On Monday evening (12th October 2015) we had a meeting with Circle’s regen team, who by now have quite an enviable reputation in Merton as a whole, nevermind in Ravensbury, coming in higher on the scale than the average bailiff or repeated ASBO offender. Despite this, we thought it only appropriate to meet with them as per their request.
On review of their survey, the results appear to have been spun to suggest that Ravensbury residents were totally in favour of the redevelopment scheme designed by Circle rather than wanting their area spruced up, refurbished or possibly redeveloped to their liking. We asked to see the comments section of the questionnaires, but Circle said we could not. This seems somewhat suspicious and opaque.
The meeting itself was at times acrimonious and argumentative, with a couple of choice comments regarding sex and tattoos thrown towards the chair of Ravensbury by Circle’s regen team. This is an indication of the degree of respect that the Wolves of Regen hold for the residents of Ravensbury.
To behold the somewhat psychopathic tendencies of Circle’s regen team is a story in itself. To stand back and allow these self-serving apparatchiks of redevelopment to forge ahead without sufficient scrutiny would be wholly incomprehensible to many Ravensbury residents and hopefully to those of Merton as a whole.
Opinion: The Merton Regen Consultation
The general thrust of this supposed consultation seems to minimise resident input with the tacit permission of our councillors and MP, and drive the residents into a sense of apathy, resigned to their fate, totally beholden to their landlord, and to split opinion with the promise of adequate homes only if they surrender their existing community and environment. To sweeten the deal, there’s the promise of some free white goods for their new kitchen and a few thousand pounds towards moving and redecorating – a fine sum in a £600m redevelopment. Many residents would prefer to retain their homes & environment, get their houses repainted, fix the gutter and possibly even get the repairs done when they request them. Their homes are not structurally unsound despite Circle’s repeated attempts to suggest otherwise.
Many residents are still very unhappy not to have their homes refurbished, and also substantially in disagreement with the overall density, massing and building heights proposed by Circle’s pursuit of regen.
Ravensbury Residents Association.
Background to the survey:
During the summer, CHMP had surveyed Ravensbury residents (as well as those in Highpath and Eastfields).
The main aim of the 12th October 2015 meeting was to run through the results of their supposedly independent survey that Circle’s board and their regen team have recently utilised to forge ahead to the planning stage of their redevelopment of Ravensbury: they said that they would try to submit a planning application in early 2016 for the garages area in Ravensbury and hopefully start work in August 2016.
We coin the term supposedly independent with regards to the survey because there have been several issues that appear to be inconsistent with the notion of being a comprehensively independent survey. First and foremost, CHMP have paid for the survey and have not gone out of their way to be welcoming of residents input or totally transparent.
All three residents associations passed a Motion of No Confidence during the production of this survey, due to the fact that whilst CHMP regen had appointed their market researchers at the end of 2014 and then held several meetings with them, they took months to bring us in and then only did so at the eleventh hour once the survey had been substantially designed by themselves. This was despite promising that we would formulate the survey questions with them.
In the end, we had two meetings spaced maybe 7 days apart that seem to be have designed to minimise our input, influence and scrutiny.
We had hoped to deliver a fair, open and honest set of questions designed to glean comprehensive opinions from across Ravensbury, Eastfields and Highpath, but CHMP seem to be have been intent on gleaning sufficient data and therefore notional support to enable them to move on to the next stage of their multi million (£400m-£600m) redevelopment. Surprise surprise.
Ravensbury Residents Association RRA