Tinkers Bridge - Milton Keynes

A great place to live!


It has been said that "YourMK is not Our MK". Do you think that is true?

First estates to be regenerated

At an MK Housing committee meeting in January 2017 Cllr Margaret Burke suggested that the first two estates to be regenerated would be North Bradville and Fullers Slade. The meeting chair, Cllr Chris Williams, then categorically denied that any such decision had been made. North Bradville is of especial interest to Tinkers Bridge, as the houses are of the same design. The land categorisation data of 2015 (which MKC say is not used) does show larger areas of land with development potential than are available on Tinkers Bridge. We await further developments, and will support other Residents Associations and similar groups in Milton Keynes who may be affected by regeneration. We are in touch with Fullers Slade RA, who have a Facebook page.

The first estates were announced as Fullers Slade, followed by Lakes estate, followed by North Bradville.

Look East Sep 2016

On Tuesday 13th September 2016, Look East broadcast this short film. It includes interviews with residents who will be affected by regeneration, as well as the former Director of Planning at MK Development Corporation, Lee Shostak and YourMK Managing Director, David Gleeson.

Queries on YourMK and MKC reasons

We would like to check the following
1) Deprivation indexes. The 2015 data shows 10 categories. Which of them is going to be improved by the property side of regeneration? Which of them may become worse? How concerned are the residents about these indexes?
2) Housing Revenue Account. We would like someone with suitable background to check these books, and to explain what is meant by £13.5m in 2010/11 for "Negative Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Payable", and what happened to the £134m for Impairment of dwelling in the same year. At present there is an unquantified feeling that money which should have been spend on regular Council house improvements has been diverted elsewhere.
3) Survey results. Does the 1% in a good condition mean that routine maintenance has been neglected for decades? What is the structural standard of these properties? What about properties that have not been surveyed?
4) Support for regeneration. Various publications have claimed support for YourMK in doorstep surveys. How were these surveys carried out, and were the questions asked design to lead people into giving specific answers, or to obtain true opinions?

Email to YourMK from TBRA on 5/6/17

Hi Lizzie

Thank you for your response to the questions. They were read out at the TBRA meeting of 25 May, and I have been asked to respond to them on behalf of TBRA.

The first point to make is that these are definitely "responses", rather than "answers", and we have observed that the response you gave in person on 28 April, as recorded in our minutes, also show a similar trait. However, we at TBRA would like the precision of answers whenever possible.

For the first group of three questions, we hope your policy document in July will fully answer the first two of them, but it is unlikely to answer the legal point of a property being CPO'ed twice. We do not understand why there should be any difficulty with giving a clear answer to this point.

On the second group of questions, you are saying without providing any evidence that "condition .. is very poor", and "The HRA cannot afford this cost". We have no grounds on which to believe those statements, and will not accept them without supporting evidence. The failure of YourMK to supply that evidence appears to us as contradictory to the promises on you web site to be "trustworthy" (this is not earning the trust of local people) "responsible" (How can you be "held to account" if you do not show the reasons for you actions) and "Empowering" (you are not empowering TBRA).  We therefore request firm information from the HRA figures and stock condition survey, specifically looking for

  1. The prevalence of structural faults in the surveyed properties, as a percentage of the total properties
  2. What percentages fail each of the 4 criterion of the 2006 Decent Home standard (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7812/138355.pdf)
  3. The standards used to judge Kitchens and Bathrooms, (noting the Decent Homes guidelines regards kitchens under 20 years old and bathrooms under 30 years old as acceptable (Criterion c)), and the percentage judged as being "very poor"
  4. The number of minor faults noted during the survey as needing attention (such as holes giving access to birds into roof spaces, loose ridge tiles, damaged doors to outbuildings  and bin stores) which have been feed through to the maintenance side of YourMK
  5. The qualifications and training of the surveyors which gives then the standing to declare our homes as "very poor"
  6. Formal fault investigation of the common defects identified - from the automotive sector of industry, I would expect a FTA, and a 8D/root cause analysis. Without such techniques being applied, how can you be certain the same problems will not appear some years further on, on other estates, or even on these ones after regeneration?
  7. Cost estimates for repair of the commonly found defects. Although exact costs would be impractical, some cost estimates are needed to justify your course of action, so should be available, and be open to being challenged.
  8. We want to see evidence of the level of maintenance activity on council houses over the last 20 years, to see if the current state is due to underspending over that period. We estimate that the following number of works should have been done each year, and so request to see how many were done in each year:
  9. Item
    expected life
    Expected number per year
    Kitchen refurbishment
    15 years
    Bathroom refurbishment
    25 years
    Outside repaint
    10 years
    windows replacement
    30 years
    boiler/heating replacement
    12 years
    Electrical wiring
    25 years

  10. In addition to the items detailed in the previous point, there will be other significant maintenance expenditure (for example, on turning round a property after it has been vacated by a tenant). A breakdown of all these costs which appear to have totalled about £9m each year is desired, to clarify that maintenance has been correctly handled
  11. The HRA accounts have very large amounts against "interest and cost of debts"(£10m) "Depreciation & impairment" (£11m to £14m), and "Capital improvements". More details of these are required, including the nature, magnitude, and age of debts, and, if amounts have been transferred to other accounts (such as reserves or capital improvements), the balance sheets and revenue sheets of those accounts.
Our minutes also list as one of the queries you took away "HRA spending",(to which you have not replied), which is expanded in the above request for firm information. We acknowledge that YourMK has not been responsible for the HRA over the last 20 years, and so accept that you may have to refer these questions on to MKC, but trust you will be able to give at least the name and email address of someone who can answer these questions in a useful fashion.

On Carbon footprint and air quality, what data will you be publishing, and will it include tracking the effect of any loss of green space on the air quality?

On the support of existing communities, you appear to be saying that until engagement starts with an estate, YourMK has no responsibility for the social facilities on that estate, that they are outside your Mission statement of "..Supporting the involvement of local people and groups in their community", and "Providing access to appropriate training, education and employment". Is that correct? That would almost imply a desire to run these estates down, socially, to make complete rebuilding of them more likely. If this is not the case, what steps do you expect to do in support of the residents activities in the Woughton estates before 2020?

You appear to have missed the query about David Gleeson's promise of the full order of the estates by the end of April. Can we expect a full, direct, explanation from David himself within the next week? If not, please explain what your website promise of being "trustworthy" actually means.

Turning to the minutes of the TBRA meeting of 28 April, which have been available for some time at http://tinkersbridge.org.uk/tbra/download/TBRAminutes/2017_04_27_minutes.pdf (the current version having 2 minor corrections noted when the minutes were received on 25 May), we would like further clarity on the following:
  1. If rebuilding at a higher density is planned, where are the plans for the additional infrastructure for education and health?
  2. How will the views of residents who are not on the electoral role be included?
  3. How will RAs be included in the selection of independent advisors?
  4. The query about being in the bottom 15% had a response about disability and mental health. This does not appear to make sense. Please explain the lifestyle that YourMK wants to create for the bottom 15% of social wealth distribution - we want it to include a good social network, local employment, good public transport, adequate health, education and housing  -  and would say that our present estate largely offers these things, the biggest problems being public transport and poor maintenance.
  5. The query on council accommodation for lodgers who would be made homeless by regeneration had the response of the council is looking at these needs. Looking does not imply action. We want to know how long they may have to spend homeless waiting for the council to provide them with accommodation.
  6. The minutes record that if council houses are demolished, tenants will be moved to a temporarily built area, and then can, if they wish, be moved back to Tinkers Bridge. Previously, a "single move" policy was being supported, so please clarify this area, including the nature of "temporarily built area" - the post-war temporarily built areas of prefabs lasted decades in many places
It does appear to us that the repairs on council houses are now happening faster under YourMK than previously, and we would like to acknowledge the improvement that YourMK has made in this area.

We look forward to your response.