The residential group fighting against Earls Court’s redevelopment is looking to pursue legal action to prevent demolition of housing estates within the 77-acre site.
In a press statement, West Kensington & Gibbs Green Community Homes said it will study the site’s planning applications and consult its solicitors to find ways to mount as many legal challenges as it can.
The masterplan applications for the Earls Court Opportunity Area including Earls Court Exhibition Centres and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates was submitted for approval on 22 June.
Capital and Counties, owner of Earls Court and Olympia, is heading up efforts to have the site redeveloped. The land is owned by CapCo, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Transport for London.
“A clear majority of West Kensington & Gibbs Green residents oppose demolition and want to take over their homes under the Coalition Government’s Localism policies,” the West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes group stated last week. “Yet CapCo, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Transport for London have persistently ignored the wishes of the local community.
“Allowing the Earl’s Court scheme would be a political, social, economic and environmental disaster. The tenants and residents associations are determined to stop it. It’s a conflict of interest, is unsustainable, is anti-democratic and is a breach of human rights.”
Labour MP for Hammersmith Andy Slaughter has also questioned the right of CapCo to submit a masterplan application including the housing estates given the majority of residents are opposed to the plan.
In a letter to Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader councillor Stephen Greenhalgh dated 22 June, he pointed out two-third of residents have signed membership applications to join West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes so they can save their estates from demolition. Residents want the housing to be transferred into community ownership using Section 34A of the 1985 Housing Act.
“This result is yet another demonstration of the strength of opposition to demolition and a further invitation for the Council to co-operate with residents’ transfer proposals,” Slaughter said in his letter to councillor Greenhalgh. “By your own test, you should now accede and co-operate, emulating the recent example set by Westminster Council, which accepted a much narrower vote against its ‘masterplan’ for redevelopment of the Brunel Estate.”
Slaughter also reminded councillor Greenhalgh of his previous promise to participate in discussions about giving control of the estates back to residents given the Council’s ownership of the land. Exclusion of the residential site is reportedly up to the Hammersmith and Fulham Council as owners of that parcel of land.
“Given it has been verified that the overwhelming majority of households are against demolition and in favour of community ownership, please can you confirm you accept their wishes and will decide to exclude their estates from the redevelopment,” Slaughter said.
During a showcase of its masterplan at the MIPIM property show in Cannes, CapCo said the housing estates are ‘detachable’, bringing the total redevelopment site from 77 to 52 acres.
Send your comments and contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org