CLARION HOUSING GROUP LIMITED

 

AFFORDABILITY | CONVEYANCING | COUNCILS | FINANCE | HOMES | INDEX | LINKS | RENTALS | VILLAGES

A VISION FOR FUTURE INTEGRATED ECO COMMUNITIES, AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITH PASSIVE HEATING AND MACRO GENERATION

  

 

AFFORDABLE | CLIMATE | DEVELOPERS | ECONOMY | FLOOD | HISTORY | HOMES

LADDER | MORALSPOVERTY | PROPERTY | SLAVERY | TAXES | SLUMS | VALUATIONS | WEALTH

 

 

 

 

GREENBELT - Digging up Greenfield sites for quick profits from windfall planning consents is ruining the heritage of the nation. Once it is gone, it is gone. Britain is short of genuinely affordable housing that developers are loath to provide where all they want it the money. It may be that Clarion Housing and Thakeham intend building affordable units on this site. They should also bear in mind the requirement for sustainable development in United Nations terms. Copyright photograph © April 26 2018, Herstmonceux Museum Limited. All rights reserved. You may not copy this picture except for educational use.

 

 

Clarion Housing Group Limited (Clarion) was created by a merger between Affinity Sutton Group Limited and Circle Anglia Limited in December 2016. It is a Community Benefit Society with charitable rules and is parent to 28 companies (excluding joint ventures).

The provision of social housing is integral to Clarion’s core purpose and the majority (95%) of its homes are social housing. The focus of its activity since the merger has been the integration of the two housing groups, addressing the service delivery issues within the former Circle Anglia Group and simplification of the group structure. Longer term objectives seek an increase in the provision of new homes, an Information Technology enabled service offer to tenants, increased investment in community programmes and enhanced local accountability.

Registered Entities - Clarion is the parent to one registered entity, Clarion Housing Association Limited.

 

 

Society Name: Clarion Housing Association Limited
Number & Suffix: 7686
Status: Registered
Registration Date: 02 Jan 2018
Registration Act: Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014
Address: Level 6
6 More London Place
London
SE1 2DA

 

Date *
Society Number
Society Name
Transfer Method
01 Mar 2018 7475CBS Old Ford Housing Association Limited TE
02 Jan 2018 31412R Affinity Sutton Homes Limited AM
02 Jan 2018 18652R Circle Thirty Three Housing Trust Limited AM

 

 

 

 

Unregistered Entities - Clarion is parent to a number of companies the most significant being:


 Latimer Developments Limited which undertakes commercial development activity for the group

 Clarion Futures (& Circle Anglia Foundation) which delivers Clarion’s social investment in training and employment activities

 Clarion Treasury Limited, a group borrowing vehicle which enters into funding activities on behalf of group and on-lends to group members

 Circle Care and Support Limited and Invicta Telecare Limited, which branded as Centra, provide a range of telecare and support related services

 Grange Management (Southern) Limited which provides management services to the residential leasehold property market

 Clarion Response, a subsidiary of Clarion Housing Association which provides it with property repairs and related services.

 

 

Society Name: Clarion Housing Group Limited
Number & Suffix: 28038R
Status: Registered
Registration Date: 01 Sep 1994
Registration Act: Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014
Address: Level 6
6 More London Place
London
SE1 2DA
Date of Last Move: 20 Apr 2007
Financial Year End: 31/03
Deregistration Date:
Deregistration Method:
Transferred to Society/Company Number:
Transferred to Society/Company Name:
Transfer Method:

 

Details of recent name changes:

 

Date
Description
29 Nov 2016 Affinity Sutton Group Limited
02 Oct 2006 The Affinity Homes Group Limited
05 Apr 2004 Downland Affinity Group Limited
01 Apr 2003 Downland Housing Group Limited
01 Nov 1995 Argus Housing Association Limited

 

 

 

 

WD/2015/0090/ HERSTMONCEUX VILLAGE CONDITIONS A - Z INDEX

 

 -  Conditions Index A - Z
1. Permission subject to detailed particulars
2. Appearance & Landscape

3. Application for reserved matters in 3 years

4. No dev. without archaeological programme

5. No dev. until written scheme 4. published

6. Contamination to be reported subsequently

7. Details code of construction TB approved

8. Temporary contractor provisions

 9.  Noise restrictions working hours

10. Details brickwork finishes
11. Joinery details, windows, doors

12. Details hard & soft landscaping

13. Details screening, trees, hedges

14. Planting trees Chapel Row, Museum

15. Landscape management plan

16. Wildlife management details

17. Japanese Knotweed survey

18. Access prior to building works

19. Visibility splays entrance A271

20. Internal site access roads

21. Car parking details

22. Garages no commercial use

23. No felling trees hedgerows

24. Tree protection existing TPO

25. Bins refuse collection & disposal

26. Foul drainage sewerage works

27. Surface water drainage

28. No discharges foul water

29. Flood resilient buildings

30. Surface water drainage

31. Light pollution AONB

32  Renewable energy

33. No permitted dev buildings

34. No permitted gates/fences

36. Limited to included docs

 

 

 

Details of recent transfer to the society:

 

 

Date *
Society Number
Society Name
Transfer Method
29 Nov 2016 27604R Circle Anglia Limited TE
17 Dec 2003 29318R The Affinity Homes Group Limited TE

 

 

 

Date Added
Document Available to Purchase Online
Date of Document
21 Feb 2018 Original Rules 01 Sep 1994
06 Oct 2017 Annual Return and Accounts 31 Mar 2017
06 Sep 2017 Annual Return and Accounts 31 Mar 2006
06 Sep 2017 Annual Return and Accounts 31 Mar 2005
06 Sep 2017 Annual Return and Accounts 03 Mar 2004
29 Nov 2016 Transfer of Engagements 29 Nov 2016
29 Nov 2016 Name Change 29 Nov 2016
25 Oct 2016 Annual Return and Accounts 31 Mar 2016
16 May 2016 Annual Return and Accounts 31 Mar 2015
02 May 2014 Complete Amendment to Rules 01 May 2014

 

 

 

 

 

GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD AND SCALE

Clarion has about 123,000 homes and operates in 176 local authorities in England including 28 London boroughs.

Staffing and Turnover - For the financial year ending 31 March 2017, Clarion reported a turnover of £795.6m (2016: £824.6m). In the six months to September 2017 Clarion reported a turnover of £407m (2016 £395m). It employs the full time equivalent of 3,554 staff.

Development - Clarion is an investment partner of Homes England and the Greater London Authority. From 2019 its ten year plan is to develop 50,000 units at a total spend of about £13bn (with planned grant of £0.2bn). The development programme will provide a range of different tenures, including affordable rent and shared ownership, market rent and sales. The current approved pipeline is 12,000 units.

 

 

 

POSSIBLE REASONS FOR CALL IN OR  JUDICIAL REVIEW - There are many reasons to doubt the validity of the grant of planning consent on this site where Kelvin Williams was the officer presenting information to the Area Plans South planning committee, and his presentations concerning Berwick have been shown to be ultra vires. We do not yet have the recordings of Mr William's assertions but are looking into obtaining a copy to review what was said to the members of this council and if the law quoted was accurate.

 

For one thing, it appears from this aerial photograph that there are many more public footpaths than are shown on the ordnance survey maps. We are hoping to gather more information as to different years and testimony from persons who have lived in Herstmonceux for over 20 years.

 

Proposals for sewage disposal appear to us to constitute a health risk and may well be unsustainable. This was a windfall site, not part of the quota for Herstmonceux village, which goes some way to explaining why it is that there are no schooling places for the children of the proposed residential development.

 

 

JOBS (THE GUARDIAN-  ABOUT CLARION HOUSING GROUP LIMITED

Clarion Housing Group owns and manages 125,000 homes across 176 local authorities. It is the largest housing association in the UK and is also one of the country’s leading housebuilders. It has a combined turnover of £827 million, a surplus before tax of £233 million and existing assets worth £20 billion.

The result of a merger between Affinity Sutton and Circle Housing Group in 2016, Clarion Housing Group comprises of a group of housing associations and a charitable foundation which delivers one of the largest social investment programme in the country.

Clarion Housing Group’s sales and development ambitions will be delivered by Latimer. It will be responsible for building over 50,000 new homes over the next ten years, two thirds of which will be affordable. It will work with the public and private sector to maximise supply of desperately needed new homes.

Our charitable foundation will:

o Support over 2,000 people into work each year.

o Support an additional 2,000 into work each year through the European funded ‘Love London Working’ project.

o Provide 250 high-quality apprenticeships each year.

o Support 3,000 residents with free debt advice and provide over 2,000 affordable loans helping residents take control of their finances.

o Support 15,000 young people a year to make a better start in life through targeted interventions.

We attract and connect experience and people across every aspect of housing. 

We plan and build.

We attract people, support people and invest in creating platforms for thriving communities.

 

 

 

 

CLARIONS CLAIM TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

 

According to their website, Clarion Group claim that as part of their commitment to being a responsible business, Clarion Housing Group has created a sustainability strategy covering the whole of their Group and their approach to environmental sustainability:

"As a business with 125,000 homes, 3,500 employees and a significant development programme we recognise that we have a substantial direct environmental footprint and larger indirect footprint.

Business case

Our strategy is based on a clear business case that recognises the opportunity to make our business resilient to the risks associated with sustainability issues. This, in turn, can improve the wellbeing of communities we work with, increase customer satisfaction, improve employee engagement as well as delivering more efficient, ‘value for money’ services. Sustainability underpins our long-term strategic objectives and will contribute towards our success.

Objectives

Our sustainability objectives, linked to the Clarion vision Building Homes, Developing Futures, are:

* To develop sustainable and affordable homes across all tenures.
* To promote biodiversity, green living and working.
* To enable the health and wellbeing of our communities."

 

 

 

 

"Our focus

Over the next five years our sustainability work will focus on:

Creating an improved housing stock with SAP ratings of 'D' and above by 2025.
Refreshing our commercial fleet with a significant proportion of hybrid/electric vehicles.
Enabling employees to be active participants in ‘green’ living inside and outside the office, with a focus on training and rewarding action.
Reducing fuel poverty and supporting our residents through Clarion Futures work.
Ensuring new build homes conform to a new set of sustainability standards focusing on quality & performance.
Substantially reduced direct carbon emissions and non-recyclable waste from operations.

Measurement and reporting

We recognise the need to improve our understanding of our environmental impacts and the attendant risks, communicate transparently and act proportionately to address them. The large and diverse nature of business in the Group means there is significant variation of impacts and their materiality across business areas. We are working towards an improved measurement and reporting framework.

Contractors and suppliers

Contractors and suppliers are a key part of our indirect environmental footprint. We ensure that consultants, contractors and partners are aware of the importance of sustainability to us. When we select companies to work with, their commitment to sustainability and environmental management approach is one of our key criteria in the selection process. We work with them to address sustainability issues and impacts to reduce our indirect environmental footprint."

 

 

 

RAPE OF THE LAND - Greenbelt in the UK is being eaten up to fatten property developers up and buy them new Bentley and Rolls Royce motor cars, in the process destroying village life with unsustainable cramming and loss of open spaces, footpaths and the like. In the picture above you see soakage tests under way, in line with an ancient well at the foot of this hill. Not only are they raping the countryside but also poisoning a historic water supply. Copyright photograph © April 26 2018, Herstmonceux Museum Limited. All rights reserved. You may not copy this picture except for educational use.

 

 

WD/2015/0090/ HERSTMONCEUX VILLAGE CONDITIONS A - Z INDEX

 

 -  Conditions Index A - Z
1. Permission subject to detailed particulars
2. Appearance & Landscape

3. Application for reserved matters in 3 years

4. No dev. without archaeological programme

5. No dev. until written scheme 4. published

6. Contamination to be reported subsequently

7. Details code of construction TB approved

8. Temporary contractor provisions

 9.  Noise restrictions working hours

10. Details brickwork finishes
11. Joinery details, windows, doors

12. Details hard & soft landscaping

13. Details screening, trees, hedges

14. Planting trees Chapel Row, Museum

15. Landscape management plan

16. Wildlife management details

17. Japanese Knotweed survey

18. Access prior to building works

19. Visibility splays

20. Internal site access roads

21. Car parking details

22. Garages no commercial use

23. No felling trees hedgerows

24. Tree protection existing

25. Details refuse disposal

26. Foul drainage works details

27. Surface water drainage

28. No discharges foul water

29. Flood resilient buildings

30. Surface water drainage

31. Flood/security lighting

32  Renewable energy

33. No permitted dev buildings

34. No permitted gates/fences

36. Limited to included docs

 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE ACT 2008 & THE NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK

 

The Climate Change Act 2008 spells out the standards for emissions that add to global warming. These include houses that are as near energy self-sufficient as they might be and electric or other zero carbon vehicles.

 

The objective is to get the United Kingdom below 1990 emission levels by the year 2050. It's a tall order no matter how you look at it, requiring new houses to be built with energy harvesting features, none of which are evident on any plans as we write and must be included. Especially where Clarion claim to endorse sustainable policies.

 

 

ABOUT HERSTMONCEUX VILLAGE & PLANNING APPLICATION WD/2015/0090/MOA

 

The village at Herstmonceux is served by a very few local shops and one junior school that is overloaded. Locals are being priced out of the housing market steadily - a trend that is not in accord with a sustainable society. How then will a dubious windfall grant of permission for seventy houses that were not in the local plan, suddenly find the services for those houses - where services are already stretched? Most villagers believe that this was a moment of madness on the part of the Area Plans South Committee, where they followed flawed guidance from Kelvin Williams, quite possibly as was granted in the village of Berwick, but was undone when a Judicial Review revealed flawed advice from Wealden's planning officers.

 

THE APPLICANTS

 

The original application to develop this land was filed in December 2014 in the name of Tim Watson and (possibly joint) land owner Sue Goldsmith. This application was withdrawn and a second identical application was filed in January of 2015 in the name of Gleeson Developments Limited. The proposal was approved subject to negotiations as to reserved matters which included drainage for the 70 houses proposed.

 

According to Wealden's Administration & Technology Manager, the applicant, Clarion Housing Group is working with Thakeham Homes Ltd, a company that appears to specialise in village developments, as far as we can see from their website. This is not surprising given the veritable land rush in 2014-2015 when councils were handing out consents like confetti hoping to make up for their lack of foresight in the provision of affordable housing in years gone by.

 

According to their website: "MJ Gleeson plc specialises in urban housing regeneration and strategic land trading. Latest Share Price: £ 567.00p at 11th January 2016." It is important to note the "Land Trading" element in the context of planning approvals that may have been pushed through on a very narrow margin and with some advice by planning officers that was not full, contained misquotes as to statute and the Local Plan, and failed to advise on other material considerations.

 

 

 

 

OBJECTIONS

 

Apart from the fact that there are no places at the local school and public transport is one bus every hour from Stagecoach - with journey times to Eastbourne of around an hour, Herstmonceux benefits from a very rare generating building from the turn of the century that is now a working Museum, and that Museum  is linked historically to the Windmill at Windmill Hill. At the moment you can see across the field from the public footpaths to both buildings - one of the rarest views in the world - and a reminder of the days when windmills ground flour for a local bakery to bake the daily loaves.

 

This generating building relies on water from an ancient well and the well is at the foot of the hill on which Gleeson Developments would like to build around 70 houses. A blot on the landscape maybe, but it gets worse. Water from the hill feeds the ancient well. It follows that any land contamination from the construction process, or in years to come from the domestic development, will filter down to the water table and enter the well water. The water level in the well rises and falls with rainfall from the gently sloping hill. There is no escaping this fact. But so far there have been no assurances or confirmation of a Bond to cater for future claims.

 

 

 

HINKLEY, CALIFORNIA - GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION - The town of Hinkley, California, located in the Mojave Desert, (about 121 miles driving distance north-northeast of Los Angeles) had its groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium starting in 1952, resulting in a legal case against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and a multimillion-dollar settlement in 1996. The legal case was dramatized in the film Erin Brockovich, released in 2000.

Residents of Hinkley filed a class action against PG&E, encaptioned Anderson, et al. v. Pacific Gas and Electric (Superior Ct. for County of San Bernardino, Barstow Division, file BCV 00300.

In 1993, Erin Brockovich, a legal clerk to lawyer Edward L. Masry, investigated the apparent elevated cluster of illnesses in the community linked to hexavalent chromium. The efforts of Brockovich and Masry, and the plight of the people of Hinkley, became widely known when the film Erin Brockovich was released in 2000.

After many arguments, the case was referred to arbitration with maximum damages of $400 million. After the arbitration for the first 40 people resulted in roughly $110 million, PG&E reassessed its position and decided to end arbitration and settle the entire case. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history.

In 2006, PG&E agreed to pay $295 million to settle cases involving another 1,100 people statewide for hexavalent chromium-related claims. In 2008, PG&E settled the last of the cases involved with the Hinkley claims for $20 million.

 

 

TAINTED CONSENT

 

That would mean that every person buying a house on this field would be first in the chain of litigation claims. All the householders would need to do is allow herbicides and pesticides from their gardens to enter the watercourse. The same goes for engine oils and paints.

 

Knowing that this is sure to be a future issue, the Museum operators will need to constantly monitor activities in the field next door to be able to prove who the culprits are. The house owners, even if they are at fault, will then need to claim against their house insurance - and they may well find that they are not covered where no 106 Agreement exists and there is no Bond to cater for contamination claims. If their home insurance covers claims against negligent development, and/or the grant of a permission that then proves to be void, their homes would have to be demolished. In such cases the developers would need to compensate the home buyers for not making appropriate provision and/or otherwise safeguarding the planning consent.

 

It may also be that where this field suffers from flooding at the other end, that has to be provided for at the design stage, that remedial and preventative drainage is likely to alter subsoil water flow characteristics - leading to wider claims, such as with landslip. It all depends on the soil characteristics and geological strata juxtaposition.

 

At the moment the local authority are being asked to explain which of their officers provided information to the committee who passed the application. Other questions also need to be answered as to Declarations of Interest, since this application was passed by only one vote. It may well be that after scrutiny, the planning consent is deemed to be void. Members voting on applications need to do so on an informed basis. If there is any failure to advise on the part of the officers, such as Kelvin Williams, the district planning officer. The Chief Executive officer of this council is Charlie Lant.

 

 

 

 

CONSTRUCTION

 

In light of the above, every stage of the construction process will need to be monitored to be sure that if the development goes ahead despite the know issues, that there is a photographic record of who did what. We are off to a good start with exploratory holes being dug at the top of the hill near an specimen oak and another exploratory hole or trench being dug not many feet from the ancient well.

 

 

Clarion housing association limited millionaire landlords mutuals register England

 

 

FOR THE RICH & THOSE ON BENEFITS

 

On their website Gleeson say: "Owner occupiers shoulder responsibility for their homes & are stakeholders in society, which is why we refuse to sell our homes to private landlords. We are happy to see our customers profit from their purchase but we do not wish to put the profit into the pockets of private landlords."

 

The truth is that the houses that will be built on this field in Herstmonceux will be bought by private landlords for renting. This is what is happening in the village and outlying hamlets. Why? Because working families cannot afford to live in Herstmonceux, with own transport being a prerequisite and these days that means two cars per family. Families on low incomes will qualify for Housing Benefit and on that benefit landlords grow fat. It is only with Housing Benefits that these houses will be occupied - making the affordable housing situation worse.

 

 

 

 

CLARION HOUSING G CONTACTS

 

.....

 

CLARION CUSTOMER CARE

 

Existing home owners should contact the Customer Care department:

 

6 More London Place
London
SE1 2DA
United Kingdom

Tel: 01603 703502 

 

 

 

WATER RIGHTS - Clarion Housing Group and Thakeham Homes are in danger of spoiling an ancient well that supplies water to many concerns in this vicinity. In the picture you can see a hired digger scooping out trenches to test drainage by pouring in water and measuring the rate of absorption by the soil. It seems to us that if you build houses on the ground that feeds the ancient well, that contamination from garden treatments such as Roundup and engine oils, etc., will find its way into this well leading to claims against the owners of the houses who would have been sold a pup, and/or against the Council for approving the proposal, by way of a negligence claim, and/or against the vendors or developers. Any way you look at it the developers and Council concerned should take steps to ensure that no development takes place until the proper tests and evaluations have been completed, and after that stage, to ensure that any houses built in this location will not be on a path that includes the water table that feeds the ancient well.

 

Any failure to conduct the proper tests and house situation, along with safe sewage disposal, may tempt the Secretary of State to call in the application. We imagine that all of those with a financial interest in this piece of greenbelt will want to resolve issues before it starts to get complicated. Copyright photograph © April 26 2018, Herstmonceux Museum Limited. All rights reserved. You may not copy this picture except for educational use.

 

 

LINKS & REFERENCE

 

https://www.latimerhomes.com/

https://thakeham.com/

https://www.clarionhg.com/

http://www.pge.com/

http://mj.gleeson-homes.co.uk/

http://www.gleeson-homes.co.uk/

http://www.taylorwimpey.co.uk
http://www.sir-robert-mcalpine.com
http://www.barratthomes.co.uk
http://www.wates.co.uk
http://www.redrow.co.uk/

http://www.taylorwoodrowinternational.com

 

Latimer homes

Thakeham Homes Ltd

Clarion Housing Group Limited

Barratt Homes

Cherry Homes

Gleeson Homes

Mcalpine
M J Gleeson

Redrow Homes

Taylor Wimpey
Taylor Woodrow International

Wates

 

Latimer Development Limited

Thakeham Homes Limited

Clarion Housing Group Limited

Barratt Homes

Cherry Homes

Gleeson Homes

Mcalpine
M J Gleeson

Redrow Homes

Taylor Wimpey

Wates

 

WD/2015/0090/ HERSTMONCEUX VILLAGE CONDITIONS A - Z INDEX

 

 -  Conditions Index A - Z
1. Permission subject to detailed particulars
2. Appearance & Landscape

3. Application for reserved matters in 3 years

4. No dev. without archaeological programme

5. No dev. until written scheme 4. published

6. Contamination to be reported subsequently

7. Details code of construction TB approved

8. Temporary contractor provisions

 9.  Noise restrictions working hours

10. Details brickwork finishes
11. Joinery details, windows, doors

12. Details hard & soft landscaping

13. Details screening, trees, hedges

14. Planting trees Chapel Row, Museum

15. Landscape management plan

16. Wildlife management details

17. Japanese Knotweed survey

18. Access prior to building works

19. Visibility splays entrance A271

20. Internal site access roads

21. Car parking details

22. Garages no commercial use

23. No felling trees hedgerows

24. Tree protection existing TPO

25. Bins refuse collection & disposal

26. Foul drainage sewerage works

27. Surface water drainage

28. No discharges foul water

29. Flood resilient buildings

30. Surface water drainage

31. Light pollution AONB

32  Renewable energy

33. No permitted dev buildings

34. No permitted gates/fences

36. Limited to included docs

 

 

 

Water contamination at Hinkley in California, USA

 

 

LOS ANGELES (LA) TIMES APRIL 2015

Maneuvering his pickup through this Mojave Desert town, resident Daron Banks pointed at empty lot after empty lot.

"Last time I was here there was a home right here. There was a home here, there was a home here," he said, making his way down the bumpy road in the place made famous by the 2000 film "Erin Brockovich."

Fifteen years after the film showed triumphant residents winning a $333-million settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for contaminating its water — and nearly 20 years after the settlement itself — Hinkley is emptying out, and those who stay still struggle to find resolution.

For residents, questions remain about the safety of the water, just how much contamination PG&E caused and how to fix it.

 

This year, a final cleanup plan is moving toward approval. Last month, a long-awaited, five-year study to determine how much contamination PG&E may be responsible for finally got underway.

"At some point in the next few years we're going to get some closure," Banks said.

But today there's little left in Hinkley beyond some scattered homes and acres of alfalfa and other grasses, planted to help clean the contamination.

"You had a great community out here and now it's gone," said resident Roger Killian.

Hinkley was a small farming community in the 1990s when residents learned that groundwater was polluted with chromium 6, a cancer-causing heavy metal. It had seeped into the water after being dumped into unlined ponds at the utility company's compressor station in the 1950s and '60s.

 

Since then, hundreds of residents have left. Property values dropped because of the stigma surrounding the town, and PG&E launched a buyout program.

Roberta Walker, a plaintiff in the original lawsuit and Banks' mother-in-law, said that at the time of the settlement, residents like her believed the plume of contamination was limited to a well-defined area around the compressor station.

But in 2009, PG&E "let it get away from them and it started migrating toward other properties," said Lisa Dernbach, a senior engineering geologist specialist with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the state agency overseeing the cleanup. That resulted in a $3.6-million fine against the company in 2012, she said.

Jeff Smith, a PG&E spokesman, said what looked like growth of the plume was actually the result of additional testing in areas that had previously gone unexamined. Dernbach said the migration happened after the utility changed pumping in some extraction wells.

More recently, the contamination plume appears to have shrunk. Kevin Sullivan, director of chromium remediation for PG&E, said a system installed in 2007 to treat the contamination with injections of ethanol has reduced the chromium by 40%.

 

 

 

 

Starting in 2010, PG&E offered to either provide clean water or buy properties of residents whose wells tested positive for chromium.

 

Smith said that when the program was announced, there was a high level of anxiety in the community and many residents wanted to sell their properties rather than take the water. The company, he said, wants to see Hinkley thrive.

"I think sometimes it's misconstrued that PG&E wanted to come in and purchase a tremendous amount of land in Hinkley and that was just not the original intent," he said.

 

Between 2010 and October 2014, when the program was formally discontinued, PG&E purchased about 300 properties, he said.

With residents leaving, the school could no longer be sustained. It shut down two years ago.

The owner of the property that houses the town's post office and only market recently approached PG&E asking to sell and the utility agreed to buy, Smith said. The post office closed last month and the market will soon follow, an employee said.

As residents leave, the cleanup has progressed and technologies have improved. About 250 acres of alfalfa and other grasses now dot the town where some properties once stood and are used to help convert chromium 6 into the micronutrient chromium 3.

 

But despite the progress, many Hinkley residents still worry about how much chromium 6 will remain in the water. PG&E is required to clean up to the levels at which chromium 6 naturally occurs in the groundwater — a number known as the background level.

A study commissioned by PG&E a few years ago said chromium 6 naturally occurred in Hinkley groundwater at levels of 3.1 parts per billion.

"Anything above 3.1 provided a lot of anxiety to the people in Hinkley," said Dernbach, of the water control board.

Last year, the state of California set a safe drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion.

 

Although levels of chromium 6 nearest to the compressor station — where no residents remain — exceed that by large numbers, PG&E's testing in domestic wells elsewhere in the community shows chromium 6 levels below 10 parts per billion, most often between 0 and 5, Sullivan said.

Smith, the PG&E spokesman, said the state-designated level has helped ease some residents' concerns.

But others say they are disturbed that chromium 6 is showing up in their wells at all. Some say neighbors and family members have suffered ailments they believe were caused by the contamination, leading them to believe that even low chromium levels are dangerous.

The safe drinking water standard adopted by the state — which is hundreds of times greater than a non-enforceable public health goal set by the state Environmental Protection Agency — has been criticized as too high by some environmental groups.

For years, residents questioned whether the study commissioned by PG&E putting the background level at 3.1 parts per billion was even accurate.

 

Banks solicited help from John Izbicki, a U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist who has studied naturally occurring chromium 6 in the Mojave Desert. With pressure from residents, PG&E acknowledged that its earlier study was lacking. It is paying for a five-year study led by Izbicki that is expected to conclusively determine the background level.

At a community meeting this month, fewer than a dozen residents gathered in the Hinkley Community Center to hear Izbicki describe his upcoming study.

Izbicki said water samples would be sent to Germany, Nevada, Virginia, Northern California and other places for testing. Some of it would be handled in the same USGS labs that do testing for NASA.

When he was done, the meeting's facilitator asked longtime resident McHenry Cooke, 81, if he would "trust the data."

"I haven't reviewed it all," he said skeptically.

As the meeting wrapped up, John Turner, who volunteers to keep the community center open, said he felt optimistic about the town's future. For years, community meetings have been filled with negativity, he said, but this one was productive.

He hopes PG&E will play a role in helping to rebuild the community so residents can move forward. "It's time," he said.  By Paloma Esquivel

 

 

 

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GENUINELY AFFORDABLE HOME EXAMPLE - A nicely integrated solar home - as far as we know the 1st proposed. Flatpack building offers truly affordable housing for a sustainable society. A sustainable society is one where landlords do not earn immoral earnings from the backs of the young. the whole basis of Conservative politics is to keep the landed gentry, landed. A circular economy is one that is fair. High rents are simply not fair.

 

Why should some people have to work all of their lives and never own their own home. If you work it out, those paying extortionate rents to private landlords will be paying more for accommodation during their lifetime than those who can afford to get on the property ladder.

 

One solution is to build more affordable houses. Every citizen should start out on the basic premise that he or she is mortgage-able. That can only be the case if society makes it so. At the moment the State discriminates against the poorer members of society in Article 14 terms, with councils geared up to pay high rents, but not prepared to ensure that affordable houses are available to rent or buy in their area.

 

 

 

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