Monday 25 August 2008

H&F Conservatives Make Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs Section AGAIN

The Rotten Boroughs section in the current issue of Private Eye (no 1217) has set aside seven paragraphs to expose how H&F’s Conservative Councillors have cut back the affordable housing element of another property scheme.

This is not the first time that our local Tory Councillors have appeared in Rotten Boroughs. This time last year Private Eye told how H&F Tories voted themselves an 18% pay hike and gave a fellow Conservative Councillor, on the adoptions panel, the equivalent of a 75% pay rise and all at the same time that they also voted over £30million of "savage cuts" to crime fighting, local schools, the elderly, the disabled, youth facilities, street cleaning, refuse collection, the garden waste scheme and the borough's environmental services.

The sad thing about the details uncovered in the current Private Eye story is that there are 9200 local families on the housing waiting list in Hammersmith and Fulham and many more residents looking to get an affordable home to rent or buy. All will be bitterly disappointed at this cut back in available affordable homes. However, with H&F Conservatives halting the affordable housing aspect of all major developments; looking to demolish affordable homes across the borough and flying to the south of France to meet major firms to try and sell off “contentious property developments”; then the Private Eye story is just the thin end of the wedge.

Monday 11 August 2008

What Are H&F Conservatives Plans To Demolish 800 West Ken Homes?

Lisa Nandy (Lab), H&F Council's Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, is calling on local Conservatives to come clean and tell the public what they're up to after Saffron Pineger of the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle scooped a story exposing that the they are in secret negotiations to demolish over 800 homes in West Kensington. The Administration wants to replace them with “hotels, offices and luxury housing”.

The story has also been picked up in the property magazine Estates Gazette which reported that H&F Council had approached the owners of the Earl’s Court exhibition centre and offered up large areas of West Kensington, including Dieppe Close and Gibbs Green School as part of plans for a massive commercial development of the neighbouring Earls Court area.

This move provides an insight to the Conservative Administration’s strategy after a senior Tory Councillor flew to Cannes in the South of France to meet international property developers. The official explanation for his trip to the luxury resort was that he had gone to try to “unlock contentious development sites”.

Cllr. Lisa Nandy told me “This is a highly 'contentious development site'. With these plans H&F Conservatives would force over 800 families out of their homes and with no guarantee of getting an affordable, decent place to live at the end of it. They clearly do not care about the disruption, insecurity or anxiety they are causing to residents of West Kensington. I have put a Freedom of Information request to get all the documents relating to the Council’s secret negotiations but given the scope of this scheme I would hope that H&F Council would do the decent thing and tell local families exactly what plans it has for their homes. These proposals would be catastrophic for the area.”

Meanwhile, an official in H&F Council’s Environment Department told me that this is only one of many “contentious development sites” which the H&F Conservatives have identified across the borough. I will report on those as we glean more details.