Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Slaughter in mass letter: disgusted with Council

Shirley Wiggins, Chair of West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes receives MP's letter 
Andy Slaughter has sent the below letter to every resident on the West Ken & Gibbs Green Estate, threatened by the Council's plan to evict them in order to redevelop the estate. Although council tenants have been promised to be re-homed many private tenants will in effect be made homeless by the scheme, as this 9 year old told a Council officer as beefy security men stood around her.

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


  1. Richard Osband, formerly of the pro-development Steering Group, has been telling a very different story to the Councillor's comments, as covered on this blog and at the W14 Community site.

  2. Given the behaviour of LBHF why would anyone believe them? So many residents, shopkeepers, visitors to the areas are incensed by their arrogant dismissive actions and yet they continue to ignore the people who they say they represent. Not sure when all these developers started paying their salaries.This appalling attitude is not just limited to one part of the borough.

  3. Thanks for reporting on this Chris, and providing both sides. Hard one to call for me. Andy Slaughter always seems a bit looney left, and quick to demonise anything that involves private sector finance, no matter how good the outcome, but this council does seem to be run by pretty squalid fat-cat types colluding a little bit too closely with shadey development types. I'd be interested to hear what some residents think, not being familiar with the estae or the issues. Nik

  4. Well I never thought of Andy as a leftie within new Labour, or with his current shadow role under Milliband. What he has done is to speak loudly about what the tories in LBHF have been upto. Chris has earlier suggested they only do harm to W12 as their majority comes from well heeled Fulham. This is not correct. Developers (including one of their favourites, St Georges)have been granted planning for huge and inappropriate developments from below Hammersmith Bridge to and beyond Sands End. We used to be able to view Wandsworth riverside and say thank goodness we don't look like that with their high rise ugly flats. (even their friends at the Royal Borough of K&C objected) No more, LBHF are up there with multi story high rise and tiny 'Manhatten' studios, with no social housing, just a few minimal equity share homes available if you earn less than £70k a year....or rather do earn £70k, otherwise you won't aford them...I could say more, esp about the yuppie councillors but probably best to stop here for now. Have a nice day! Iain Muir

  5. All I can say is that it does seem a bit strange to complete a £10m Decent Homes programme and then flatten it all.

    I don't really know the estate or any issues, so can't comment on those.


  6. Slaughter's 'facts' reek of leftist propaganda. I don't trust a word he says.

  7. The Council's comments reek of right-wing profiteering at the expense of residents who have no desire to be moved.

  8. I have never even seen the Tory Councillor on our estates. The facts he is disputing are not true,

    Fact 1. The council have not be working with the elected Tenenats groups on either estates. They did have secret meetings with a couple of people on the committes who then resigned and joined the steering group set up by the council with £38.000 of tax payers money Richard osband will confirm this as he was one of them but he has now realised the lies teh council are telling.
    Fact 3. I have today been told bu a Tory councellor that any changes to the CLSA which have happened DO NOT need to be made pubic. I ask myself WHY

    Fact 4. Stephen Greenhalgh himself told a packed Hall on Gibbs Green in 2009 that he only wanted affluent people living here. He also has been noted to say that people that live on these 2 estates are all under educated and on benfits etc. He has denied this but we have proof that he said these things.
    Fact 7: The cpouncil at drop in sessions have told us that we may not get exactly what we have now. Originally we were told like for like now we are told if you have 2 beds you get 2 beds. Even teh steering group have said that people may loose their gardens.
    Fact 11: They may have completed the decent homes work but some homes did not get new windows like many other estates WHY not?

    These are just some of the mistruths. Need I go on

    When the council signed teh £10 million exclusivity deal why did they not undertake Due Diligence and then do it in retreospect with PWC Auditors who also happen to be CAO CO auditors. It stinks to me.

    All the residents are asking for is to be givien an answer Stephen Greenhalgh promised we would know one way or the other by 2011. If he cant keep that promise how we trust him.

    We have asked for an independent vote but they wont give it to us and over 2/3rds of the estates do not want the development to happen what have they got to lose by giving us the vote? Oh Yes we would win then what would they do. If Stephen Greenhalgh is all for the redevelopment why is he not seeing it through to the end.