Despite Merton Council saying that they will not consider giving the Ravensbury Garages site away till 2017, Circle Housing seem to be intent on gaining planning permission this year. With the Ravensbury draft local plan (January 2016) not even describing this area, it looks like Merton Council and Circle Housing regen team have been looking for a way to begin development literally by the back door of Ravensbury.
It is important for local residents to be very aware of this pursuit of planning: the site itself is actually higher than the surrounding houses and the development includes 4 storey flats, with houses that are of a very similar height according to the images supplied. This will not only cause a great deal of intrusion for those living around the site, but will also severely impact views to and from Ravensbury Park itself.
Much of Ravensbury is in Flood Zone 3a, the highest possible for housing, so this very much needs to be taken into account.
Merton Council have described how the character of Ravensbury depends on the visual scenery of trees being visible from all corners of Ravensbury. This development has a height that is intrusive in this regard:
Circle are holding a consultation event today (Saturday 23rd January 2016) at the Ravensbury Meeting Hall between 11am and 3pm. They intend to demonstrate where they intend to build new homes and the designs for those homes.
Let’s hope that the intimidatory behaviour seen up until now is less evident.
At 7pm tonight (Monday, 18th January 2016), the Merton regen plans are on the Cabinet meeting agenda. This is held in rooms C D E in the Civic Centre, Morden.
Item 8 is about the public consultation of the Local Plan Stage 2, and already has these recommendations:
1. Notes the results of Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP) Board and the decision of
Circle Housing Board to proceed.
2. Approves six weeks of public consultation on the Draft Estates Local Plan (including
proposals to include opportunities of development around St Marks Academy set
out in Appendix A of this report ) and Sustainability Appraisal and associated
revisions to the Policies Map from February 2016 – March 2016, noting that the
consultation will provide residents input into setting the parameters which the
council would require any submitted regeneration proposals for the three estates to
3. Approve the associated update to the project plan (Merton’s Local Development
Scheme) to reflect preparation of the proposed draft Estates Regeneration Local
Plan and the revised timetable for preparation of this Plan as set out in this report.
4. Delegate approval to Director of Environment and Regeneration [Chris Lee] in consultation with
relevant Cabinet members to approve changes to the consultation documents and
the start of consultation and the timetable option to proceed with following this
current consultation stage.
5. Delegate conclusion of negotiation with CHMP on financial viability matters to the
Director of Corporate Services and Director of Environment and Regeneration [Councillor Andrew Judge] in
consultation with relevant Cabinet members; with any subsequent amendments to
the Stock Transfer Agreement to be brought back to Cabinet & Full Council.
6. Delegate approval to the Director of Community & Housing in consultation with the
relevant Cabinet Member, to finalise a revised delivery timetable for the
implementation of the decent homes programme on the High Path, Eastfields and
This looks like a very important meeting that has had quite a few man hours spent on its preparation, so it’s a shame our councillors neglected to keep us fully informed of these matters… Very busy people perhaps?
It does appear as if the decision for regen has been made already though, with relegation of existing residents, and their views taken for granted.
Getting resident replies to this consultation is very important for everyone in Merton as a whole.
On Friday 15th January 2016, many residents received a letter from Circle Housing regarding their desire to start building on the garages site at the end of Ravensbury Grove. This is despite Merton Council saying at the end of 2015 that they would not dispose of the site until the council’s own full consultation has been completed.
Circle’s Consultation dates: Saturday, 23rd January 2016 – 11am to 3pm – Design & Layout of the new homes Tuesday, 26th January 2016 – 4pm to 7pm – Construction Process
The Tuesday meeting will provide an update on their phasing plan if they manage to get planning permission from Merton Council in the summer of 2016
As far as planning permission goes, Circle do not need to actually own a site to apply for planning permission on it. Going ahead with their own consultation somewhat muddies the waters and seems to be designed to maintain momentum of the scheme despite a significant percentage of objections from the Ravensbury residents. The past consultation meetings have been paper thin in their integrity with residents sidelined and their opinions relegated.
Residents expected Merton Council’s councillors to properly represent them, as they had promised in the past, but many feel let down by what seems to be an unwillingness to join the debate with them.
Throughout this consultation, the residents input has been cherry picked to suit the financial return that Circle wish to get from full density development. The designs that Circle have proposed are not in keeping with the current character of Ravensbury and suit a brownfield development such as the Sita site in Benedict Road, Mitcham. We hope that Merton Council apply stringent regulations to moderate the planned heights and densities in order to get the best outcome for current residents.