MP receives hundreds of complaints every year about Circle Housing Merton Priory's poor maintenance

Armfield Crescent: Some of the 9,000 homes run by housing association Circle Housing Merton Priory

Armfield Crescent: Some of the 9,000 homes run by housing association Circle Housing Merton Priory

First published in News
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A housing association responsible for the maintenance of 9,000 homes has come under fire following hundreds of complaints from residents about its service.

Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP) won a bid to take over Merton Council's housing stock in March 2010, with promises to improve services and upkeep of properties.

But with Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh receiving 240 complaints from exasperated tenants about maintenance in the last year, excluding those concerning emergency repairs, its competence has been questioned.

Ms McDonagh said: "We have got to the stage where we feel like we work for Merton Priory Homes because it is just reminding them to phone people back.

"People have numerous visits from surveyors but no work gets completed. It's very very frustrating.

Wimbledon Guardian:

"It's very very frustrating": MP Siobhain McDonagh 

"I think there are lots of issues - it is the way repair requests are logged and sent to contractors and then dealt with by contractors.

"A while ago they changed the contractors with a handover which went partially wrong. They say IT has been rescued but it hasn't been."

CHMP's properties are maintained by social housing provider Keep Moat, which was formed after merging with Apollo, another housebuilder, in 2012.

Speaking to the Wimbledon Guardian earlier this month, Pauline Ford, CHMP regional operations director, admitted there is a back-log of repairs due to an IT problem but said they have been in regular contact with residents to update them on the problem.

She said: "There have been some impacts on our residents that we wouldn't have wanted but we are working with our residents to get the services back where they used to be."

Ms Ford claimed emergency repairs are carried out within four hours, urgent repairs within 72 hours and routine repairs within 28 days, with 89 per cent of residents surveyed saying they were happy with their repairs.

However, she admitted only 10 to 20 per cent of residents receiving repairs are called to complete the survey every month.

CASE STUDY

The Wimbledon Guardian also receives regular complaints about CHMP service providers, with one resident becoming so frustrated with an unrepaired hole in her window, she delivered a hand-written poem to their Morden offices.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Wimbledon Guardian:

Iyabode Animashaun, of Armfield Crescent, said she has been living with the hole, where her kitchen fan was replaced, for the past three weeks, as CHMP weren't able to send an electrician and handyman at the same time to complete the work.

She said CHMP havn't replied to her letter so far, which she delivered on Monday, June 9.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Fed up: CHMP tenant Iyabode Animashaun

CASE STUDY

Ms Ford could not explain why an 89-year-old pensioner was not able to return to his flat from his care home for four days after sewage spewed into his bathroom from drains from an upstairs toilet.

The sewage spill at Walter Kerbert's flat in Lee House, Wimbledon was discovered by neighbour and carer, Keith Stepto, after he went round to collect the post at 9.30am on Friday morning, May 16.

When he got in, he said he found sewage spewing into the bathroom from drains from upstairs’ toilet, which was soaking into the walls and carpet.

Mr Stepto immediately called CHMP repairs service who said they would send a plumber.

A plumber arrived at about 2pm to fix the leak but said he wouldn’t clean up all the mess as this wasn’t his job.

Mr Stepto called back CHMP who told him the plumber should ring his boss to organize a cleaner.

When no-one came he rang back CHMP who said they said they would send an emergency cleaner.

When no-one arrived he called again and they denied knowledge of this and said they didn’t send emergency cleaners and told him to contact the housing officer.

By this point it was 5pm and the housing officer wasn’t available for the weekend.

Wayne Hainsworth, CHMP managing director, commented on Tuesday, May 20: "We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused to Mr Kerbert while we were arranging for a specialist contractor to clean up the waste.

"This was completed today and a surveyor will be visiting tomorrow to make sure no further repairs are needed.

"Residents should contact the customer services team during normal operating hours and the out of hours contact number in emergencies."

Do you think CHMP are providing a good service? Comment below or contact Louisa Clarence-Smith on 0208 722 6335, or e-mail louisa.clarence@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (8)

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6:06pm Tue 24 Jun 14

annon29 says...

It is laughable that a company who clearly cant even maintain their properties should think they are capable of demolishing and rebuilding three estates, displacing over 1300 families in the process.
It is laughable that a company who clearly cant even maintain their properties should think they are capable of demolishing and rebuilding three estates, displacing over 1300 families in the process. annon29
  • Score: 4

6:33pm Tue 24 Jun 14

vacillation says...

Were there no performance targets written in to the contract for CHuMP or did Merton Council just hand over the keys to their friends?
Were there no performance targets written in to the contract for CHuMP or did Merton Council just hand over the keys to their friends? vacillation
  • Score: 2

10:34pm Tue 24 Jun 14

vacillation says...

vacillation wrote:
Were there no performance targets written in to the contract for CHuMP or did Merton Council just hand over the keys to their friends?
I see Merton Council and CHuMP are keeping up with local news - but don't like questions being asked.
[quote][p][bold]vacillation[/bold] wrote: Were there no performance targets written in to the contract for CHuMP or did Merton Council just hand over the keys to their friends?[/p][/quote]I see Merton Council and CHuMP are keeping up with local news - but don't like questions being asked. vacillation
  • Score: 1

8:48am Wed 25 Jun 14

Eastfields Estate resident says...

I think CHMP are too busy planning the destruction of 3 estates to bother about repairing any of their homes. They dont make money out of repairing properties but they do make money out of building an extra 1000 homes and selling them on the open market.
I think CHMP are too busy planning the destruction of 3 estates to bother about repairing any of their homes. They dont make money out of repairing properties but they do make money out of building an extra 1000 homes and selling them on the open market. Eastfields Estate resident
  • Score: 4

9:12am Thu 26 Jun 14

tjames says...

merton priory homes now seems to be circle--is this a private company? was mph purchased by circle? if so how much and where did the money go?

how much did merton council get for transfer of council properties to mph?

if there is wholesale redevelopment of the high path estate will any further monies accrue to the taxpayer via merton council? if not why not?
merton priory homes now seems to be circle--is this a private company? was mph purchased by circle? if so how much and where did the money go? how much did merton council get for transfer of council properties to mph? if there is wholesale redevelopment of the high path estate will any further monies accrue to the taxpayer via merton council? if not why not? tjames
  • Score: 3

3:25pm Thu 26 Jun 14

suspiciousal says...

It does seem hard to believe they are capable of managing such an ambitious regeneration project when they struggle to get basics right...
It does seem hard to believe they are capable of managing such an ambitious regeneration project when they struggle to get basics right... suspiciousal
  • Score: 2

8:22pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Mertonette says...

I needed a wall re-plastering as most of it had fallen off...on TWO occasions a "surveyor" was supposed to come on an appointed date...he did NOT turn up on either occasion BUT said he had posted a card through the door as nobody was at home...I have CCTV at my home and can guarantee he didn`t bother to turn up...when mentioning this to the housing association they had nothing to say at all...just asked did I want another appointment...No,I didn`t and did the work myself...Merton Priory Homes was taken over rather quietly and in what seems to be a "secret" affair...NO mention was made of this beforehand...yet ANOTHER abuse of once owned council stock.
I needed a wall re-plastering as most of it had fallen off...on TWO occasions a "surveyor" was supposed to come on an appointed date...he did NOT turn up on either occasion BUT said he had posted a card through the door as nobody was at home...I have CCTV at my home and can guarantee he didn`t bother to turn up...when mentioning this to the housing association they had nothing to say at all...just asked did I want another appointment...No,I didn`t and did the work myself...Merton Priory Homes was taken over rather quietly and in what seems to be a "secret" affair...NO mention was made of this beforehand...yet ANOTHER abuse of once owned council stock. Mertonette
  • Score: 2

11:39am Fri 27 Jun 14

tjames says...

labor council and labor mp--nothing will change
labor council and labor mp--nothing will change tjames
  • Score: 1

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