Land­ing on hard times

Financial Mail - - DIAMONDS & DOGS -

While the elec­torate at home is en­joy­ing the warm af­ter­glow of a ses­sion with Cyril, in the bad­lands of West Lon­don, Cap­i­tal & Coun­ties (Capco) is dis­cov­er­ing that po­lit­i­cal changes can throw span­ners of un­usual size into plans that had looked to be sewn up tight.

Capco struck a deal with the then Con­ser­va­tive-led coun­cil of Ham­mer­smith & Ful­ham back in the days when Lon­don prop­erty was boom­ing, Boris John­son was mayor, and grandiose plans for large-scale de­vel­op­ments of run-down ar­eas were re­garded as a step for­ward for the city.

The plan was for a £12bn re­de­vel­op­ment of some pretty shabby lo­ca­tions around Earl’s Court and Olympia, in­clud­ing the Gibbs Green and West Kens­ing­ton coun­cil es­tates, which were to be flat­tened in favour of new-build flats. The es­tates were sold to Capco by the Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil in 2013, but Labour took con­trol of the coun­cil after the 2014 lo­cal elec­tions, and all of a sud­den de­vel­op­ers were viewed as a suc­cubus in­tent on gorg­ing on the very lifeblood of the wor­thy pro­le­tariat.

Any project with as many mov­ing parts as this was al­ways go­ing to be tricky to pull off, but the mood to­wards de­vel­op­ers has turned to out­right hos­til­ity since the Gren­fell Tower tragedy.

Capco has al­ready taken a 20% write-down on the value of the scheme, and ru­mours are fly­ing around that the com­pany is ei­ther try­ing to flog it off com­pletely, or hand the two es­tates back to the coun­cil. Ei­ther out­come will in­volve a costly knock for Capco, and be a step backward for an area that was sorely in need of a boost.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.