West Ken Residents Produce 'People's Plan' for Estates

Showing they can be improved and new homes added without demolition

Residents of West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates say they are proud to present the People’s Plan for improvements and new homes, an alternative to plans which would see them being demolished as part of the huge Earls Court redevelopment.

Resident say that while these still early proposals, they demonstrate that demolition of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates (which a majority of residents have consistently opposed) is simply not necessary.

On their website The People's Estates the residents say: " So far over 100 of us have come together to identify how we want to develop our estates and improve our homes in the future. We have enlisted professionally accredited architects, valuers and quantity surveyors to show that what we want is possible.

" The project has been funded by the Nationwide Foundation as part of its support for initiatives to develop alternative models for creating new affordable housing.

You can read a summary of the People's Plan here.

You can read a report by ASH - Architects for Social Housing - here

"There are currently 760 homes on the estates. We are proposing to build 250 new homes where we have identified space. By selling 180 of these, we could generate £50 million to help pay for the improvements and 70 new homes for social rent.

" Most of the new homes for social rent would be family size houses, but some would be bungalows for elderly and disabled residents. These new homes would help address overcrowding on the estates and suit tenants looking to down-size. Most of the homes for sale would be built in new storeys above, and extensions to, existing blocks of housing.

" Proposed improvements include: better insulation and ventilation; upgraded bins and refuse systems; glazed balconies to add space to the one bedroom flats in the tower blocks; upgraded communal areas; better control of green space; better security; enhanced landscaping with a new community garden and allotments.

" In addition, we are proposing an estate-based housing office and a new community centre for both estates. And, we would re-instate the concierge scheme for Fairburn and Churchward Houses."

The Chairs of the two Tenants and Residents Associations, Sally Taylor and Diana Belshaw, and the Chair of West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes, Keith Drew, said: "As the residents, we think it should be for us to choose what sort of future we have for our community. The People’s Plan is far better than the scheme the developer wants to impose on us. It shows that the vision we have been campaigning for since 2009 can be achieved."

The residents add: " We have been advised that our proposals could be completed within five years of obtaining the necessary permissions – far less time than it would take for the developer to demolish and redevelop the estates.

" The People’s Plan could be implemented either by the residents through West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes, if we succeed in taking ownership of the estates through the Right to Transfer, or by working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Mayor for London should the developer-led scheme fail. "

" These are still early proposals: please get in touch and tell us what you think! You can find us on Twitter @WestKenGibbsGr or #ThePeoplesPlan or on Facebook.

A copy of the feedback form can be downloaded here. You can contact Housing Organiser Zoe on 07754 701 636 or email zoe.wkggch@gmail.com.

The Nationwide Foundation says it has provided a two-year grant to WKGGCH to support residents in west London obtain community-ownership of two housing estates which are at risk of demolition and forced rehousing.

The two adjacent housing estates - West Kensington and Gibbs Green - comprise of 760 homes and these are mainly occupied by social housing tenants. The land is currently owned by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, yet the homes are under threat of purchase and demolition by a property developer as part of the wider Earl's Court redevelopment.

The residents of this community have come together to form WKGGCH in a fight to protect their homes. WKGGCH is taking the case - the first of its kind - to the Secretary of State for Department of Communities and Local Government for a decision in the hope of preserving this well-functioning community, and ultimately creating additional affordable housing. It also plans to preserve and manage the existing affordable rented accommodation for local people and others in need of low-cost housing.

September 2, 2016