19 April 2012: extracts from statements made by Grant Shapps MP, Minister for Housing, House of Commons Debate, Regeneration.
“I think that we cannot simply do regeneration to people or communities…
Since the election, the number of empty homes has fallen faster than at any time since 2004, because our regeneration policy, which says, “Let’s stop knocking down homes and instead fill the ones that are there,” is starting to work.”
In September 2009, Grant Shapps, then Conservative Shadow Housing Minister said: “We must find ways to empower local residents to exercise more direct and effective control over the decision-making process that builds decent communities. When people have a real stake in, and take ownership of, the future of their neighbourhood – their community benefits and so does the quality of life. We will actively back local groups who demonstrate a vision to improve the place and community they call home”.
In November 2009, he said resident-control could be the way to: “tackle the housing crisis, work with and trust communities, incentivising and empowering them as part of a wider community housing policy that places the needs of local people above those of bureaucrats and planners”.
Speech by Housing Minister Grant Shapps to the Community Land Trusts Conference on 29 June 2010
“Last year I talked about my enthusiasm for Community Land Trusts but I wasn’t able to do much more about it. But now I am Minister for Housing and Local Government I have the opportunity to transfer power to where it really belongs – local communities…
Inspired by what I’d seen I worked to persuade the last government to recognise CLTs in law through a clause in the Housing and Regeneration Bill 2008, in order to help secure financing elsewhere…
In opposition I said that if we won the election we would start a revolution – where communities would get involved in providing homes for themselves. Today it’s time to start that revolution. But don’t worry, I’m not asking you to join me at the barricades – this will be a very English revolution. But it will still be dramatic. And long lasting. We will turn things upside down. And for the first time it will be communities, not central Government, who decide what happens in their local area…
I was amazed to read … that civil servants were apparently worried that CLTs would become a ‘charter for cults and extreme political groups’…
For instance, somewhat surprisingly, even the local tier of government sometimes struggles to transfer control to local communities. That is why I now want to widen opportunities for communities to shape what happens next. I want to use your experience to create a model for Local Housing Trusts. The core of the proposal is something you will be familiar with. We want local people to decide what happens in their community… It will be up to the Local Housing Trust. They will be able to make a judgement about how best to invest in their community and meet its needs.
For instance, they might offer long-term low rent for local shops, a community hall, or a sports facility. Once the new development has been built, Trusts will be expected to invest any financial profits back into the community. And the land will remain in the Trust for local benefit forever – regardless of what happens to the homes built on top.
People have waited long enough for a model that is on their side rather than on the side of the bureaucrat. I want to unlock the passion and drive of these communities. I want to free them to realise their vision…
I will work with you to make sure the journey you’ve begun brings the success you deserve. These are exciting times for you. Revolutionary times. So let’s finally bring Community Land Trusts home for good…”
5 January 2010: DAVID CAMERON [then Leader of the Opposition] backs residents against demolition
18 December 2010: Unveiling the Localism Bill, Communities and Localism Government Secretary Eric Pickles stated:
“By pushing power out, getting Government out of the way, letting people run their own affairs; we can build a stronger, fairer Britain.”
18 November 2011: In an article entitled “The Localism Bill reverses a century of centralisation”, Communities and Localism Government Secretary Eric Pickles writes:
“And finally politicians and people see eye to eye on this one – power should be at the lowest possible level.
It was Victor Hugo who said all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Localism Localism Localism has been our mantra for some time now. We entered Government listening to the people and we were clear localising power and information would be a priority. Even as global problems mounted and dominated public attention, we remained steadfast in our pursuit of localism…
“Gone are the days of top-down command and control over communities – they have ceased – everybody is crossing the Rubicon into a new era of people power and local say so.”
21 October 2009: Right to left: Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, (then Prime Minister), Diana Belshaw (now Chair of Gibbs Green TRA and WKKGCH Board Member), Andy Slaughter, (now MP for Hammersmith), Maureen Way (then Chair of West Kensington estate TRA and now Chair of WKGG Steering Group) Sarah Brown.
January 2010, Parliament. John Denham MP, then Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, flanked by residents.
“I just want to reinforce how much is at stake in the campaign you are running. Obviously first and foremost this is about your homes and your community. You are right to have your homes and your community.
But we in the past 10 or 15 years have actually had to fight a very big battle to establish that principle at the core of the way we want our society to run. There has always been a choice to be made about whether you give people power, you give people rights, you put their priorities first, to where everything goes to those who have already got a lot.
If you think that you are not being treated with dignity and respect by Hammersmith and Fulham Council we’ve got to say that’s what the future holds for people across the country too.
The more successful your campaigning, the higher profile the arguments you make, the more people across the country will say ‘well how will I be treated in the future if I don’t make a stand now? What’s going to happen to me and my family if I don’t stand with the people of Hammersmith and Fulham? I have been warned I have seen what can happen’.”
January 2010 House of Commons: West Ken & Gibbs Green residents surround then Minister for Housing and Planning, John Healey MP.
“Its great tribute to you, because you are breaking new ground as tenants in response to that. The West Ken and Gibbs Green tenants are the first in the country to tell their council formally that they want to take over their homes for themselves. I know that you are doing that, unfortunately, because you do not trust the council.
Most of you and your council neighbours want to keep your council homes, your low cost long-term tenancies. But you also want the council to keep your homes up to a decent standard, and you want the council to keep you informed and involved in the decision for the future of your estate. And they are not doing that.
That’s why your campaign is so important. That’s why I’m here to support you.”
December 2011: BRIAN, JENNY AND KEN ASK BORIS TO GIVE US THE VOTE
Mayoral candidates from three parties, Brian Paddick (LibDem), Jenny Jones (Green) and Ken Livingstone (Labour), have joined forces on behalf of residents. They have written to the Mayor, saying:
“All three of us have visited the estates. We have seen for ourselves the homes that are proposed for demolition and have met with the residents.
We think that this is a decent neighbourhood which should not be demolished, and that this is a cohesive community which, in line with Coalition Government Policy, should be empowered to take ownership of its housing.
Please will you request that before decisions are taken to demolish their homes, all West Kensington & Gibbs Green residents should be allowed to vote in an independently run ballot on whether they support the redevelopment plans and that the views of the residents tested in this way shall be paramount in determining the future of their homes.”
20 June 2011: Right to left, JENNY JONES, Assembly Member and Green Party Candidate for Mayor, Committee Members Shirley Wiggins, Sally Taylor, Charlie Treloggan and Maria Szapszowicz.
21 July 2011: KEN LIVINGSTONE, Labour’s Mayoral candidate, examines an old Fulham Borough rent book on his visit to the estates
10 November 2011: BRIAN PADDICK, Lib Dem Candidate for Mayor, visits estates to support residents. Resident Board and Committee Members: Maria Szapszowicz, Mirna Fahmi, Diana Belshaw, Shirley Wiggins, Rita Vlahopoulou, Sally Taylor, and Linda Sanders with Brian Paddick.
14 March 2012 letter from Lib Dem Assembly Member MIKE TUFFREY demanding residents get the vote.
Standing: Andy Slaughter MP, and Lord Prescott in the House of Commons reading the news about our campaign while watching the latest developments on TV. Seated Charlie Treloggan, WKGGCH Board Member.