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Monday, 22 December 2014

Confirmation from our MP


We are extremely grateful to our MP Mr. Greg Hands for his assistance in this matter.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Crossrail 2 consultation - the next stage

Transport for London (TfL) have just begun the next stage of consultation on its proposed Crossrail 2 service. 

The amended proposals no longer contain any mention of a Crossrail 2 station at "Chelsea West" but do contain a station on the Kings Road.

Full details of the amended proposals are available from the Crossrail 2 website:

http://crossrail2.co.uk/

The proposals have moved on to the stage where decisions are being made about the precise route and the location of stations. 

The Department for Transport (Dft) is consulting on the amended safeguarding proposals. The consultation page is available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/crossrail-2-safeguarding-directions 

The scheme's safeguarding proposals, indicating the route that the underground tunnels will take and the land required to enable the construction of the stations, have been updated and are available from the DfT website. 

The Council have issued a press release with regards to the above. It is available here:

http://rbkc.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets/managingtraffic/consultations/crossrail2.aspx

Monday, 10 November 2014

The latest news from Greg Hands MP

Greg Hands MP's latest newsletter contains the following snippet of what appears to be very good news:

"Was briefed by senior officials at Transport for London on the next moves on Crossrail 2, and the future of a station in Chelsea. TfL confirmed that the “Chelsea West” option for the station is now excluded, and the station will come to Dovehouse Green on King’s Road, Chelsea, subject to further consultation."

It would appear that the Cremorne Estate ("Chelsea West") is no longer being considered as a potential site for a Crossrail 2 station. 

Greg Hands MP has been extremely helpful throughout. However we are awaiting final and definitive confirmation from Transport for London (TfL) due later this year.

BBC: London Crossrail 2 'preferred route' outlined by mayor

An article recently appeared on the BBC website describing the situation post-consultation. 

We're hopeful that this confirms that the Cremorne Estate is no longer being considered as a potential site for a Crossrail 2 station. Unfortunately we can't be 100% certain until Transport for London (TfL) publish full details of their preferred route later this year.

London Crossrail 2 'preferred route' outlined by mayor

A preferred route for a proposed £20bn Crossrail 2 scheme, running north-south through London, has been identified by mayor Boris Johnson.


The new "preferred route" for Crossrail 2

A second Crossrail scheme is vital to support the capital's growth, the mayor claimed.

If approved by the government, the line could be transporting up to 90,000 people into central London in the morning peak by 2030.

Crossrail 2 would run from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire to Epsom in Surrey.

It would pass through central London via places including Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Chelsea and Clapham Junction.

If proposals are approved, construction could begin in 2017.

'Globally competitive'

Setting out the case for the line in a speech at the City Age conference, the mayor said: "With London's population soon to surpass its previous 1939 peak of 8.6 million and with more people travelling by Tube and rail than ever before, we need additional rail capacity to support future growth.

"For the capital to remain globally competitive, there needs to be continued investment in our transport network and that's why we have to get cracking on planning for Crossrail 2."

The scheme would complement the £14.8bn east-west Crossrail scheme, currently being built and scheduled to be operational by 2018.

Supporters say it will slash journey times across London, with a journey from Kingston, in south-west London, to Tottenham Court Road being completed in 29 minutes - 17 minutes faster than today.

Those travelling between Dalston, in north-east London and Tottenham Court Road would have an eight-minute journey - 19 minutes faster than today.

Mr Johnson said he was confident the private sector could, in the right circumstances, contribute to well over half the cost of Crossrail 2.

Opportunities for consultation

Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross said the announcement of a preferred route was "a big step forward" but added: "What we need to see now is the fully worked-up funding package which will make this project a reality."

Despite broad support for a new rail link in Chelsea, it is one area where there is concern over the positioning of a new station.

Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands, has said there was "a great deal of concern" from residents on Cremorne Estate, on the King's Road, that demolition of housing may be required if it is chosen for the location of the Chelsea West station.

The current proposed location for the station would be further east near the fire station on the King's Road and received the majority of support in this summer's consultation.

The consultation document says, over the course of 2015, there will be further work on the consideration and assessment of options and a number of opportunities for more detailed consultation.

The original article is here: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-29804467

Stakeholders

Further to our last post Transport for London (TfL) have provided the following clarification with regards to their use of the term "stakeholders" in their recently issued report on the Crossrail 2 consultation.

Thank you for your email regarding the Crossrail 2 consultation, I am sorry for the delay in responding.

Our term "stakeholder" is usually a public body such as local authority or residents group amongst others. We also refer to publicly elected members as "stakeholders". The reason we split the stakeholder replies from the public is that many members of the public are interested to see what their local members are saying so we publish the public and stakeholder replies.

There is no weight added to stakeholder replies during the consultation process. One view is treated the same as another. 


We're glad to see that TfL will be treating all views equally.

Monday, 3 November 2014

TfL Crossrail 2 report - the simple summary

Transport for London (TfL) published its report into the public consultation on its Crossrail 2 proposals last week. These were the proposals that included plans for a potential Crossrail 2 station at "Chelsea West", the site of the Cremorne Estate. 

You can download the TfL report in full from here: 
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/crossrail/june-2014/user_uploads/crossrail-2-consultation-report-2014--published-.pdf

Having read those parts of the report of relevance to the proposals for a Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea we can summarise the key points as follows:

It may not have been obvious that they would do this at the time but TfL have split the survey in two: a survey of individuals and a survey of "stakeholders". It is unclear how stakeholders were identified, in particular as many local organisations were not formally contacted by TfL. There is some evidence to suggest that TfL split the survey in two by simply separating out the responses from individuals representing themselves from those of individuals claiming to represent organisations. 

In any case, the report indicates that 5,181 persons responded to the survey as individuals ("members of the public") and 99 responded on behalf of organisations ("stakeholders"). 

Not all respondents expressed an option on all of the proposals TfL consulted upon. In particular only 50 stakeholders voiced any opinion whatsoever with regards to the proposals for a Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea.

Of the 5,181 persons who responded to the survey, 973 (19%) claimed to live within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 

By TfL's own admission around 400 people attended each of the four consultation drop-in events held in Kensington and Chelsea (two at the Chelsea Theatre, two at Chelsea Old Town Hall). By way of contrast the equivalent events in Hackney attracted just 40 people each. 

With regards to a station in Chelsea those consulted were offered three different options from which to choose: (i) a station at Dovehouse Street (Chelsea Fire Station); (ii) a station at "Chelsea West" (effectively the site of the Cremorne Estate); and (iii) no station at all. 

The report indicates that the response was as follows:

In favour of the station at Dovehouse Street: 32% (1,673 respondents). 
In favour of the station at Chelsea West: 21% (1,113 respondents).
In favour of no station at all: 24% (1,222 respondents). 

Against the station at Dovehouse Street: 19% (993 respondents).

Against the station at Chelsea West: 26% (1,359 respondents).
Against no station at all: 27% (1,411 respondents).

TfL indicates that 50 "stakeholders" responded to the "Chelsea West" portion of the survey. They reponded as follows: 

In favour of the station at Dovehouse Street: 32% (16 respondents).
In favour of the station at Chelsea West: 38% (19 respondents).
In favour of no station at all: 24% (12 respondents).

Against the station at Dovehouse Street: 32% (16 respondents).

Against the station at Chelsea West: 24% (12 respondents).
Against no station at all: 32% (16 respondents).

Our opinions and thoughts on these results and what consequences they might have for the residents of the Cremorne Estate and those living nearby will follow shortly.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

TfL publishes consultation results

TfL have posted their report on the results of the consultation carried out in June/July.

You can download the report from here:
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/crossrail/june-2014/user_uploads/crossrail-2-consultation-report-2014--published-.pdf

We are currently going through the report and its appendices and will be posting our thoughts on the blog shortly.

Friday, 19 September 2014

London RTB tenants 'forced out' of city

An article was recently published on the BBC website describing the plight of Council leaseholders faced with "regeneration schemes".

London Right to Buy tenants 'forced out' of city
By Zack Adesina BBC Inside Out, London 

For developers, businesses and local authorities, regeneration can lead to big profits, but Inside Out London has discovered that for some homeowners, who bought under the Right to Buy scheme, it can lead to the loss of their homes.

All over London, dozens of ageing council estates, past their prime, are being demolished to make way for redevelopments.

It means that leaseholders who bought their homes on these sites under the Right to Buy scheme are being hit with Compulsory Purchase Orders and forced to move out.

Local authorities are legally bound to reimburse these homeowners but Inside Out has uncovered evidence that shows some are being pressured to accept sums that are below market value.

'Fair price'

Ten homeowners on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark say the council has priced their properties at such low rates it will leave them financially ruined and force them out of the capital.

But when the leaseholders hired independent valuers they came up with figures far higher than the council's.

Beverley Robinson, who bought her home on the estate over a decade ago, claims the local authority valued her flat at £117,000 while two independent valuers priced it at about £300,000.

Ms Robinson said if she accepts the council's offer she will have no choice but to move out of the capital. 

"You can't buy a home in London for under £140,000 which means I will have to start again, finding a mortgage, and at my age that's not an option. I will be turned down by the banks," she said.

Agnes Kabuto, who lives on the same estate, said the council had offered her £145,000 for her three-bedroom home while similar-sized properties in the area were going for about £385,000.

She said swapping her rent account for a mortgage was a mistake. 

"I regret buying under Right to Buy. I worked hard to pay for this property. It was meant to be my nest egg for old age but now I feel like the council has robbed me of my home," she said.

But Southwark's Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Mark Williams, said leaseholders are being offered a fair price.

Legal action

He said: "We are doing everything we can to work with homeowners who are required to move out.

"They are being offered market values for their properties... plus 10% for the inconvenience of moving."

The council also claims leaseholders who wish to remain on the estate will be able to move into new homes under shared ownership or shared equity.

Several of the affected residents are now considering legal action against Southwark Council.

But Southwark is not the only London borough where a row has erupted over a regeneration estate.

Inside Out has discovered that homeowners in Hackney, Hendon and Lambeth are also challenging the compulsory purchase amounts being offered by their local authority. 

Peeved and disappointed of Chelsea

One of our neighbours recently wrote to the Hornet to express their displeasure at recent events:

Dear Dame, 

In light of recent articles on the Sutton Estate I thought your readers might appreciate an update on the other example of attempted "social engineering" in the heart of Chelsea. 

As your readers are no doubt aware those living in the western-most corner of Chelsea were treated to an "interesting" summer thanks to Council-inspired proposals to build a Crossrail 2 station on the site of the Cremorne estate. Proposals that would have resulted in the estate's demolition and the forced relocation of its residents. The locals - residents and neighbours of the estate alike - did not take particularly kindly to the proposals, on which they had never been properly consulted by the Council. They mobilised quickly and campaigned to generate a massive and unequivocal response to the TfL consultation then underway. Sadly it appears that the Council haven't taken particularly kindly to this turn of events. 

At a recent meeting of the Kings Road Association of Chelsea Residents those who campaigned against the proposals were referred to as "trolls, troublemakers and activists" by the Leader of the Council. You would have hoped such churlish comments would be beneath both the Council and the Leader, but sadly it appears not.

News of the proposals had originally leaked from within Kensington and Chelsea TMO, the company managing the Council's housing. This would not have been appreciated by the Council and the TMO now appears intent on making amends by crippling the estate's Residents Association. The TMO have written to the Association notifying it that all future communication must be made in writing through its complaints department and that any attempts to contact individual members of staff, including the housing officers and technical staff responsible for the estate, will simply be ignored. Members of staff have confirmed an edict from above to that effect: do not communicate with the Cremorne Estate Residents Association, force them to put everything in writing, cause delay, slow everything down, wear the residents out. An interesting stance for a supposedly "resident led" housing management company whose shareholders include many of the estate's residents!

All in all not what one would have hoped from either the Council or the TMO. Some might be inclined to suggest that it would be wiser for them all to sit down, ponder what happened and attempt to re-open the lines of communication but I fear that they have already taken a leaf out of the "Housing Association's Regeneration Handbook" (currently on loan to Affinity Sutton) and consider antagonising the locals further a more appropriate strategy. 

This is not behaviour befitting the Royal Borough. We are all being let down.

Peeved and disappointed of Chelsea

Disengagement

We were not warned of the implications of the TfL consultation. We were not told that we were being consulted on the demolition of our own homes. We were subjected to the worry and uncertainty of displacement having committed no wrong and trusting those who are paid by the public purse to protect our interests. We fought in an honest and honourable way with right on our side. We came together from all political persuasions with one common interest: to save our homes.

We are now being systematically discredited and sidelined by those who should hang their heads in shame. Our most vulnerable residents are losing services as our residents association is targeted. Officers of the TMO have been instructed not to have any direct communication with our residents association. This renders our residents association powerless and unable to serve our community.

All we are guilty of is coming together as a community to fight to save our homes.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Trolls, Troublemakers and Activists

At a recent meeting of the Kings Road Association of Chelsea Residents the leader of the Council proceeded to refer to those who opposed the proposal to build a Crossrail 2 station on the site of the Cremorne Estate as "trolls, troublemakers and activists" out to misrepresent the Council's "good intentions".


We find it interesting that the leader of the Council should see fit to make any comments about those who opposed the Crossrail 2 station given that he has made no effort whatsoever to discuss the issues with us in a meaningful way. How can he know who we are, what we think or what we want when no one from the Council has bothered to try and talk to us, discuss the issues with us or, to be quite frank, engage with us in any meaningful way?

Whether the Council like it or not the truth is quite simple:

The campaign against the Crossrail 2 station was devised, managed and run by local residents - residents of the Cremorne Estate, the World's End Estate, the Lots Road triangle and nearby streets; those whose lives would be affected, possibly blighted, by the construction of the Crossrail 2 station on the site of the Cremorne Estate. The campaign was funded and resourced in its entirety by individual residents, many of whom are now significantly out of pocket as a result.

In other words: the construction of the Crossrail 2 station was opposed by ordinary people who have little or no interest in becoming embroiled in local politics in any way, shape or form. Ordinary people who simply wish to live their lives in peace but who do not take kindly to having their lives disrupted by the Council's schemes and machinations. Not "trolls, troublemakers and activists".

We can appreciate how none of this fits in with the narrative that the Council now appears intent on propagating. It may well be "inconvenient" that we aren't the nasty, quarrelsome, politically motivated opponents they would dearly love us to be, but it is the truth. And it must be frustrating when pigeonholing is rather less straightforward than usual.

BUT: if the Council wants to learn and perhaps begin to understand what happened they only have to ask. If you want to know what we think, believe and want, come and discuss the issues with us. We will willingly discuss what happened, the issues, what you want and what we want. And we will do so in an open and honest manner, with the sole expectation that you will do the same.  

We therefore await an expression of genuine interest and an honest attempt to engage. We hope the Council will choose to proceed constructively rather than simply resort to calling those who disagree silly names.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Consequences

At various points during our campaign we have found ourselves explaining to our residents and neighbours the consequences of any redevelopment, or regeneration, of the Cremorne Estate. 

To eliminate all doubt lets be clear: the consequences of any redevelopment are determined by Council policy. At the time of writing the Council's policy is perfectly straightforward.

If the redevelopment of Cremorne Estate takes place, displaced Council tenants are unlikely to be rehoused in the area. The new Allocation Policy means tenants get one offer of "suitable" housing, and if they don’t want it the Council has the right to "discharge their Duty to House". 

Council leaseholders will be "bought out" (potentially compulsory purchased) and have neither the right, nor in many cases the means, to be rehoused in the local area.

Is this not the destruction of the local community in all but name?

This is what we faced and why we fought and continue to fight. Our community is precious and we will not allow it to be harmed or destroyed in this manner.

Lies, damned lies and Council surveys

Transport for London (TfL) carried out a London-wide consultation to gauge the level of support for Crossrail 2, as proposed, amongst residents between May and August 2013. 

For some strange, and as yet unexplained reason, the Council (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) decided to run its own survey before responding to the TfL consultation. As far as we know Kensington and Chelsea was the only London borough to actually do this; every other London borough just let TfL get on with it. 

The Council's survey and its results are described on the Council's website here:


The page also contains a report on the outcome of the survey and the now infamous letter from Councillor Timothy Coleridge to Mayor Boris Johnson suggesting, for the very first time, a Crossrail 2 station "further west" of the safeguarded location at Chelsea Fire Station.

The report makes interesting reading. Given the content of the letter from Tim to Boris you might have expected it to have produced some truly outstanding and unexpected results that prompted Tim to write to Boris with the greatest of urgency. 

Did it reveal, we wondered, that the vast majority of residents were against Crossrail 2? 

Did it reveal, we wondered, that the vast majority of residents did not want a Crossrail 2 station at the safeguarded location at Chelsea Fire Station? 

Did it reveal, we wondered, a groundswell of support for a Crossrail 2 station further west, perhaps near World's End or the Cremorne Estate?

Let's take a look.

Question 1 tried to determine the level of support for Crossrail 2 (aka "the Chelsea-Hackney line"). It asked: "How strongly do you support or oppose the introduction of the Chelsea- Hackney Line, with a station in Chelsea?"

And the results were: Support - 70% (2051 residents); Neither support nor oppose - 4% (115 residents); Oppose - 25% (729 residents). 

So 70% of residents, 7 out of every 10, were in favour of both Crossrail 2 and a Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea. 

Question 5 tried to determine the level of support for a Crossrail 2 station at the currently safeguarded location of Chelsea Fire Station. It asked: "Are you in favour of a Chelsea-Hackney Line station in the Dovehouse Green/Chelsea Fire Station area?"

And the results were: Yes - 59% (1734 residents); No - 32% (934 residents); Don't know - 8% (235 residents).

Again, pretty conclusive. 59% of residents, or 6 out of every 10, were quite happy with the proposed location of the station at Dovehouse Green/Chelsea Fire station.

Now based on this you might start to wonder just where the idea for a station "further west" actually came from. If 7 out of every 10 residents supported the idea of Crossrail 2, with a station in Chelsea, and 6 out of every 10 residents were quite happy with the currently proposed site why would the Council even contemplate writing to Boris suggesting anything else? The answer is question 7. 

Question 7 tried to prompt residents to propose alternative locations for the Crossrail 2 station. It asked: "Is there a better location for a station than the Dovehouse Green/ Chelsea Fire Station area?"

And the results were: No - 33% (959 residents); Yes, to the west - 30% (892 residents); Yes, to the east - 4% (115 residents); Other (blank or don't know) - 34% (984 residents).

It's worth noting that by far the largest group of respondents to the question is the "other" group - those who simply didn't answer or didn't know. This is cause for some concern and should have prompted those analysing the results of the survey to treat the response to this question with particular care. Sadly they did not. 

The second largest group of respondents are those perfectly happy with the station at Dovehouse Green/Chelsea Fire Station. Add those two groups together and you pretty much end up with the same number of residents who answered "yes" to question 5 (959 + 892 = 1851; versus 1734). Those proposing a station "to the west" are actually the third largest group of respondents. 

Unfortunately question 7 leads the Council to make a very spurious claim. The Council has claimed that

"there was strong support for a station at the Chelsea Fire Station site on Dovehouse Street, but an almost equal number of respondents thought a new station would do more good if it were further west, towards Fulham"

Is this statement true? The actual survey results suggest otherwise.

The number of residents who favour a station at Dovehouse Green/Chelsea Fire station is indicated by the response to Question 5 - 1734 residents. 

The number of residents who favour a station "to the west" is indicated by the response to Question 7 - 892 residents. 

On what planet are 1734 and 892 comparable and "an almost equal number"? 

What's even more shocking is the actual break down of the alternative sites proposed also listed in the report. The number of respondents suggesting a station "near World's End" (i.e. the Cremorne Estate) is an outstandingly enormous 136

It would appear that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea were perfectly happy to change their own long-standing policy on Crossrail 2 - for a station in Chelsea at the safeguarded site of Chelsea Fire Station - and write a lengthy letter to Mayor Boris Johnson proposing an alternative site on the Cremorne Estate on the strength of just 136 respondents whilst simultaneously ignoring the wishes of 1734. 

That can't be right surely?

Monday, 21 July 2014

Local Paper: "Campaigners call on Kensington and Chelsea Council to rule out Crossrail 2 site on their estate"

Our recent coverage in the local paper:

Campaigners are calling on Kensington and Chelsea Council to officially rule out a proposal to build a Crossrail 2 station on their estate.


A statement by Councillor Timothy Coleridge, the council's transport boss, said it was now throwing its weight behind Chelsea Fire Station as the best location for a station in a TfL consultation. Yet this has not come as a relief for Cremorne residents whose estate was only identified as a possible site after a letter proposing it was leaked last month . Amalia Cebreiro, chairwoman of the Cremorne Resident’s Association suspects the council of trying to derail their campaign against homes being bulldozed by pretending the area is no longer under threat. The council deny the claim.

Ms Cebreiro said: “We welcome the statement but we’re very cautious. We’re extremely concerned residents may be lulled into a false sense of security. When the consultation was launched (last month) it didn’t mention the Cremorne Estate - it just gave the choice between ‘Chelsea West’ or the fire station site, or no station at all - yet they’ve known about this for a year. We still don’t know exactly know what the ‘Chelsea West’ area is, how many homes would have to be knocked down. We want an official confirmation that the Cremorne Estate and surrounding area is no longer being considered.”

Ms Cebreiro called for the boundaries of the ‘Chelsea West’ area to be published, a parliamentary inquiry into why it took the leaked letter for residents and MP Greg Hands to discover Cremorne Estate was threatened and for the council to correct wording in its statement. She said it is refers to a tube station rather than a regional train station which would have a much bigger impact on the area.

Mr Coleridge said in his statement the council has decided Chelsea Fire Station in Dovehouse Street would be better. It said although an area dubbed 'Chelsea West' further along the Kings Road would be closer to more people within walking distance, the fire station site would bring greater economic benefits for shops and ‘there is just too much uncertainty at present about the impact on council tenants and leaseholders’.

A council spokesman said it had asked TfL to investigate a site further west of the fire station because the idea was backed by residents in a survey last year. He added: “The council did not push for a site further west, or identify any particular site – all it did was ask TfL to investigate. TfL took up the council’s request and identified a broad location at Cremorne. Having looked at TfL’s options and having considered the latest round of public consultation, we believe that the fire station site is indeed the better option for Chelsea and we will shortly be telling TfL so in our own submission to the current consultation. It will be TfL that takes the final decision about where to build the station.”

The consultation at consultations.tfl.gov.uk/crossrail/june-2014/ closes on Friday (25). The planned line would run from Epsom in the south and Twickenham in the West to New Southgate and Cheshunt in the north.

Original story at: 
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/campaigners-call-kensington-chelsea-council-7464838
Greg Hands MP addresses residents' concerns at the Cremorne Residents Association AGM:

“I was struck by the strength of feeling at the meeting against a Crossrail 2 station coming to Cremorne. I have not seen plans or drawings or even precise locations for any of the suggested station sites, so I pledged to get to the bottom of these proposals, and to sort out what is fact from what is rumour or speculation. Tenants and residents rightly want to know the truth, and my key commitment at the meeting was to get this.”

Friday, 18 July 2014

Council supports Crossrail 2 station at Chelsea Fire Station

Residents and Residents Associations have started receiving electronic copies of a letter from Councillor Timothy Coleridge (Cabinet Member for Planning Policy, Transport and Arts). 

The letter states that: 

"The Council is backing Chelsea Fire Station as the right place for a Crossrail 2 station". 

and that: 

"On balance therefore we have concluded that the fire station site is the better option for Chelsea and we will shortly be telling TfL so in our own submission to the current consultation."

Chelsea Fire station is the station identified as "Kings Road" during TfL's consultation, not the station identified as "Chelsea West"; which is actually the site of the Cremorne Estate.

We have been advised that a Key Decision has been prepared along these lines and that a formal response to the TfL consultation has already been drafted. The Council's response clearly identifies the originally safeguarded site - Chelsea Fire Station - as the Council's preferred option. 

Notably the Council appears to have accepted the argument that constructing a Crossrail 2 station on the Cremorne Estate would be massively disruptive and damaging and bring far fewer economic benefits to the area:.

"... the economic benefits, particularly for our retail sector, would be much smaller. And there is just too much uncertainty at present about the impact on Council tenants and leaseholders. Major redevelopment of council homes would only ever be countenanced by Kensington and Chelsea when supported by cast-iron guarantees about how residents’ interests would be protected and indeed enhanced."

We are currently discussing these latest developments with our MP, Greg Hands. 

We are cautiously optimistic that the Council has finally come to accept the simple truth that the damage a station on the site of the Cremorne Estate would cause to the local community - the residents of the estate, its neighbours and local businesses - far outweigh any benefits it might bring, whilst the opposite is clearly the case at the originally safeguarded site at Chelsea Fire Station. 

We remain vigilant and will be keeping a close eye on further developments. We will also pursue all of our pending lines of inquiry with the Council, TfL and other parties to their eventual conclusion and aim to keep everyone up to date on what happens next. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

From the Hornet's Nest: "Wrecking Balls ... first Sutton buildings and now Cremorne"

From the Hornet's Nest, a political blog covering "political machinations" in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, recently covered the thorny issues of regeneration and gentrification in its own unique style:

 Sutton Dwellings

The Cremorne Estate

The 'common and the poor' are no longer welcome in the Rotten Borough.

For centuries, all classes of humanity....rich and poor, rubbed along well together.

It was a defining feature of Borough life making it the characterful place it once was-but increasingly less so.

In decades to come it will be just a ghetto for ultra rich foreigners to hide their ill gotten gains, looted from their own impoverished countries.

According to this reader Nick Paget-Brown told her 'that retaining the social mix made the Borough so special'.

Could Nick have been 'avin a larf? Or just lying through his back teeth?

It seems Affinity Sutton have been given the 'nod and the wink' to wreck Sutton Buildings and right behind come TfL ready to smash up the Cremorne Estate.

Hundreds of millions of pounds will be made by forcing out residents, many doing essential jobs in K&C, just so soulless developers can build soulless developments.

A reader writes....

Dear Dame

Yesterday my friends received a letter telling them that the Cremorne Estate Worlds End where they have lived for years is going to be demolished. Apparently the revered Paget Brown is fully in agreement with this. What a hypocrite the man is and how does he sleep at night. When he came to a charity in North Kensington a few months ago I brought up the subject of social housing in the borough. He told me that it was imperative that we keep the social mix as that is what makes this borough so special and that we must keep the levels that we have.


This is the first that the tenants have heard about this but they should not worry because they will be rehoused in DAGENHAM according to the letter. Who said that social cleansing finished with Lady Porter. Many of the families who live there work in local schools and hospitals as well as local government workers. That's a long commute from Dagenham.


The whole estate is in uproar and as more locals find out they will be wondering if they are next. This was kept very quiet and has only now come out after the local elections.


Regards


A resident


Original story at:
http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/wrecking-ballsfirst-sutton-buildings.html

Local Paper: "Neighbours fear council 'social cleansing' with Crossrail 2 plans"

Our recent coverage in the local paper: 

Neighbours from Chelsea's Cremorne Estate fear their homes could be demolished for a Crossrail 2 station

Neighbours fearing their homes could be destroyed to make way for a Chelsea Crossrail 2 station have accused the council of social cleansing.

The packed-out Cremorne Residents Association AGM last night (July 7) turned into a lively debate as the issue of a potential Crossrail 2 station on the estate riled everyone up.

Getwestlondon revealed on June 26 leaked plans showing Kensington and Chelsea Council may have suggested an option to Transport for London (TfL) meaning homes on the 50-year-old estate would have to be demolished. The council vehemently denies this.

TfL is currently consulting on two station options , one near the King’s Road fire station and a ‘Chelsea West’ option which is on the Cremorne Estate, according to the leaked document. Work would not start until 2020.



Greg Hands, Fulham and Chelsea MP, joined neighbours and shopkeepers at the AGM. He said: “I only found out Cremorne could be the site for a new Crossrail 2 station at the same time as residents. I’ll be meeting with TfL and the council to clear up what the detailed plans are.”

He could not say if he supported the residents plea save their homes but did tell them he supports mixed housing in the borough as it ‘makes London the fantastic place it is today’.

Several residents, including chair of the residents association, Amalia Cebreiro, accused the council of social cleansing as they were supported by members of the Lots Road Residents Association and the Sutton Estate Residents Association.

Ms Cebreiro said: “The leader of the council, Nick Paget-Brown stated the biggest obstacle to middle bracket earners coming into the area were right to buy residents and life tenancy ones. This just shows how they want us out. The council's planning boss, Tim Coleridge admitted to me on the phone Cremorne was marked for the station but in public he won’t say it - it’s a way of managing the classes.

“The Mayoress, Maighread Condon-Simmonds is on the board of KCTMO so must have known this for ages but didn’t say anything.”

She added Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) told her she could not discuss Crossrail 2 at the AGM.

The council’s planning boss, Tim Coleridge, accused the residents of ‘going off on a tangent’ and that TfL has not told the council about the detailed plans. “We did a consultation last year and 70 per cent of people said they wanted a station in Chelsea. We don’t know the details but anyone can take a guess it will have an entrance in Cremorne. We’re not social cleansing, nothing could be further from the truth, we want to keep people in Chelsea.

“If we did have to knock down a block in Cremorne we would make sure people had a modern, beautiful home to move into on the estate before it happened.”

Residents handed in a petition to Greg Hands last night in a bid to save their homes.

Original story at:
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/neighbours-fear-council-social-cleansing-7392583

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cremorne Estate RA AGM

The Cremorne Estate's Residents Association held its Annual General Meeting on Monday evening (7th of July). The main topic of discussion was, without question, the proposed Crossrail 2 station on the site of the estate. In attendance, as guests, were our MP, Greg Hands, representatives from neighbouring Residents Associations, and the local press.

Greg Hands MP answers residents questions and notes their concerns

The local press covered the event and posted the the following article this morning:

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/neighbours-fear-council-social-cleansing-7392583

Friday, 4 July 2014

It's only rock'n'rail ...

Tonight's Evening Standard featured a story describing the our plight and that of our neighbours - to be threatened by the proposed Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea.


And if rumours are to be believed things may be even worse than we thought.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Asking Nick

On Monday evening the leader of the Council, Councillor Nick Paget-Brown, held one of his regular "Ask Nick" events. 


We went, we asked.

As per the event's description: 

"Residents are reminded that next Monday, 30 June, is the first time since the local elections to have a chance to meet the Leader of the Council, Councillor Nick Paget-Brown who is holding his fourth open meeting to hear residents' issues first hand."

The event is at Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, Kensington W8 5SP and begins at 6pm with light refreshments and then at 6.30pm, Councillor Paget-Brown will give a short introduction followed by a question and answer session."

We went along and asked some questions. We got answers. Just not very good ones. 

Councillors continue to insists that it was TfL, not the Council, that proposed locating a station on the Cremorne Estate. Unfortunately this answer conflicts with the content of the letter Councillor Coleridge wrote to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, last August. That letter includes a specific request for a station to be located "between World's End and Beaufort Street". Unless the Council intends to desecrate the Moravian cemetery there's not much else between World's End and Beaufort Street other than the Cremorne Estate. They may not have said it, but they clearly meant it. 

Councillors also repeated the claim that the Council consulted residents with regards to the proposed site of a Crossrail 2 station last year. The problem is that no-one we have spoken with to date recalls that consultation. Many recall the consultation carried out by TfL (to which a mere 181 residents of the borough responded) but none recall the subsequent consultation the Council claims to have carried out. This seems more than a little fishy. We are not yet claiming that the consultation is bogus, but we are withholding our verdict and will investigate further.

We found find it particularly comforting to be reassured that the Council does not, in any way, intend to participate in any form of "social cleansing" of our little corner of Chelsea. We would very much like to believe this but would note a distinct reluctance on the part of both the Council and individual Councillors to give any assurances whatsoever. Surely, we ask ourselves, that should not be so difficult if they do not, in fact, and as they claim, have any nefarious intentions? Yet no Councillor has been willing to promise anything at all, whether in relation to the disruption that would be caused by the construction of the proposed station, the long term future of the estate or that of the people affected. Providing some clarity, transparency and meaningful guarantees as to how the Council intends to proceed would help reassure residents that "social cleansing" is indeed the furthest thing on the Council's mind. Why the hesitation? 

In the meantime, we will not apologise for assuming the worst. Our community has been placed in jeopardy by those who appear happiest operating in the shadows and behind the scenes, making decisions without engaging with those whose lives will be directly affected. Remember: we learnt of this through a leaked document, not from the Council, the TMO or TfL. That simple fact says more about the intentions behind what has happened to date than anything Nick said to us on Monday when we asked him a question. 

Verdict: must try harder.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

In the papers

We made it into this week's edition of our local paper, the Fulham and Hammersmith Gazette:


Many thanks to Alix for covering our story.

The story is also available on-line at: http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/exclusive-crossrail-2-station-could-7333441

Update from the drop-in

The second TfL consultation drop-in was held at the Chelsea Theatre on Friday, 26th of June between 2pm and 8pm.


The drop-in was well attended. As well as many residents from the Cremorne Estate many of our neighbours attended too - from the World's End Estate next door, the Ten Acres area on the other side of the Kings Road, the Chelsea Embankment and the Lots Road area next to the river.


They were all very supportive of our plight and taken aback by the Council's brazen plan to make use of the proposed Crossrail 2 station to demolish our estate and "eliminate" deprivation in Chelsea by shipping us off to the furthest reaches of London. We are NOT a poverty statistic to be eliminated via displacement.


Many completed their questionnaires with a firm and equivocal NO to the proposed Crossrail 2 "Chelsea West" station. We thank them all.


The leader of the Council, Councillor Paget-Brown, attended and attempted to defend the Council's plans. Councillor Coleridge, the Council's cabinet member for Planning, decided to stay away and our three Ward Councillors were nowhere to be seen.

The Council continues to claim that demolition may not be necessary and that we are all being "alarmist". This does not appear to be the view held by Kensington and Chelsea TMO. Perhaps one is being honest and one is not? Can you spot which one is telling fibs?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Our Community

The Cremorne community pre-dates the Cremorne Estate.

Terraced houses existed on the site before the construction of the current Cremorne Estate. Many of these houses were bombed during the Second World War when the Lots Road Power Station (which supplied electricity to the London Underground) was targeted by the Luftwaffe. Many families became homeless as a result.

The Cremorne Estate was built in 1954 to rehouse many of these homeless families. Many residents have lived here ever since. The sense of community is very strong.

Our wonderful gardens in bloom

Cllr. Coleridge's assertion that we are "underprivileged" is a euphemism for: "lazy, unemployed and dysfunctional". This is not true. Many of our residents and their families fought in the Second World War. They have worked all their lives, put their children through school and university and are decent upstanding members of society. Their recompense in old age would appear to be to be displaced and have their community destroyed.

The Council should be ashamed.

SAY NO TO GENTRIFICATION!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

How can I help?

Things you can do to help and contribute to our campaign:

LIKE and SHARE our Facebook page 'Save The Cremorne Estate'.

Make our logo your PROFILE PICTURE on Facebook:


FOLLOW us on Twitter @SaveTheCremorne.

TWEET your thoughts on gentrification using the hashtag #GentrifyingChelsea.

FILL IN and SHARE the TFL survey and choose the NO TO CHELSEA WEST option.

SIGN and SHARE the E-PETITION to pressure the government to stop the demolition of our homes.

EMAIL us at savethecremorne@gmail.com to volunteer to flyer and lobby.

TALK to people in our community, especially those without access to the online campaign.

SAY NO TO GENTRIFICATION!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Gentrifying Chelsea

Last week, a Kensington and Chelsea TMO Board briefing was leaked indicating that the Cremorne Estate would be demolished within 6 years to make room for private property developments and a Crossrail 2 railway station.

The briefing states that RBK&C Council Leader Councillor Paget-Brown has personally requested that TfL consider sites further west of the originally safeguarded site of Chelsea Fire Station.

TfL will therefore now consult on the proposal for a station at a location labelled "Chelsea West".

The consultation is NOT honest or transparent

It does NOT indicate in its maps and posters, or available information sources that the proposed site of 'Chelsea West' is actually the Cremorne Estate.

A letter from Councillor Tim Coleridge, cabinet member for Transport and Planning, to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, dated August 2013, indicates that there was full knowledge of the plans to demolish hundreds of homes and failure to inform residents or the public.

In the letter, the Councillor admits that:
"social deprivation in Chelsea is most pronounced between World's End and the West London Line: there are areas that fall within the 20 percent most deprived parts of the country."
Councillor Coleridge's solution, it seems, is to displace the deprived but vibrant community that has lived in the Cremorne and surrounding estates for decades, and gentrify the whole area. Replace the poor with the rich and the deprivation "issue" will have been solved. Such genius!

The lack of transparency and blatant elitism behind the plans is wholly and completely unacceptable.

The 'Save The Cremorne' campaign is defending the estate's vibrant and long-standing community which is under attack by the Council's plans to demolish the estate - 250 homes - and hand the site over to private property developers.


WE SAY NO TO GENTRIFICATION

What's this all about?

We are residents and neighbours of the Cremorne Estate in Chelsea.

The Estate is a 1950s Council estate, owned by the local authority (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) and managed by its ALMO, Kensington and Chelsea TMO.

On Wednesday, 18th of June, we learned that our homes had been selected for "regeneration" by the Council. We didn't learn that from the Council or the ALMO, who have quite simply not bothered to tell us, but from a leaked document.

The Cremorne Estate is located next to the Kings Road in Chelsea. For a very long time, a site half a mile up the road, next to Chelsea Fire Station, had been earmarked for the construction of a station on the Chelsea-Hackney line, now known as Crossrail 2.

Transport for London consulted on the proposed Crossrail 2 station at the Fire Station last year. Unknown to the residents the Council approached the Mayor of London directly asking him to consider an alternative site for the construction of a station. A site on our estate. The letter is linked to below.

Letter from Cllr. Coleridge to London Mayor Boris Johnson

Construction of a Crossrail 2 station on our estate would require its demolition. As per the Council's decant policy all of the tenants would be rehoused elsewhere (not necessarily nearby) and all the leaseholders would be bought out and sent on their way. All of the shops below our homes on the Kings Road would be demolished. The community on the estate would be destroyed. The local community would be irreparably damaged.

We're not going to take this lying down. We have started a campaign of opposition to what amounts to a grossly underhand move by the Council to destroy our homes and our community.

There's a right way and a wrong way to do anything. The right way involved engaging with residents and the wider community on any proposals which might affect them. The Council have clearly decided to do things the wrong way.

TfL is consulting on the Council's proposals. We're asking our residents, neighbours and the wider community to oppose them. We started with this:


Please support us.