Protest held by residents opposing housing associations merger

Around 40 people gathered in Hammersmith last Monday (August 21) evening to protest against the planned merger of a two housing associations.

Notting Hill Housing (NHH) and Genesis announced plans to join forces last month, creating what would be one of the largest housing associations in the country - reports getwestlondon.co.uk.

But some residents oppose the proposal, fearing it will lead to the sell-off of high-value property with residents forced out of homes.

NHH says under the proposal more homes will be built, and plans to meet with residents to discuss and allay fears.

The protest took place at the Hammersmith office of NHH, where hours earlier a letter opposing the merger was hand delivered.

That followed a meeting held on August 16, where more than 100 tenants and residents from the two housing associations opposed the plan.

Gaynor Williams helped organise the meeting and said: “Our fear is that housing associations are being hijacked by commercial interests. We fear the loss of homes and break-up of our community.”

She said there were concerns that housing association properties in expensive central London areas will be sold off, and said there are examples where properties are being left empty or rent increased by as much as 60% to force out tenants.

“This ‘affordable’ badge is not affordable for ordinary people on ordinary salaries," she added.

"It seems to be that the marketeers have stepped in and turned words that once meant something into total garbage.

“People that aren’t terribly well-off are being forced out.”

Under a merger, the new Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) organisation will have 54,000 homes across London and 64,000 across London and the South East.

A spokesman for NHH said: “At Notting Hill Housing, as with Genesis Housing Association, we feel that this merger will bring great benefits to all involved. The combined entity will have 54,000 homes across London and we see that as a great strength.

“We have no desire to sell-off homes in large numbers in any section of London, including our heartland of west London.

“Tenancies and leases will be unchanged and residents will have the same rights they do now on issues such as Right to Buy and succession arrangements."

“Rent and service charges will either increase/decrease each year in accordance with the particular tenancy a resident holds," said the spokesman.

“In the main this involves an annual increase/decrease in line with inflation.

“Being a larger, financially stronger organisation will also help us build more homes.

“Together we will create 400 extra homes every year than we would have been able to separately.”

Another residents meeting for people living in NHH and Genesis Housing will take place on August 31 at the Venture Centre in Wornington Road, Notting Hill, running from 7-9pm.

Read more news of London here.

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