In respect of the fountains being out of service for the past three years, officers explained that responsibility for the infrastructure supporting the lakes comes under the remit of the Barbican Arts Centre. Members asked if City Corporation Members could raise this with Barbican Centre Board Members.
Officers further clarified that the cost of works to the plant in respect of the fountains on the lakeside, lower lake and the waterfall, would be charged to the Barbican Centre, and not residents. The Lease provides that leaseholders contribute 85% of cost of the maintaining of the lakes, the same proportion as for garden maintenance.
However, in the past the cost of works such as de-silting have been shared between the Estate and the Centre; i.e. at 42.5% to the Estate, as set out in the working party report. Officers stressed that statutory consultation would apply if spend were to go over the prescribed limit. They would seek also expert advice on any proposed works, in order to gain a perspective on priorities. Members noted that the majority of works to the garden works is covered by the service charge, and this includes cutting the rushes on the lake.
There was a challenge to the 42.5% contribution in that it might be inequitable. Officers clarified that major works falling under the lease have always been shared with the Barbican Centre in this way. A former Chair of the City Corporation’s Finance Committee was in attendance, and the Chair permitted him to speak. He expressed a view in that this might be an ideal opportunity for the RCC Members to be consulted on the Barbican Renewal Project and, whist it might be difficult to avoid a revenue share, it seemed unfair that capital costs might fall to residents.
Finally, Members noted the small uplift in gardening agreed 2 years ago, at just approximately 50p per flat, which had resulted in a considerable improvement to the appearance of the gardens.