Residents’s reaction on hearing the news
Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, Steve Cowan, has written to residents suggesting that in exchange for a fresh planning permission, “we would see the two estates return to council control”.
The news follows many months of worsening market conditions for developer Capco, which this year has taken several steps to clean up the mess it’s made so that it can exit the redevelopment scheme. The most important of these is to cut away the single most burdensome impediment to a successful disposal – our community and the homes in which we live.
West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes Chair, Keith Drew, thanked everyone who has supported our struggle over the years. “Their efforts, and ours, are finally vindicated”, he said.
Community Organiser, Jonathan Rosenberg, issued the following statement from the three residents organisations.
“At £18 billion, the Earl’s Court scheme is the most valuable on-site urban redevelopment in the world outside of China.
For nine long years, residents have been fighting to save their homes and preserve their community. Our campaign has been through some very dark times. But right now there is a tremendous wave of excitement sweeping across the estates.
The Council Leader is working very hard to get the estates out of the land sale contract. We believe that our campaign is on course for victory and we look forward to finally lifting the curse that has so sorely afflicted our community.”
As the news raced around the neighbourhood yesterday, residents reacted with elation and a tinge of disbelief.
“It’s the best news we’ve had for a very long time. But it’s not game over until we’ve got the estates back. We’re closer than we have ever been before. Thank God we voted this Council in.” Sally Taylor, Chair West Kensington estate TRA
“I feel elated and it just shows that the voice of the people is heard and people power counts. The Council have stuck by what they said. Steve Cowan and Larry Culhane have worked tirelessly.” Diana Belshaw, Chair Gibbs Green & Dieppe Close TRA
“When I found out I was over the moon. The last nine years what we did, I can see that it worked. The People’s Plan worked. If we support each other it works. We are a strong community and we won’t let it go. So it’s time to celebrate. We’ve not won yet but it shows that we can do it. You can see that the council are doing good things. Even just day today maintenance has improved.” Murvet, Churchward House
“That’s very good. Now we can start organising. It feels like we’re three quarters of the way there. I thought it was all done and dusted. Capco are running out of money it seems. They sold the Olympia.” Martin, Gibbs Green
“I’m very happy for Capco to be out of the deal, but the Right to Transfer is still my dream. You’re not really safe unless you have resident control. When I saw the letter I thought that’s amazing. It’s not a guarantee but it’s a loud announcement that it’s looking good. It’s been a David and Goliath thing but you can win if you kick them in the knee caps.” Linda, Aisgill Avenue