LBHF finds no ‘priority housing’ evidence

An investigation commissioned by LB Hammersmith & Fulham into allegations they offered priority housing in return for support for the Earls Court regeneration scheme has found no evidence.

Allegations were made last year that the council had drawn up an ‘early movers’ list containing the names of residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates who had been promised new council homes if they signed their support for demolition of the two estates. The council appointed Deloitte to investigate the claims.

Deloittes has now reported back saying there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. In their report to the council, they state: “We have not identified any evidence to support the allegation of the existence on an Early Movers List, VIP List or priority listing by any other name.”

Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of H&F Council, said: “The independent investigators found no evidence of any wrong doing by anyone connected with the council and confirmed that these accusations are totally without foundation.

“No homes have been built, let alone been allocated, and nobody has received preferential treatment. As is normal on a regeneration scheme of this size, the council talked to all affected residents about their housing needs and requirements during a two-year consultation. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone was promised anything in return for supporting the regeneration scheme.

“The reality is that if residents are eventually moved it will happen in accordance with a local lettings plan, which will be agreed by a public committee in the normal way, that will take into account the needs and preferences of all residents.

“We can now get on with the important work of ensuring that estate residents, together with those living in the wider area are the major beneficiaries of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to comprehensively regenerate this part of London.”

The allegations were one of a number of challenges to LBH&F’s plan to sell the estates to Capital & Counties for inclusion in their wider Earls Court regeneration scheme. An application for a judicial review recently failed.

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