Greetings from West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates!
We have been campaigning since 2009 to save our homes from being demolished to make way for thousands of luxury flats. The Council made a deal with developer Capco to destroy our estates, the Lillie Bidge Depot, which is the main engineering facility for the London Underground, and the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centres.
This monstrous £12 billion scheme would replace a much used and loved piece of London with 7,500 flats. 80% of these would be sold at market prices with one bed flats starting at £600,000. 10% of the new homes would replace the estates. A further 10% will be so-called affordable housing. The number of ‘affordable’ homes is woefully inadequate and they won’t be affordable because the flats would be sold or let at 65% of market value. In this area, one bedroom flats sell for more than half a million pounds.
Check our Photos page for the latest pictures of us and our homes. You can find our latest newsletters and other documents on our Newsletters and Info page. Our Media Coverage page has links to the latest articles about the estates and our campaign. You can follow us on Twitter @WestKenGibbsGr and Like our Facebook page West Ken & Gibbs Green – The People’s Estates.
West Kensington and Gibbs Green are two adjacent estates in West Kensington, W14, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. The estates contain 760 homes and close to 2,000 residents.
Over 600 residents from two thirds of households are members of West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes Limited (WKGGCH), the company set up by residents to take over the ownership of their estates. The Members have elected a Board which is made up of 14 residents and 4 housing experts. The Board meets every couple of months to progress its founding aim, which is to improve the neighbourhood and save the estates by transferring them into community ownership under resident control.
On 8 December 2009, the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Tenants & Residents Associations served a S34A Notice on the Chief Executive of Hammersmith & Fulham Council proposing their estates be transferred to a resident-control community housing association. However, this could not be taken forward since the Regulations had not been made.
In January 2010, residents wrote to the then Secretary of State inviting him to make the regulations needed for him to have the power under S34A to require local authorities to cooperate with transfer requests.
In December 2013, after years of lobbying, the Coalition Government implemented the Right to Transfer by making the Regulations and publishing the Guidance.
In May 2014 the Conservative administration was toppled. The Labour administration’s manifesto stated:
We oppose the schemes for West Kensington and Gibbs Green. We aim to renegotiate these and halt the use of Council powers such as Compulsory Purchase Orders on any of them.
… take immediate measures to protect council homes now and in the future.
We will work with council housing residents to give them ownership of the land their homes are on.
In July 2014 120 residents attended a general meeting and voted to serve the Right to Transfer Notice on the Council. Another general meeting held in March 2015 was attended by 131 residents. Again they voted to serve the Notice. The Council has been holding talks with developer Capco to review the redevelopment plans. But residents have been excluded from these talks.
At the request of Councillors we held back from serving the Notice. Eventually, having no confidence that resultant proposals would save the estates, West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes finally served the Right to Transfer Proposal Notice on the Council on 11 August 2015.
WKGGCH’S VISION IS TO:
- Improve and manage the existing homes and provide additional affordable rented housing both for local people and others in need of low-rented housing;
- Prevent the break-up and displacement of a long-established and well-functioning community;
- Build additional affordable housing and other development sensitively taking account of residents’ needs and aspirations;
- Develop community facilities, provide improved services, and work with other local agencies to support individuals, build social ties, further improve community life, and cultivate the talents and spirit of young residents;
- Nurture a happy, secure and self-supporting neighbourhood supported by a democratically controlled landlord which acts for the welfare of the whole community;
- Support other communities that wish to take charge of their neighbourhoods through legislative mechanisms using this model.
WE WILL ACHIEVE THIS THROUGH:
- Implementation of The People’s Plan, which would keep the existing 760 homes on the estates, provide 250 new homes in the form of infill and additional storeys to existing blocks. The sale of 180 of these homes will help to subsidise 70 new homes for social rent to ease overcrowding and allow older residents to downsize locally. It will also help to pay for improvements to the existing council properties. A copy of The People’s Plan, which has been sent to all households on both estates for consultation, is attached.
- A landlord elected by residents that would decide the policies, employ professional staff to manage the properties, and spend all the income on the estates;
- Social rents with increases strictly limited, and tenants keeping the security they have now;
- Estate-based management and maintenance providing a personal service for residents and tailored to meet the needs of the neighbourhood;
- Tackling overcrowding through implementation of The People’s Plan, use of local knowledge and an end to the uncertainty created by the threat of demolition;
- Repairs and improvements to the West Kensington blocks and to open spaces, with more CCTV and increased supervision by staff;
- Community services and events for residents with many more activities for younger people.
WKGGCH has received grants from The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to empower residents to explore the implementation of Section 34A of the 1985 Housing Act, its implications and learning for the wider sector. We are currently funded by the Nationwide Foundation to develop the People’s Plan for improvements and additional homes as part of our ambition to transfer the estates to a community owned resident controlled housing association.
To get in touch with us, please contact West Ken Gibbs Green Community Organiser Jonathan Rosenberg by email at email@example.com or on his mobile at 07961 301 801.
ABOUT OUR ORGANISATIONS
West Kensington Estate TRA, Gibbs Green & Dieppe Close TRA, and West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes Limited (WKGGCH) are made up of Committee and Board Members elected by residents at the AGMs. The TRAs were re-established in 2009 and WKGGCH was founded by the two TRAs in 2011. All three organisations have been working to save the estates from demolition and redevelopment as part of Capco’s Earl’s Court scheme.
The resident representatives for all three organisations are publicly elected at their Annual General Meetings. West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes is a membership organisation with over 581 members from 64% of households on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.
In 2009, over a thousand residents from 83% of all households signed a petition saying no to demolition and demanding that residents should determine the future of their homes.
In 2011, residents from two thirds of all households became Members of WKGGCH, which is dedicated to improving the neighbourhood and to saving the estates by transferring them into community ownership under resident control.
In 2012, 80% of the residents who responded to the Council’s formal consultation on Capco’s redevelopment scheme said they were against demolition.
In 2013, residents from 60% of all households signed a petition to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requesting that he should refuse consent for the Council to sign the Conditional Land Sale Agreement, which provides for the sale and demolition of the estates.
In 2014, 120 people attended a WKGGCH General Meeting at which 79 Members voted unanimously for WKGGCH to serve a Right to Transfer Proposal Notice on the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham proposing the transfer of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates to a community-owned housing association.
In 2015, 150 people attended a WKGGCH General Meeting at which our Members voted by 100 to 1 for WKGGCH to serve the Right to Transfer Proposal Notice on LBHF, which WKGGCH subsequently served in August 2015.
In 2015, residents from 57% of all households signed a petition to the Secretary of State requesting that he should allow WKGGCH’s Right to Transfer Proposal to proceed to the next stage.
In 2016, over one hundred residents participated in the creation of The People’s Plan – a vision for improvements and additional new homes as infill and extra storeys to existing buildings.
In 2017, WKGGCH obtained responses to a survey from 502 residents living in 65% of all households. 91% said The People’s Plan was either good or excellent and better or far better than demolition.
In 2018, LBHF registered WKGGCH as the Neighbourhood Forum covering the estates, following our Members’ resolution at the 2017 AGM that WKGGCH should apply to become a Neighbourhood Forum and for the estates to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area.
In 2019, WKGGCH obtained grants from the Government’s localism and community led housing funds to work up proposals for new homes.