|Shirley Wiggins, Chair of West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes receives MP's letter|
Mr Slaughter says he is "disgusted" by the treatment meted out to residents by the Council, and refers to the "secret" documents he says are being kept from the public by the Council and the property developers involved in the £100 million scheme. The scheme is, he says, "..all about making money for rich and powerful people."
He concludes by predicting that they will win the fight against the authority and this letter is clearly timed both to support the campaign but embarrass the Council. It is not a secret, for example, that Boris Johnson will be in town tomorrow night at Hammersmith Town Hall.
That should be an interesting evening, as the angry hordes descend from the various corners of the North of the borough that the Council seems intent on redeveloping despite large scale opposition. There may be fireworks..
(Click on "view in full screen" - bottom left button on the letter)
Slaughter Letter to Residents March 2012
1500 UPDATE - well that caused a bit of a stir and the local Conservative councillor representing the area in which the estate sits has hit back very angrily indeed. He has asked me to publish his comments as part of the article to give them the same prominence as Mr Slaughter's letter which I am more than happy to do. Here's what Councillor Thomas Crofts of North End Ward has to say:
A proforma letter which has been sent to all residents on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates by their local MP, misleads residents as to the facts regarding the potential West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates redevelopment. Here are the straightforward answers to his claims:
1. It is wrong to state that the council has been forced to consult with residents on the two estates. The council has always stated that it would consult with everyone and will only proceed if redevelopment is the right thing to do for people living on the two estates, the wider neighbourhood and the borough as a whole.
2. It is wrong to say that the council wants to sign a contract with a developer to sell both estates for £100m. The priority for the council is to negotiate replacement brand new homes for people living on both estates; additional affordable housing and the council must also get a fair price for its land before it can agree to proceed. Any money received by the council would be ploughed back for the good of the borough.
3. It is wrong to state that the Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) will be a secret document. The CLSA will be a public document when and if the agreement is finalised. However the basic terms affecting tenants and leaseholders are already public as part of the current consultation.
4. It is wrong to claim that this is about making money for rich and powerful people. The council has no interest in making money for rich and powerful people. This redevlopment is about the opportunity to provide new homes, attract thousands of new jobs and investment to the area.
5. It is wrong to state that residents will end up on a building site for up to 20 years. Redevelopment of the estates is planned to take place in phases and the first phase on Seagrave Road providing 200 new homes has already received planning permission and will be built over the next 2-3 years.
6. It is wrong to say that the council has not told tenants where they will be offered a new home. The council has stated clearly that all residents will be offered a brand new home within the redevelopment site and vulnerable private tenants will continue to be protected under the homelessness legislation.
7. It is wrong to claim that tenants in houses will inevitably lose their gardens and be forced to downsize. Tenants who have a house and need one will be offered a brand new house as a replacement.
8. It is wrong to state that leaseholders and freeholders will have to move away. All leaseholders and freeholders receive generous compensation packages and an offer of a brand new home in the new development at a significant discount without an increase in costs.
9. It is wrong to insinuate that the developer will not have to proceed with building the new homes. If the developer fails to perform then the council has the right to terminate the agreement with the developer.
10. It is wrong to say that the council would get its £100 million upfront. The council would receive payment for its land in phases over a number of years.
11. It is prepostorous to state that the council is running down the estates to try and demoralise residents. The council is a responsible landlord and has just completed a £10 million Decent Homes programme on both estates.
12. Finally it is shameful of him to claim that the council is preying on weak and vulnerable people. The council is fully committed to protecting the rights and interests of council tenants and leaseholders and giving the residents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a brand new home as part of this exciting new opportunity.
Mr Slaughter should be ashamed of himself for spreading fear, lies and confusion in a ward that I represent, purely for his own political gain. He is playing politics with peoples lives, but sadly, I am not surprised that he would stoop to this level.
Cllr Tom Crofts