Officially described as a merger, although not yet publicly announced, Aldershot-based Pavilion Housing Association are trying to take over Eastleigh-based Atlantic Housing Group, only Atlantic think they are taking over Pavilion.
Behind this proposed merger is the industry regulator, the Housing Corporation. The Housing Corporation has been badly shaken by the damning report by the Audit Commission on the running and performance of Pavilion. The Housing Corporation's worst fears are that they will be forced to use their legislative powers to take over the direct running of Pavilion. Not wishing to get their own hands dirty, they are desperately trying to find someone, anyone, to take over Pavilion.
Since the Audit Commission report, the situation at Pavilion has rapidly worsened. A PR exercise by Pavilion, where they invited local councillors along to get their snouts in the trough, badly backfired when community activist and now councillor Peter Sandy challenged every lie that came from Pavilion.
Initially Atlantic were keen on the idea of taking over Pavilion as it gave the opportunity for empire building. Now they are having second thoughts and are rapidly backpedaling. The more they look into Pavilion, the less attractive the proposition becomes.
There is little in it for the tenants of either group as there are no economies of scale that can be achieved, and even if there were, it is highly unlikely any benefits would acrue to the tenants.
In the long term, it is doubtful that two head offices would be maintained, the only economy of scale that could be achieved. This would seriously disadvantage one or other group of tenants. The merged RSL would be more remote, less accessible, less accountable.
For Pavilion tenants, there is a desperate need for a new management, the board, the directors, the senior management, are all bloody useless, and need clearing out.
The latest Annual Report for Pavilion will show a loss of £27 million. Where has all the money gone? The previous Annual Report recorded a surplus of £3 million, causing a mad scramble to gain charitable status before the end of the financial year to avoid tax liabilities. One area where the money has not gone is into repairs and refurbishments. Pavilion has a huge backlog on both repairs and refurbishments. To add to their woes there are yobs running riot and terrorising their slum estates, and then there is the scandal of Firgrove Court.
Firgrove Court is a group of 28 maisonettes on the edge of Farnborough town centre. Developers KPI are wishing to destroy half of the town centre and build a superstore, Firgrove Court is earmarked for demolition to make way for the car park for the unwanted superstore.
Atlantic are not immune from problems in their neck of the woods. Eastleigh Housing Association recently purchased two plots of land from Winchester City Council for social housing. There was then the usual farce of lack of consultation masquerading as widespread consultation, the usual behind closed doors assurances that planning consent was in the bag. For once this badly backfired and the public outcry forced Winchester to refuse planning consent. Atlantic are now left with two plots of worthless land on their hands. £511,000 down the drain.
Eastleigh Housing Association (EHA) is the largest part of Atlantic Housing Group (AHG). Its main business is the management of homes for rent and the provision of services to tenants - mainly in the Borough of Eastleigh, but also further afield across the counties of Berkshire, Dorset and Hampshire
Atlantic Housing Group (AHG) is the parent company to a range of subsidiaries; Fernhill Care, Eastleigh Housing Association and Wessex Property.
Pavilion are planning a shindig at Bob Potter's place at Lakeside in Frimley, where selected guests will be wined and dined and entertained and told how marvelous these plans are.
Lakeside is not even in the area where either Pavilion or Atlantic have their houses. And at what cost? A cost, like the recent beanfeast for Rushmoor councillors, that is ultimately paid for by the tenants.
Pavilion tenants are none too keen on these proposals. What do Atlantic tenants think?
RSLs are the new property developers. They are accountable to no one, least of all their own tenants. To call them Social Landlords, is highly misleading, as in behaviour they act no differently, and are often far worse, than private property developers. The behaviour of Pavilion, bad as it is, appears to be the norm for RSLs. One only has to look to Liverpool where hundreds of houses, nominally social housing, are being destroyed by RSLs to enable the area to be cleared for development.
Inspection report: Pavilion Housing Association, Audit Commission, July 2004
Mike Lane, Whole communities will be decimated through gentrification!, Indymedia UK, 2 September 2004
Keith Parkins, Town & Out II, Corporate Watch, 14 January 2004
Keith Parkins, Social landlords are deviating from their intended purpose, Indymedia UK, 20 January 2004
Keith Parkins, Social housing landlords the new corporations, Corporate Watch newsletter No 17, January-February 2004
Keith Parkins, Registered social landlords – the new corporations, Indymedia UK, 18 February 2004
Keith Parkins, Sell out of Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 5 June 2004 http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/292803.html
Keith Parkins, Delivering the final death blow to Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 2 July 2004
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Keith Parkins, Social housing crisis, Indymedia UK, 12 August 2004
Keith Parkins, Privatisation of council housing, Indymedia UK, 16 August 2004
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Keith Parkins, Pavilion Housing Association in Crisis, Indymedia UK, 25 August 2004
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