Colourfully decorated Tote bags adorn Capco’s Project Rooms
A daft marketing gimmick went spectacularly wrong on Saturday when residents used Capco’s own ‘community engagement’ event to expose the harm its plans are causing to local people and their neighbourhood.
As part of Capco’s offensive to con people out of their homes, which has included summonses to decorate “luxury biscuits”, residents were invited to the developer’s Earls Court Project Rooms to “learn more about the Earls Court development”. The developer is keen to show off its plans to destroy the attractive Victorian houses in Empress Place along with the historic Project Rooms themselves.
The enticement on this occasion was nothing less than the opportunity to “create your own personalised organic tote bag”. Faced with such a tantalising prospect, local residents participated enthusiastically. The result? Cotton bags decorated with “Capco has broken my heart and stolen my home”, “Capco KILLED Earls Court: get your bloody hands off the estates” and “Save W14” hung prominently against the developer’s propaganda backdrop in Capco’s very own Project Rooms.
Sally Taylor, Chair of West Kensington Tenants & Residents Association, explained: “I took Capco up on their disconcerting offer to ‘personalise my own Tote bag’ and expressed my emotions via the acrylic paints provided. My work was exhibited until Capco realised I had painted off message. They promptly censored my efforts by removing it from the display. They might believe they can destroy my home, but surely even they realise they can’t dictate what I think and feel.”
A carefully positioned plate contextualises Capco’s model of destruction
Meanwhile, Capco exposed further how out of touch it is with its latest edition of ‘The View’, though the only view residents have is of the pile of rubble left by Capco’s destruction of the much-loved exhibition centres.
Capco’s Managing Director, Gary Yardley, claimed that its portakabin show homes space “sets the gold standard for engaging with residents”. But gold is not enough. As Capco went on to proclaim: “The New Homes Space not only sets the new gold standard for resident engagement but also uses the latest gaming technologies to create realistic walk-throughs of the new homes.” Who’d have imagined that a developer would try and dupe residents into giving up their homes through a computer game?
Estates resident, Linda Sanders, said: “This is about taking our homes from us against our will. When you visit their exhibitions they dazzle you with fancy technology and shiny kitchens and bathrooms. But they don’t tell you what you really need to know, such as how high the service charge would be or that temporary tenants have no rights at all in the redevelopment. If that’s the gold standard then it’s fools gold. They’re taking us for the fools, and they’re taking the gold for themselves.”