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Residents attempt to stop Earls Court development

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Residents of two London housing estates are attempting to stymie the redevelopment of Earls Court, masterplanned by Farrells, by forcing the council to relinquish ownership of the land

Campaigners from West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates have served a legal notice on the council demanding it turns over ownership to a community landlord.

The residents say that they have lost patience with the Labour regime that promised to renegotiate the terms of the redevelopment with developer Capco following its victory in 2014 local elections.

Chair of the tenant group, Keith Drew said: ‘The council has been talking with the developer for almost a year.

‘We expect the government to support tenants to exercise our legal rights to be empowered to get on with our own plans for regeneration.’

Granted planning permission in 2013, the £12 billion Earl’s Court redevelopment includes the demolition of 760 West Kensington and Gibbs Green homes, which are subject to a land sale agreement between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and EC Properties, a company controlled by Capital & Counties plc (Capco). 

Following the serving of the Right to Transfer notice, the council has 28 days in which to validate the notice. 

However, it is able to seek a ruling from the secretary of state not to cooperate with the transfer proposal if it is deemed to have a detrimental impact on regeneration or housing provision.

A Capco spokesperson said: ‘The Earls Court Masterplan - including the plans to regenerate the estates - is well advanced, has broad support and will bring very significant investment and benefits to residents, the local area and London. 

‘The estates have already been sold under an existing binding contract, as already approved by the Secretary of State. As part of the area’s regeneration residents will gain new and better homes, more jobs, a new school, parkland, new shops and leisure facilities.’

The residents, however, argue that the the council has halted the original regeneration scheme and is planning to produce a completely different scheme.

A spokesman for the two estates said that residents were in discussions with an architect who could be appointed to draw up alternative plans for the estate.

‘This would involve some improvements to a tower block and environmental improvements, as well as identifying sites for up to 100 new homes,’ the spokesman said.

Earlier this week, London Assembly members called for an urgent investigation into the demolition of the Earls Court exhibition centres amid fears over asbestos.

Statement from Hammersmith and Fulham Council

Andrew Jones, Hammersmith & Fulham council’s cabinet member for economic development and regeneration

‘We have received a Section 34A application from a residents’ group on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates. We are now considering the application in accordance with the relevant legal requirements.

‘We have spent the last year fighting for residents, despite the binding legal agreements and planning permissions issued under the previous administration. We will continue to hold tough negotiations with the developer and wisely use our time in office to improve significantly the offer made to all residents on the affected estates in line with our manifesto commitments.’

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