Angry residents have confronted bosses over proposals to merge two housing associations .
The latest in a series of consultation meetings over plans to join Notting Hill Housing (NHH) Group and Genesis Housing Association was held on Monday (October 23) evening.
Residents attending said many neighbours were locked out of the ticket-only event, before forcing their way into the meeting, held at The Tabernacle in Powis Square, to discuss the proposed Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) organisation.
If created, it would be one of the country’s largest housing associations with 54,000 homes across London and 64,000 across London and the south east, serving the interests of 170,000 residents.
When plans for NHG were announced earlier this year, concerns were raised that high-value properties will be sold off, with residents forced out and the number of homes available for those who need them reduced.
Some also said the new “affordable” property will not be truly affordable to the people that really need it.
Resident Gaynor Williams said that after locked out residents were allowed into the meeting there was a palpable sense of anger in the room.
But she believes their points hit home: “At the moment I’m thinking we got a small victory because we made them start to think about what they’re doing.
“I believe we actually got them to understand what they were doing.”
But resident Nicholas Brandon felt otherwise, believing the consultation is a whitewash.
He said: “They don’t want to listen, it’s a done deal.”
He slammed the consultation, which was launched in the weeks after Grenfell and during the summer months when fewer people are able to respond.
“They’re telling us what’s good for us but they’re not listening to us. They think bigger is better.”
He accused the housing associations of acting as “glorified property developers” who had strayed from “their core social value of building affordable social housing”.
Ms Williams agreed, saying the housing associations had become focused on building as many homes as possible and have “lost sight of their social purpose".
An NHH spokesman said residents were asked to register before the event, and that each person could only register for one consultation event.
“Many arrived that weren’t registered and were initially refused entry,” he said.
“However, there were a number of registered residents who did not turn up for the event, and after discussions with those who were waiting, we opened up the remaining spaces.”
He continued: “The meeting was understandably highly charged, with many questions regarding the merger that we did our best to answer in the time available.
“Unfortunately some residents felt the need to leave due to the amount of shouting and interruptions preventing questions being asked and answered.
“We know some residents are concerned at the changes that might happen and we are committed to listening and working through those concerns. All feedback will be presented to our boards for them to take into account before a final decision is made.”
Previously, NHH said it has no desire to sell off homes in large numbers in its west London heartland.
A meeting between Genesis and NHH residents will take place on Saturday (October 28) at St Mary on Paddington Green Church, St Mary’s Square, starting at 1pm.
And a protest is planned to take place at the London Olympia Homes Event 2017, taking place on November 22.
Residents can still fill out the questionnaire found at www.nhhg.org.uk
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