The Council knows it. The residents know it.
This will result in the large scale destruction of Furnival Gardens with a bridge linking the luxury flats to the park to provide "river access". This is the same park the Council boasted it was defending against evil Thames Water back in 2009.
It will also result in the Cineworld being pulled down, a supermarket being installed and housing for blind people being demolished - so that the Council can have a new building, financed on the back of the luxury flats.
So despite the piece of theatre that will be this evening's planning committee meeting - being hosted in a school hall because of the number of objectors that will turn up, all eyes are now on two things - the Mayor of London and the Courts, as this piece by yesterday's Evening Standard makes clear.
The Save our Skyline campaign are not a bunch to be taken lightly by our Council if they wish to retain their councillors in and around Hammersmith come election time. They will, I confidently predict, lose their seats on May 1st 2014. The only question is whether they can rely on the rest of their majority to retain the Council.
This railroading over the heads of local people is everything that is wrong about Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
UPDATE Thursday - And lo, it came to pass ... eventually. The meeting, which was packed to capacity and left a number of objectors standing outside, eventually ground its long winded way towards the conclusion that everyone knew was not in doubt - the scheme was approved at around 23.30 last night.
Since the result was never in doubt - the Council were going to do what they wanted come what may - I didn't bother going. But a number of you did and several have sent in their accounts of what went on. Here's one of them which I think captures both the bizarre and depressingly familiar-sounding scenes from another night at H&F Council's Planning Committee:
"I was stood at the back of this meeting and had to regularly nip out... so I saw quite a lot of what was going on other than what was simply being said at the front. I have extraordinary tales of inaudible presentations (despite opposition questions being adequately clear), people being blocked from entering, the attempted eviction of a member of the public (resulting in ripples of "I'm Spartacus!" throughout the room) and lots more".
Sadly, Spartacus was not in attendance
"People were shouting. They were a fairly angry lot! The reason people were being held at the gates was because there wasn't enough room (fire capacity wise). People gradually left the meeting in disgust, either because they couldn't hear or they were too angry/upset by what was being said (such gems as the loss of historic buildings being justified because of the merits of the proposals). There was also an ammendment made which said that blind residents would only be moved 1.5km, as opposed the the 3km they could have been moved under the plans. As one Cllr put it, the new building has a significant number of "disabled-friendly" flats built-in. Why is the council discriminating between people of different disabilities, and why aren't the blind residents being offered accommodation in these blocks"?
"I was there with a little one. They finished presenting at 20:30(ish) and moved onto questions, so when the other half rang me at about 21:15 I assured her that I thought they were close to a vote. By 22:00 I'd decided that I really did need to leave. I'm amazed that the final decision wasn't made until about 23:30! What a marathon"Save our Skyline have been in touch, with John Jones, their Chairman issuing this statement on last night's procedings:
"While we are tremendously frustrated and disappointed by the decision of the Planning Applications Committee, we are hardly surprised. It only serves to demonstrate the arrogance of this Council and the inherent conflict of interest in the Council having power to grant itself planning permission for such a controversial scheme. We will continue to ask the Secretary of State or the GLA to use their power to block this flawed scheme and stop the very real damage that it will wreak on Hammersmith and the historic riverside. We call on residents to maintain the pressure by writing to the GLA and the Secretary of State to make their views known.
"In short, this is a disgraceful deal, which shames Hammersmith and is particularly galling as all the Councillors that approved it live in Fulham!"
8th December UPDATE - well the H&F Council Press Officers have been busy on this issue! First we saw Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh post what they called a "blog" on the council website here. They called it a blog but nobody is allowed to comment - unlike the 50 plus people who have done so on this article from both a pro and anti perspective - why so shy?
Then, just yesterday, they released the video below which uses the "blog post" as a script for the film, which quotes people in favour of the scheme. Such as a local, er, estate agent. Yes, an estate agent. Good luck with the spin, chaps.
Well the Save our Skyline campaign have hit back with this frankly devastating film of their own. In it a series of local residents, including a blind man set to be made homeless and a small business holder, ask why the Council is obsessed with installing luxury flats at the expense of the local area. The answer comes at the end - because we have a Council, their spokesman says, who cares little for what local people think and prioritises its relationships with greedy developers. Says it all really.