Residents launch People’s Plan to draw up our own regeneration plans


On 12 November, 40 residents came together in the Gibbs Green Hall to begin briefing architects from Architects for Social Housing (ASH) on proposals to prepare our own plan for regeneration as an alternative to demolition. This was the first meeting in a programme of events to draw up a People’s Plan to enhance and improve our homes and neighbourhood, creating a more detailed picture of what our estates could look like under resident control.


Residents were grouped onto tables for the different areas of the estates. Using plans, pins and labels, they identified what works well and what they would like to change about their homes and surroundings. The session was a great start to the programme of events with residents participating enthusiastically. The architects are now collating all the information that was gathered.

The People’s Plan is a study to draw up and cost outline plans for improvements to the buildings and environment and for additional homes. This plan will be used to promote our own scheme for regeneration that is inspired by our knowledge of and aspiration for where we live. As part of the Right to Transfer process, we need to demonstrate to the Government that we have our own vision, that this vision is realistic, and that it contributes to greater housing supply.

The People’s Plan will be a powerful statement about how we see the future of our neighbourhood. If the Government allows our community transfer proposal to proceed, it will form an important part of the feasibility and development stages of the Right to Transfer process.

Residents are invited to participate in further events to help design our future:

Tuesday 24th November: Design workshop for improvements to existing buildings and the environment 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Gibbs Green Hall, W14 9NB

Tuesday 1st December: Design workshop for building additional homes on the estates 6.30pm – 8.30pm at West Kensington Community Hall on Lillie Road,

Tuesday 15th December: Mince pies, mulled wine and progress update 7pm – 9pm at Gibbs Green Tenants Hall

Residents are also invited to get involved online:

What do you like and dislike about where you live?

Where on the estates do you feel happiest?

Where can you see an opportunity to brighten up the place?

What to you is an example of good design?

What is the view from your window?

Share your photos, drawings and ideas on the Facebook group: ‘West Kensington and Gibbs Green: The People’s Estates’. And comment on proposals posted there by the architects from ASH. Follow us on Twitter @WestKenGibbsGr

Residents call on localism champion Greg Clark to support community-led plan

Residents from the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates - threatened with eviction and demolition - head to the Home Office Department for Communities and Local Government on Friday 23 October to deliver their response to the CouncilÕs determination request to the Secretary of State. The residents have applied for a Right to Transfer their homes into community ownership.

On Friday 23 October, West Kensington and Gibbs Green Residents visited the offices of the Department for Communities and Local Government to present the Secretary of State Greg Clark with our case for an alternative plan for the 760 homes threatened with demolition as part of the Earl’s Court redevelopment.

The submission was our response to the Council’s request that the Government should strike out our Right to Transfer proposal, which we initiated on 11 August 2015 by serving notice on Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The Council’s previous administration signed a secret ‘collateral agreement’ with the developer, Capco, which states the Council should do everything it can to resist any challenge to the Earl’s Court redevelopment scheme. But, legal advice obtained by the residents and included in our submission to the Secretary of State states the Council is not bound to resist the residents’ Right to Transfer proposal and that the collateral agreement is an unlawful fetter on the Council’s discretion.

The Council claims that the proposed transfer would have a significant detrimental effect on the regeneration of the area and would prevent it receiving receipts from a land sale contract with the developer. However, in our submission we pointed out that:

  • The transfer does not prevent regeneration since the land sale agreement already anticipates transfer of the estates;
  • Even if the estates are excluded, the developer will still be developing significant landholdings in the area;
  • No progress has been made with the scheme for redeveloping the estates in the past two and a half years;
  • No detailed planning permissions have been obtained, the first phase of the demolition has not been agreed and the residents’ contracts have not been finalised;
  • Both Capco and LBHF want to change the current scheme, which would require revision to the sale agreement and a fresh outline planning application;
  • The Council’s financial receipts from the developer will be more than soaked up by its expenditure on the scheme.

Residents believe that transferring ownership of the two estates from the Council (LBHF) to a community owned landlord would enable us to retain and invest in existing properties and work with our neighbours to plan new affordable homes on infill sites.

Residents from the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates - threatened with eviction and demolition - head to the Home Office Department for Communities and Local Government on Friday 23 October to deliver their response to the CouncilÕs determination request to the Secretary of State. The residents have applied for a Right to Transfer their homes into community ownership.

Homeowner Iona Bain, who handed in our submission, said:

“I am very worried about the demolition scheme and have lived with this worry for years while the area has been blighted by uncertainty. I worked very hard to buy my flat here and I have invested a lot of money and time in my community to make it my home. I feel totally let down by the promise of homeownership. I just hope the Secretary of State will listen to us and support the will of the local community.”

Alongside evidence to support our cause, tenants and homeowners from the estates handed over a petition signed by 525 residents from 57% of all the homes on the estates calling for a community-led alternative to the scheme currently being renegotiated between the LBHF and Capco, the developer.

“The majority of residents have consistently opposed demolition, 80% according to the Council’s own consultation in 2012,” said Keith Drew, resident of forty-three years and Chair of West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes, the not for profit set up by residents to drive the campaign.

“The developer’s plan is especially disruptive for Right to Buy homeowners since the compensation they would get for their home would be insufficient for them to buy a replacement home in the area.”

“The Council is currently renegotiating the scheme with the developer. It is rumoured that the number of homes additional to those already approved will run into the thousands rather than the hundreds. This is bound to prove unpopular with people in the surrounding areas and generate significant controversy in the run-up to the Mayoral election. The community has been kept out of these discussions. We believe we can achieve a much more satisfactory regeneration scheme by retaining popular housing and building new homes on infill sites around the estates.”

Photographs appended to the submission illustrate the attractiveness of the estates, the amount of green and play space and the relatively new homes threatened with demolition.

Residents from the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates - threatened with eviction and demolition - head to the Home Office Department for Communities and Local Government on Friday 23 October to deliver their response to the CouncilÕs determination request to the Secretary of State. The residents have applied for a Right to Transfer their homes into community ownership.

Green Party Mayoral candidate promises to block demolition and support community ownership


Left to Right: Party Leader Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jenny Jones and Sian Berry in the West Kensington Estate Tenants Hall

On Wednesday 2 September, the Green Party announced its selection of candidates to stand for the London Assembly and to run for the Mayoral election in 2016. Baroness Jenny Jones explained that the Green Party had chosen to make this announcement from the West Kensington Tenants Hall so as to show solidarity with the residents of West Kensington and Gibbs Green in their fight to save their homes from demolition. Jenny reminded everyone that the Green Party London Assembly Members had consistently questioned Mayor Boris Johnson about, and had done all they could to oppose the Earl’s Court redevelopment.

It was then announced that Sian Berry had been selected by Green Party Members to be their London Mayoral candidate. In her acceptance speech, Sian said:

“Greens want London to be a community again – a place where anyone can come and live, work, play, and feel at home. A community where the people who live in an area get to decide what happens when an estate needs a revamp or a brownfield site needs developing. And get to decide what happens based on the needs of the community – not the need for the biggest property companies in the land to make the biggest profits they can.

The chance we have to create a different kind of life for Londoners is captured perfectly by what is happening here on the West Kensington Estate. The residents who live here don’t want to see it bulldozed and turned into a new private development. They want to remain in their homes surrounded by the community they love, and feel as though they have ownership over their own future.

And I am pledging today to listen to them, and that, if elected as Mayor I will block the Earls Court Regeneration Scheme, and support the residents in their bid to take over their homes and take the lead on the regeneration of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.

This will be the first of many schemes like this, because the solution they have proposed is the inspiration for a new policy we are announcing today too.

In City Hall, we would put resources and staff into a new Community Homes Unit to support community-led housing schemes, including and especially in estate regeneration.

  • The unit would provide expertise and grants to get involved in planning at an early stage and develop viable proposals.
  • It would help residents fighting their council to set-up their own community homes body and take ownership of their estate through a ‘Right to Transfer’ notice.
  • It would help them clear the legal hurdles needed to get these notices approved by the council or Secretary of State.
  • And it would help residents all over London develop their own masterplans for the kind of refurbishment and redevelopment they want for the areas they call their homes.

Like the West Kensington residents have done, we have based this on a successful model in Cornwall, where 13 community-led housing schemes (in community land trusts) have been finished since 2009. London needs the support this unit would provide because the fight being faced by residents here at West Ken is not an isolated one.

It isn’t the whole solution – our housing problems need more resources for social housing, more public land dedicated to community homes, and rights and costs for private renters need action too.

But our Community Homes Unit is a positive, affordable step that will help. It will act to help stop the need everyone has to put a decent roof over their heads from being exploited, and help our citizens find new ways of making London truly affordable again.”

Residents serve Right to Transfer Notice on the Council


On 11 August, 30 residents and supporters of West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates went to the Town Hall to serve a legal notice on Hammersmith & Fulham Council proposing the transfer of their homes to a community owned landlord. Click here for audio slide show.

The Right to Transfer is enshrined in Section 34A of the Housing Act 1985. It grants council tenants the right to transfer their homes to a housing association subject to certain criteria and conditions being met. In 2011, residents founded West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes as the resident controlled company to take forward their community transfer ambitions. The Coalition Government eventually implemented the Right to Transfer in December 2013.


In May 2014 the Council’s Conservative administration was replaced by Labour, who over the past year have been in discussions with Earl’s Court developer Capco about renegotiating the massive redevelopment scheme that would see the estates demolished. During this time, the original regeneration scheme has been in abeyance, effectively frozen while a different scheme is being drawn up. No new scheme has yet been put in place and residents have not been informed about the options under consideration. Residents were told that proposals would emerge by early this year, but these have not materialised.

Meanwhile, Capco has established an office on the estates to promote their demolition plans. In consequence, residents don’t know what is planned for their homes and are left in limbo with the threat of perfectly decent homes being demolished. They fear that new plans would still involve demolition of their homes with even more homes being built in their place.

Chair of the tenant group, Keith Drew said: “Residents are fed up with the on-going uncertainty. We’ve always opposed demolition and the current Council’s manifesto said the same. The Council has been talking with the developer for almost a year. It’s apparent that the previously agreed regeneration scheme is undergoing major revision but we’ve been excluded from the discussions and no new scheme has been agreed. We expect the Government to support tenants to exercise our legal rights to be empowered to get on with our own plans for regeneration. It would be ironic, to say the least, if the Labour Council asked a Conservative Government to help them stop us from saving our homes.”


Following the service of the Right to Transfer Proposal Notice, the Regulations stipulate that the Council has 28 days in which to validate the notice. At any time, the Council may seek a determination from the Secretary of State not to co-operate with the transfer proposal on the grounds it may have a detrimental impact on the regeneration of the area or the provision of housing services.

In January 2013, the then Conservative administration secretly signed a ‘Collateral Agreement’ with Capco binding it to resist and oppose any challenge to the redevelopment. A legal opinion obtained by residents from Martin Westgate QC of Doughty Street Chambers states that this agreement is an unlawful fetter on the Council’s discretion and that the Council should not have regard to it when deciding how to respond to the tenants’ request to transfer their homes to a community landlord.

As part of their transfer proposals, residents intend to produce our own plans for regeneration of the area. Architects will be engaged to draw up options for making improvements to the existing properties and constructing new homes at various locations around the estates. There will be widespread consultation with neighbours who will be invited to make their own suggestions and get involved in preparing a policy for prioritising who should be offered new homes.

Residents challenge Labour’s prospective Mayoral candidates


The three elected residents’ organisations for West Kensington and Gibbs Green have written to (left to right) Diane Abbott, Christian Wolmar, David Lammy, Tessa Jowell, Gareth Thomas and Sadiq Khan. The prospective Mayoral candidates have been asked to explain their position on the Earl’s Court redevelopment. Do they support the residents in our opposition to the demolition of our homes? Do they support our ambition for the estates to be transferred into community ownership? Have they been lobbied by developer Capco?

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In their letter, the three Chairs referred to the visit to our estates by Lord Adonis, the Chair, and Nick Pearce, the Director (left and centre above) of think tank IPPR. Following the launch of the ‘City Villages’ report (see previous post), we contacted IPPR about the inclusion of the Earls Court redevelopment scheme as an example of the “City Villages” approach. We went to meet with Andrew Adonis and Nick Pearce at their office and they listened to our criticisms of the factual inaccuracies in their report and concerns about the failure to reflect residents’ opposition to the scheme. They agreed to visit the estates and write up what they saw and heard. The visit took place on 21 May and included a tour of the estates with resident representatives and meeting a group of residents in the home of one of our Board Members.

Nick Pearce then wrote an article which was published on the IPPR website. It emphasised their conclusions that residents should be fully consulted and balloted on redevelopment proposals, that schemes should add to the stock of social homes and not be at the expense of existing mixed communities, and that policymakers should explore the potential for community ownership to give tenants greater control. We think this is a very positive and sensible approach that should be applied across the many proposals in London for redeveloping council estates.iphone 25.6.15 357

Meanwhile on 24 June residents and supporters demonstrated outside Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall about the health implications and in particular the asbestos danger arising from the demolition of Earl’s Court. They were there to attend a debate that was triggered by the submission of a petition with 1,600 signatures calling for an independent health review amid concerns about pollution and dust caused by the demolition of Earl’s Court. All three main opposition parties, (Labour, Lib Dems and Greens), came together to support the petition and spoke in the debate.iphone 25.6.15 290

On 20 June, supporters joined the anti-austerity march through London to remind people of the campaign to save Earl’s Court exhibition centres and the West Kensington & Gibbs Green estates. An appallingly low level of affordable housing (11%!) is included in the scheme. The Developer Capco plans to build 6,000 luxury homes and stands to make at least £3 billion from the scheme.

Labour Peer favours developer rather than people led approach for council estates

RIBA, eclipse, WKGGCH meeting, Terri lunch,walk, city hall demo, 190

On Tuesday 24 March 2015, West Kensington and Earl’s Court residents gathered outside the Royal Institute of British Architects. Inside, Labour Peer Lord Adonis was launching a report he had edited: City Villages – More homes, Better Communities, published by think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

In respect of what is suggested for the future of council estates, the tone of this report and the language it uses is disturbing. Communities of people are referred to as “sink estates” and “valuable reservoirs of increasingly scarce land”. Essentially, as Lord Adonis summarises in his introduction, it proposes that London’s council estates should be redeveloped en masse. Supposedly, this would produce a large increase in the number of homes and benefit the communities who live there.

The problem with this approach is that it does not feature the views or aspirations of the people who live on these estates. Nor does it appreciate the damage and dispersal that widespread demolition would cause to communities. Instead, it advocates a largely uncritical analysis of, and solution for council estates that has provoked huge opposition and controversy over the past few years. We are not alone in our concerns about the approach. Since the ‘City Villages’ report was published there has been a chorus of concern from Dave Hill of the Guardian, housing Professor Steve Hilditch, and Inside Housing commentator Jules Birch.

Lord Adonis’ proposal that housing estates should be put together with adjoining development sites to create larger development potential is precisely the approach that was pressed on unwilling council tenants in Hammersmith and Fulham by former Conservative Leader Stephen Greenhalgh. His development dominated policies brought about his downfall as Leader and led to the Borough being won by Labour in 2014.

The IPPR report has an essay promoting the Earl’s Court redevelopment in which Capco Director Gary Yardley refers to West Kensington and Gibbs Green as “the old estates”. Gibbs Green was completed in 1961 and the larger West Kensington in 1974. No mention here that 80% of residents have steadfastly opposed demolition and campaigned instead for community ownership and their own plans to add new homes to the estates. No mention either that the developer is in discussions with the Labour Council about how to honour its manifesto commitment to prevent demolition. Nor, unsurprisingly, any mention of the convictions for bribery and corruption affecting Capco’s development partner. As Steve Hilditch argues in his blog “City Villages or ghettoes for the rich”, creating a “city village of rich people replacing long-standing social tenants with virtually no new social housing is not my idea of progress and has no place in such a report”

Omissions are one thing, but Lord Adonis’ conviction that demolition is right for council tenants’ homes is undermined by a series of factual errors. He claims that no freeholds have transferred from local authority ownership under the “Right to Buy”. This is wrong. A tenant who buys a house rather than a flat gets the freehold. As a consequence, 39 such freeholds exist on the West Kensington estate alone, with hundreds if not thousands more across council estates in London.

More mistakes emerge in Lord Adonis’s praise for the Earl’s Court scheme: “The site assembly at Earls Court is itself a remarkable feat: partly existing White City council estates, partly large redundant Transport for London (TfL) train storage and repair facilities, and partly the site of the decommissioned Earls Court Exhibition Centre.” Wrong estates (White City is a couple of miles away, so it would indeed be a remarkable feat!); far from being redundant, the train storage and maintenance facilities are essential to the Underground network; and the Exhibition Centre was fully functioning until it was shut for the site to be converted to luxury housing by Capco! (This was much opposed by the events industry who are concerned about the serious shortage of events space in London). Lord Adonis’ claim that the Earl’s Court masterplan creates “a large new public park” repeats the developer’s misrepresentation of the pathway between tower blocks that is produced by decking over the West London Line.

Given everything we have learnt about the redevelopment of urban housing over many decades, it is surprising that this report should present a programme which would rely on being imposed from the top down, and that nowhere does it suggest residents should take the lead in determining what is beneficial for their community. The Labour administration in Hammersmith & Fulham has halted any further redevelopments and established a Residents Commission to examine whether stock transfer would be the best way to protect communities and social housing.

It does seem extraordinary that the IPPR report takes insufficient account of the storm of controversy that has swept London in response to the many council estate redevelopment schemes underway. It is strange that Lord Adonis should so uncritically champion the Earl’s Court scheme, given the billions of pounds profit the developer expects to makes from destroying peoples’ homes and jobs. It’s curious that a Labour Peer should side with a Conservative instigated development which a Labour Council is doing its utmost to get out of.

Largest ever turnout of residents supports community transfer


On 17 March 2015, 131 residents attended a general meeting organised by West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes (WKGGCH). In total, 150 people were in the community hall. This is the largest meeting held so far in the campaign and is a tremendous endorsement of the struggle to save the estates from demolition and to achieve community ownership. At the end of the meeting, WKGGCH Members voted by 100 to 1 in favour of serving a Right to Transfer Proposal Notice.


WKGGCH Chair, Keith Drew welcomed the huge number of people who packed into the hall. He mentioned the letter sent by developer Capco to residents that stated: “Since last May’s election we have been in discussions with the new Labour administration, led by Councillor Cowan. The Leader has been very clear about the position he laid out in his election manifesto. We are looking at the arrangements entered into with the previous administration.”


Linda Sanders, WKGGCH’s Company Secretary, reported on events since the general meeting held in July 2014. Following the election of the Labour administration in May, the redevelopment had not moved forward. Although the developer proposed the first phase of demolition on the estates, this was not agreed by the previous administration and is still not agreed.

WKGGCH has met regularly with Council Officers and Councillors. They have assured us that the Council is doing everything it can to save the estates and to deliver its manifesto commitment to oppose the demolition, to aim not to use Compulsory Purchase Orders against residents, and to work with council housing residents to give them ownership of the land their homes are on.


Linda explained that although there were rumours about the options being discussed between the Council and the developer, we were determined that residents should not be set against each other. People cheered as she held up a sign banning residents from fighting one another!


Councillors Ben Coleman and Larry Culhane addressed residents. Councillor Coleman explained that the Council was determined to put residents in the lead and had set up a Residents Commission to consider options for the future ownership of the borough’s housing stock.


Councillor Culhane confirmed that the Council was in discussions with the developer and that in due course options would be discussed with residents. He said the turnout at the meeting showed this was the most representative estate in the borough.


Andy Slaughter MP said that the campaign had achieved a great deal over the past six years, dramatically improving what was being offered to residents. He was delighted there was now an administration in place that is committed to saving the estates.

Community Organiser, Jonathan Rosenberg, reported he had discovered Capco was looking at putting up  residential towers on the Empress State site, and also that the developer still wanted to drive a road through the estates to connect North End Road with the development. Neither of these options is agreed but they give some idea of the content of the discussions.

WKGGCH obtained legal advice from a senior QC about the secret Collateral Agreement signed by the previous Council and the developer. The advice states that the developer cannot force the Council to reject any Right to Transfer Notice that WKGGCH might serve and that the Council has to make its own decision whether it thinks a community transfer is bad for regeneration and whether to refer to the Secretary of State. It’s hard to believe that the Council would do this as it would effectively be siding with the developer against the residents.


Finally, WKGGCH members voted by 100 to 1 in favour of serving a Right to Transfer Proposal Notice at a time to be decided by the WKGGCH Board.

Keith Drew, Chair of WKGGCH, said: “This was an amazing turnout and a huge affirmation of everything we have been fighting for. It must be plain to everyone involved in the Earl’s Court scheme that this community is absolutely determined to stop demolition and win community ownership.”

Dust drawing protest against demolition

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On Sunday 1 February, Royal College of Art architecture student Amanda Sexton took action to help save our estates from demolition. Her demonstration was a spontaneous reaction to the greed and injustice of the demolition plans for the area. She was greeted with support from a neighbouring resident who warmed her up with a cup of tea.

This video records her making the dust drawings.DSC_3351bw2Amanda explains: “I made the dust drawing as a protest to the redevelopment of the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centres and the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates. I used dust as a metaphor for the senseless destruction of a long standing, diverse and stable community. I also wanted to highlight the tragic loss of the iconic exhibition centres and the vast collective memory generated during its many years of events and exhibitions.DSC_3412bwI also thought it was important to represent the economic loss in terms of revenue produced by the Exhibition centres as well as the huge blow to local businesses and employment. I find it absurd that buildings that are vital in the present day, but not deemed worthy of Heritage listing, are so easily cast aside.  Legislation such as the Certificate of Immunity from listing encourages this position  –  whereby a building of suspected cultural or community value is at the mercy of the bulldozer for a full five years before any effective action to save it can be taken.

As you will all be well aware, this process of urban regeneration or “urbicide” goes hand in hand with a new era of social cleansing that is being rolled out across London. My project proposes a series of community driven interventions within the demolition/construction site that could help to redress the balance of power between Capco and estate residents.”IMG_4629 copybwWell done Amanda and thank you for standing up for local residents against the abuse of the developer!

Residents serve notice on Capco

West Kensington and Gibbs Green residents have been out protesting against the demolition of our homes on two consecutive Saturdays. On 31 January we joined the March for Homes from Shoreditch to City Hall. Over two thousand people called on Mayor Boris Johnson to stop demolishing council estates and to build more housing that is genuinely affordable.

There is widespread anger at the number and scale of developments across London which are replacing buildings of character and workplaces with luxury flats bought by buy-to-leave investors. Dubbed ‘safety deposit boxes in the sky’, these destructive schemes enrich a few at the expense of the many, worsening London’s housing crisis.150207_078On 7 February residents of the estates and supporters of the Earl’s Court Area Action Group joined together in a protest against the demolition of the Exhibition Centres and in support of saving West Kensington and Gibbs Green. 70 people called on developer Capco to stop tearing the heart out of London. Not a single home out of the 1,314 to be built on the site of the Exhibition Centres will be affordable. One bedroom flats sold off plan in the ‘Lillie Square’ development are already reselling for £800,000.

150207_011The protest started opposite West Brompton station outside the entrance to the Exhibition Centres with our banner and plenty of other banners and placards on display.

150207_041West Kensington resident Linda Sanders was interviewed by ITN for a news story that was broadcast later that day.

150207_056Protestors then marched on to Capco’s sales centre for its ‘Lillie Square’ development in Seagrave Road, where resident Harold Greatwood served an eviction notice on Capco. 150207_060

150207_065Protesters held up posters spelling “Hall of Shame” which on the reverse had pictures of all those implicated in the “Masterplan”.

150207_075We then staged a “die-in” in Empress Place, opposite the Capco showroom, to highlight the concerns about asbestos being released from the demolition, as well as poor air quality, noise, vibration and dust. Some supporters were dressed in “hazard” suits and wore facemasks.150207_079Our protest ended outside the Lillie Bridge depot which is also up for demolition as part of the “Masterplan”.

Jailed for bribery and corruption but still “most highly reputable”


Thomas Chan, and Thomas Kwok, right, sit in a prison van as they leave the High Court in Hong Kong

In December 2014, Thomas Kwok, Joint Chairman of Sun Hung Kai and Thomas Chan, Executive Director of Sun Hung Kai, were found guilty of corruption for bribing a public official in Hong Kong with £3 million.

The court case was Hong Kong’s largest ever corruption trial and resulted in the conviction of the second most senior official in the Government. Sun Hung Kai is Hong Kong’s largest property developer, and the payments were for the official to be its ‘eyes and ears’ in government. Thomas Kwok was jailed for five years and Thomas Chan for six years.

Thomas Chan, who was right hand man to the Kwok brothers, was also a Director of Lillie Square GP Limited. The other two Hong Kong Directors, one of whom is Raymond Kwok who was found not guilty, both give their addresses as Sun Hung Kai’s headquarters.

Capco and “interests of certain members of the Kwok family” jointly own the Lillie Square development of 800 flats in Seagrave Road. The venture is shared 50/50 between them. Following the trial, conviction and jailing in such a high profile case that has been reported all over the world, one would have expected Lillie Square GP Ltd to be a little more careful about how they sung the praises of Sun Hung Kai. It would be too much to expect them to show any shame. Instead, the attitude is brazen and, at the very least, misrepresents the reputation of Sun Hung Kai.

The Lillie Square website explains that:

“Lillie Square is owned and developed by a joint venture between Capital & Counties Properties PLC (‘Capco’) and interests of certain members of the Kwok family (‘KFI’). KFI represents interests of certain members of the Kwok family. Interests of the Kwok family are major shareholders of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, one of the largest and most highly reputable real estate companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.”

Surely, Capco’s shareholders and investors should be concerned that far from any mention being made of the jailing of its partners for bribery, the property company at the centre of such a huge corruption scandal is described as “most highly reputable”. It is telling that on Capco’s website “most highly reputable” is missing from the description of Sun Hung Kai.

Meanwhile, even before Lillie Square has been built, one bedroom flats are being resold off-plan for £800,000 and three bedroom flats for £2 million.

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