This week we sent a large number of very important questions to Syed Kamall London MEP – one of the Conservative front runners for London Mayor – who has offered to direct these question to the CEO of Circle Housing. No doubt CHMP will be hot on our heels in emailing him and trying to give their side of the story. Fortunately the ability of the CHMP regen team to speak with forked tongue, is legendary and runs before them.
As you may know, Ravensbury Ward, Merton Council and the Mitcham & Morden constituency are all Labour-led, so many residents assumed that their politicians would be at the forefront of discussions and/or potential confrontations with Circle Housing regarding their desire to demolish secure and homogeneous Merton neighbourhoods that have stood the test of time.
As many people now know, our Labour representatives (local ward politicians, MP & leader of Merton Council) have firmly backed away from properly representing the communities under direct threat of regeneration through demolition. Some locals have assumed this is because it was their idea in the first place, but who knows? Some would assume it is because they are trying to toe the middle line, but we don’t know. In our experience, it seems quite the opposite : that they are firmly on the side of the Housing Association, who themselves seem more than happy to run a biased consultation that has lacked properly independent advice from the outset and that has avoid properly resident-led consultations.
Instead, we have have a smoke and mirrors campaign where CHMP have met with their architects every 4-6 weeks, whereas resident & RA involvement has been actively restricted to a few plainly vacuous design sessions per year in circus tents when CHMP regen has allowed us. At no stage were residents given a free hand in guiding the future designs. When the RA asked for proper involvement, the architects gleefully refused and the regen team wholeheartedly backed them. A pure & simple travesty.
As things stand, we have spoken with David Dean, Conservative councillor for Dundonald Ward in Merton and hence Syed Kamall MEP. These two people listened objectively to our situation, whilst our Labour ward councillor & Leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, has done his best not to comment or even remotely criticise. Ravensbury ward councillor, Peter McCabe has been downright offensive in certain circumstances and many have zero confidence in him now. Philip Jones has done his best to properly listen, but seems to be in the minority when it comes to fair-minded councillors. Labour Councillor Nick Draper has appeared at several meetings due to his position in Merton Council, and has firmly held the hand of Circle Housing, robustly enjoying their companionship, whilst rejecting even decent eye contact with Ravensbury RA. This has to be seen to be believed.
Right now, the majority of Ravensbury Residents have no confidence in Circle Housing Regen or Repairs, and also according to our most recent poll, do not want the regeneration thrust down their throats, as planned and designed by CHMP.
Ravensbury Residents Association
Taking the Lead on the Future of Ravensbury