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Estate agents eye up our homes

16 March, 2018

• AS a long-standing Circle 33/Clarion tenant, the letter from the pensioner who had been flooded brought to mind how different Circle 33 was back in the 1970s and 1980s when it was smaller and ensured a more personal service to its tenants, (I was a lucky one, I just had my room and cellar flooded, March 9).

Now, as that housing association has grown larger over the years, my experience is that it has become more impersonal, distant and certainly more inefficient.

Recently, Circle Anglia merged with Sutton Affinity Group, a merger officially approved, it seems, in 2016. However, it wasn’t until about a month ago that tenants were informed by letter that the merger had taken place to form Clarion, apparently the largest housing association in the country.

Since the introduction of the Tories’ 2016 Housing and Planning Act, housing associations no longer have to be providers of social housing. We are seeing mergers resulting in what are effectively large property companies. For example, Genesis Housing Association is proposing to raise rents for secure tenants by 20-50 per cent.

This may explain the arrival in 2016 of estate agent Savills – the largest buyer and auctioneer of social housing in the country – which visited all Circle’s properties in the area where I live, presumably to evaluate them.

To allay our fears, would Clarion, through your columns, confirm that it will maintain social rents and what it intends to do with our homes, more specifically that they won’t be sold to Savills, possibly forcing tenants out of the borough.



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