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Council demands back estate on £1.1bn Earls Court site

Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council has called on developer Capco to hand back the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estate after branding the £1.1bn plans “undeliverable”.

The estate, which is still occupied by residents, forms part of a £1.1bn development in west London, which also covers the old Earls Court exhibition centre site.

In November the council informed residents, who have opposed the scheme, that developer Capco was to present a revised plan for the development.

Capco said it was looking at increasing the number of affordable homes from 7,500 to 10,000.

But today the local authority (LBHF) rejected Capco’s proposals outright.

The council said: “LBHF views the current agreed scheme as undeliverable and have called on Capco to return the estates to LBHF as this is the only viable way forward.

It added: “LBHF has taken into account the concerns raised in October last year by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the recent position of the Greater London Authority on regeneration schemes.

“Therefore LBHF, as landowner, does not believe that the proposed level of density and affordable housing could be supported or delivered.”

As part of the conditional land sale agreement, Capco exercised an option to purchase the estates in 2013.

So far it has paid £75m for the estates, with two further payments of £15m due at the end of 2018 and 2019.

Responding the council’s decision, Capco said: “We note with disappointment the statements released by London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham regarding the viability of ‘the proposed level of density and affordable housing’.

“However, as announced on 8 November 2017, we remain in discussions with LBHF in relation to future plans for the estates, as part of the wider masterplan.” 

The Earls Court Masterplan, which covers 31 ha in west London, has been in development since 2009, but over the last two years its value has fallen from £1.4bn to £1.1bn.

Local pressure groups have petitioned the council to stop the demolition of the estate.

West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates community organiser Jonathan Rosenberg said: “Residents are fed up with being kicked around in this high-stakes game of property speculation.

“The best way for them [Capco] to de-risk the redevelopment is to hand back the estates to the council. For the sake of our community, they should do it now.”

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