Estate bulldoze plans in social engineering claim

CHILLING plans to bulldoze council housing in five sites across the borough were attacked as a brazen attempt at social engineering.

CHILLING plans to bulldoze council housing in five sites across the borough were attacked as a brazen attempt at social engineering.

The proposals, rubber stamped at the town hall last Thursday, set out a programme to develop White City, North Fulham, Hammersmith Town Centre and Riverside, South Fulham Riverside and Old Oak Common along with Hythe Road.

The dramatic plans will add 615 new homes to Hammersmith and Fulham every 12 months for the next 20 years, with a public consultation launched next month.

Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith Labour MP worked with residents in West Kensington and Gibbs Green who have been among the more vocal tenants and leaseholders who have been battling the council’s grand plan from day one. Mr Slaughter said: “This a blue print for social engineering. This is a systematic plan to remove from the borough those on low incomes, people who, as far as Hammersmith is concerned, do not fit into their brave new world of luxury apartment blocks.”

Local authorities must consult on large plans, but are not legally bound to accept the results even if there is vehement protest against proposals.

The plans would shoe horn in 11,800 new homes into the borough, including 5,000 in White City, 2,000 in North Fulham, 1,000 in Hammersmith, 2,200 in South Fulham and 1,600 in Old Oak Common and Hythe Road.

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The scheme, which will have a big impact on services such as schools and hospitals, is also part of Boris Johnson’s London Plan and will need to go before Tory housing minister, Grant Shapps before final approval is granted.

Lyn Garner, assistant director of planning, who was heavily involved in the West Kensington and Gibbs Green development, was seconded to City Hall to cover maternity leave as executive director for development and environment.

City Hall confirmed Ms Garner is now employed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) covering housing, planning, environment and transport but stressed she has no continued responsibilities to H&F Council.

A spokeswoman said: “As is standard practice, should a situation arise where it is appropriate for her to delegate her authority on a decision making process, she, of course, would do so, as any staff member in a similar position would be required to do.”

The developers at the Earl’s Court and West Kensington sites, Capital and Counties, confirmed it held a meeting with community regeneration guru Lord Andrew Mawson as recently June.

Lord Mawson is a controversial critic of the effectiveness of public services and an advocate of enterprise and private business as a solution to poverty and housing problems.

Residents raised concerns about his role in development, although a Capco spokesman pointed out that while the peer was involved in a meeting over the summer ‘he does not appear in anybody’s diary.’

Stephen Greenhalgh, the H&F council leader, said the council wants to encourage millions of pounds of investment, jobs and housing opportunities, particularly for those on middle incomes.

“We need to build for the middle as there are very few affordable homes for the majority who want to step on to the property ladder.

“That is the biggest issue we must address by increasing the supply of intermediate affordable housing.”