We Have Emailed Every Single Councillor in Merton…

Here is our email to Stephen Alambritis, Councillor for Ravensbury Ward and Leader of Merton Council. We have copied in every single councillor in Merton also …
Dear Stephen,
As Chair of Ravensbury Residents Association, I have decided that it would be best to air the grievances of our residents directly to you as both councillor of the Ravensbury Ward and leader of Merton Council. Every councillor situated within the London Borough of Merton has been copied in so that everyone knows the lay of the land.

Our official complaint against Circle Housing Merton Priory Homes is attached. This was sent to Circle Housing on Friday, 27th June 2014. We have balloted those affected by demolition and the overwhelming response is against demolition. This is contrary to the agenda set by Circle Housing.
You may ask yourself why it should be necessary to email you and the councillors of Merton; surely there are enough checks and balances to enable proper recourse by residents through the normal channels available?
Well, the residents of Ravensbury do not agree that there are indeed sufficient checks and balances available to them when it comes to the behaviour of Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP) and their regeneration team when in cohorts with certain elements of Merton Council. Thus far, residents on our estate as well as the other two (Eastfields and High Path) have found to their horror that CHMP have literally bulldozed their way through Stage 1 of the supposed consultation (from Summer to Winter 2013), only to have Merton Council practically rubber stamp their atrocious methods at the end of 2013. I do hope you do not recoil in horror in hearing this because it really should come as no surprise. What beggars belief is that your council continues to support CHMP, without proper criticism or even, it seems, a decent critique of their methods. Washing your hands of this enormous Land Grab simply will not wash.
We would also like to know why certain minutes of meetings between Merton Council and CHMP are actually defined as confidential. See attached for the Merton Regeneration Programme, dated 9th October 2013. Appendices 1, 2 & 3 are all defined as being confidential. We only assume a Freedom Of Information request must be enforced for the truth to be heard.
We at Ravensbury Residents Association are of the understanding that CHMP have been conducting a wilfully improper method of consultation so that residents themselves are ill-informed by the CHMP staff and, most importantly, the regeneration project runs to schedule. During our consultation events, we never received full and open information about such a vast scope of regeneration through demolition in 2013 and we never gave them any kind of approval in kind either. Residents recoiled in fear to hear that their homes “had to be demolished” and “would be subject to compulsory purchase” if they didn’t agree; they were fighting for air as CHMP staff smiled their vacuous smiles in response. We believe that this very behaviour negates your own council’s decision to approve the initial consultation period (Stage 1 as we define it), which allowed CHMP to move on to the Masterplanning Stage.
During our AGM (24th June 2014), we asked the 24 members of our committee to grade CHMPs consultation to date. It was unanimously agreed that a score of ZERO out of ten would be appropriate. Lying through their teeth and the desire to avoid giving any details was foremost in our memories of the consultation. Listening to CHMPs own Director of Regeneration, Paul Quinn, warn us off of proper consultation by telling us that no one else was in favour of a democratic ballot, showed us exactly who we were dealing with.
In Hatfield Close, residents tell of the older members of our community being pressured to move out of their homes and into the newly developed Oaks; being told that time was running out, an answer was need before the end of April and who knows what might happen in the coming years – essentially using the regeneration project to crow bar them out of their homes. Essentially putting the fear of God into OAPs whilst being charming in an alligator type manner is not our idea of proper engagement and seems to be entirely the method enjoyed by CHMP.
During Stage 2 consultations (those in 2014), we have also had CHMP’s own architects try to drive the overall design towards that of monstrous over-development with little regard for those who currently live there. Surrender your homes for the greater good was the general thrust of their design meeting (Wednesday 25th June 2014). Your council simply seems to be rubber stamping every step of CHMP’s disastrous consultation with ZERO regard for the residents that have democratically elected you and the other councillors. Offloading your housing stock to a corporation that has proved itself to be hell bent on distorting the facts of its disastrous repair regime, proud of its extraordinary methods of consultation and seemingly rejoicing in corporate snobbery against the working class of Merton is beyond reproach.
We are of the opinion that through the proposed massive over-development much of this regeneration project simply panders to the investors that support CHMP (Not for Profit is such an ambiguous term), and that CHMP is hell bent on destroying the community that pre-exists it for obvious monetary advantage.
This is gentrification via the back door: demolish the working class communities homes with little regard for their desire to retain their community. It is George Orwell’s 1984 writ large – the People versus the Machine in 2014. the appalling truth of this matter is that the supposed desire to remove societies problems through redevelopment will in fact achieve the reverse here at Ravensbury, resulting in a community destroyed through the greed of private enterprise.
We look forward to your reply.
regards,
Christopher Holt
SENT TO:
Stephen Alambritis <stephen.alambritis@merton.gov.uk>
cc: agatha.akyigyina@merton.gov.uk,
mark.allison@merton.gov.uk,
stan.anderson@merton.gov.uk,
laxmi.attawar@merton.gov.uk,
tobin.byers@merton.gov.uk,
David.Chung@merton.gov.uk,
Caroline.Cooper-Marbiah@merton.gov.uk,
pauline.cowper@merton.gov.uk,
mary.curtin@merton.gov.uk,
john.dehaney@merton.gov.uk,
nick.draper@merton.gov.uk,
brenda.fraser@merton.gov.uk,
fidelis.gadzama@merton.gov.uk,
ross.garrod@merton.gov.uk,
jeff.hanna@merton.gov.uk,
joan.henry@merton.gov.uk,
abigail.jones@merton.gov.uk,
philip.jones@merton.gov.uk,
andrew.judge@merton.gov.uk,
sally.kenny@merton.gov.uk,
linda.kirby@merton.gov.uk,
edith.macauley@merton.gov.uk,
russell.makin@merton.gov.uk,
maxi.martin@merton.gov.uk,
peter.mccabe@merton.gov.uk,
ian.munn@merton.gov.uk,
katy.neep@merton.gov.uk,
dennis.pearce@merton.gov.uk,
judy.saunders@merton.gov.uk,
marsie.skeete@merton.gov.uk,
geraldine.stanford@merton.gov.uk,
imran.uddin@merton.gov.uk,
gregory.udeh@merton.gov.uk,
peter.walker@merton.gov.uk,
martin.whelton@merton.gov.uk,
hamish.badenoch@merton.gov.uk,
john.bowcott@merton.gov.uk,
michael.bull@merton.gov.uk,
adam.bush@merton.gov.uk,
charlie.chirico@merton.gov.uk,
stephen.crowe@merton.gov.uk,
david.dean@merton.gov.uk,
suzanne.grocott@merton.gov.uk,
daniel.holden@merton.gov.uk,
james.holmes@merton.gov.uk,
janice.howard@merton.gov.uk,
abdul.latif@merton.gov.uk,
najeeb.latif@merton.gov.uk,
brian.lewis-lavender@merton.gov.uk,
gilli.lewis-lavender@merton.gov.uk,
oonagh.moulton@merton.gov.uk,
david.simpson@merton.gov.uk,
linda.taylor@merton.gov.uk,
jill.west@merton.gov.uk,
david.williams@merton.gov.uk,
edward.foley@merton.gov.uk,
john.sargeant@merton.gov.uk,
peter.southgate@merton.gov.uk,
mary-jane.jeanes@merton.gov.uk,
Siobhain McDonagh <siobhain.mcdonagh.mp@parliament.uk>
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