1970 : Pollards Hill Estate rents for new 5-person houses too high

Rents of about £9 plus a week which will be charged on soon to be completed homes in the new Pollards Hill Housing Estate are being scoffed at by council tenants.

Tenants at present living in overcrowded conditions are being given the opportunity to move to future new homes on the 850-dwellings estate. However, the common reaction is ”These rates are too high by far – we can’t move unless they are brought down.”

The higher rents come in as a part of the rent structure for new tenancies – based on 210% of gross value on houses and 185% on flats – brought in by Merton Council.

Borough Housing Manager Mr A.A. Brown said 1,000 tenants had so far been invited to move into the new Pollards Hill Estate when their five and six person houses and flats become available.

Small response

“But the response of people interested in moving has been small,” he said.

Mr Brown was confident, however, that no flats or houses on the new development will be left empty when they were completed by the summer of 1971.

“I am sure they will be quickly occupied from the council waiting list.”

Among the existing tenants who have been given the opportunity of moving is 42 year old printer Mr John Uren.

Father of a teenage son and daughter, he would be entitled to move into a new 3-bedroom house from his four-guinea-a-week, two bedroom flat on the post-war estate at Pollards Hill.

“But I doubt I if I shall accept the offer – anyone who would pay £9 a week rent could just as well by their own new home,” Mr Uren said.

And Pollards Hill Estate tenants Association secretary Mr Dennis Small said these are not rents for ordinary council tenants at all – the council are only catering for people with big incomes. To pay the kind of rents the council asking for their new homes, a man would need to earn up to £40 a week.”

The new rents for a strongly opposed by the council’s labour minority. Said Councillor D.W. Chalkley, sole Labour representative on the housing committee: “With better handling of the housing account, these new tenancy rents could have been contained within the existing structure, which the Government would not have permitted to be raised.

“With such high rates, most people are quite naturally scared off.”

Merton’s letter inviting overcrowded tenants to move to Pollards Hill drew attention to the recently improved rent rebate scheme.

Prefer to pay

“But most tenants would prefer to pay their way rather than hope they will continue to qualify for rebates,” Councillor Chalkley commented.

“And, in any case, the present scheme where one council tenant subsidises another is wrong – it should be spread evenly amongst all ratepayers.”

Official opening of the first to five person houses at Pollards Hill will be carried out by Mitcham MP Mr Robert Carr, January 28.

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