Government Consents to Transfer of West Ken Estates

Bringing demolition of 761 homes one step closer

 

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Residents of West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates fighting to save their homes have suffered another setback with the Government consenting this week to the land transfer of the estates to developer Capco.

The consent has been given just a week after residents delivered a petition signed by 1,000 local people to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asking him to refuse consent.

A letter accompanying the petition points out that 80% of residents oppose demolition and asks: " How can it be acceptable to you and this Government, as you build the 'Big Society' and implement the Localism Act that this community is completely ommitted from the decision to sell our homes to a private developer?"

On the same day, the residents, accompanied by Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, also took their protest to the offices of Capco, TfL, whose Lillie Road bus depot is included in the plans and Capco's PR company Edelman.

The consent (under section 32 Housing Act 1985), outlined in a letter from the Department for Communities & Local Government to Hammersmith & Fulham Council allows the sale of the of estates by the council to Capital & Counties Properties PLC (Capco) under the terms of the CLSA (Conditional Land Sale Agreement) previously announced which provides Capco with the ability to include the estates in the development.

The council says under the terms of the CLSA, all qualifying residents of the estates will be offered a new home within the development which in total will provide 7,500 new homes and 12,000 new jobs across a 77 acre development site.

The council says the £8 billion scheme, based on a Masterplan by Sir Terry Farrell, is one of the biggest regeneration projects in London for decades and will provide a significant boost to the local and national economy.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Nicholas Botterill and Capco Investment Director Gary Yardley said:
“This milestone is an important step forward in the regeneration of Earls Court. The plans will transform the area, delivering much-needed new homes and new jobs and creating a remarkable new place.

“We recognise that the decision to include the housing estates in the regeneration has aroused strong feelings. But we have always believed it will make lives better for estates residents, all of whom will be re-housed in the area if they wish to remain.

“With this decision by the Government, the detailed work to implement the regeneration can move forward. We look forward to engaging with all estates residents, irrespective of their views on the issue to date, to make sure the regeneration benefits everyone, offering them better homes and better opportunities.”

Following the approval of the CLSA, the Council and Capco will identify the phasing of the development. The council says it expects to consult with residents on initial detailed phasing proposals in the coming months.

The residents

The terms of the CLSA state:

  • All homes on the estate would be replaced within the redevelopment area.
  • People would only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied.
  • People who are currently overcrowded on the estate would be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are under-occupying would be offered a new home with one additional bedroom above their need.
  • Secure council tenants would remain secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way.
  • Resident leaseholders and freeholders would receive the market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would be offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this.
  • Leaseholder service charges would be capped for five years and then controlled by the council after that point.
  • Tenant service charges will remain in the control of the council and only cover the services actually received.

As well as Lillie Road bus depot, the land involved also includes Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will now consider the plans within the next few weeks.

 

April 19, 2013