Category Archives: Eastfields

Deadline for your Merton Estates Local Plan comments: 3rd Feb 2017

You only have until 3rd February 2017 to respond to the PLANNING INSPECTOR regarding Merton’s Local Plan!

Merton Council rather quietly released the final version of their Merton Estates Plan over Christmas, and haven’t greatly publicised the fact that, from their point of view, you only have until 3rd Feb 2017 to give your comments.

Remember that they have spent a lot of time with the Circle Clarion regen team adjusting their local plan (storey heights, densities, road layouts etc) to suit their combined objectives, possibly rather than those necessarily expressed by the Ravensbury community.

The council and Circle regen appear to have combined objectives and even have private contractual terms in the handover agreement documents, so it was pretty obvious that there would be an effective partnership.

However, residents should be able to expect an independent response, and even possibly a positive bias in favour of residents & their community.

You really should respond if you feel your responses haven’t been heard in this final version of the local plan.

Ravensbury RA will hold a small workshop at tonight’s meeting to consider the report from Merton, and will also canvas residents door to door on their opinions as it can be very difficult for residents to find time to attend in the evenings.

Estates Plan link here

Merton Council’s request for comments:

If you have comments that you would like the inspector to consider at his or her independent examination of the plan, please let us know in writing (post or e-mail) between 8th December 2016 – 3rd  February 2017.

Email: estatesplan@merton.gov.uk

futureMerton
London Borough of Merton
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 3837

Video: Highpath residents meet Clarion Housing

Just before Christmas 2016, Cypren Edmunds (Chair of Highpath RA) chaired a meeting between the residents of Highpath and the two executives, Austin Reid & Neil McCall from Clarion Housing (the merged Circle Housing & Affinity Sutton housing associations). Also in attendance was Paul Quinn, Merton Regen director.

What you’ll view on YouTube is the footage of the whole meeting.

There are 9 further clips of the same meeting also available to watch:

RRA.

End.

Notes on Last night’s Highpath meeting with Clarion (Circle) Housing

Last night (20th December 2016) Cypren Edmunds, Chair of Highpath Resident & Community Association, hosted a public meeting with Clarion Housing Group, that’s the now merged Circle Housing & Affinity Sutton. Clips of this meeting are on YouTube.
Attending were Austin Reid, Director of Transition (ex Circle Chief Operating Officer), Neil McCall CEO (ex Affinity Sutton), Paul Quinn (Circle Housing Merton Priory Homes regen director).

Austen Reid was in typical corporate mood, somewhat shocked to be within touching distance of the actual residents, and routinely demonstrated a sound knowledge of platitudes & non committal language, seemingly being evasive of the true situation on the ground, one that residents are only too aware of.

Neil McCall seemed a little shocked at the response from some residents regarding repairs & maintenance too, but his general demeanour did indicate a more sincere disposition, less self-serving than the rest. He did mention that he will not be responsible for repairs and maintenance on estates identified as being part of the future regen! We assume that the gentleman below will be responsible for that, but have far less confidence in him.

Paul Quinn was in the usual shape shifting mode, happy to provide the positive spin of the regen spiel, but unwilling to elaborate on the actual conduct of his regen team, the lack of proper resident involvement in the regen consultation including the architectural design, and the massive percentage of residents that are against his regen ideas for the future of Ravensbury (this is in reference to Merton Council’s own regen consultation).

Ravensbury Residents are against demolition of their estate
Austen Reid (Clarion Housing) speaks to Merton residents
Austen Reid (Clarion Housing) speaks to Merton residents
Highpath residents meeting with Clarion Housing
Highpath residents meeting with Clarion Housing

In all, it was a heated meeting that demonstrated that Clarion Housing Group will have a long way to go if they are to properly remedy the damage that Circle Merton had inflicted on the Merton communities relative to the past & present effect of poor repairs and the future effects of planned Merton regeneration.

There’s still a long way to go.

We hope everyone has a great Christmas & New Year break. See you in 2017.

RRA.

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

Interesting link to resident regen consultation article…

This article describes a similar consultation to that experienced in Circle’s & Merton’s quest for regen. Definitely worth a read:

https://architectsforsocialhousing.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/the-guinness-partnership-letter-from-a-resident-of-northwold-estate/

Take a look at @ASH_housing’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/ASH_housing/status/779359425547108353?s=09