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Pavilion and Atlantic Housing Groups to Merge?

Keith Parkins | 13.09.2004 16:02 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles

Behind the backs of their tenants, Pavilion Housing Group and Atlantic Housing Group are trying to affect a merger.

Negotiations are well underway to merge the two groups. Eastleigh-based Atlantic has a large property property portfolio in Eastleigh, and further afield in Berkshire, Dorset and Hampshire. Aldershot-based Pavilion, has a large property portfolio in Aldershot and Farnborough (former Rushmoor council housing), and much further afield. The merged group would be a major player in housing and property development in southern England.

The senior management and boards of both groups are pushing this, with the guiding hand of the industry regulator the Housing Corporation. The chief executive of Atlantic is steering it through, he will then retire, leaving the chief executive of Pavilion in charge.

A gravy train for senior management and consultants and lawyers, nothing in it for the tenants.

Mervyn Jones, chief executive of Pavilion, has been a disaster at Pavilion. As the damning report by the Audit Commission highlighted, he couldn't run a Welsh whelk stall if he tried, let alone the merged group. Even his own tenants are calling for his resignation.

The scandal of Firgrove Court deepens. Pavilion are selling off the land to property developers KPI to make way for a car park for a superstore in Farnborough. Half of the town centre is to be demolished to make way for the superstore. According to Jones, Pavilion are making no money on this deal. Questioned further, he has claimed he knows nothing of the deal! Meanwhile, 28 maisonettes, social housing arranged around a large grassy communal area, are to be demolished.

Senior management at both groups are none to pleased at the publication of this 'top secret' merger early last week.

There is to be an official announcement of this at Bob Potter's International Hotel (located between Aldershot and Farnborough off the A325) on Wednesday of this week. The announcement will be made behind closed doors to specially invited guests. An opportunity for selected guest to get their snouts in the Pavilion trough at tenants' expense. A locality not accessible by public transport. This meeting may well be picketed by angry tenants.

Last Thursday, Pavilion were once again summoned to appear before a Rushmoor Council committee to explain their piss-poor performance. No one knew in advance. I had asked to be notified of the meeting. I heard nothing. Even local community activist and Rushmoor councillor Peter Sandy, who had asked and was denied the chance to speak at the last meeting, was not notified. The meeting may have been brought forward a week to wrong foot critics of Pavilion.

The day following the meeting, ie last Friday, Peter Sandy received a letter from John Edwards, a Rushmoor council official, telling him to submit any questions he may wish to ask in writing through the committee chairman. This was not what had been agreed at the last meeting of this committee, but it is the norm for the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Not even Peter Sandy's fellow LibDem councillors had the common courtesy to inform him of the meeting. But then when the leader of the LibDem group goes behind the back of Peter Sandy and undermines the list of repairs submitted on behalf of tenants, then anything is possible.

The Farnborough LibDems are a bunch of useless tossers, who do nothing for Pavilion tenants. Their main concern is that all there deficiencies keep being exposed. Something their leader is paranoid about. I daresay at their meeting tonight, he will throw yet another childish tantrum saying he is the leader and he is in charge and they have to do what he tells them.

Following their last meeting, a couple of the Farnborough LibDems one Saturday morning, visited one of the Pavilion slum estates in Aldershot. The tenants let known all their problems. Yes, we will see to all this, promised the LibDem leader. Weeks later, what has been done? Absolutely nothing, one big zilch.

Farnborough LibDems are good at jumping on passing bandwagons, but when it comes to actually doing anything. Nothing.

One of the reasons why the leader does nothing is because his father-in-law, who sits on the board of Pavilion, is currently under investigation for sitting on a Rushmoor planning committee and pushing through the town centre plans on behalf of KPI where Pavilion are an interested party.

Pavilion are holding a focus group meeting for specially selected tenants to air their views. To get an invite to this all-expenses paid meeting (2-30pm Thursday 16 September 2004, Pavilion Head Office in Aldershot) call Sandra Feenan 01252 368737.

A Pavilion tenants action group are holding an emergency meeting 6.30pm this Wednesday evening at Conaught School in Aldershot.

As Mike Lane and other regulary write, it is not just in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor we get these problems.



Inspection report: Pavilion Housing Association, Audit Commission, July 2004^1628&ProdID=4109FA2E-0E86-4771-974F-1DFC98221507

Mike Lane, Oppressive Local Government!, Indymedia UK, 11 September 2004

Cliff Mogg, More problems for Pavilion, Surrey-Hants Star, 9 September 2004

Keith Parkins, Town & Out II, Corporate Watch, 14 January 2004

Keith Parkins, Sell out of Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 5 June 2004

Keith Parkins, Delivering the final death blow to Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 2 July 2004

Keith Parkins, Audit Commission savage Pavilion Housing Association, Indymedia UK, 27 July 2004

Keith Parkins, Crisis meeting at Pavilion Housing Association, Indymedia UK, 24 August 2004

Keith Parkins, Pavilion Housing Association in Crisis, Indymedia UK, 25 August 2004

Keith Parkins, The Scandal of Firgrove Court, Indymedia UK, 31 August 2004

Keith Parkins, Pavilion v Atlantic, Indymedia UK, 6 September 2004

Pavilion in merger talks, Surrey-Hants Star, 9 September 2004

Keith Parkins