The future for housing? Report by the Policy Exchange

The Policy Exchange is a centre-right think tank that was set up in 2002. It has recently released a report on the future of housing associations, entitled freeing housing associations, link below:
http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/category/item/freeing-housing-associations-better-financing-more-homes

Ravensbury Residents Association RRA

REPORT: Meeting with Future Merton last night & the next few weeks…

Last night (Thursday 22nd October 2015), the joint RAs of the estates affected by the Merton Regen met with Future Merton to discuss  what’s happening in regards to Circle’s push for redevelopment. Highpath RA had managed to meet up with their ward councillor Katy Neep and also Stephen Alambritis on Wednesday, 21st October 2015 in order to voice their concerns once more.

Last night, Future Merton effectively told us that there were two timelines at play now and also that NOTHING had actually been formally agreed between Merton Council & CHMP including the needs plus one part of the Residents Offer. We are concerned that if Merton Council is not actually signed up to this, there could be a situation whereby homes are built, old ones are demolished, and then residents are offered needs only; if they do not accept, they would be making themselves intentionally homeless as housing practice is currently.

The two timelines are:

  1. Stage 2 Consultation: 
    Right now the assumption is that at the Full Council Meeting on the 9th November 2015, our councillors will agree to Future Merton starting Stage 2 of the Local Plan Consultation, in order to allow residents to truly voice their concerns – in the CHMP/MES survey comments about the push for regen were retained by Circle Quinn. Whether Stage 2 goes ahead, depends on our councillors feeling sufficiently motivated to do so. There is a possibility that either they choose not to do Stage 2, or that Stage 2 is deferred to January 2016. Stage 2 Consultation would be a very large survey of residents allowing them to publicise their opinions on the pursuit for regen and the consultation too. Stage 2 would last possibly 2 months. Later on, there will be a Stage 3, where an independent inspector examines the plan – the public will be able to make representations to this too.It has to be said, that if a majority of respondents were against the regeneration in Stage 1, how do Merton Council move to Stage 2? Whatever the reason, it is very important that residents voice their opinions on paper once more.
  2. Planning application:
    Once CHMP submit their planning application, residents will have 3 weeks to make their objections if they oppose the proposed development by Circle. As many people know, the Ravensbury Garages site will be the first part – CHMP said they will go for planning in early 2016 (Feb/March). If you have objections, you’ll need to respond within 3 weeks of seeing the notices going up. Here’s a link on how you can do so. 

Background: As many of you know, Circle’s Board met on the 6th October 2015, and somewhat used the results of their “independent” survey to support their motion to move forward to the initial planning stage of the pursuit for regeneration. Our surveys of residents in Ravensbury indicate a majority of residents against, so we are unable to support their findings. Paul Quinn had said residents would not have any actual say in whether it goes ahead anyway though: the survey was not a red or green light no matter the result.

Right now, the figures with respect to Ravensbury, financial and those in the survey don’t quite add up. Does the proposed spend on Ravensbury seem to indicate a massive increase in density? It has been apparent that Circle’s regen consultation seems to allow very little input from residents and seems more geared to providing private housing and therefore surpluses (profits) for Circle as a company.

The cost to rebuild a home/house is roughly £50k to £75k. So £5m – £7.5m for 100 homes, or £10m – £15m for 200 homes.

Ravensbury Redevelopment Proposals
Ravensbury Redevelopment Proposals

Circle Housing gets restructured to save £50m

Here’s a story on the 24dash housing website about Circle Housing readying themselves for £50m in cuts. Does a £1bn Merton regen project sound more like selling off their stock than anything else with this news?

http://24dash.com/news/housing/2015-10-20-Redundancies-likely-as-Circle-Housing-suffer-under-government-cuts

Take a look at @ravensburygrove’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/ravensburygrove/status/656424342125944832?s=09

Ravensbury Residents Association RRA

Circle Survey: 63% of results were from the demolition area, not the whole area of Ravensbury

We have broken down the Ravensbury survey, and it does appear that this supposedly independent survey has NOT been a proportionate survey of the Ravensbury area which comprises 192 homes.

This would seem to call into question the nature of a totally unbiased survey. From the results, Circle regen team appear to have directed their surveyors to concentrate on the demolition area, ie the area that has been run down via the terrible repairs and maintenance performance. Out of the 192 homes, 114 survey results were returned.

Of the 114 homes that responded to the survey:

63% of homes (that’s 72 homes) were from the proposed demolition area. For info, there are 72 Orlit homes and 29 brick flats in total in the Ravensbury demolition area.
22% of homes were from Ravensbury Court (that’s 25 flats out of 59)
13% of homes were from Hengelo Gardens/Rav Grove  (that’s 15 homes out of 28)
2% of homes were those belonging from non-resident households (ie possibly privately let) – that’s 2 homes.

breakdown of the survey shows that of those in the demolition area:

23.6% agree strongly with the regen (17 out of homes)
22.2% agree with the regen (16 homes)
16.7% neither agree or disagree (12 homes)
9.7% disagree with the regen (7 homes)
25% disagree strongly with regen (18 homes)
2.8% don’t know (2 homes)

This suggests that whilst 45.8% agree, a great number of people do not agree or do not fully support the plans: 54.2%. Those that do agree do appear not fully supportive of the plans designed by Circle: 23.6% versus 22.2%.

Conclusion: the survey is not representative of the Ravensbury Area, and those within the demolition area do not seem to be fully supportive of the scheme at all.

Circle's Survey concentrated on the Orlit homes and was not representative of Ravensbury as a whole
Circle’s Survey concentrated on the Orlit homes and was not representative of Ravensbury as a whole

Ravensbury Residents Association