Labour councillors are calling on Westminster Council to listen to residents and learn lessons on what went wrong as local residents of Westbourne Green rejected the Council’s Regeneration proposals by a narrow margin (438 No to 414 Yes- turnout 31.7%).
After several years of intermittent consultation by the Council, the result shows Westminster must learn real lessons about how it engages with residents. The measures on the table clearly split opinion amongst residents of Westbourne Green but the plans created real local concerns about the amount of additional housing, predominantly for private sale, planned for the area on or around Harrow Road.
Many people thought the area around Harrow Road would struggle to cope with so many new homes. The plans involved building extra blocks attached to almost all the blocks around Harrow Road, and some would find new flats built just a few feet in front of their windows.
The plans included replacement homes for some council tenants, some new council homes and a few ‘intermediate rent’ homes, which were widely welcomed. But there were far more homes which would have been sold on the open market, so residents were not convinced that local people would benefit most from the regeneration scheme.
A disparate package of public realm improvements to Westbourne Green, Harrow Road and the canalside failed to persuade the majority of residents that the long-term community benefits would be enough to outweigh the length of the building process and the impact of the new homes.
Councillor Adam Hug said;
“It is a huge missed opportunity that Westminster Council was unable to find a package of measures that could properly enthuse local residents. A significant number of local people had real concerns about what and where the council was planning to build, and for how long the builders would be in their community. Westminster must accept the result and listen to the views of residents about what went wrong.”
Councillor David Boothroyd said;
“These plans have been rejected but Westminster is still responsible for the future of Westbourne Green. The council mustn’t use this vote as an excuse to neglect the Warwick and Brindley area.”