West Kensington Residents Continue Fight to Control Homes
100 page document presented to Secretary of State
Residents from West Kensington and Gibbs Green have approached John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in a new move to take over control of the two estates from Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Hundreds of residents want to take control of their homes, amid fears Hammersmith and Fulham council will bulldoze the estates for an extensive redevelopment which will include the Earls Court exhibition Centre and Olympia.
Developer Capco has re-iterated its desire to demolish Earls Court Exhibition Centre and rebuild it with the surrounding estates into a "world class" leisure and conference centre with 8,000 flats.
Residents fear they will be priced out of any new accommodation or forced to leave their homes for years while the work is completed.
H&F council supports the redevelopment and Capco is expected to lodge a planning application within a year.
A submission was handed in to John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asking the for new regulations to be crafted allowing control of the two estates to be handed to the community.
Under the Housing Act, tenants and leaseholders can ask the relevant Secretary of State to force the local authority to hand the estates to a resident-controlled registered housing group.
In a 100 page document, residents outlined the costs and reasons for the transfer and details of how the estates could be managed.
"The sooner we get regulations, the sooner we can officially go down the process of transferring control from the council to us," said Jonathan Rosenberg, legal adviser to the West Ken and Gibbs Green tenants and residents associations. "We've been asking for this for a long time, but there is an election coming which makes the matter all the more pressing."
Mr Denham lent his weight to the residents' efforts and said H&F council housing policy is a blueprint for the rest of the country. Speaking at a meeting with around 80 residents at the House of Commons, he said: "The campaign you are fighting has a real national significance as well, because depending how easy or hard it is for H&F council depends on how hard or easy this thing is going to be in other places as well."
H&F Council has responded to the residents' initiative, saying: " We're happy to work with residents but we feel at this time the considerable opportunities that could be realised from redevelopment, including new jobs, health and leisure facilities should be explored further."
October 6, 2010