Big turnout reaffirms campaign

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94 people, of whom 78 were residents, attended the Annual General Meetings for the West Kensington estate TRA, the Gibbs Green & Dieppe Close TRA and West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes (WKGGCH). The meetings were held on 4 October 2016 in the Gibbs Green Hall.

The TRA AGMs received reports from their respective Chairs, Sally Taylor and Diana Belshaw, approved the accounts and elected committee members.

The WKGGCH meeting followed straight on, when residents of both estates came together under the chairmanship of Keith Drew.

161004_037Julia Lawlor is hugged by a neighbour following her speech

Resident Julia Lawlor opened the meeting with an emotional address to her neighbours, explaining that four generations of her family have lived in her home. Her closing remarks provoked a rousing response: “To them, the people who want to knock down our homes, we’re down there. They just think we’re rough people. And all they want to do is make money. They’re not bothered what happens to us, where we go. And they think they can tempt us with show flats you can’t swing a cat in? Yeah: Thanks, but NO thanks. If I wanted to move, I would have done so a long time ago. This is a special place, and we’re not going without a fight.”

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Left to right: Keith Drew, Chair; Charlie Treloggan, Treasurer; Linda Sanders, Secretary

Treasurer Charlie Treloggan took the meeting through the accounts, highlighting the expenditure on producing and publicising the People’s Plan.

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WKGGCH Company Secretary, Linda Sanders, gave the annual report on the activities of the organisation. Firstly, she displayed a slide showing the Land Registry title proving that despite the contract between the Council and developer Capco, the estates land is still owned by the Council. Linda went on to remind the meeting about the participation of over 100 residents in the production of the People’s Plan and its positive reception on the estates.

She further reported that following the collection of over 7,600 signatures for an online petition, the then candidate, now Mayor Sadiq Khan, had agreed to review the Earl’s Court masterplan as he had serious reservations about the overall direction the scheme is taking. Finally she reported on the submissions we have made to the Government in support of our Right to Transfer proposal, the lack of any significant progress made with the demolition scheme, and the one third reduction in Capco’s share price along with its difficulties selling the new homes it is building in Lillie Square.

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Board Member and Chair of West Kensington TRA, Sally Taylor, summarised the People’s Plan, pointing to the model on display in the hall. The Plan is proving to be a popular alternative for delivering improvements and additional homes without demolition.

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Donna Isaac, one of the six candidates for five places on the WKGGCH Board explained that she had been living on the estates as a temporary licensee for over a year and that she was determined to contribute to the campaign to save the estates.

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Faisal Roble, another candidate, said that he had helped a lot with the People’s Plan and wanted to help stop the demolition because this is his home and he is a passionate believer in social housing.

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Co-opted Board Member Kevin Veness counted the votes to elect the Board Members.

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Local MP Andy Slaughter, who has steadfastly supported residents throughout our campaign, said it was thanks to the community’s efforts that the estates were still standing. In his view, the masterplan is dead and the plans will have to be redrawn.

The Chair thanked residents for attending. The meeting closed and was followed by refreshments.

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