A year since a housing revolution in Merton, the woman in charge said her first 12 months at the helm had been successful in the face of challenges and despite criticism from residents.

In March 2010, Merton Council’s social housing was handed over to a newly created, non-profit company called Merton Priory Homes (MPH), a subsidiary of the affordable housing group, Circle Anglia.

The housing stock transfer came after 53 per cent of council tenants voted in favour of the plans, which the council said would give residents greater say over decision-making and lead to an investment of £129m in the properties over the next 10 years.

MPH’s chief executive, Pauline Ford, described the first year as successful despite complaints from residents about living in squalid conditions, which she claimed were very exceptional cases.

Ms Ford said: “It has been a challenging year, but we have covered a lot of ground. We have tried to keep up that strong link we have had with residents.

“The residents shaped the promises we made and out of 91 we have delivered 62. The remaining ones are more long-term in nature.”

Resident: "You keep calling and calling them and nothing ever gets done."

When it was put to Ms Ford the Wimbledon Guardian had received dozens of complaints in the past 12 months from residents about the poor state of their housing, she replied MPH itself received 60 calls an hour and this reflected the scale of the challenge the housing association faced.

As recently as last week, Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh wrote to Ms Ford on behalf of a constituent whose bathroom had not been renovated despite a fungal infestation brought on by extreme damp.

Nicola Kellett, who lives in Peartree Close, Mitcham, said: “Before we were asked to vote for MPH we were promised it had so much money and that life would be wonderful.

“But you keep calling and calling them and nothing ever gets done. They aren’t helping me despite my sink falling 8in and tiles falling off in clumps from the wall.”

A similar story was told by Raynes Park resident Kevin Whincup, who contacted the council’s trading standards department after his son’s fingers became trapped because the bathroom tap was positioned too close to the wall.

MPH boss: "The worst cases are being given greater priority"

Ms Ford said: “We know everyone is desperate to get their new kitchen or bathroom, but we’ve completed more than 500 new installations for each since December and, on the whole, residents are very happy.

We appreciate it can be frustrating, but I can assure you the worst cases are being given greater priority.”

Ms Ford said the biggest challenge of the year came in September when one of MPH’s three building contractors, Connaught, went into administration.

She said: “Fortunately, we had contingency plans in place and we got the service back up and running within 30 days. That’s important when you’re talking about doing 24,000 repairs a year.”

One resident who claimed to have a very positive MPH service was 82-year-old Marie Murphy, who lives in Colliers Wood.

Mrs Murphy, a talented poet who once saved a boy from drowning in the river Wandle, said: "At first, I was very apprehensive of letting strangers into my house and I was worried about how long it would take.

"But I must admit, I don't have any complaints. They got the kitchen and bathroom done in five weeks and I'm really happy now."

What is your experience of Merton Priory Homes? Leave a comment below, call 020 8722 6335 or email: ooakes@london.newsquest.co.uk.

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