Greetings from the West Kensington and 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 for rent would be let at 80% of market value.
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.
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:
- Preserve, improve, manage and provide affordable rented housing for local people and others in need of low-rented housing;
- Prevent the break-up and displacement of an existing well-functioning community;
- Save around 100 private tenant households, including many families with children, from being made homeless;
- Build additional affordable housing and other development sensitively, for the benefit of the community, over time, and according to the needs and wishes of residents;
- Develop community facilities, provide services, and work with like-minded local agencies to support individuals, build social and family ties, grow community life, and cultivate the talents and spirit of young residents;
- Nurture a happy, secure and self-supporting neighbourhood that governs itself through a democratically accountable landlord and acts for the welfare of the whole community;
- Open the way for council estate communities across England and Wales to take charge of their neighbourhoods through S34A of the 1985 Housing Act using the tried and tested community-based housing association ownership model as per WECH.
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation granted a sum of £75,000 to West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes for three years from 2012 to empower residents to explore the implementation of Section 34A of the 1985 Housing Act, its implications and learning for the wider sector. At the end of 2014 Esmee Fairbairn agreed to extend funding for an additional 18 months. To find out more about the Foundation, please visit their website here.
From July 2015, WKGGCH is being funded by the Tudor Trust and the Nationwide Foundation to take forward the plans for transferring 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on his mobile at 07961 301 801.
Other projects and campaigns where residents are responding to development proposals:
Save Our Sutton – The Sutton Estate (Affinity Sutton, RB Kensington & Chelsea)
Residents campaign to stop the destruction of the historic William Sutton Estate and its replacement with 144 fewer affordable homes and 106 private flats
Save Cressingham – The Cressingham Gardens Estate (LB Lambeth)
Residents opposed to Lambeth Council “regeneration” plans to demolish and replace the estate rather than repairing it.
Our West Hendon – The West Hendon Estate (LB Barnet)
Campaign group of residents across tenures who are being forced out of their homes and community and want the original promises of “regeneration” fulfilled
newera4all – The New Era Estate (Dolphin Square Foundation, LB Hackney)
Tenants of New Era Estate fighting against massive rent increases that would have seen them made homeless. Successfully campaigned against Westbrook Finance and now the estate is owned by the Dolphin Square Foundation
FocusE15 (LB Newham)
Originally mums from the hostel Focus E15 who faced eviction and being rehoused out of London. Campaigning for the repopulation of the Carpenters Estate. “Social housing not social cleansing”.
Southwark Notes (LB Southwark)
Local people opposing and writing about the regeneration and gentrification of North Southwark that’s happened over the last 20 years (In particular, Heygate, Estate, Aylesbury Estate and the Elephant & Castle redevelopment)