PHOTOCALL: Merton Council hands over keys to Tadworth

Where: Raven Housing Trust office, Marbles Way, Tadworth, Surrey
When: 19 December
Time: 12.30-2.30pm
What: Councillor Diane Neil Mills will ceremonially hand over a key to Raven Chief Executive Nicholas Harris symbolising the Council transferring its Tadworth Estate homes to the Raven Housing Trust. Guests to the celebrations will enjoy a lunch and musical entertainment, courtesy of Raven.

At the dawn of a new era for the Tadworth Estate (London Borough of Merton), tenants and leaseholders will celebrate on Wednesday, 19 December, the transfer of their homes from council ownership to Registered Social Landlord (RSL), the Raven Housing Trust.

The handover follows an intensive and detailed consultation period between Merton Council and its tenants and leaseholders. Now under the management of the Raven Housing Trust, the homes on Tadworth Estate will undergo a full modernisation programme, bringing them up to and exceeding the government’s national Decent Homes Standard by 2010.

More than 74% of tenants who took part in the spring 2007 ballot voted in favour of transferring to the Raven Housing Trust. The transfer will see Raven invest more than £2.4 million over three years in an extensive programme of repairs and improvements that will include new kitchens, bathrooms and external works.

Transferring the homes from the Council to an RSL means that all the money paid in rent can be reinvested into the homes. As a council, Merton is obliged to pay 30p in every £1 (likely to rise to about 35p from next year) of rent back to central government, which is then redistributed to areas of housing considered to be in greater need. Unlike councils, housing trusts are able to borrow money to carry out improvement works on homes. For every £100 in government subsidy the trust receives, they can lever an extra £230 in borrowed funding. They can also retain all rental income for the benefit of services to tenants, equating to an extra £1,100 per home each year.

Merton Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, Diane Neil Mills said: “This is a great example of how transferring council housing to an RSL can really benefit residents. The condition of the residents’ homes will be greatly improved as a result. The council has to endure increasing budget restrictions making it impossible for it to invest as much as it would like in the homes. We would have an estimated £2,250 to spend on each home over the next three years. This compares with £15,000 per home that Raven will spend over the same period.”


Notes to editors