Earls Court progress report to go before Cabinet

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Earls Court progress report to go before Cabinet

Monday April 16, 2012

A progress report around the decision on whether to include West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the planned comprehensive redevelopment of Earls Court is due to go before Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Cabinet.

The report will include the draft terms of a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) with developer Capital & Counties, the owner of Earls Court exhibition centres.

It also includes the preliminary findings of a consultation with residents into the substantive terms of the CLSA, which includes the offer to Tenants, Leaseholders and Freeholders negotiated by a Steering Group of residents living on the estates.

A decision on whether to include the estates in wider plans for the area is likely to be made in the comings months but H&F Council Leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh said he wanted to put as much in the public domain now as possible so people can be clear on where the Council is in its thinking.

Results of the consultation are still being analysed, but preliminary findings show that opinion is divided. Out of those who took part in the consultation, more people in the wider area support the plans and more people on the estates object.

In terms of the statutory consultation on the estate itself, 331 secure council tenants out of 584 eligible submitted responses of which 215 objected (36.8% of all secure tenants) and 102 supported (17.5%) of all secure tenants), 14 were neutral or did not provide enough information to indicate they supported or objected (2.3% of all secure tenants). Out of the total number of statutory tenants who could have taken part 253 (43.3%) did not return feedback forms.

Of 73 leaseholders who responded, 30 supported and 37 objected.

There is a much higher degree of opposition from freeholders and tenants living in housing association properties.

In the wider area 448 supported and 108 were opposed.

Overall 1,616 responses were received, of which 1,427 were considered.

189 responses were not included in the final figures for the following reasons:

  • Where the same resident submitted a response more than once only one has been counted.
  • Response did not give names and addresses.
  • Responses from children under the age of 12.
  • Some residents submitted more than one response but with conflicting views. In a small number of these it has not been possible to determine which view they wanted represented.

By the time Cabinet meets all the responses will be available for inspection upon request, including the responses that were not considered. Information that could identify individuals will be redacted for reasons of privacy.

The full draft terms of the Conditional Land Sale Agreement will also be discussed at the Cabinet meeting. The terms state that:

  • All homes on the estate will be replaced within the redevelopment area.
  • People will only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied.
  • People who are currently overcrowded on the estate will be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are under-occupying will be offered  a new home with one additional bedroom above their need.
  • Secure council tenants will remain secure tenants and receive a £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way.
  • Resident leaseholders will receive the market value of their home, which is independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation. They will be offered a 10% discount on the value of a new home should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They will not have to increase their mortgage costs to do this.

Importantly, if the CLSA is agreed it will contain  termination clauses should neither H&F Council nor Capital & Counties fulfil promises. This is designed to accelerate redevelopment.

If the CLSA is agreed the Council would eventually receive approximately £105 million, an estimated £64 million of which, after compensation and costs, would be available to be reinvested back in the borough. The Council would also receive 760 replacement homes for people currently living on the estates.  Taken together independent financial advice received by the Council says the CLSA would be worth £214 million to £288 million as a whole before costs.

If redevelopment happens it would be based around the vision of Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan which would create 9,500 new permanent jobs and 36,000 temporary construction jobs.

The masterplan is built on a vision of creating four separate ‘villages’ linked by a new High Street. Overall this would include 7,583 new homes, of which 1500 would be affordable.  It would also include new shops, offices, parkland, leisure facilities, a new school, new transport links and  healthcare centre.

A detailed planning application to 808 build homes at Seagrave Road has been approved by H&F Council. If the CLSA is agreed approximately 200 of these homes would be used in a first phasing plan. People would be moved in defined blocks designed to minimise disruption, keep neighbours together and ensure that people only have to move once.

H&F Council’s Cabinet is being asked to recommend that officers continue to analyse the consultation results and to conclude final discussions on the CLSA so that Cabinet is able to make a final decision in the coming months.

H&F Council leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh: "We are making good progress in considering future options. We want to be as open and transparent as possible on where we are in our thinking which is why we are taking the step of making all consultation responses available for inspection.

“We recognise that while some people on the estates are clearly in favour, many more have concerns. Yet it is clear that the majority of people living on the estates have yet to tell us either way or simply do not know. We will continue to talk to all residents in explaining how the CLSA will affect them should be it be agreed."

Notes to editor:

  • The CLSA consultation closed on March 12th 2012.Overall 30,000 properties in the Fulham area received a consultation pack, including 760 properties on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.
  • 1,616 responses were received, of which 1,424 responses were considered.
  • On the estates itself 805 out of a possible 1,896 took part, a response rate of 42%.
  • A copy of the Cabinet Report which includes a summary of the preliminary consultation findings and a copy of the preliminary consultation report can be found at www.lbhf.gov.uk/westken.