Planning permission has been granted for the contentious Earl's Court redevelopment scheme which has been fought tooth and nail by residents set to lose their homes on the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates.
A £452 million package has been agreed between developers CapCo and our Council, along with neighbouring K&C and Transport for London. The package includes 1,500 affordable homes, a primary school, leisure centre and park space and has been agreed under what is called a "section106 agreement".
The scheme remains subject to legal battles, however, and local MP Andy Slaughter greeted the news angrily:
‘Boris Johnson and the Conservative-controlled Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea Councils are destroying communities, skilled jobs and historic sites to please their developer friends and speed up the social cleansing of west London. An integrated community that includes people from every walk of life will be replaced with a soulless development’.While Council Leader Nick Botterill took, unsurprisingly, the opposite view:
‘My constituents are appalled by this development. It demolishes 760 affordable, good-quality, newly modernised houses and flats, the workshops and sidings that keep the tube running and the iconic Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre. In their place will be 8,000 high-rise luxury flats, almost all of which will be bought off plan by international investors and remain empty for most of the year.
‘Its construction will cause chaos and disruption to West Kensington and Earl’s Court for the next 20 years.
‘And it is terrible value for the taxpayer. The land has been sold to the developer for a fraction of its value and the planning permission achieves only 10% extra ‘affordable’ housing against a target of 40%. The ‘affordable’ housing is too expensive for low income families or first-time buyers. Even the requirement to review the developer’s profit during the 20 year construction period has been waived by the councils. This developer must think they have won the lottery.
‘Far from taking the opportunity to build new homes that ordinary families could afford, the housing crisis in London has just been made worse.’
“The redevelopment of Earls Court and West Kensington will usher in a new era of prosperity and opportunity on a scale that has never been seen before in West London.
“We have said, from the very outset, that we would only include the estates if people living on them substantially benefit from redevelopment, followed by the wider area.
“This agreement can leave estate residents in no doubt that they will be the major beneficiaries of the scheme, not only gaining brand new homes, but also reaping the rewards of the huge raft of community improvements that will help them to make a success of their lives.”