Helping the community

Last night, MVMP were hosting a consultation with residents at Hillmoor Street Community Centre.

Over the last few weeks and months as MVMP have taken more of a role in the issues in Pleasley Hill. They have offerd to put on activites for children, which we appreciate. And we have been told many times how MVMP would like to engage with residents and consult them over the fate of the area. However, I am not convinced that the level of consultation is adequate, or that the sentiment of MVMP is entirely sincere.

When MVMP circulated their leaflet last week, they distributed a separate leaflet to the residents of Hillmoor street, who live in the houses that they now plan to retain. The leaflet said:

As you will be aware current proposals are to retain the blocks 1-26 Hillmoor Street for the foreseeable future, however your views are still welcome should you wish to attend and complete a short questionnaire

However when I arrived there, I was told there really wasn’t anything for me, and the questionnaire was for people who needed to be re-housed. Since I live in one of the Hillmoor Street houses, I will not need re-housing.

Some time ago, people living on Clarence Street and in the first block of houses on Chesterfield Road, adjacent to Clarence Street were sent a letter. It seems that many people do not remember it, but I quite clearly remember this letter as it contributed quite heavily to my decision to remain in Pleasley Hill. At the time I was considering buying a house in Kirkby, and this letter along with my son’s achievements at school convinced me to stay.

In this letter, MDC stated that some of the houses on Hillmoor Street were to be refurbished as temporary accommodation for the people who wanted to remain in the area during the re-development. Just the same as they now need to re-home other people. The impression was that people who chose to move from these houses on Clarence Street and the top of Chesterfield Road, would be able to move in to one of the new houses when they are built, and that Hillmoor Street would be demolished last.

Now of course they plan to retain these houses, and it would seem there is no firm commitment to allow people to move in to the new homes. I personally can’t help but feel I have been lied to in order to fill the houses on Hillmoor Street at a premium. A premium that is in my mind expected by South Yorkshire Housing Association only because the houses have been refurbished. Now when I say refurbished, what I really mean is that these houses now meet the decent homes standard. This is unlike the rest of the council houses in the area that need to meet this standard in the next few months to meet the government’s promise made ten years ago. In essence, the people of Hillmoor Street renting from SYHA have to pay extra because their homes meet a minimum standard.

The problem is that only a few weeks ago we were being led to believe that the decision over what to do about Hillmoor Street had not been made. That after all the talk of listening to residents and consultation, this decision was made without informing the residents of those houses is hypocritical. And what concerns me the most is that last night I was told that MVMP had always been of the understanding that these houses were to remain. This means that up until a couple of weeks ago, when we were being told that the decision had not been made, it in fact had, and there was never any intention to demolish these houses. The very least they (MDC, MVMP or anyone involved) could have done would have been to be honest, and present the reasoning behind their decision.

I was also told last night that there are no plans to replace the community centre on Hillmoor Street. Now we had been told this before, but my understanding was that MVMP wanted to listen to residents and change their plans to meet our needs. It was my hope that after the meeting hosted by MVMP on the 14th of September, where the community made it quite clear that we do not want to lose the community centre the plans would be amended. This is however not the case.

They quickly point out that the Landmark Centre is not far away, but fail to address the points the community raise.

  • Many residents of Pleasley Hill do not feel welcome at the Landmark Centre.
  • Hillmoor Street Community Centre is used by our community very regularly, in many cases for free. Children’s activates, bingo nights and Meetings all use the venue. Can the Landmark Centre provide the same amount of time for our community, and at the same price? In short, it can’t replace our own building.
  • Hillmoor Street Community Centre is right in the middle, in a mostly traffic free area of the community MDC and MVMP want to up heave. The Landmark Centre is Geographically divided from us by a busy road with a narrow pavement.

The evidence is beginning to suggest that despite all the rhetoric, nothing of any substance that the community ask for is going to materialise. I wonder how far we will get in asking for a decent park, or as the kids in the area want, a bmx park. Instead it would seem that rather than improving the community, over the last few years we have had everything taken away. We lost our allotments behind Clarence Street when they build the MARR road. We lost our “park” on the other side of Clarence street. And now it would seem we are going to lose the community centre too. With this in mind, how are MVMP helping the community? If it is simply by moving everyone out of their homes, and dispersing the community so that they can build new homes that existing residents can’t afford, then I don’t see that as help at all. I do however see it as a way to avoid making any commitments to existing residents, and to maximise the profits that the development will generate.


7 Responses to “Helping the community”

  1. 1 Robert
    October 18, 2009 at 12:12 am

    hello mark
    i went down in the afternoon and got the same answer but the only thing i did get out of them that the road would be done.Due to the condition around here i have lost my wife now.
    And she will not be coming back.
    This is why i haven’t been to any meeting lately.
    Don’t know even if i wanted to be here anymore myself.
    I am too upset to do very at moment.

  2. 2 taz
    November 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    not nice being lied to is it!

  3. 3 lorna
    November 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Did anyone really expect any thing else. They will do want they want to do, they say that they want to hear what we think about what is going to happen and give us the answer that they think we want to hear and they go away and think “yeah, yeah, we will do this our way and screw anyone that gets in our way”. I am not surprised at this in one bit but we try to be hopeful that they will listen, but unfortuantely this never happens. I for one will be glad to get out of this place and live a happy stress free life.

    Lorna Webb

  4. November 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    I agree completely. But is it a reason to stop trying? And if we realise this, remember it and work together, are we not harder to ignore?

  5. 5 Robert
    November 3, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Hello Mark
    All that MDC and MVMP are doing is lieing to everyone here.
    I not been to few meetings but been from this site whats been going on.

    I lost enough since September and there know going back on it my wife gone for good but its hurt me. I am now trying to rebuild my life which is very hard, and painful.

    Hillmoor street.

  6. 6 Robert
    December 7, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    hi mark
    Can you let me know when next meeting is it quite a time since i been so i am just got to get out bit now, i had to put things behind me of want happen .

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