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?
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.
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.
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.