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Vision for ‘greener, family-friendly’ park is unveiled

Westminster Council have faced accusations of 'major gentrification' over regeneration scheme

28 May, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Detail of the council’s vision of a new ‘park’ for Ashmill Street

DESIGNS for a new “park” were proudly unveiled this week by council chiefs who heralded a “a new community space for local people to enjoy” and of which they could “feel ownership”.

However, Westminster Council’s vision of the new Ashmill Street is populated almost exclusively by white people. According to the council’s own ward profile for Church Street, Arabic is the most common language, above English, and there are at least 18 “ethnic categories” living in the ward.

The Church Street regeneration scheme has already been criticised as a “major gentrification plan” by some objectors during the planning process.

The St Marylebone Society has also raised its concerns about the number of affordable homes being built, registering its “dismay” that the “very high percentage of the housing on this site is now to be market housing”.

In February the council’s lead regeneration councillor, Rachael Robathan, wrote an article for the Extra responding to criticism of Church Street “gentrification”.

She said the number of affordable homes due to be built was “fully compliant with current policy”, adding: “These homes will tackle the overcrowding on the local estates and give real hope that people won’t have to move away, but will be able to continue to live and work in the area”.

In a statement, lead planning councillor Richard Beddoe (inset) said: “This scheme sets out a bold vision to rejuvenate the surrounding area and create greener, family-friendly spaces for the local community.”

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