London council agrees to controversial estates sale
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has agreed to sell two housing estates so they can be demolished as part of a regeneration scheme.
At a cabinet meeting last night councillors approved officers’ recommendations that the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates be sold to developer Capital and Counties. The sale will now have to be approved by the secretary of state for communities and local government.
Under the plans the 761 homes on the estates will be demolished as part of the £8 billion Earls Court regeneration scheme.
The plans have proved controversial as the two tenants and residents’ associations on the estates want to form a housing association and take ownership of their homes themselves.
A statement from the TRAs, which went before the council’s cabinet last night, said: ‘We’re frightened we’ll lose our homes, that our lives and our community will be wrecked.
‘Our vision is that the community should own the estates so we can determine our future, improve our neighbourhood the way we want, and help our neighbours. But this approach, which is government policy and has cross-party support, was dismissed.’
A report to cabinet by officers said the Earls Court scheme would attract investment into the borough. It said: ‘That investment has the potential to increase and improve housing provision (including affordable housing) and to give rise to new shopping, leisure, educational and healthcare facilities.
‘If planned properly, the redevelopment would create a better neighbourhood environment, and would provide local residents with new open spaces and parkland.’
The council has promised that the residents of the estates will be offered legally binding contracts guaranteeing them a new home in the development as well as compensation.
Should Hammersmith & Fulham Council have agreed to sell the housing estates?