Here’s our complaint against Circle Housing Corporation, submitted to them on Friday, 27th June 2014:
Official Complaint Against The Regeneration Consultation by Circle Housing
As you know, Circle Housing have been undertaking the consultation for regeneration since last year, when residents first received a pamphlet through their doors. This pamphlet explained that the Circle Housing Corporation wanted to know how people felt about regeneration. Regeneration from the corporation’s point of view was stated not to take any particular format. When residents suggested that the Corporation was being somewhat disingenuous in that it probably wanted to demolish much of the estate, the corporation’s officers tried to allay their fears with a variety of platitudes, despite the fact that to all intents and purposes the verbal and written information provided by the corporation inferred Circle’s strong desire for demolition. Many residents expressed their opinions in opposition to any ideas of demolition, but were told by the officers that they were in the minority, that most people were in favour of the regeneration schemes. This was reiterated by yourself when we met this year. The information that most residents were in favour of regeneration was despite the fact that a ballot of the residents and factual evidence was not taken.
Following this period of consultation, residents received a letter suggesting that the Corporation had full support for regeneration by the majority of residents. Seeing as a ballot was not taken, the Corporation must have assessed the mood of residents and made a decision based upon that mood. This method of assessment lacks the appropriate checks and balances that must form the basis of a proper consultation and allows for inappropriate translation of residents opinions. The Ravensbury Residents Association dispute the decision for full regeneration support made by the Corporation’s committee in that we believe there was no significant majority for regeneration through demolition. We believe that the decision made was through false representation of the residents opinions and therefore inherently improper in its delivery. Indeed, it has been noted that not all people that have attended the regeneration events held by the Corporation are actually residents of the area defined.
The Ravensbury Residents Association are of the opinion that the regeneration team and employees of the Circle Housing Corporation have pursued a “Mission for Demolition” from the outset. We are of the opinion that the method employed by the Corporation has been a dictatorial method, lacking in proper accountability, transparency and democracy. Further, we believe that the employees of the Corporation have in fact lied about their knowledge of the regeneration project in so far as refusing to explain the full agenda from the outset. We believe that the consultation on regeneration has been skewed from the outset towards demolition and that Corporation and their employees were fully aware of their desire for complete demolition of the area defined from the outset. We believe that the Corporation has misused the period of consultation as a period of misinformation and deliberate misuse in the form of Shock and Awe during Phase One of the consultation (prior to the decision to demolish) and in the form of a Charm Offensive during Phase Two (the current phase prior to planning submission). We believe that the Corporation understood that this was their only method to achieve their aims.
The Ravensbury Residents Association hold that the Corporation has caused immense stress to the existing tenants and residents of the Ravensbury area through their poor performance, desire for demolition from the outset and through their communications to residents. A recent example of this was the design workshop, where the architects were trying to sway opinion towards their proposed designs despite the residents stating that they didn’t want demolition. The architects said that they should think of the greater good in demolition and then asked them to say what they would like from a new home if demolition went ahead, thereby skewing the information recorded.
By definition, the design process is merely a method of gathering evidence from residents to support regeneration through demolition. When put under the duress of the idea of demolition, residents have to choose from the ideas proposed by the architects, despite their not wanting that option from the outset. This is not a proper method of consultation.
The Ravensbury Residents Association hold that the consultation exercise is not a two way communication process because much of the residents views on their homes and their estate are not being heard. Residents have stated that they are not in control of this process of consultation because the Corporation and its employees will not allow them to and are not willing to hear their words of protestation. The fact that despite the numerous meetings convened by the Corporation, the residents continue to disagree with the Corporations desire to change the environment in which they live, illustrates the chasm of opinion between the Corporation and Residents.
In conclusion, the Ravensbury Residents Association declare that this improper consultation process is a method of gathering evidence for demolition of homes through the deliberate misinterpretation of the residents views.