A week after Mayor’s Question Time had to be adjourned when the public gallery erupted against the Mayor’s cuts to fire services, Boris Johnson again came under pressure from rowdy constituents fed up with the human consequences of his policies and decisions.
Interrupted in the midst of an unrelated press conference by members of the public holding placards, Boris was yesterday surrounded by local residents, activists, and politicians who called on him to block a controversial £8 billion redevelopment that will see the loss of world renowned exhibition space crucial to London’s economy and the destruction of a close-knit established community at Earls Court. Caught off guard, the Mayor floundered before saying he couldn’t ‘make any promises’ to residents worried about losing their homes.
I had joined members of the public outside City Hall yesterday morning to hand in post cards and a petition expressing their opposition to the redevelopment. By a lucky coincidence, Boris happened to be nearby giving a press conference of his own.
Planning applications for the scheme have been approved by the two local councils and now go to the Mayor as London’s planning authority to decide by 4 July whether to direct refusal or let it go ahead. He has failed to recuse himself from the decision even though he is chair of TfL, which is a major landholder on the development site and stands to gain a windfall.
Residents are alarmed by the proposed destruction of their well-established community on the Gibbs Green and West Kensington estates, where 760 units are home to families and others living in modern flats and lovely houses with gardens. Industry experts express concern that the destruction of the exhibition space at Earls Court will cost thousands of jobs and £1 billion the facilities currently bring into the local economy.
Hopefully yesterday’s unexpected visit from residents and activists will make Boris see sense.
If you’d like to tell the Mayor to direct refusal, print out and send one of these postcards:
You can read much more and find out what else you can do to help on the Save Earls Court campaign website.