Merton Council’s Cabinet has agreed a multi-million-pound package of measures to kick-start the regeneration of the Eastfields, High Path and Ravensbury estates, guaranteeing the completion of a programme to rebuild almost 1,200 homes and creating around 1,400 additional new houses for local residents.
The 2,550 homes will be developed across the next 15 years by Clarion Housing Group in line with the council’s own Estates Local Plan, and Clarion’s own Merton Estates Regeneration Programme (MERP) and represents the biggest regeneration scheme in the 56-year history of Merton Council.
The MERP has the council’s full support and will provide thousands of new homes to modern standards for all existing social housing and private residents on the estates – as well as new playgrounds, ball courts, cycle parking, electric charging points, tree planting and landscaped grounds that address parking and flood risk issues.
All three sites have been granted outline planning permission and the first phases of the High Path and Ravensbury estates have already been completed. However, during the last year, increased construction costs and the worsening economic outlook affecting housebuilders have meant that the MERP now has a financial deficit, with work behind schedule at Eastfields.
To kickstart the process, Merton will suspend its right to receive 5% of the value of properties sold by Clarion as part of the MERP. By making this decision, the council can ensure that new affordable homes are built and the regeneration by Clarion is completed without having to use local council tax funds.
To give the council full oversight of the project, officers will regularly review ongoing operations through steering groups and forums to allow proactive management and monitoring of future risks.
Merton’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate Emergency, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “The £1.3billion regeneration of High Path, Ravensbury and Eastfields estates has long been a priority and will now provide much-needed modern new homes for tenants, some of whom are currently living in overcrowded homes or in properties very much in need of redevelopment.
“This is the biggest housebuilding programme in Merton, which will help to meet the increasing demand for housing in the borough and will address the longstanding issues for residents on the estates. It will also introduce a whole range of improved spaces, including playgrounds, parks and communal areas, which will make a huge difference to people’s lives.
“I understand given previous housing issues on the estates that some residents will be cautious, but we firmly believe this is the best decision to guarantee the modernisation of their homes. With the amendments we are proposing, Merton will be in a position to better oversee the risks of the project and ensure that residents’ interests are at the forefront of all future decision-making. We will be working closely with our partners at Clarion to ensure progress is made.”
Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group said: “We are very pleased that the Cabinet has voted in favour of the regeneration plan. Clarion wants to work across the whole community to deliver our vision and this is a welcome and important decision.
“Work is already underway on the first two estates and the regeneration programme we deliver in partnership with Merton across Eastfields, High Path and Ravensbury will be one of the largest in the country. I am proud that Clarion is investing £1.3 billion into this project and that we are committed to creating a sustainable and vibrant community for residents, with good quality and affordable homes at its heart.”