On 22 May Labour seized control of Hammersmith & Fulham Council. There are now 26 Labour Councillors and 20 Conservative Councillors, a comfortable majority for Labour. In North End Ward, which includes the estates, three Labour Councillors were elected – Daryl Brown, Larry Culhane and Ali Hashem. Ali lives in Dieppe Close on the Gibbs Green estate.
Local MP Andy Slaughter said that by trying to knock down and sell off residents’ homes, the Conservatives had become “arrogant and pushed people too far”. Stephen Greenhalgh, the man behind the demolition policy, was at the counting of the votes in the Town Hall to witness his party’s defeat.
The Councillors who wanted to destroy our community and wreck our homes have lost power. Labour’s Manifesto for the elections said: “We oppose the schemes for West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates. We aim to renegotiate these and halt the use of council powers such as Compulsory Purchase Orders on any of them”.
For over five years the Council planned to force everyone out of their homes so they could be knocked down by a developer to make way for thousands of new flats, mostly for sale at prices unaffordable to those in need. The previous Council made it clear that it would do everything it could to stop us from saving the estates.
Labour promised that if it won control it would “take immediate measures to protect council homes now and in the future”.
Labour’s Manifesto stated the party is against demolition and redevelopment and will be reviewing the Sale Agreement with Capco. It is also in favour of community ownership because it believes that is the best way to protect council homes in the longer term: “We will work with council housing residents to give them ownership of the land their homes are on”. So, we look forward to working closely with the new Council to transfer the estates into the ownership of a housing association controlled and owned by residents.
Above: Residents Sally Taylor, Charlie Treloggan and Harold Greatwood are interviewed by ITN about how they feel following the shock downfall of the Conservative administration
We are asking the Labour Council to:
Consult fully with the elected and properly constituted residents organisations;
Halt all work in connection with the redevelopment scheme; and
Meet with our Board Members to discuss how they can support us to take over the estates.
Keith Drew, Chair of West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes said: “We are thrilled to bits with this sudden turnaround. We expect Labour to deliver its manifesto committments and we will do everything we can to help them. Residents and the Council now share the same objectives. The sooner we can achieve them the better”.