Neighbours fearing their homes could be destroyed to make way for a Chelsea Crossrail 2 station have accused the council of social cleansing.
The packed-out Cremorne Residents Association AGM last night (July 7) turned into a lively debate as the issue of a potential Crossrail 2 station on the estate riled everyone up.
Getwestlondon revealed on June 26 leaked plans showing Kensington and Chelsea Council may have suggested an option to Transport for London (TfL) meaning homes on the 50-year-old estate would have to be demolished. The council vehemently denies this.
TfL is currently consulting on two station options , one near the King’s Road fire station and a ‘Chelsea West’ option which is on the Cremorne Estate, according to the leaked document. Work would not start until 2020.
Greg Hands, Fulham and Chelsea MP, joined neighbours and shopkeepers at the AGM. He said: “I only found out Cremorne could be the site for a new Crossrail 2 station at the same time as residents. I’ll be meeting with TfL and the council to clear up what the detailed plans are.”
He could not say if he supported the residents plea save their homes but did tell them he supports mixed housing in the borough as it ‘makes London the fantastic place it is today’.
Several residents, including chair of the residents association, Amalia Cebreiro, accused the council of social cleansing as they were supported by members of the Lots Road Residents Association and the Sutton Estate Residents Association.
Ms Cebreiro said: “The leader of the council, Nick Paget-Brown stated the biggest obstacle to middle bracket earners coming into the area were right to buy residents and life tenancy ones. This just shows how they want us out. The council's planning boss, Tim Coleridge admitted to me on the phone Cremorne was marked for the station but in public he won’t say it - it’s a way of managing the classes.
“The Mayoress, Maighread Condon-Simmonds is on the board of KCTMO so must have known this for ages but didn’t say anything.”
She added Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) told her she could not discuss Crossrail 2 at the AGM.
The council’s planning boss, Tim Coleridge, accused the residents of ‘going off on a tangent’ and that TfL has not told the council about the detailed plans. “We did a consultation last year and 70 per cent of people said they wanted a station in Chelsea. We don’t know the details but anyone can take a guess it will have an entrance in Cremorne. We’re not social cleansing, nothing could be further from the truth, we want to keep people in Chelsea.
“If we did have to knock down a block in Cremorne we would make sure people had a modern, beautiful home to move into on the estate before it happened.”
Residents handed in a petition to Greg Hands last night in a bid to save their homes.