Residents living in estates threatened by the wrecking ball have launched a People’s Plan to demonstrate new homes and improvements can be achieved without demolition.
Those living in West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates are fighting to stop their homes being knocked down as part of the Earl’s Court plans by developers Capital and Counties (Capco).
The plan was drawn up by 100 residents working alongside professionally accredited architects, valuers and quantity surveyors, and emerged shortly before the viability of Capco’s Earl’s Court scheme was brought into question .
Its interim results for six months ending June 30 showed Earl’s Court interests valued at £1.2 billion, a like-for-like decrease of 14%.
Faisal Roble, who helped create the People’s Plans, said: “The London Mayor, the government and the council all have target numbers of new homes they need to build.
Watch the roof come off the iconic Earls Court exhibition centre
“Everyone knows there is a shortage of social housing in the borough and in London as a whole. The work we have done here shows that you don’t have to demolish our homes to address that problem.
“The response we’ve had from neighbours has so far been overwhelmingly positive – a huge contrast with the 80% of residents who oppose Capco’s scheme according to the consultation in 2012.”
The proposals include building 180 homes for sale above and alongside existing buildings on the estates. The proceeds from sales would help to pay for 70 new homes for social rent and improvements to the existing homes and environment.
The improvements would include insulation and ventilation, better landscaping, upgraded refuse facilities and a new community centre.
The People’s Plan could be implemented by West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes (WKGGCH), the resident-controlled Community Land Trust (CLT), if it is successful in taking ownership of the estates through the Right to Transfer.
Alternatively, the plans could be implemented by Hammersmith and Fulham Council if a review of the demolition scheme by the Mayor of London helps to make that possible.
Sadiq Khan said in the run-up to the Mayoral elections that he would review the Earl’s Court masterplan if victorious .
West Ken and Gibbs Green also highlighted Deutsche Bank concerns that Capco doesn’t have the money needed to develop the area.
WKGGCH say Capco has still not agreed with Hammersmith & Fulham Council which properties would be in the first phase of demolition on the estates. Construction has not yet begun on the first phase of replacement homes, which Capco says won’t be ready before 2019.
“Capco’s Earls Court is a fantasy plan,” said Donna Isaac, resident on West Kensington estate. “There are private tenants and temporary tenants like myself who currently don’t have any rights for compensation and could have to move out of the borough or even London.
“For us, the People’s Plan is a safer bet, and a better bet.”
In its six-month report, Capco concludes: “At Earls Court, we continue to make positive progress on site. Whilst the last quarter has been characterised by uncertainty in the London market as a whole, the value of this estate will increasingly be realised in the years ahead.”