One of the ways that we try to get Circle Housing to listen to, and we hope to act on, repairs issues is to photograph and email the housing officers.
Once you take a photo, you can add text using a variety of available apps on your phone. At a later date, this allows you to check when you contacted them, and serves as an easy reminder of the exact issue.
It’s not been easy to get a good level of service from our housing association so hopefully this kind of evidence is useful if we need to speak to a housing tribunal.
It’s a real shame that Merton Council seem to be more interested in redeveloping our area instead of supporting the residents and the entire neighbourhood.
If they do sell off our open space next to Ravensbury Park, it will truly damage the entire area forever.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately CHMP are applying to destroy the green space between Ravensbury Park and “Ravensbury village”, thereby destroying an public amenity area that is also key to our area’s character. Placing flats on this space will block out the view of the park, remove a key green space for Ravensbury and jeopardise the very essence of our home area.
This planning application for Ravensbury will be decided against the policies in Merton’s current Development Plan, unless other relevant information, know as “material considerations”, indicate otherwise.
Merton’s Development Plan currently is: Merton’s Core Planning Strategy 2011 Merton’s Sites and Policies Plan 2014
“Material considerations” can be anything planning-related, ranging from finding a protected species on the site to a Ministerial statement which changes the direction of one of the council’s policies.
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.