The Duke of Westminster’s property group had planned to demolish Walden House in London to make way for a new luxury development. Hugh Grosvenor is pictured above in 2018. A new housing development spearheaded by the Duke of Westminster has failed after council residents already living on the site accused the company of ‘social cleansing’. Hugh Grosvenor’s property group Grosvenor had wanted 141 tenants from Walden House in the Belgravia area of London to move 12 miles away to make room for luxury apartments, shops and social housing. The planned development was due to reach completion by 2023, however, the Duke, who is said to be worth £10billion, failed to move residents which included families and disabled children from the council flats. The Mirror reported that the campaign, which included the support of local councillors, managed to garner over 200,000 signatures.
Duke of Westminster, worth £9.3billion, planned to kick dozens of families out of London council homes to build luxury flats – he is the world’s richest person under the age of 30 after he inherited £9.3billion and his father’s title after dying three years ago. The Duke of Westminster has failed in his attempt to kick out families, including disabled children, from their council flats to make way for luxury housing. Worth an estimated £10 billion, Hugh Grosvenor’s property group Grosvenor, wanted the 141 tenants from Walden House, Belgravia, to move 12 miles away, so they could build luxury apartments, shops and social housing by 2023, the Mirror reported.
1990s Interview with the Duke of Westminster
2016 – The Duke of Westminster died suddenly yesterday, age 64, after apparently suffering a heart attack at Abbeystead House in Lancashire, his grouse shooting estate. Father-of-four Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke, was the richest property developer in the UK, with his vast wealth coming from estates in Oxford, Cheshire, and Scotland as well as huge swathes of Mayfair and Belgravia. His death means his son Hugh (inset left as a baby with his father and mother Natalia), 25, who is Prince George’s godfather, will now inherit the entire estate, including the family seat in Cheshire, Eaton Hall. The Queen (pictured with the Duke at his daughter Lady Tamara’s wedding in 2004) has been informed and tonight sent a personal condolence on behalf of the Royal family, while William (with the Duke, inset) and Kate were said to be ‘very sad’ to learn his death, adding in a statement that their ‘thoughts are very much with his family’.The Duke is also pictured with Princess Diana, left.
15 September 2019
The new proposal would be called ‘Cundy Street Quarter’. The proposed site is presently occupied by five residential buildings – including Walden House – with leases expiring from 2021. However, a determined campaign by residents, community groups and local councillors which gathered 200,000 signatures, has resulted in a ‘change of heart’ from the Grosvenor group. They had accused Grosvenor of ‘social cleansing’ and of wanting to ‘destroy the community of Walden House’. Although Walden House is owned by the Grosvenor group, it has leased the building to Westminster Council for council house provision.
The property group has hit back at accusations of ‘social cleansing’ as ‘highly charged and inappropriate language’ which is against everything the business stands for. Residents now have cause for celebration after Westminster City Council confirmed that all 40 families will now be offered new social housing on the site where many have lived for 40 years. A council spokesperson said: ‘Grosvenor has confirmed any redevelopment will result in an increase of social and affordable homes.’ On a local councillor’s Facebook page, councillor’s praised the U-turn, saying the change in plans had occurred ‘thanks to a resident’s campaign’. It added: ‘We welcome the news that Grosvenor and Westminster Council have listened to residents and Churchill Labour councillors – and agreed to give Walden House tenants the right to return to the new social housing being built as part of the Cundy Street Quarter redevelopment.’
25 August 2019
His property group Grosvenor aims to demolish Walden House, in Belgravia, London and erect luxury flats, shops and social housing by 2023.
The building is currently leased to Westminster Council and 141 people, including eight who are disabled, have been told to leave, the Mirror reports. Some of the residents, who currently pay £600 for a month for a two-bed council flat, have lived in the building for 40 years. They have been told they can apply for new homes up to 12 miles away, but many still fear they wont’ be able to stay in the area. Liza Begum, 34, who works as an NHS PA, has been at Walden House all her life, said: “It’s social cleansing.” She claims residents were told in March about the plans, seven years after private tenants in neighbouring flats were told. A petition against the Duke’s plans has reached more than 100,000 signatures. It claims residents are now facing “facing homelessness and the break up of our community”.
It explains: “Grosvenor are now cancelling Walden House’s lease, which has historically been for council housing provision, and plan to demolish the building. “The Cundy Street flats are a mixture of affordable and market rent accommodation next to Walden House. “Many of the residents are elderly and have lived in the area their whole lives. These too will be knocked down.” It added: “There is nothing wrong with these beautiful buildings – Grosvenor just want to make more money. “This is simply about putting profit before people. This is valuable land, and we are seen as getting in the way of building high-rise luxury investment flats.”
“We want to tackle the local housing shortage by roughly doubling the number of dwellings on this site with new market, senior living and affordable homes. “We think this mix could nurture a community that spans generations.” Westminster Council told the Mirror everyone will be offered suitable alternative council accommodation within the borough.