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Saturday 26 July 2014

VICTORY World’s End And Cremorne Estates Safe

Regular visitors to Zelo Street may recall the attempt by the Tory controlled Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to move the proposed Chelsea station on Crossrail 2 from the area around Chelsea fire station to what was termed Chelsea West (details, including maps, HERE and HERE). This “option” had been added to the proposals for the new line last year, but only advised to residents last month.
World's End Estate, with Cremorne Estate at top right

This new proposal, it was confirmed, “would require additional land for a station between King’s Road and the River Thames ... and could only proceed in parallel with plans for wider regeneration and redevelopment of the area”. That would mean that some, or indeed all, of the Cremorne estate, and even part of World’s End, would have to be demolished.

Getting a response from RBKC was not easy, and at first, local MP Greg Hands appeared to distance himself from the whole business, suggesting that worried constituents arrange one-on-one meetings with him. However, and this is a most fortunate however, Hands has since then got more deeply involved and concluded that the Chelsea West option was not A Good Thing.

Greg Hands is to be commended for doing exactly what the Member of Parliament job spec says on the tin: addressing the concerns of those he represents. His advocacy has probably been instrumental in persuading RBKC to be a little less enthusiastic about Chelsea West and consider the Crossrail 2 options strictly on their merits. That conclusion will have been a blessed relief for all those council tenants.

Because RBKC has now circulated residents with a letter that states at the outsetThe Council is backing Chelsea Fire Station as the right place for a Crossrail 2 station”. Councillor Tim Coleridge makes a brief complaint about “scaremongering” (thanks for that, Tim), but later in his missive admits what Zelo Street has said all along – that some demolition would have been necessary for Chelsea West.

For that site, “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 even enhanced”. So Chelsea West would have meant demolition. As I said at the time.

Coleridge also seeks to shift any blame for station location: “In the Council’s own submission to last year’s consultation we ... asked TfL whether there might be a better location further to the west. However, it was TfL that selected the actual site and it will be TfL that takes the final decision about where to build the station”. But it was RBKC that started the Chelsea West process going.

Fortunately, that option will not be progressed by RBKC. Good news for residents!

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