Kensington and Chelsea council sell off old people’s home
LEADERS of disgraced Kensington & Chelsea Council were accused of “selling off the family silver” yesterday over the private redevelopment of a care home site a stone’s throw from the swish Kings Road.
Kensington & Chelsea Residents Save Our Hospitals campaigners said it showed nothing is safe from demolition or regeneration by the council.
The authority has granted permission for the demolition of Thamesbrook, a council-run “extra care” home rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission prior to its closure in 2013.
It will be replaced by a new privately run facility with a cinema, gallery, private dining and a chauffeur service that campaigners say will be exclusively for the wealthy.
South African property company Auriens will develop 55 1- or 2-bedroom sheltered apartments where residents will purchase their lease for £2.5 million and buy into a care package provided a private nursing firm as part of the terms of their lease.
Campaigners and residents have slammed the council for selling off a vital public service for a developer to sell on the open market, helping create a service based on ability to pay and continuing the social cleansing of the area.
Opposition councillor Linda Wade has asked if it is appropriate for the freeholder of the site to also be the body that grants planning permission and has questioned how much money the cash-obsessed Tory council, all too eager to save money when it came to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, will pocket.
“Just like North Kensington Library, Thamesbrook was set up to deliver services and benefits for our residents,” she said. “Not choosing to redevelop these sites to meet local needs is like selling off the family silver at a time when the council has nearly £280m in reserve.”
A Save Our Hospitals spokeswoman told the Star: “Location, location, location is at the heart of the closure of the council’s Thamesbrook extra care home, with the new £2.5 million homes being exclusively for the wealthy.
“Whether it is social housing, an extra care home, a nursery, a library, an iconic exhibition centre or a modern one, a beautiful cinema, a much loved school: nothing is safe from demolition or regeneration by the council.”
The council had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at the time of going to press.