DEVELOPER Capco has admitted spying on activists campaigning against the firm’s bulldozing of two London council estates to build luxury flats.
Campaigners alerted the Star yesterday to a buried admission in the developer’s end-of-year review document which outlines potential risks to its so-called Earls Court masterplan.
The “masterplan” project, cooked up with Transport for London (TfL), is in the process of knocking down the famous Earls Court venue and West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates to build thousands of expensive flats.
In a section entitled “political climate and public opinion” Capital & Counties Properties Plc (Capco) says it is “monitoring intelligence on activist groups” opposed to the plan.
The firm also highlights the potential for “unfavourable policy or changes in legislation” following the London mayoral elections.
Tory Mayor and TfL chairman Boris Johnson rubber-stamped the development.
Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has yet to make his stance on the project known but Green candidate Sian Berry has vowed to scrap the plan altogether if she is elected mayor in May.
Capco’s admission has prompted Green assembly member Darren Johnson to write to the mayor with a question to be tabled at mayor’s question time next Wednesday.
He asked whether TfL, as a public body, should be in partnership with a corporation that implies that those opposing the demolition of their homes, local businesses and arts industry should be monitored.
He urged the mayor to ask Capco to “reveal the exact nature of their monitoring activity on activist groups” and disclose relevant documents.
Earls Court Area Action Group campaigner Linda Wade said she was “shocked” by these revelations.
“It appears that despite having planning permission for the masterplan, Capco still feels the need to resort to surveillance tactics,” she told the Star.
“This suggests they have concerns their project might yet be scuppered, so there’s hope for campaigners and residents yet.”
Capco and TfL did not respond to requests for comment.