Angry residents anxiously await Earl’s Court regeneration scheme meeting


Residents are also compiling evidence to prove bribery allegations in court.


By Khaleda Rahman

Angry residents affected by the Earl’s Court regeneration scheme are compiling evidence to prove bribery allegations in court.

West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates are to be demolished and replaced with ‘urban villages’ if the project is granted planning permission tomorrow.

Community organiser Jonathan Rosenberg said: “We have all the evidence we need to prove the allegations true. It’s as clear as day.”

When asked if he knew of residents promised a priority home provided they backed the scheme, Mr Rosenberg replied with a resounding yes.

He said: “Residents were in no doubt what they had been promised, and when doubt was raised, they were reassured.

“Because it is a very serious matter, because you are looking at civil and criminal charges, we will go to court.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Nicholas Botterill is denying allegations that residents were promised priority homes if they supported the council’s decision. 

Mr Rosenberg is leading The People’s Estates, who are fiercely campaigning against demolition.

Campaigners have been canvassing the area with newsletters and publicising their plight via a blog.

Many residents in the Earl’s Court area are vehemently opposed to demolition, fearing the loss of their homes would have a detrimental effect on the community.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council sold the area around Earl’s Court to developer CapCo as part of an £8billion redevelopment scheme on September 3.

Over 150 residents and supporters came out to protest the sale.

Refusing to surrender, they plan to protest further tomorrow evening, when the council will decide whether to grant planning permission to the Sir Terry Farrell designed project.

The council say it will reap ‘more than a £1billion worth of community benefits in the local area’, including 8,000 new homes and it will create 9,500 permanent jobs.

The plans also include a new primary school, health centre and a library.

Council Leader Mr Botterill said: “This major regeneration could lead the way in lifting the country out of recession – ploughing hundreds of millions of pounds into London’s community.”

CapCo also plan to demolish the art deco Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.

West Kensington estate resident Richard Osband said: “The Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre is a cultural icon and an economic powerhouse.”

But not all residents are against the redevelopment.

Maureen Way, Chair of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Steering Group, said: “These estates really need redevelopment, and this is a great chance to do that. We shouldn’t let political bickering get in the way of the fact that we are potentially being offered new homes – which is what most people want.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the planning committee meeting at 7pm on September 12 at Hammersmith Town Hall.

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