Locals prefer to preserve and extend Empress Place, while Capco keeps it empty in face of Grenfell Tower disaster

WKGGCH Board Members Baghdadi Daoudi and Linda Sanders display the results of the informal poll conducted on 29 April at the Spring Fair

In December 2016, Capco exhibited proposals to demolish the Victorian houses, which it had bought up in Empress Place. It wants to replace them with over 400 flats, including a 24-storey tower block. Despite announcing its intention to submit a planning application to Hammersmith & Fulham Council, so far it has not done so.

Empress Place consists largely of two-storey Victorian cottages, though, as can be seen at the right of the photo, it also includes the purpose-built engineering headquarters (1907) of the Brompton & Piccadilly Railway Company. It was from this building, with its large windows designed to provide as much light as possible for the draughtsmen, that the Piccadilly line was designed.

Well-known architect, Francis Terry, has prepared an alternative proposal that would achieve as many homes without demolition.

Francis Terry’s proposal to preserve and extend the heritage of Empress Place rather than destroy it

At the Spring Fair on 29 April, we asked people who visited our stall whether they preferred Capco’s proposal (A on the left of the board in the photo) or the alternative (B on the right). Just 10 people preferred Capco’s scheme against 462 who preferred Francis Terry’s alternative. Common responses were: “It’s a no-brainer” and, pointing at Capco’s proposal: “Who would want that?”

Francis Terry’s alternative plan for Empress Place would produce the same number of homes as Capco’s demolition plan

WKGGCH Chair, Keith Drew said: “What a beautiful and refreshing change to the characterless concrete and glass blocks proposed by Capco! Why can’t we have this instead of yet more tedious residential warehousing? It would enhance the charm and attractiveness of our neighbourhood as well as provide much needed additional housing.”

Capco ignores plea to house Grenfell families in empty homes

On 16 June, following the terrible fire at Grenfell tower that made so many households homeless, Linda Wade, Councillor for Earl’s Court, said: “26 homes [owned by Capco] in Empress Place stand empty. I am sure that Earl’s Court developers Capco wish to support Grenfell Tower survivors.”

Meanwhile, in response to the Grenfell disaster, our Tenants & Residents Associations, led by Sally Taylor and Diana Belshaw, have mobilised a powerful effort to support those families directly affected, including providing food, clothing and housing support.

Capco’s response to this tragedy on their doorstep? A deafening silence.

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