Let THINK take you down a road well-travelled:
Pictured above is Peter Bingle of Terrapin Communications, a property PR firm. Mr Bingle is apparently known for his “generous hospitality” which former RBKC leader Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown, RBKC former deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property Rock Feilding-Mellen and RBKC former deputy leader and former deputy leader of Transport for London, Daniel Moylan have all enjoyed.
Last year two of our fellow local blogs the Grenfell Action Group and From The Hornet’s Nest both questioned why these senior councillors at RBKC would be enjoying Mr Bingle’s “free lunches”.
From The Hornet’s Nest questioning the motives behind the meetings between Rock Feilding-Mellen and Peter Bingle and why there wasn’t a senior council officer present to record them here:
And Grenfell Action Group here:
And also informing us about Nick Paget-Brown’s associations with MIPIM the luxury property developers’ conference in Cannes here:
Terrapin Communications and Mr Bingle do not only have associations with RBKC Tories though. Mr Bingle’s “lunch companions” also include Labour-run Haringey Council in North London, who are currently under fire from residents over the sale of Hornsey Town Hall and their HDV (Haringey Development Vehicle) regeneration plan which is transferring around £2billion worth of publicly provided housing into 50/50 public-private ownership.
Haringey cabinet members who have also been enjoying Mr Bingle’s hospitality include leader Claire Kober – who was also at MIPIM with Rock Feilding-Mellen, cabinet member for housing and regeneration Alan Strickland and cabinet member for finance and health, Jason Arthur. And let us also mention that their chief whip, Adam Jogee actually works for Terrapin Communications.
So why might we be still still interested in Mr Bingle’s firm or any other firm connected with property developers, today some may wonder?
We did mention in a previous post that RBKC were “phasing out” the TMO, but did not give any further details, other than the mysterious statement that they were “in talks with housing associations and other local authorities”.
This leaves all TMO tenants and leaseholders with a very big question mark hanging over of their future living in the borough. The fact that RBKC prefer to have such discussions behind closed doors makes us more than suspicious of their motives.
Over a year ago, we found out that RBKC had some “regeneration” plans for Runcorn Place and Hesketh Place – these are mainly temporary accommodation flats, though a separate block on Hesketh Place consisting of nine flats which are homes for both permanent and fixed term tenants and leaseholders and shares its communal back garden with the temporary flats.
The plans were then shelved as RBKC informed us, there was a “shortage of temporary accommodation within the borough” but then RBKC announced plans to “regenerate” the temporary accommodation flats at 36 Oxford Gardens (just off Portobello Road) – so forgive us if we are having difficulty believing this council and find some real discrepancies between what they say and what they actually do. We also point out that it is easy to get rid of residents in temporary housing on the quiet and that many in small blocks which are not on estates do not have Residents Groups or Associations to help form a strong opposition to any such plans.
Some living in Notting Dale Ward may wish to see the Notting Barns South Masterplan, obtained by the Grenfell Action Group under the Freedom Of Information act here: https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/notting-barns-south-masterplan.pdf
As it stands, our council announced that the regeneration plans for the Silchester Estate were cancelled and that RBKC contracts for this (we guess he means Porphyrios Associates who held the “consultation” ) jointly with RBKC . But let us just point out that the plans had already been drawn up (we have a copy of them) earlier this year so the work done by “Porphyria Associates” (as we call them) had already been done – so their contract had likely come to an end anyway – and that most “regeneration” plans are subject to change (usually for the worse as the developers usually get their own way with less social housing provided than initially promised).
But finally we have heard the excellent news from the Save Our Silchester campaigners – whose words we can actually believe – that the Silchester Estate is safe. We now hope that RBKC will now carry out much-needed work on some of the properties there as residents are calling for – not let them fall into “managed decline”. but there is the cautionary note that it is subject to funding. As it is, we are very happy for them but the same cannot be said for others in the borough who fear being forced out of their homes.
As far as we know, all RBKC’s other regeneration plans are “on hold”. Yes – they do never have very much to say about this and their reluctance to share information with the public just leaves us with more questions then answers.
We question why management of social housing stock has not been brought back “in house” and why RBKC appears to be hesitant to do this, but some may not have to spend too long wondering as we point out that former RBKC leader Merrick Cockell is now in charge of the lobbying firm Cratus Communications, which mainly specialises in property. – so we believe that the alleged vested interests and connections of some concerned and the very high value of property and land in RBKC may prove far more attractive to those in charge than providing much-needed social housing in the borough.
Here is the website for Mr Bingle’s firm – we note their comment: “Terrapins are the masters of the art of self preservation. They know when to stick their heads out and when to keep them in their shells!” We believe that the RBKC Tories have been keeping their heads in their shells for far too long with regards to our housing and obviously prefer covert discussions behind closed doors to open discussions with residents:
Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?
We’ll leave you with a video of Save Our Silchester protesting outside Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house: