Capco confirm plans which would lift 'the curse that has sorely afflicted our community'
Capco has also confirmed that it is drawing up a new masterplan for the giant 77 acre Earls Court development which would see the council take back control of the estates, which contain 760 homes and almost 2,000 residents.
Residents have been campaigning against demolition of their homes to make way for luxury flats since plans were revealed almost ten years ago.
This week, Stephen Cowan's letter revealed that Capco is now proposing to develop a new masterplan for the Earls Court scheme and he says if that gets planning permission, it would see the two estates return to council control.
In response, Community Organiser, Jonathan Rosenberg, issued the following statement from the estates' three residents organisations: "At £18 billion, the Earl’s Court scheme is the most valuable on-site urban redevelopment in the world outside of China.
"For nine long years, residents have been fighting to save their homes and preserve their community. Our campaign has been through some very dark times. But right now there is a tremendous wave of excitement sweeping across the estates.
"The Council Leader is working very hard to get the estates out of the land sale contract. We believe that our campaign is on course for victory and we look forward to finally lifting the curse that has so sorely afflicted our community."
Developer Capco has been forced to changed its plans for the huge Earls Court development due to the slump at the top of the property market. As we reported in February of this year, the development lost a fifth of its value during 2016, with slow sales at the first phase, Lillie Square in Seagrave Road.
Work is progressing on the second phase, on the site of the now demolished Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
However, the redevelopment of an adjoining site on Lillie Road, surrounding Empress Place has been put on hold for at least two years.
As we reported last month, this is being reopened on 15 November as a pop-up venue called The Prince, with a row of pop-up independent shops to follow.
In his letter, Stephen Cowan says: "On 10 August 2012, the approved Earls Court scheme was valued at £12.05 billion. That scheme included all the homes on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.
"A few months later, at a cabinet meeting on the 3 September 2012, it was agreed that Capco could buy the 21 acres that made up those estates for just £110 million, with a weak and insufficient provision for replacement affordable homes.
"This was a poor deal for residents. In fact, the terms of that contract failed to guarantee to provide replacement, like-for-like homes, for all the current estates’ residents which meant many residents would not be re-housed.
" My colleagues and I have been negotiating hard to either get the estates back or radically improve the deal and secure new, like-for-like homes for all our residents on the two estates."
He adds: "There are many steps before finalising this agreement, but I wanted to let you know what’s happening as soon as possible.
"We’ll keep you informed and involved. My colleagues and I will continue to put our residents’ needs first. I will
write to you again when I have more news."
You can read more residents' reactions - and see more delighted faces - at their website The People's Estates.
November 10, 2017