on the St Benedicts Estate. The Management Company therefore asked the gardening contractor to grit the roads and main paths.
In response to a suggestion made at the 2010 Annual General Meeting, the Management Company obtained a bin and a stock of grit / salt. This is located in the middle of the Estate in St Benedicts Close, by the recycling area marked with an orange post, where it is least likely to be vandalised or raided. When snow or ice is forecast, a bag of grit / salt is put out by the bin for residents to use if needed. After snow falls, bags of grit / salt are also put out in Abbey Drive and Limetree Walk. You will need your own shovel and should use only one tablespoonful per square metre. The action of cars driving and people walking on it will then melt the snow, it does not melt just by applying the grit / salt. If snow remains when the gardening contractor is on site, they will clear snow from pavements and paths and will also spread grit / salt if needed.
The Wandsworth Council grit bins nearby are at the top of Church Lane by the roundabout exit to Mantilla Road and at the bottom of Rectory Lane near its junction with Southcroft Road, which you can use if more convenient. The Government has provided advice on clearing snow and ice.