Circle’s Ravensbury events: this Tuesday & Thursday

Tuesday and Thursday is Circle’s consultation event showing their latest version of the Ravensbury masterplan. It hasn’t looked good at the Highpath & Eastfields meetings with Circle opting for more density ie: floorspace and profit.

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Circle look like they’ve been given as much support as feasibly possible by Stephen Alambritis (leader of Merton Council & our Ravensbury ward councillor) as well as Merton Council’s Labour Cabinet (plus most all party councillors on the planning committee for that matter). Circle seem very happy to push on rather than off.

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Merton Council receive some kind of “clawback” funds from this development so it seems to be a win-win for Circle Housing & Merton Council to pally up as closely as possible. The details of this arrangement are hidden in the Stock Transfer Agreement that both of those parties signed up to. This is a commercially sensitive document so we can’t find out what the exact terms are.

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On Wednesday evening at Merton Council they’ll most likely be voting through the Regen in their full council meeting, so we are hoping to attend that and report back. Our RA meeting will have to be postponed though.

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Ravensbury Court refurb has been cancelled – Paul Quinn said there was a majority against the plans so he won’t go ahead with it. We don’t know the exact details yet though as they could still decide to do whatever they like as has been the case up until now. The majority was based on 25 homes being surveyed in Ravensbury Court, with 11 against the plans, 9 in favour, 3 neither agree/disagree, 2 don’t know. That’s 25 out of 59 homes, so 42% surveyed.

CHMP sponsored poll to ascertain residents appetite for Ravensbury regen
CHMP sponsored poll to ascertain residents appetite for Ravensbury regen – note some residents said they felt obliged to say yes to regen

RRA

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Merton Labour cabinet discuss Merton regen local plan #merton #regen #2016

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Last night, Merton’s Labour cabinet met as per normal, however the timeline for submitting the draft estates local plan to the Secretary of State was on the agenda. This is the document that residents responded to previously.

We noted that there’s a few choice words involved in the recommendations, such as decisions to delegate authority to the cabinet member for regen. This effectively avoids them needing to convene another cabinet meeting and openly discuss the agenda. More opaque behaviour from Merton Council headed by our ward councillor Stephen Alambritis.

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The Draft Estates Plan is now at version 3 or stage 3, just prior to the submission to the Secretary of State. The reference to actual building heights has been removed. This might be because the council could be seen as promoting heights when there wasn’t support for it, or because it was too much trouble actually stating heights relative to the negative reaction from the general public. In addition, Circle obviously wants to maximise the total floor space in the new development and will follow the planning guidelines to maximise their position when designing the new development. Those running the council might also be oblivious to the need to restrain building heights and density in Ravensbury: the recent planning permission granted for Ravensbury Garages seems to fit that assumption. Possibly they just don’t care that much because it’s not their home, community or environment. Who knows.

The council made no mention of the poor method of consultation by CHMP or the stress created by this for the existing residents.

Despite his promises, our Ravensbury ward councillor Stephen Alambritis hasn’t really held much of a candle to this regen process, and it still appears to be going ahead in its initial form despite Ravensbury residents being against it.

This is all despite him saying it wouldn’t go ahead if residents opposed it. Go figure. In fact Stephen has come across as being firmly in the CHMP camp, pictured shaking hands with their CEO, always avoiding criticising the company and seemingly anti resident when it comes to listening and working on our behalf. Guess that’s what happens when someone thinks they are Lord over all that they survey.

What you might find interesting is the money involved:

The value of property in Merton is around the £800 per square foot, or more.
The build cost these days is around £100 per square foot.
So that leaves: £800-£100 = £700 per square foot to cover profit, contingency, demolition and professional fees.

On the average new build house, of 93m2, that’s roughly £650k in their pocket in the broadest terms, back of a fag packet type calculations.

There’s no VAT to be paid due to the new build versus refurb.

Not a bad earner if you’ve been practically given the housing stock in the first place?

Ravensbury Residents Association