Sheerwater: WBC must listen
At a lively public meeting with over 400 Sheerwater residents at Bishop David Brown School on September 9th, Councillor David Bittleston, Borough Council Executive Officer Mark Rolt and representatives of New Vision Homes attempted to allay the residents' concerns about the Sheerwater development.
However, it is fair to say that many residents still remain very unhappy about the total lack of clarity on arrangements for their temporary relocation during the building works; likely rent levels for the new properties; compensation to be offered under compulsory purchase orders; or in fact what was being built and exactly where. Many questioned whether some perfectly good houses and facilities needed to be knocked down at all. Many also felt they had been left out of the process and were very insecure. WBC agreed that their consultation process had been inadequate.
The application by the Sheerwater Residents' Committee to be recognised as a Neighbourhood Forum under the Localism Act will shortly be lodged with WBC and will give residents rights and funding with which to influence the shape of the development.
Approximately 140 privately-owned homes will be the subject of CPOs, and a Home Owners' Alliance has now been formed in conjunction with the Residents' Committee and met on September 16th at Owen House to discuss laws and strategies surrounding CPOs and how to protect their ownership rights. There will be another Home Owners' Alliance meeting at Owen House on Tuesday October 14th at 7.30pm.
Social housing tenants have also had a meeting to discuss their rights and the council's statutory obligation to them.
Both home owners and social housing tenants continue to work together in their fight to protect their homes and ensure they are not negatively impacted by the development.