Thousands face being uprooted from their homes after it was announced three of Merton's oldest estates could be demolished and transformed into modern housing blocks.

Housing Association Merton Priory Homes, part of Circle Housing, began consulting with residents in July on the futures of High Path, Ravensbury and Eastfields estates.

Their plans include the potential demolition and rebuilding of 1,265 homes across all three estates over a 12 year period in a project costing hundreds of millions of pounds.

Any work would be carried out alongside Merton Priory Homes's 'Decent Homes' programme, spending £28m by the end of 2014 bringing homes up to standard replacing old bathrooms and kitchens.

Hundreds of residents have been consulted on the plans through a series of workshops which come to an end on September 30 when a decision will be taken on the scale of the proposed regeneration.

A spokesperson for Merton Priory Homes said: "We would want to minimise the disruption caused by moving residents as little as possible and we want to ensure we meet tenants’ housing needs throughout any regeneration works.

"We would also help with moving costs. If we were to do any refurbishment work, we would consult and put together a programme of works.

"This would set out what would be done and when."

While tenants of Merton Priory Homes will be eligible for new kitchens and bathrooms, property owners on the three estates would not be and could also be liable for additional costs if a decision is taken to carry out works.

A spokesperson for Merton Priory Homes said: "We want to provide a range of options for leaseholders and freeholders so that they have a choice about where they live in the future. "We will shortly be writing to all leaseholders and freeholders on the estate providing further details of what those options would be."

All of the council's housing stock and management responsibilities were transferred to Merton Priory Homes in 2009, however the council has said they still have representatives on its board.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, said: "Our priority as a council is to make sure they look after our residents and the tenants.

"We want to ensure that we have consulted, that disruption will be kept to a minimum and that families will be kept together.

"We wanted to make sure the consultation was thorough and was evidence based and about knocking on doors and what the tenants actually think."

He added: "We don’t want to quell their ambition.

"They are investing a lot of money in Merton and they could have invested it elsewhere.

"They have chosen Merton for a good reason and that’s because they believe the place deserves it."

The decision will be made by the end of the year at which point a further consultation is expected to take place.

Formal planning applications are not likely to be submitted until 2015 with construction set for as early as 2016, should residents and councillors agree with any plans put forward.

Work is expected to be phased over a 12 year period in six phases with final completion dates set for 2028.