Noun: Regen-trification (regeneration + gentrification)
As Circle Housing and Merton Council push on with the redevelopment plans that will take an area that is currently almost 100% social housing and potentially raze our village to the ground, their own official consultation results indicate that 71% of residents are against the wholesale demolition of the Ravensbury village. So we have asked residents how they might describe the process that they have experienced under Circle Housing Merton Priory Homes.
“Gentrification”, “land grab”, “bullying” tactics all come to mind. Many residents are furious with the whole process, wanting to throw it out in the first instance because of the atrocious manner in which they have been consulted: Zero respect for the residents and their community.
In the second instance some residents simply want to throw it out because the proposed plans for Ravensbury are far too intense for the area, changing an area that is unique in Merton for it’s peaceful blend of long term community and park-side location, in exchange for a doubling of density and loss of actual houses for some residents that would no longer qualify for the home that they have lived in for decades.
From the start, Circle have opted to use the weird word of regeneration, meaning redevelopment of an area in order to improve that self same area.
However, Ravensbury is a much sought after area, sat between two parks, with a very low crime rate and very few anti social behaviour problems. In fact, the whole area is better than much more up market areas, such as Wimbledon Village or even a deepest Surrey village. Circle and their professional advisors saw this long ago, and treated the working class, long term community with derision, practically exhibiting plain jealousy towards our community and choosing to go through the initial motions of consultation. This was to get the council’s permission to go ahead with further exploration of full redevelopment couched in the grey word “regeneration”.
If you choose to ignore that weirdly warm word, you’ll start to consider just why residents have been angry from the very start of this process, which for the record has been practically rubber stamped at every stage thus far by Merton Council. At the end of last year, we even had the misfortune to experience a meeting of our councilors, Circle Housing and our MP, where they choose to give a united front and round on anyone that spoke out. Hardly the most unbiased of situations given the anger if residents towards Circle and Merton Council.