Battle lines drawn between the ‘demolition’ duke and tenants
Cundy Street flats and Walden House residents take fight to Grosvenor group
30 July, 2019 — By Briony Pickford
Cundy Street and and Walden House flats
RESIDENTS of a block of flats are fighting back against the Duke of Westminster’s plans to demolish their homes.
Cundy Street flats and Walden House are campaigning against the billionaire landowner’s Grosvenor group 12-storey redevelopment plan.
Grosvenor has been leasing some of the property to Westminster Council for social housing – but now wants the land for shops, restaurants and a new leisure space.
Johanna Verweij, who is leading a tenants’ campaign, warned the project amounted to “social cleansing”, adding: “The people who live here come from all walks of life and we need to make sure people know that. We now have a core group of campaigners who are just focused on getting the word out.”
Residents, who have lived in Belgravia for 40 to 50 years, will have to move out if the project goes ahead.
Ms Verweij said many felt they had not been given the opportunity to officially oppose the scheme.
Some were scared of “punishment” from the powerful landlord, she added.
Grosvenor says it is committed to meaningful public consultation and that it will re-provide social housing in the redevelopment, which will have a mix of affordable, market, and older people’s housing. It said it was helping tenants with legal and relocation advice.
A statement from Grosvenor said: “Our ambition is to create a new inclusive neighbourhood that meets the needs of residents and businesses today while ensuring that it respects the area’s heritage and will stand the test of time.
“Through a sensitive but comprehensive development we can deliver a significant increase in much-needed housing for Westminster and more affordable homes as well as consider new uses like senior living.”