HAMMERSMITH and Fulham Council on Monday night agreed to sell the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates to developers for demolition.

At a stormy meeting at the Town Hall, the council's cabinet defied the majority of the nearly 200-strong band of residents in attendance to vote unanimously to sign a land sale agreement with developer EC Properties, a subsiduary of Capco.

Booing and jeering 'cowardly' council cabinet members, furious residents accused the authority of seeking to 'decimate' their community after it agreed to condemn their homes to the wrecking ball.

The historic exhibition centres also looked set to be bulldozed after a two-hour debate ended with the council agreeing to sell its land for £105m.

People of all ages, some of whom have lived on the estates for over 40 years, reacted with anger at the conclusion of the meeting, but vowed to 'not surrender' in their fight to stay put.

Despite being promised new flats in and around four new 'urban villages' earmarked for the site, most residents are adamant in their desire to remain, with most citing the sense of community within the estates as reason for their stance.

Eleven-year-old Mohamed Daoudi, with father Baghdadi, said: "I have grown up here and lived here all my life. It's a great community and I'm really sad I'm going to have to move."

Godwin Charles, 49, 28 years on the estate, said: "I don't want to have to start all over again. All my friends are here, my family are here. Even if we are moved 10 minutes away, it won't be the same. They don't seem to want the 'lower class' in the borough anymore but we aren't that bad."

Dr Hamze Elloubane, 73, and 44 years on the estate, said: "This is vandalism and fascism, pure and simple."

Council leader Nick Botterill said it was the 'most difficult decision the authority was ever going to make' but believed thousands of new flats, jobs and amenities brought by the scheme could 'lead the way in lifting the country out of recession'.

The Sir Terry Farrell-designed project, which remains subject to planning permission, government approval, and Transport for London and Kensington and Chelsea also agreeing to sell land, will create 8,000 flats, 9,500 jobs and '£1bn worth of community benefits', he said.

"We have made this decision after weighing up all arguments, looking at the economic studies and the views of our residents," he said. "We know many people living on the estates want new homes, while many other people have concerns. If the agreement is signed we will continue to listen to people and do our very best to address those concerns."

Mr Botterill was forced to deny allegations of bribery surrounding priority new homes for residents backing the council, as well as defending the financial wherewithal of Capco and EC Properties to deliver the project amid fears over its involvement with recently arrested backers, the Kwok Brothers.

He also tried to allay concerns over the size of new council homes, 200 of which are earmarked for a site in Seagrave Road, and he reassured residents would not be moved until new flats are built, which will take place in phases over a 20-year period.

The leader found support from rival residents' group leader Maureen Way, who said: "We've got nothing in this part of Fulham anymore. It's one of the most deprived areas of the country. This will give us hope."

But neighbour Keith Drew, addressing the meeting, said residents would go to court to overturn the decision. "We believe we can win. We will protect our homes. We shall not surrender."


The council's planning committee is likely to give outline planning consent on Wednesday (12). If granted, it will refer it to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in.

The authority would then make an application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to transfer the estates land, probably next March.


Monday's decision means one of London's most historic venues faces the end of the road.

Earls Court One opened its doors in 1937 with a chocolate and confectionary show, later hosting industries fairs, motor shows and other exhibitions. It's 19,000 capacity proved a huge draw for musicians, and the arena has played host to performers including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, U2, 0asis and Madonna. It also hosted the Brit Awards for 10 years.

In 1991, Princess Diana opened its sister venue, Earls Court Two.

The Association of Event Organisers has launched a petition to stop the demolition.


Economy will be regenerated with thousands of new jobs and homes.

Deprived area will be revived with new school, health facilities and transport links.

Residents will get brand new homes in the area, and cash compensation of £4,700.

Consultation shows wider community supports scheme.

Millions of pounds from sale will be pumped into public purse.


Consultation was flawed and majority want to stay on estates.

New homes will be smaller; move will break-up community.

Decision is political to shift electoral boundaries by moving traditional Labour voters to different wards.

Residents have been bribed with promise of quicker moves to new homes if they back scheme.

They will fight scheme in high court - and win.