Big Society “threatens Earls Court Plans”

The Coalition Government’s “localism” plans are reported to threaten the CapCo plans for Earls Court, and could obstruct many other projects that involve replacing social housing.

Both the FT and the Fulham Chronicle report that CLG comments indicate it may become easier for residents and tenants associations to take control of their homes, which could obstruct projects like the Earls Court regeneration that involve taking ageing estates, demolishing them, and redelivering social and affordable housing as part of a wider scheme.

The FT says that the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed it will consult on implementing as-yet unused powers in the 1985 Housing Act that would allow tenants the right to take housing from the council and transfer it to a mutual organisation owned by the residents.

Some residents of West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates have been campaigning to do this, and although support from locals has been shown for the CapCo plans in a consultation, these new CLG rules could allow the tenant-campaigners to get their wish.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council thinks this would not reflect the desires of a majority of residents. Leader Stephen Greenhalgh told the Chronicle: “We do not believe that these two TRAs are now representative of residents on the two estates.”

The CapCo plans could well proceed without the estate regeneration element. The Council has not formally decided to include the estates in the area plan anyway. But this consequence of localism could have implications for this and many other schemes across the country.

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