Claims that social housing will be sacrificed for the building of a Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea have been denied by the Royal borough.
The No Crossrail in Chelsea group said Kensington and Chelsea Council ’s long-term planning envisages the potential construction of up to 3,500 luxury new homes “supported by” the proposed new King’s Road Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea.
It made the claim after receiving an answer to a Freedom of Information question it posed to the local authority.
But a spokesperson for the council, which supports a new station at the junction of King's Road and Sydney Street, disputed the allegation and said: “There is absolutely no basis for the No Crossrail campaign’s claim that social housing would be sacrificed to help finance a Crossrail 2 station.”
The opposition group says the council plans to build 3,500 homes with a potential value of £6 billion - making an average property worth £1.7 million.
A spokesperson for No Crossrail said this would be at the expense of social housing, and added: “How ‘delivery’ of these homes will be ‘supported’ by construction of the proposed station is a mystery, but the implication is that a bonanza for developers in Chelsea will contribute to the station’s, and the Council’s, funding needs.”
'These plans reveal just what we have feared'
No Crossrail in Chelsea chairman Chris Lenon said: “We have long wondered why our local council continues to support plans for a Crossrail 2 station on the King’s Road, despite 95% of local residents and over 80 local businesses opposing the costly scheme.
“These plans reveal just what we have feared. Our Council, ignoring the fact there is no real transport case for a new £1 billion station here, wants to press ahead so it can make millions out of community levies linked to expensive, high-end property developments.
“This goes against the very ethos of the Crossrail 2 scheme, with over half the development sites identified currently being social housing.”
But this was refuted by the council. In June last year it said: “Any council tenants, whose homes would need to be redeveloped, will receive better quality new homes, on the same terms and rent levels, in or very near to the redevelopment. The pledge will ensure that existing mixed communities are preserved and that existing residents are able to stay in the areas they know and love.”
And in February 2016 it said: “Kensington and Chelsea will only redevelop a council estate if it is possible to rehouse all existing tenants in better homes in the new development or in the nearby area (unless, of course, they choose to move elsewhere).”
'An increased population will also require more homes but this will not be at the expense of social housing'
The council spokesperson said the King’s Road area is poorly served by public transport, despite being home to major hospitals and an important commercial area. He continued: “London’s population is set to rise which will place more strain on existing local services such as the District line. We also believe a new station will help reduce traffic congestion locally and improve air quality.
“An increased population will also require more homes but this will not be at the expense of social housing.
“In common with many other London councils we are seeking to provide more housing, including affordable housing, on lower-density sites and our housing estates right across the borough, not just in the area which would benefit enormously from a Crossrail 2 station.”