A property company has been ordered by Hammersmith and Fulham council to return two housing estates. Talks were broken off with developer Capco over the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates. Stephen Cowan, who heads the council said that they should be returned to local authority control. The two sides were in negotiations over a ‘masterplan’ for the £12 billion regeneration of the Earl’s Court area but this would require demolition the estates, a move described as “undeliverable” by the council who “called on Capco to return the estates to LBHF as this is the only viable way forward.” The council said that “as landowner, [it] does not believe that the proposed level of density and affordable housing could be supported or delivered
The estates have 760 homes and 2000 residents between them and were sold for £110 million to Capco in 2012 under the previous Conservative administration. Residents had already been fighting this sale to save their homes since the sale was touted in 2009. They accused Capco of trying to sell to Saudi investors for £500 million though the company denies this. Residents are being offered new homes in blocks built by Capco.
“Residents are fed up with being kicked around in this high-stakes game of property speculation,” Jonathan Rosenberg, community org-aniser for West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, said. “Capco wants to exit the scheme, but there’s no way anyone will buy it so long as our estates and campaign are part of the package. The best way for them to de-risk the redevelopment is to hand back the estates.”