WWII veteran fears Mitcham home on Eastfields estate will be demolished by Circle Housing Merton Priory
A war veteran who fears his home will be demolished by a housing association is calling on the council to intervene.
Compton Wilkinson, 86, is one of more than 1,000 residents facing temporary eviction after Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP) announced plans to rebuild three estates.
Mr Wilkinson moved to Britain from Guyana, a former British colony in South America, to help fight the Nazis when he was just 16.
He was among thousands of troops sent to the frontline in France to defeat the advancing German army in 1944.
After being demobbed in 1947, he bought a terraced house in Tooting for £385, married and had two daughters.
The veteran, who worked for the BBC World Service before starting his own plastics business in Brixton, said: "On June 1 1960 I moved to Mitcham and knew there was nowhere else I’d ever want to live."
But last November he was informed by housing association CHMP his home of nine years could be demolished if plans to redevelop the Eastfields estate are approved by the council.
Mr Wilkinson, who lives alone, said: "It may be nothing special to someone else but it’s my home. My vision and hearing are both failing to the extent I am now registered as disabled.
"If they push me out to who knows where, how will I start again and how will I know where everything is?"
CHMP took control of Merton Council’s housing stock in 2010 and announced redevelopment plans following a summer consultation with residents, including a questionnaire, exhibitions and workshops.
Eastfields residents association (ERA) is now demanding a council investigation into CHMP’s consultation, claiming residents have not been given an option about whether their homes will be knocked down.
Paul Grant, ERA member, said: "We live in three bedroom homes with garages. The amount residents would get for their properties would be £200,000, which sounds like a lot, but it is not in this area.
"Pensioners would not be able to get a mortgage. They would have to move out of London."
Paul Quinn, director of regeneration at CHMP said: "We understand Mr Wilkinson's concerns and encourage him to contact us so we can talk about his situation.
"There will be many opportunities for all Eastfields residents to contribute to the regeneration proposals through a series of exhibitions, tours, informal coffee mornings and one to one visits.
"For example we are currently working on a whole range of options which will enable residents like Mr Wilkinson to stay on Eastfields in much better quality housing and surroundings."
Protesting: Compton Wilkinson with Eastfields estate neighbours
Plans for the redevelopment being drawn up by architects until the end of the year will have to be approved by the council before any building work goes ahead.
Councillor Nick Draper, cabinet member for housing, said: "When the last Conservative administration handed over all our ex-council housing, Circle Housing made a number of promises.
"Labour wants Circle to listen to residents and live up to their promises. We could only support new development if residents support it, disruption is kept to a minimum, existing residents get better housing and there is more affordable housing for local people."
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