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Big Society challenge to Farrell’s Earls Court masterplan

New government housing regulations could scupper Terry Farrell’s 28-hectare masterplan for the redevelopment of the Earls Court exhibition centre in west London

Local residents who oppose the multi-billion pound scheme are seeking ownership of a housing estate which is earmarked for demolition under the proposals for the 33ha site.

Following a recent government-backed change to the rules governing the transfer of council-owned land to cooperatives (amendments to the 1985 Housing Act), the resident campaigners are confident the Farrell-masterplanned project to build 8,000 homes could be halted.

Campaigner Jonathan Rosenberg said: ‘It’s not up for the local authority to decide [any more]. The Secretary of State will require the local authority to cooperate with our proposal.’

The Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed that it will consult on implementing an amendment to the act which could make it impossible for estate-owner Hammersmith & Fulham Council to reject the residents bid for ownership.

A spokesperson for project developer Capital & Counties said however it was still planning to publish a full masterplan next month.

They said: ‘Capco supports the thrust of Government policy to give communities greater power over their own future. That’s why the Earls Court project has been localism in action from day one, with regular consultation events held, a consultation website created and hundreds of meetings held with local community groups and stakeholders so they can all have their say as we develop a masterplan.

‘While we do not yet know what the details of the proposed regulations may be, we are confident that when we publish the masterplan next month, the majority of local people will recognise the benefits it can bring them and will support the development scheme.’

Meanwhile a spokesman for Hammersmith and Fulham Council maintained that the campaigners behind the ownership bid were unrepresentative of the estate’s residents.

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