Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Right to transfer proposals could halt 8,000-home regeneration scheme

Transfer rules put Earls Court plan in doubt

Controversial plans to demolish two estates as part of an £8 billion regeneration scheme are in doubt following the publication of a consultation on right to transfer regulations.

The Communities and Local Government department last Thursday published details of proposed new rules which would force councils to co-operate with tenant groups’ stock transfer requests. Under the regulations councils would have to arrange a ballot of residents, on the condition there is sufficient support within the tenants’ group, that the membership of the group includes a fifth of tenants affected by the proposal, and that the proposal covers a distinct geographical area.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council, in west London, wants to demolish the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in order to include the land in its 8,000-home Earls Court regeneration scheme. The council has promised to offer tenants new homes but two tenants’ and residents’ associations want to take ownership of the existing 761 homes on the estates.

A consultation on proposals to sell the estates to developer EC Properties, a subsidiary of Capital and Counties, closed last Monday. The council has yet to publish the responses, but the TRAs claim to have support from 54.6 per cent of households. They believe this is enough to get a transfer through under the proposed regulations.

Sally Taylor, chair of the West Kensington TRA, said: ‘It’s plain the demolition is well and truly finished.’

The proposed regulations allow councils to ask the government to halt a transfer if there are wider plans for regeneration. A council spokesperson said it would approach communities secretary Eric Pickles ‘if the regulations are used as a tactic to…stop us considering hundreds of millions of pounds of potential investment’.

Elsewhere, the regulations were welcomed by the Friday Hill Tenant Management Organisation, which wants to take ownership of 1,000 homes from Waltham Forest Council in north east London.

The consultation closes on 23 May.

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