Residents move to take control of estates
Jan 27 2010 By Aidan Jones
The battle for West Kensington and Gibbs Green has hotted up after residents made new legal moves to wrestle control of the two estates from the council.
The battle for West Kensington and Gibbs Green has hotted up after residents made new legal moves to wrestle control of the two estates from the council. A submission was handed in to John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on Jan 13 asking the for new regulations to be crafted allowing control of the two estates to be handed to the community.
Hundreds of residents want to take control of their homes from the Hammersmith and Fulham council, amid fears it will bulldoze the estates for an extensive redevelopment including the Earls Court exhibition Centre and Olympia.
Under the Housing Act, tenants and leaseholders can ask the relevant Secretary of State to force the local authority to hand the estates to a resident-controlled registered housing group.
In a 100-page document, submitted on January 13, residents outlined the costs and reasons for the transfer and details of how the estates could be managed.
"The sooner we get regulations, the sooner we can officially go down the process of transferring control from the council to us," said Jonathan Rosenberg, legal adviser to the West Ken and Gibbs Green tenants and residents associations.
"We've been asking for this for a long time, but there is an election coming which makes the matter all the more pressing."
Developers Capco this week re-iterated its desire to demolish Earls Court Exhibition Centre and rebuild it with the surrounding estates into a 'world class' leisure and conference centre with 8,000 flats.
Residents fear they will be priced out of any new accommodation or forced to leave their homes for years while the work is completed.
H&F council supports the redevelopment and Capco is expected to lodge a planning application within a year.
Mr Denham has lent his weight to the campaign and said H&F council housing policy is a blueprint for the rest of the country.
Having dismissed a residents' 'notice to quit' last month as a "stunt", H&F Council struck a softer tone this week.
A council spokesman said: "We're happy to work with residents but we feel at this time the considerable opportunities that could be realised from redevelopment, including new jobs, health and leisure facilities should be explored further."