Ravensbury mill update

There have been three events of significance since the last newsletter.

Firstly, we have been pleased to attend two meetings of the Ravensbury residents, who have become an active group within the last 6 months for various reasons. In particular their service charges have appeared to be spiralling, with no obvious concomitant benefit.

Like all these things, there are reasonable explanations for part of this, but other matters remain a cause for dissatisfaction. These impact on us at the Museum in various ways. We will be contributing to the service charges (or part of them), so that is a concern in its own right. The petty vandalism and graffiti at the site is partly attributable to our non presence (empty property is a known cause). It is possible that the tenants have been shouldering part of the service charge that should have been born by the Landlord, pending our own occupation.

One of the positive side effects, though, is the activation of the tenants management company as a mechanism for contribution to the debate. We hope we have been of some help to them in understanding the mechanisms for its use, as a bridge with the managing agents, and as an entity through which we can contribute to the site into the future.

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The second event has been the recent furore over voluntary sector grant cuts. Fortunately we have come out of this with our grant intact. During the course of the debate, however, a much wider number of councillors and officers of the London Borough of Merton have become aware of the problem we are facing in getting the last bit of building work completed, so we can take up our lease without an immediate costly repair bill. We are trying to maintain this momentum, and things may happen at last. The image on this page is of the ceiling/roof of the wheelhouse, showing the exposed rafters, and underside of the floor of the flat above. The planning permission required this to be extensively sound and water proofed to enable the operation of the mill wheels with minimum disturbance and inconvenience to the flat above.

The third event is the arrangement of an appointment with HLF, for us to meet with them and progress the lottery grant which would enable, at last, a move to Ravensbury with the benefit of dramatically improved exhibitions and presentations of the industrial history of the Wandle valley.

Nicholas Hart 25 May 2003

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