Friday, 24 July 2009


"There's gold in dem dere hills!" used to be the cry of prospectors in Gold Rush America.

It seems that the call has now gone out once again.

Over the last few years there has been so much development and proposed development in this small borough of ours it's almost impossible to keep up with it.

Of the 32 London Boroughs we are one of the smallest but also one of the most densely populated. So with that in mind it would be foolish not to have a well thought out, clear vision of how best to balance the needs of those people and businesses that already reside here in Hammersmith and Fulham and those who want to come here, considered against the issue of limited square footage.

Unfortunately it could be seen that the planners are less sympathetic to existing residents and their desire not to have major developments right in their backyard than to the prospectors coming over the hill guns a' blazing. For example:

The Council gave the go ahead for 10 homes to be squeezed into an area between Percy and Boscombe Road.

Planning permission has been sought to build 56 houses and 11 business units on the small business park on the corner of Brackenbury Road and Goldhawk Road. Residents have argued that the proposed buildings will directly affect their light, not to mention the fact that there will be a considerable increase in traffic and noise in that area.

Again, there's the Armadillo or Strawberry or the Great Big Ugly Glass Structure (whatever you want to call it) that is planned for Hammersmith Grove. Those that opposed the site were called 'Nimbys' by a Conservative Councillor.

It seems like every week there's an annoucement of yet another major development in this tiny borough. Last month transformation plans were announced for the tower blocks on the Edward Woods Estate. Coincidentally, these tower blocks overlook the new multi-billion pound Westfield Shopping centre.

Residents have been complaining for years about the condition of the estate with no response from the Council. Suddenly, not only will new cladding be added but penthouse apartments will be built on these tower blocks, selling for the modest sum of £675,000. Bet the lifts will always be working once they are built.

I spoke to a friend who lives on the Edward Woods Estate, she knew nothing about it. But I bet there was 'extensive consultation' with residents.

No wonder the prospectors - sorry, property speculators - have moved in, there's millions to be made in this here borough.
  • In 2008 Prupim and Hammersmith and Fulham Council sold the Broadway Chambers in Hammersmith Broadway for £12.5m to Sapcote Developers.
  • Development Securities recently won permission for the aforementioned Strawberry scheme in Hammersmith Grove expected to cost £250m.
  • There's the £180m revamp of King Street by Grainger and Helical Bar.
  • Westcity Property fund in a 50-50 partnership with Byrne Estate purchased Queens Wharf for a reputed £32m, that's where the threat to my home comes from.
  • Not to mention the whopping 1.5bn it is said to have cost to create the Westfield Shopping experience.
And where there are property speculators there are 'The Consultants', a shadowy group of people, highly trained in the ways of consultin'. They ride into town known by none, except they usually turn out to be the wife, husband, brother-in-law or old school friend of the head of department that needs the consultin'. But I'm sure they must be worth every penny.

Why just the other day it was revealed that Hammersmith and Fulham Council were going to spend £300,000 on consultants to consult about how best to move in the bulldozers into the West Kensington Estate and how best to get away with it... or did they say 'transport consequences' and 'legal advice'. £300.000! But don't forget it's only a 'proposal'.

It seems that 'stack 'em high' is no longer just the phrase used by a certain US supermarket chain, it seems to be the byword for housing developments in this borough. Unfortunately this council has forgotten the rest of the phrase 'and sell em cheap'.... or even reasonably priced.

The speculators are in town and coming to an area near you. The wagons are circling.

The recession seems to be doing the job that those in the planning office should have done. But this is a game for these guys - they know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, they know when to walk away and they know when to run (courtesy of Kenny Rogers) and trust me they are just sitting this round out, waiting for a better hand or in other words an upturn in the market.

Please support us. Hands Off Our Queen Caroline Homes.

Keep an eye on your local papers, look at the planning applications, Hammersmith and Fulham is up for sale, bit by bit, estate by estate, road by road, property by property, brick by ... (okay you get the picture). Property speculators know it, the Council knows it, the property media know it. Don't believe me?

'In recent years, under Stephen Greenhalgh’s leadership, Hammersmith and Fulham has become a beacon council that is most definitely open for business. '....... Steven Norris (Former Conservative MP) 27.3.09 Property Week.Com

"Hi-yo, Silver, away!"

The Lone Ranger

No comments:

Post a Comment