At the full council meeting on 18th November 2015, four more questions were asked by non Ravensbury residents regarding the Merton Regeneration proposed by Circle Housing CHMP, so we have included them below (NB: our bold text):
13). From Sam Peacock To the Leader of the Council
Can you list or bullet point below the actions and steps you have taken so far to protect the interests of residents being affected by regeneration, specifically for the private tenants, freeholders, leaseholders living across High Path, to ensure we are not ‘socially cleansed’ out of the area?
In September 2014, the council jointly signed up to a list of 10 commitments with Circle Housing Merton Priory to protect the interests of residents and ensure residents get the best out of any regeneration proposals for the three estates.
There commitments are as follows:
1. Circle Housing Merton Priory will consult with residents, consider their interests at all times, and address concerns fairly.
2. Current homeowners will be entitled to at least the market value of their home should they wish to take the option to sell their home to Circle Housing Merton Priory.
3. Current tenants will be entitled to be rehoused in a new home of
appropriate size considering the number of people in the household.
4. Existing Circle Housing Merton Priory tenants will keep all their rights and have the same tenancy agreement, including rent levels, in the new neighbourhood as they do now.
5. All new properties will be more energy efficient and easier to heat than existing properties, helping to keep down residents’ fuel bills.
6. Circle Housing Merton Priory will keep disruption to a minimum, and will do all it can to ensure residents only move once if it is necessary to house them temporarily while their new home is being built.
7. Circle Housing Merton Priory will offer extra help and support for older people and/or disabled residents throughout the regeneration works.
8. Circle Housing Merton Priory will continue to maintain the homes of residents across the three neighbourhoods throughout the planning process until regeneration starts, including ensuring a high quality responsive repairs service.
9. Any growth in the number of homes will be in accordance with the
Council’s Development Plan so that it is considered, responsible and
suitable for the area.
10. As a not for profit organisation, Circle Housing Merton Priory will not profit from any regeneration and will use any surplus to provide more housing or improve existing neighbourhoods.
The Council continues to ensure that these commitments are upheld in all of our discussions with CHMP.
If the regeneration does proceed, the Council would expect all residential freeholders, leaseholders and Circle Housing tenants living on the High Path to be offered a suitable and better home on the High Path. Private sector tenants’ rights are, in any event, far more circumscribed and as the current law stands the Council
can offer them no more and no less support and protection than it is able to offer the many other private sector tenants in the borough.
[RRA Note: We have learnt that the Merton Regen does indeed contain an unspecified percentage of “profit/operating surplus” for Circle Housing but that they did not want to openly state this. If these monies are used to build elsewhere, item 10 on the list of ten commitments does appear to be substantially incorrect for the locale concerned. Merton’s answer does appear to state that they will not protect some residents from being “socially cleansed”‘]
14). From: Cypren Edmunds Chair/Treasurer: High Path Community Association To the Cabinet Member for Community and Culture
CHMP have consulted residents regarding their proposed Regeneration and passed this via their board, is it not remiss to not advise on a similar level to service providers? I say this because NHS’s MCCG has had no involvement and we are concerned about the plans of an increase of density.
In accordance with relevant requirements the council will consult with a number of statutory consultees, including NHS England, Local Director of Public Health and Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, on any submitted Planning Application and regeneration proposals.
15). From Ann Baldwin
To the Cabinet Member for Community and Culture
[Has] Merton Council agreed to further delay the decent home programme across the three estates affected by Merton regen?
There is currently a temporary suspension in place with regards to delivering decent homes on the three estates. This suspension comes to an end on 8 January 2016 and there is no plan to extend this at this time. The Council will work with CHMP on the most appropriate means to achieve the decent home programme on the three estates.
16). From Omer Ali
To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Sustainability and Regeneration
Should CHMP submit a planning application for regeneration on High Path, then what will be the criterias used to assess this?
The statutory Development Plan for Merton is currently the Mayor’s London Plan 2015 (for all London boroughs), Merton’s Core Planning Strategy 2011 and Merton’s Sites and Policies Plan 2014. Any planning applications submitted currently would be considered against the policies within these plans.
The council is proposing an Estates Plan (a Development Plan Document) specifically to guide future development on Eastfields, High Path and Ravensbury.
If a planning application were to be submitted after the adoption of the council’s Estates Plan, the council would use the Estates Plan and the other parts of the Development Plan listed above to help determine planning applications in these areas.