With more information, you always get more questions.

Bear with me because this is going to be a long post.

Despite recent cynicism on this blog, it seems as though we are indeed getting somewhere on the housing issue. Now we can’t take credit for this, it was going to happen anyway, I think we just came along at the right time. But on Friday, MVMP delivered a letter to the residents of our area, that has started the ball rolling on the redevelopment. This has been received as good news by the few residents I have seen up until now.

So far it seems that MVMP are doing what they said they would. They had promised to get the ball rolling soon, and have. I should also apologise for not mentioning the climbing wall they brought to the area a couple of weeks ago. It was well received, and I know the people of the area would like to see it return.  I can only hope now that they are able to deliver what they promise. In particular the promise that they will listen to the community. I will however come back to MVMP in a moment.

The letter delivered on Friday describes 7 phases for re-housing residents, based on 7 geographic sections of the area. The first being Clarence Street and the first block of Chesterfield Road. These residents are now expecting to be contacted within the next month, and have been told that they have priority status regarding rehousing. The question is though, does priority status also negate the requirement for some residents to move into much smaller properties? If not it would seem that the best option for people in this situation is to simply stay put, and refuse to move until suitable accommodation is found. When the first blocks of Chesterfield Road were demolished to make way for the MARR road, this worked quite well for one resident. It is after all MDC / MVMP that want people out, and some of us have everything to lose being asked to move from 3 bed houses to flats.

I think many people in the area will be glad to find out that they can now find their own alternative accommodation, but still receive the compensation for having to move. I know that recent commentators on this blog have expressed that they just want to move out of the area, and I hope this goes some way towards satisfying that desire.

The letter from MVMP goes on to talk about what parts of the area will be emptied, and in what order. It doesn’t say where the community centre fits in to the plan though. Hopefully this is good news in that they haven’t decided yet. And perhaps with the news that we collected our first names on our petition to save or replace the community centre at the bonfire party, we may not lose yet another community resource.

I would hope with the announcement of these 7 phases, that this is an indication that there is now a master plan for the area? If so, with all the talk of involving the community, I would expect it to be available to us. What would be wrong with publishing it on the internet, or hosting it on some sort of collaboration software to allow residents to truly get involved? And we have good reason to want to know what is planned. Especially with the retention of the first two blocks of Hillmoor Street.

Part of the reason that MVMP want to move people out blocks at a time is to prevent people being alone in blocks of houses, at higher risk of crime. What about the 26 houses on Hillmoor Street when the rest of the area is completely empty?

We also need to know what will happen once everyone is gone. As it stands people that remain on Hillmoor Street will have their routes to every major facility disrupted. The people I know currently either walk across the park, or up Clarence Street to access the school, the shops, the bus stops, playing fields and much more. When that entire area is a building site, how are these people to cope? How long will this go on for? Has all this been planned for? If so can we be told about it?

And what comes at the end of all this? I, for one, moved into my house on Hillmoor Street on the understanding that when the new homes were built we, the people in the retained housing, would be offered one of the new houses, paving the way for the remainder of Hillmoor Street to be replaced. To me this also seems to make sense as a long term plan. I also think that after who knows how long of a disruption, these people will deserve some sort of reward. And if there are going to be so many new social houses owned by South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA), and the current houses on Hillmoor Street are also owned by SYHA, then what is the problem? Simply move the people over to the new houses, knock down the old ones, and build some more social housing as the final phase.

MDC have said this is to be the gateway into Mansfield. That it is supposed to be pleasing to the eye and so on. In the plans I have seem, from Chesterfield Road, you will look across a nice green open space, right at the old houses of Hillmoor Street? Is this the ultimate plan for the “Gateway to Mansfield”’s aesthetically pleasing look?

What kind of houses are the 5 developers thinking about now? Who are these 5 developers? Are the houses going to live up to what the council asked to be considered (http://www.mansfield.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=2090&p=0 )? Will this be a low carbon development? Will the houses be designed in such a way as to have minimal impact on the environment? Will there be pre-planned cycle paths throughout?  Or is the good old credit crunch going to scupper the plans? Because if it is not low carbon with all the bells and whistles, what is the point? We should consider the future of our species over how much money who will make out of building a new, richer community.

There have also been people who have said that they do not want to move out of the area. Will these people be given priority on the new houses at nearby New Terrace? I believe this is also an MVMP development, and I would assume that it has social housing. And will these people also get the opportunity to come back to the area?

Many people who live here, have done so all their lives. Some for multiple generations. If these people are not offered the opportunity to come back, then it shows that for MDC this project is not about helping a community, but by sweeping it away and building a new one.

MVMP are simply puppets in this. Doing what MDC could not be bothered to do/was not capable of doing (or whatever their excuse is). And while I understand they feel they are doing good work and “revitalising communities”, I can’t help but wonder how building (much needed) new houses can make up for the dispersal of friends, family and shared history? A community is not just the bricks and mortar, it is the tangled web of peoples lives over a long period of time in a single place.

And why do we need to bring in MVMP? Are they not just doing what MDC should have done? And isn’t it a bit weird that Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton is on the board of directors for MVMP?

For me, this community activism is new. I have done what I have done because I was fed up with the problems of the area. For a long time I didn’t feel I was a part of the area, but after ten years and a child I realised I was wrong. The point is, I have not taken an interest in local politics until now. And everything I see makes me question things. If some people think that I am naïve to wider issues in the area, this is why.

With this in mind, it is important to realise that this project in Pleasley Hill is part of a much wider plan for Mansfield. All over the place there are new developments, and they are all in some way linked to the new MARR road:







Now from what little I know, it seems that the people in overall charge of this are the Sherwood Growth Zone Partnership (SGZP). And, to the layman like me, to see once again Tony Egginton’s name on the board of directors, fills me with questions. I do not know him, or anything about him, but it seems like it’s about time that I did.

I hope you got to the end of that, I know it was long. But there was a lot to say. Hopefully I have pictures coming of our recent events, so I will make sure the next post is a positive one!


3 Responses to “With more information, you always get more questions.”

  1. 1 taz
    November 17, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    now you’re finally getting it. it all boils down to egginton. making money and getting accolades for for doing so while simultaneously destroying what he does’nt want. MDC has been sitting on our money for about 30 months, only now ,when it suits him and the rest of his cronies is something being done. explain the silence from our councillors. granted, mr. colley has had health problems, but has anyone actually spoke to or heard from mr.perry? has perry electrical got the the contract for the new development here? of course there will be disruption to residents when work starts but dont expect more compo, you wont get it because they dont have have to pay any more than they had to pay when the MARR junction was created. safe walkways and highways have to be created, nothing more than that. the main point you put was the protest about the type of rehousing for the people that wish to move away. (i dont care about those that wish to stay) why should people have to look for some where to live? MDC, eggington, MVMP, want us out! they should be telling us what is available; now or in the future. properties come available all the time. i know this to be fact. moveahead are just as big liars as MDC.

    • November 17, 2009 at 11:22 pm

      Hi again Taz,

      My motivation behind this has only ever been to find out what exactly is going on in the area, and highlight to a wider audience the issues we face. And if you know my politics as you have indicated, you will understand that I have little time for our current form of “democracy” and political systems. I believe in people having control of their own lives, and having a direct say in the decisions that affect them. This is why I have not taken an interest up until now in local politics. I simply don’t believe in it, that it is fair, or that it can actually address the issues people face over the issues businesses face.

      Now I will be quite honest with you. I think it unlikely I will see the type of political landscape I would like without either revolution, or moving to South America. So I have to either sit back and accept the system, or I have to get involved setting up the kind of alternative organisations I would like to see. For example community groups, to deal with issues facing the area, or workplace organisation/unionisation. In the case of this community, I always hoped to address issues surrounding activities, and to help bring people together, to at the very least discuss the shared issues they face. I feel that this alone would go a long way towards addressing issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour, simply by bringing people closer together. It has always been my aim to help establish people-run organisations as alternatives to the current system, not as a part of it. This is why the group operates using consensus, and why it remains open to anyone who wants to come along.

      However, I am not ignorant to the fact that entities such as MDC do currently have a large say in what happens to us. And as such, we need to deal with them. Especially when the major issue for the area is the coming redevelopment. And while I don’t have much respect for the current system, and the way it operates, I also know that if I go around falling out with everyone, I won’t get far. So for me (at the moment) cooperation, or rather remaining civil and avoiding unnecessary conflict is more useful to the community. It is not however my only option.

      I think over the last few weeks we have had some crossed wires, and I hope this makes my point of view a little clearer for you.

      Now with all that out of the way, and with my belief in communities and shared people power in mind, you can see how I raise the issue of one person having so much of a say/power. But with a lack of knowledge in the local politics scene, I have not come across all the facets of the issue yet. I admit this openly, I don’t know enough. But I would happily learn from you what you know, so long as it is fact, and can be backed up with evidence. I say this because I am aware of the tone your comments have had so far, and I would not like to see you caught up in a libel case as a result of something posted here.

      Now you are right that there will clearly be disruption to the residents that remain. But I raise the point because I am genuinely concerned about how we will cope during the long years of this gentrification. But compensation could not be further from my mind on this issue. To be quite honest I dislike the “compensation culture” we have imported from the States, because I believe in personal responsibility. I find the whole idea of people suing public bodies for accidents, like tripping over for example, wholly wrong. And besides, I have a reasonable job in IT, so compensation is not as big an issue for me as it is for some other people in the area. However with that said, it is true that the residents that remain will have to put up with severer disruption.

      To address a couple of your other points, Councillor Colley has attended two recent meetings, and has been quite vocal, raising several good points. As for Councillor Perry, I agree that I have not seen hide nor hair of him, despite inviting him to the meetings. I would say that Mr Colley has gone up a few points in my book, simply for showing up!

      Finally, with regard to the MDC, MVMP, Moveahead, and re-housing people. It seems to me that the obstacle here is pure bureaucracy. I agree that if they really wanted to, they could deal with this issue easily. After all, they control all the resources. But it would seem that they have decided to implement a system, and (officially) stick with it no matter what. I know full well for example, that despite the waiting list, when I moved in to the area, I asked for a house in morning, and had the keys that same afternoon. So I know as well as you do that they can change the rules as they see fit.

  2. 3 taz
    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    yep, you,re definately getting there. “as they see fit” “in control of resources” etc, etc. your words. i’ll add one of mine….. total “control of resources”. i said months ago that MDC will move in their own time and in the direction of their chosing, nothing has changed.

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