Is Kim Taylor-Smith off his EDMO?

THINKers heard at the weekend that RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith wrote to housing minister Kit Malthouse, asking for special powers for the council to acquire empty properties for social housing.

Cllr Taylor-Smith said “doing so would make it “easier, quicker and financially viable to target all empty properties that could and should be put to use to alleviate pressing housing needs”

How would he do this? Well “Tailored -Sloth” has been making noises about offering property investors tax breaks if they would rent out their properties to the council – he said: “We want to collaborate with, not clobber, the property investors”

Maybe KTS might consider that many investors would be reluctant to let their properties out to the council for social rent in the first place – we can’t exactly imagine some oligarch letting the council rent out their mansion for a homeless family to live in for some reason. As for overseas investors buying up property here , maybe our Government can look at what the Government of New Zealand have brought in?

Of course we agree that changes need to be made to the law regarding empty properties lying vacant for a long time -but KTS , in his interview with Radio Four on Saturday, talked about Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs ) which in his words “give power to a council to take properties and manage them for the benefit of the owner in the circumstances where the property has been empty for more than two years or has been subject to vandalism” but failed to give numbers. Oh well, maybe we can try – these orders were put into law in 2004 and by 2010 , only 43 EDMOs had been granted. In 2015, The Guardian reported how only 17 of these EDMOs had been granted the previous year.

We could also point out that plenty of property investors would be dead set against ever allowing RBKC to manage their properties, after seeing how the council can’t even look after its own properties.

Anyway, maybe KTS knows something we don’t and he can think of a few fellow multimillionaires who would give someone their shoe closet to sleep in ?

Perhaps “Tailored-Sloth” could be more realistic and start with the Sutton Estate in his own ward (it was the subject of his maiden speech as a councillor apparently) and try to get Government help to stop the destruction of perfectly decent social housing and make some arrangements to buy back the empty properties from the Clarion housing association fat cats?

Our readers can look at this from last year about the situation regarding the Sutton Estate and proposed (and thankfully rejected by RBKC) plans

THINK believe that it is time for housing associations to return to their roots and while all sides accept there is a real shortage of social housing here, this Government appears to not be doing anything at all about housing associations selling off social rent properties in higher value areas like ours. Perhaps Taylor-Smith and his colleagues should really be writing to the housing minister about this instead of all the PR bluster?

THINK say to RBKC that it is all very well to pretend to care about social housing and make nice warm noises in front of the media – but it is your deeds and not your words that you will be judged upon and residents from all over the borough and from very differing political views and social backgrounds are sharing our scepticism on this.

We will also remind this council that most of the people who were on the housing waiting list before Grenfell are being housed outside the borough, or in some cases – outside London. Since 2014, when RBKC changed its housing eligibility rules, anyone housed outside the borough for more than two years, becomes the responsibility of whichever council they find themselves being temporarily housed in.

If Kim Tailored -Sloth is really serious about wanting to do something about the social housing situation, then he should make changes to RBKC housing rules right away and abolish this punitive and socially damaging two year rule – perhaps he might respond to us and try to explain why he hasn’t bothered to do anything about this – despite being in his post for over a year?


Very happily ever after: The future of North Kensington Library is guaranteed – a happy ending and a victory for our community!

Let THINK remind our readers of a story. The story concerned our North Kensington community, coming together a to fight against our council to save our local North Kensington Library. Please read our post from last year:

Happy ending? But this was not actually the end of the story as our community had still only received a verbal agreement from the council that our library was safe!

Today, at long last, Friends of North Kensington Library have received written confirmation that our library will remain here as a library and do so for many years to come. This really is a happy ending this time.

We thank the Friends of North Kensington Library and everyone from in and around our community and beyond who supported the campaign to save North Kensington Library.

THINK will end this story with a happy ending (for good this time) and leave our readers with the written guarantee and a reminder to RBKC and the Government that our North Kensington community will also continue to fight strong campaigns over Wornington College, our 23 acres of land around the Westway, Canalside House and our social housing. We may be able to happily close the book over our battle to save the library, but this isn’t over…..

But for now we can at least have a concrete guarantee of a happy ending for the future of North Kensington Library – a real victory for the community!


Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in June 2017 the leadership group at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (“the Council”) announced a new resolve to engage fully with the community in North Kensington and to start to develop a new culture of trust, where the voice and views of local people are placed at the centre of all decisions. As a clear expression of that resolve the Council has agreed to make this firm commitment, on 20 October 2018, regarding the future of the North Kensington Library at 108 Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PZ (the “Library”).

The Council has listened to the community and understands that the Library provision and the building in which it is located is much valued and cherished. It is a public resource that has supported the community since 1891. Having listened and reflected on previous plans, the Council is now committed to ensure that the Library, a recognised community asset, continues to provide the local community with high quality library services. For clarity, the Council has no plans in the short, medium or long term to close the North Kensington Library building nor to end its use as a public library.

To deliver on this commitment, the Council, as a whole, declares the following:

1. The Council guarantees that, for as long as the Library offers a valued and well-used service to the local community, the Library and the building will remain as a permanent public asset. Throughout this period, the Council undertakes to:

(a) provide the relevant operational funding and resources required to run the library to a high standard of service, access and quality;

(b) and to maintain the Library building as required.

This guarantee is not time-limited and will not expire on account of the passing of time nor the change of personnel. Rather, the guarantee is only subject to change after active consultation as outlined in section 4 below.

2. The decision as to whether the Library offers a “valued and well-used service” will lie with the resident user base of the Library and the local community who live in North Kensington (as defined as all wards north of Holland Park Avenue), whose opinion will be sought through unbiased consultation and surveys. Key measures that will be used to review whether the Library offers a “valued and well-used service” will include: usage levels; library users’ satisfaction levels; specific surveys for the users of the library and the local community (as above); and CIPFA public library surveys and benchmarking. This will be done in collaboration with users of the library.

3. Any proposals regarding any substantial change to the building and service (apart from general management of the Library) will be co-developed and co-designed from the outset, and will place the interests of the community at the centre of any plans.

4. Any substantial change or proposal put forward, whether proposed by the Council or the community, will only be enacted after active consultation with the resident user base of the Library and the local community who live in North Kensington (as defined as all wards north of Holland Park Avenue), and if the proposal is supported by the majority of those consulted. For clarity, a proposed change, will only be agreed and implemented if over 50% of those who respond to the consultation make a positive choice for the change. Any consultation questions will be signed off by an independent party to ensure that they are neutral and non-leading in their design.


– Leader of Council (Cllr Campbell)

– Deputy Lead of the Council (Cllr KTS)

– Lead Member for Skills and Enterprise (Cllr Faulks)

– Leader of Labour party (Cllr Robert Atkinson)

– 1 Councillor from the Colville Ward

– CEO (Barry Quirk) and Executive Director for Environment and Communities (Sue Harris)

– Nick Hurd as Minister for Victims for Grenfell

Save Wornington College: KCC community meetings today and tomorrow

Back in July the Save Wornington College campaign and Kensington & Chelsea College held a community meeting for people to come and share their views and ideas for the future of our local college.

This first meeting held back in July had the support of many members of the community and now, two more meetings for today and tomorrow, plus an opportunity for the community to meet the Governors of KCC Wornington Road today.

The final decisions on the College, its curriculum, its financial position, and any potential merger will be made by the governing body in the next few months.

This is your chance to have your say in the future of your local College.

Meet the Governors: Today, Wednesday 3rd October 5pm-6pm at KCC Wornington Road, London W10 5QQ

KCC Wornington community meeting: Today, Wednesday 3rd October 7pm-9pm at Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, 244 Acklam Road, London W10 5YG

KCC Chelsea community meeting: Tomorrow, Thursday 4th October 6:30pm-8:30pm at KCC Chelsea, Hortensia Road, London SW10 0QS

Urban Dandy Post: RBKC bites back @ Canalside House and the community

The council of Kensington and Chelsea has revived its plan to get rid of North Kensington community asset Canalside House and replace it with flats. The resurrection of the plan will be viewed by many as signalling the explicit return of the council’s long-standing policy of asset-stripping North Kensington. Will it be third time lucky for the council?

What is Canalside House and Why Does it Matter?

Opened in 1929, Canalside House is an integral and much-loved part of the North Kensington community, serving many hundreds of local people each year, including hundreds of children, the disabled and other vulnerable groups. It is ideally located at the north end of Ladbroke Grove, with excellent transport links. It continues to play a vital role for people in West London, including with its role as a hub for Grenfell recovery and support.


In 2016 the sale of Canalside House to property developers was agreed by RBKC. This was initiated by the then deputy leader of the council, Rock Feilding-Mellen, who has since resigned following the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people. He is widely believed to have been culpable for decisions made that led to the fire, as well as cultivating a culture at the council in which people in North Kensington were ignored and their assets stripped for the benefit of property speculators.

The tenants of Canalside House were presented with a fait accompli and told they would be moving to a building on Latimer Road. The building was wholly unsuitable and the decision by the council was an existential threat to most of the Canalside organisations.

In 2017, after the Grenfell fire, when the Canalside residents played a notable role in supporting the affected local population (in contrast to the council, who by their own admission were not up to the task), RBKC paused the sale of the building.

In January 2018, the council issued an executive decision to sell Canalside House, with Director of Corporate Property Richard Egan taking up Feilding-Mellen’s plan. Egan, along with deputy leader of the council, Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith and Councillor Matthew Palmer, told a series of lies to try to force through the sale. It was also revealed that zero social housing was to be included in the “3,500 new homes” earmarked for the Canalside site.

RBKC’s lies were exposed by local activists and blogs and the council did a U-turn. Taylor-Smith stated: “Kensington and Chelsea Council has no plans whatsoever to sell off Canalside House, the building is a key base for charities and the voluntary sector, as well as small businesses and other local enterprises, all of which create important job opportunities in the north of our borough”.

He also vowed that the council would work on improving the building. This has not happened. And Taylor-Smith ignored all emails from the Canalside User Group, which represents the 14 resident organisations, until September 2018, when he notified the group that the sale was back on, albeit with the word “demolish” replacing “sell”.

Some Lies

At the 13th September RBKC Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee meeting, a report from Conservative Councillor Mary Weale justified the plan to demolish Canalside House using exactly the same language that has been used by the council in their grab of other local public assets including Ladbroke Grove library, Wornington College and Lancaster Youth Club. Namely: that there are issues of disabled access and that the building is too costly to refurbish. Weale also claimed that a number of the offices are only used “on an occasional/part-time basis”. The crucial work undertaken by Canalside organisations was not mentioned.

The renewed move to sell/demolish the building suggests that the RBKC’s (repeated ad nauseam) claims that it would “change” after the Grenfell fire amount to nothing more than platitudes and propaganda, smokescreens for business as usual.

Some Facts

The council turned down a grant from the Tudor Trust to install a lift for disabled people at Canalside House; the council has made no effort to refurbish Canalside House and has let it slide into decline; all of the offices at Canalside House are used full-time, except for one, which was vacated by the Volunteer Centre when the council first announced the building’s sale. After that it was left empty by the council and has only just reopened as a hot-desking service, which has started to become popular.

The Canalside User Group told us that they will demand the council do another U-turn and abandon the plan to make Canalside House another victim of the North Kensington asset strip. They will not be alone in making this demand: service users whose futures depend on the Canalside organisations will oppose the move, as will those who will not understand how politicians can promise change, explicitly state they will not sell a building and then do the opposite. And just maybe the national government, or their Grenfell Taskforce, will call the ruling party at Kensington Town Hall and demand an explanation for this textbook example of hypocrisy…

Hypocrite – from the Greek work Hypokrites, meaning “an actor”

Canalside House is home to:  Abundance Arts; African Women’s Care; Baraka Community Association; Colville and Clydesdale Housing Cooperative; French African Women’s Association; Hodan Somali Community; Hope Care Agency; Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Carers Association; Munro Health Cooperative; Portobello Business Centre; Rain Trust; Sudanese Community and Information Centre; Sudanese Nubian Association; Talk Together CIC; Worldwide Somali Students and Professionals.

Full Canalside backstory part one:

Part two:

Written by Tom Charles @tomhcharles

Art and other help from THis Is North Kensington

Urban Dandy London | October 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Tags: Canalside House, Grenfell Tower, Jailhouse Rock, Kensington and Chelsea Council, Kim Taylor-Smith, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, RBKC, Richard Egan, Rock Feilding-Mellen, Sharks, THINK, THis Is North Kensington | Categories: Grenfell, Politics | URL:


Time for RBKC to stop planning officers and councillors from playing the developers’ tunes

At last Thursday’s planning committee meeting over the redevelopment plans for the Holiday Inn Forum, a couple of things particularly caught our attention.

One was that planning officer Philip Elliott seemed to be very friendly with the developers, so much so that we almost mistook him for one of their party!

Another was that at one point, some of the people working for the developers and the architects for the proposed scheme, received something on their phones and then some of them turned around to look at and point out to their colleagues, the THINKer sitting nearby.

Now unlike some RBKC councillors we could mention, THINK are not exactly in the habit of putting pictures of ourselves all over social media. So we did wonder how come one of us was recognised?

Well, most of the people who knew who we were at the meeting were local residents who were objecting and campaigning against the scheme and we very much doubt that any of them would ever tip off developers, let alone have their mobile phone numbers.

So who else was there who would also recognise us? As this was the first time we had ever come across Philip Elliott in person, it would have to be either be one of the RBKC councillors or Elliott’s boss Graham Stallwood tipping them off!

Well this should raise more than a few red flags about RBKC officers and councillors and their rather cosy relations with developers

Regular readers of this blog and residents with their eye on the ball will only be too much aware aware of an ever-creeping culture of lobbyists and developers getting close to councillors, and council staff.

Huge developments being snuck through little planning meetings, planning officers moonlighting for other interests or becoming best friends with developers with plans in the area, and the one-sided, dismissive responses given to concerned residents are all something residents of the Rotten Borough have had to long put up with: enough is enough.

Unfortunately the rot in the Rotten Borough can go even further than this – see our post about former RBKC leader Sir Merrick Cockell, who is executive chairman of property lobbyists Cratus Communications:

The short sighted culture of property development for huge short term profit regardless of the needs of the community, has been so much of a pattern in RBKC over such a number of years that we even had a Deputy Leader and cabinet member for housing, property and regeneration who was a property developer himself.

“Jailhouse Rock” Feilding-Mellen was so keen to show off his property development skills in his post, that he even thought he would have a hand in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower himself – even taking a role in picking some supposedly shiny new cladding and material at a knock down price to make the building more appealing to not its residents, but for the people who were going to buy the private homes (still being built) next to Kensington Leisure Centre and for the shiny new buildings that were going to be privately sold as part of his prize regeneration scheme on the Silchester Estate. (which has since been cancelled).

Of course, RBKC is not the only local authority whose hands appear to be less than clean over such matters and we have also posted about lobbyists and developers at City Hall recently. Some of our readers will have seen our “London Trilogy” for those who haven’t, here it is :

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Our blog may not have the power to resolve most of these unsavoury activities but we try as best as we can to highlight matters of concern and bring these matters to the attention of and also put some public pressure on those who are in positions of power to do something about it. We ask our council to enforce a complete ban on councillors, council officers and other staff from accepting hospitality, gifts from developers and their clients and to not allow planning officers to meet with developers and their mouthpieces privately..

We would also like to see more council staff recruited from the local area – after all we do not think that planning officers would show a cavalier attitude to our local communities or be quite so keen on having meals and drinks with lobbyists and developers if proposed plans affected where they live.

We also believe that all council meetings – should be recorded in notes word for word not just as a point of reference for all parties involved but also because quite a few at RBKC have long gotten away with going back on their words.

So we ask the RBKC leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell to look into these matter and act upon them If she is serious about reforming this council and making positive changes, this is as good place as any to make a start. Please restore residents’ confidence in council proceedings by getting a stenographer to take the notes at every council meeting that takes place, please recruit more staff from the local area and please ensure that Mr Stallwood, Mr Elliott and their colleagues are kept on a tight leash.

Some good news for South Kensington residents – Holiday Inn Forum redevelopment plans rejected

THINK will put aside our anger, frustration and disappointment after the TMO vote and EGM for now and share some good news from last Thursday – after a gruelling six hour meeting. the planning committee has rejected the proposal for the Holiday Inn Forum in Cromwell Road.

We posted about this here on the day (details of plans included in the post):

At the same time as the awful TMO meeting and vote was taking place, RBKC’s planning committee was meeting in the chamber to decide over these controversial plans.

THINKers arrived to a chamber packed with concerned residents and took seats that had been reserved for the few supporters of this scheme (who had not bothered to turn up).

Graham Stallwood, executive director for planning and development and Philip Elliott, senior planning officer at RBKC had recommended that the council approve the scheme.

We spotted the applicants , or rather developers right away, as they gave off more than an air of arrogance and were disrespecting the rules of the chamber by bring food and drinks in and THINK regretted not bringing cameras to take photos of them shoving sandwiches into their greedy mouths and littering the place – so no fancy lunches for them this time – but what we noticed even more, was how chummy Mr Elliott and the people from Rockwell and Queensgate appeared to be with other.

People at the meeting were treated (or not) to slideshows from both the developers and from residents objecting showing pictures of the proposed development not only towering over and dominating the area not just in height but also protruding right out towards the street.

The applicant had claimed that their proposals would “animate adjacent streets” Well we heard animated loud gasps of shock and horror from local residents in the chamber upon seeing pictures of the planned two towers – and these were the supposedly favourable pictures that the applicants had themselves submitted!

One of the applicants also conceded that there will be a “noticeable change” of loss of daylight for nearby properties – yes, very noticeable for those whose homes would only be 60 metres away and considering the plans were for two buildings and not just the one. There were marked contrasts as to claims about on both sides about the loss of light and the impact of this. The applicants’ surveyor had claimed the changes “would not be perceptible in Spring”

The developers had talked up the increased space in the outdoor area that the plans would have brought, but Michael Bach from the Kensington Society, opposing the plans – pointed out that the increased space in the garden was “not a gift from the developer – it is the minimum requirement”.

The plans to build a much bigger and more luxurious hotel with 749 rooms, and 340 serviced apartments also concerned many residents about the increase in traffic and pollution in an already heavily congested area. In fact we heard the applicants admit that the plans for conference facilities at the hotel could see traffic in the area increase by a third.

The applicants had made a big song and dance about how their scheme conformed to the London Plan. Well Cllr Quentin Marshall, the committee chair pointed out to them that they had ignored the RBKC local plan which did not permit such a tall tower. The committee also had concerns that the application had not taken the second building into account – oh dear, who didn’t do their homework?

They had also claimed that the extra jobs provided by the bigger hotel would be of benefit to this area – well it was pointed out to them that Kensington isn’t exactly an unemployment hotspot.

As for housing, the developers had included a token small number of so- called affordable” housing and just 11 homes for social rent – a figure that Courtfield councillor Greg Hammond called “derisory”

Cllr Sina Lari (Labour -Golborne Ward), gave both the people opposing the development and the supporters and developers of the proposed scheme a real questioning – so much so that it startled some of the developers and planning officers , and some of them ended up struggling to find answers to his questions!

He raised the very good point that the proposals were not at all in keeping with the area and actually added to the transient feel that the local community in an area already with many hotels and tourists would like to see rather less of. So much for the developers claiming that the plans would enhance the area.

Cllr Lari coming back up with ” and one more thing” a few times put us in mind of a certain TV detective and here is a THINK photoshop picture of the usually immaculately dressed Cllr Lari as Columbo….

Cllr Cem Kemahli (Conservative – Royal Hospital Ward) also gave the developers a hard time, notably over traffic and idling engines – particularly over hotel guests using taxis . The developers appeared very keen to avoid trying to answer his points.

Finally after six and a half hours, the committee voted to reject the plans (with one abstention from Cllr James Husband (Conservative – Abingdon Ward) who thought the application had some benefits such as housing provision.

We left at 11:30pm and missed the end of the meeting so sadly did not get to enjoy the sight of the arrogant developers slumping off with their tails between their legs….

One thing we will mention is that local Labour MP and councillor Emma Dent Coad, had sent a letter objecting to the proposals which was mysteriously “lost” by RBKC. The letter was eventually found on the day itself when Emma noticed her objections were not published and the Labour group made the council investigate its whereabouts. This led some newspapers to wrongly believe that Emma supported the plans.Well THINK utterly condemn this disruption of the objections procedure by playing dirty tricks – whoever this is should be ashamed of themselves.

We thank the planning committee for not accepting the planning officers’ recommendations and rejecting the scheme, but most of all we thank the local residents and the Stop The Towers campaign for fighting a good, strong and informative campaign – good on them.We also hope that Sadiq Khan will not be seduced by developers’ promises of a token few flats for social rent on the site and will let the council’s decision stay.

For now at least, residents of South Kensington can rest and get on with their lives without the destruction of parts of their local area and the disruption to peoples’ lives that this development would have brought them for years to come.

But we know that the developers Queensgate Investments have thrown millions at this proposed project and are unlikely to throw in the towel without a fight. THINK will be watching them very closely and we will expect them to come back at some point with significant amendments made to their plans.

Residents and campaigners can be rest assured that when the developers do put up a fight over this, THINKers will be firmly on the side of the locals – and we will be keeping a very close eye on the activities of the planning officers and developers .

Never mind the ballots at KCTMO: Kensington’s (allegedly) Corrupt Terrible Mismanagement Organisation

Imagine a vote conducted with no ballot boxes at first, a rule of having to show a passport or a driving licence to vote, refusal of admission even to people with a passport, one of the parties involved in the vote able to bloc vote by proxy without?proper independent verification , and some people eligible to vote not even being made aware by the organisation that the vote was taking place.

No, this is not an election conducted by some sort of crazy tinpot dictatorship that we are talking about here – this was last Thursday’s vote at the extraordinary General meeting (EGM) on resolutions put by the now-discredited and disreputable Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation to resident members.

Our blog, plus fellow local blog Grenfell Action Group plus a number of local residents and campaigners were urging members to vote NO to the resolutions. Read our post and the press release from the BWRA here:

We arrived at Kensington Town Hall to find that as well as the TMO requiring members to bring official photo ID to go into the meeting and vote (not usually a requirement for voting in a General Election!) , residents were subject to heavy- handed security measures such as bag searches and metal detectors at the entrance. In fact we witnessed the chair of Lancaster West Residents’ Association being denied entry despite showing them her passport – ridiculous. Filming and journalists were also being banned from this meeting so there was no chance of us getting to view the very sorry proceedings ourselves.

We heard from other residents attending that the meeting (and a big thanks to all who kept us informed) was being chaired by Anne Duru, Deputy Chair of the TMO,

Unsurprisingly many members at the meeting expressed their anger and frustration with the TMO, only to be treated in a patronising, arrogant and disingenuous manner by Ms Duru. Some asked severely times if minutes were being taken and who by and Ms Duru replied (or rather, lied) and said that minutes were being taken. When challenged by local resident Samia Badani over this, and told to look over the minutes and at question 3 again, Anne “Dodo” Duru and her colleagues couldn’t – liars.

Duru and her colleagues stated that the changes that they were trying to bring about were the result of feedback in surveys from 98% of residents. Odd then that out of the hundred or so people in the room, only three people there had been surveyed. When residents from the north if the borough asked if only residents from the south of the borough had been surveyed, the TMO refused to confirm or deny – so we’ll take that as a “yes” then.

TMO residents are unfortunately all too used to this sorry organisation falsifying surveys and resident feedback and patting themselves on the back for doing a rubbish job . Have a look at this, published in their (now defunct) magazine The Link back from 2016 :

Three times members attending voted to allow the press into the meeting and this was refused.

Residents pointed out that there were no ballot boxes and eventually they brought out a couple – but these were neither guarded nor sealed.

Anne “Dodo” Duru is supposed to have a hundred and one or so qualifications and several letters after her name – odd then, that she was completely clueless and even at one point, asked traumatised residents what PTSD was. Words fail sometimes, but we think Dodo should “do one” Un fact residents were so upset with her behaviour at that meeting they voted for her to be removed as chair of it – again refused.

A 75% vote in favour of the resolutions was required to carry them and for “some reason” the TMO refused to announce the result at the end of the meeting. Anyway here, posted on the TMO website, later than promised, are the supposed voting results :

Yes, despite there being a very large and vocal opposition to the resolutions, the TMO had managed out of thin air, to get 526 proxy votes in favour. THINKers who are TMO members and did cast their “NO” votes by post were wondering if the chair had wrongly cast our votes in favour or if our votes were sitting in a office in Southampton? Because we know for a fact that more than 28 members voted NO in the postal votes.

Residents did also wonder why postal votes were expected to be received in Southampton rather than the TMO main office in Kensington This was because vote was apparently being managed by Tony Slater of Mi-Voice, an organisation that among many things, provides electoral services for membership based organisations who are based there. (We’d never heard of them!)

Tony Slater himself (pictured below) apparently has a background in managing election campaigns – so many people there were wondering how independent Mr Slater actually is? His supposed role in this was providing electoral services; anyone simply reading this post can clearly see that he didn’t exactly do a good job of that.

With a supposed vote run like this, we wouldn’t trust Tony Slater or his organisation to run a bath!

Local resident, campaigner and friend of THINK Joe Delaney posted this on Twitter:

Extraordinary General Meeting? Well it was extraordinary for being an utter shambles , that’s for sure.

Finally when the meeting ended, our council delivered one final slap in the face to those attending it by locking the doors to main part of the Town Hall where a meeting of the planning committee about the Holiday Inn Forum in Cromwell Road was still going on in the council chamber. Perhaps they felt a need to “keep the riff raff out”? Because TMO members (including a number of elderly and disabled residents) either needing to use the lavatories or hoping to catch the planning committee were forced to walk around to the front and past security to go in. THINKers attending the planning meeting at the time spotted Dizzy Lizzy coming out of the cabinet meeting room and we did wonder if she had authorised this?

We think the heavy-handed security measures speak volumes about say this council’s attitude if they appear to view residents living in social housing as a bunch of riotous thugs….

Anyway, to us, the whole sorry meeting and vote just appeared to be an exercise for some in charge of the TMO to cover their backs and one which put several locals through unnecessary distress . We will wait and see what legal responses there will be to the TMO vote and keep you posted – we very much hope residents will legally challenge this vote for the reasons we have given above, and also the 46 abstentions were not taken into account (which would have been 72.6% in favour – falling short of the 75% – plus the fact that some members did not receive a letter to their correct addresses (and we know for a fact that the TMO did have the correct addresses in question).THINK also know that there are a couple of thousand resident members of this organisation and we question as to why there was such an extremely low turnout for this vote.

As for the people in charge of Terrible Mismanagement Organisation (past and present), our reworking of their logo should give anyone reading this a very good idea as to what our blog believes should happen to them……

Judgement Day is also here for South Kensington and the Holiday Inn Forum

At 6:30pm tonight at Kensington. Town Hall this evening, as well as the TMO EGM, there will be a meeting of the planning committee to decide on the redevelopment plans for the Holiday Inn Forum hotel in Cromwell Road.

THINKers attended the campaign meetings and have learned that the proposed new building will have a 100% increase in density and as well as causing obvious dust, noise and considerable disruption to residents would also mean a loss of light to people living nearby.

The general consensus at the end of the last meeting was that most residents felt that the best thing for the developers to do with the building was to renovate and refurbish it instead. We ask the council and the planning committee to please listen to them and reject the proposals

Of course, if RBKC does do the right thing and reject the plans, this might not be the end if the matter as the Mayor of London could interject, overturn the decision and grant permission as he did with Newcombe House.

We will of course be there this evening and post an update tomorrow as well as on the TMO EGM.

Here is the report on the plans:

Here are the Stop The Towers campaign with some more information:

Overseas-funded developers are planning to knock down the borough’s biggest eyesore, the Holiday Inn, Kensington Forum, only to replace it with an even bigger monstrosity, with not just one but TWO NEW TOWERS, the smaller of which is 10m taller than Grenfell Tower, which would dominate our skyline for generations to come. The map shows an approximately affected radius around the site, starting at the centre by Gloucester Road, Cromwell Road and Ashburn Gardens.

Once built, the towers would:

• Damage the skyline across the borough – from Kensington Gardens to Battersea Bridge.

• Significantly reduce the amount of sunlight reaching local properties.

• Put more strain on local water and sewage systems, as well as traffic, parking and public transport.

• Contain an event facility for 1,500 people. The busiest hours are expected to be immediately before and after an event with an average of 500 people arriving and departing per hour.

Construction works are expected to last in excess of FIVE YEARS , during which residents and businesses would suffer:

• Property blight for at least the entire duration of the works (predominantly circles 1-3 above).

• Two years of demolition followed by three years of construction.

• Constant demolition/construction noise as well as raised air pollution (predominantly circles 1-2 above).

• Chaotic traffic in and out of London via Cromwell Road and Hammersmith (circles 1-4 and beyond).

• The sound, dust and traffic of up to 49 HGV’s going to and from the site – almost 100 trips PER DAY!!

Judgement Day is here! A call for RBKC residents to be at Kensington Town Hall at 6:30pm

It’s here, a crucial vote on a resolution for TMO members which could compromise the accountability and democracy of this already discredited organisation.

THINK urge all TMO members attending to VOTE NO. We also remind people attending that they will need to bring photographic ID such as a passport or a driving licence or a Freedom pass to be allowed in (this isn’t even a requirement to vote at a general election – just to give people an idea of what sort of organisation and people we are dealing with here)

Please see this article from The Guardian yesterday:

And here are residents from BWRA with more information – TMO members please read this before voting!


The BWRA (Borough Wide Alliance of Council Estate RAs) met to discuss actions prior to the TMO EGM this Thursday.  At a previous meeting we had agreed to submit a motion presenting our own counter Resolution and changes and this was hand delivered to the TMO offices at 3.00 p.m. on 13th September 3 hours before the 14 day deadline.  However we heard last week that the TMO has rejected its inclusion as they count the 14 days from the previous evening.  They tried the same thing last year when we had the 2 signatures required for the motion to be submitted and were then told that 3 days earlier the Board had decided it had to be 6.

We are therefore urging all TMO members to vote againt the current resolutions for the following reasons (see below)

KCTMO is a limited company and must have published rules that govern its operation and administration and an annual AGM in order to remain legal. These rules are the TMO’s Articles of Association; and we agree these need to change in order to reflect its sole current purpose which is to cooperate fully and support the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and criminal investigations into possible corporate manslaughter.

So why are we urging you to vote against the proposed changes?

KCTMO’s proposals go much further than changing the purpose of the KCTMO; they are seeking to reduce the powers that resident members currently have and we think they must be stopped for 3 main reasons:

1. They are seeking to remove resident members from its Board of Directors by introducing new professional qualifications and senior housing management requirements for new Board members that are not necessary given its new purpose and clearly disadvantage having a majority of the Board being residents.

2.  They are proposing that the current Chair and Board of Directors who have been in place since before the Grenfell Fire, will directly appoint 3 of the 5 new Board members. Members can only elect and appoint two and these two must have the new high level professional qualifications.

The current board may have questions to answer related to decisions they made before the Grenfell Fire and may even face criminal charges if they are judged to have any responsibility for decisions that led to the fire; KCTMO’s proposals would grant these people power to decide future board members and this is clearly a worrying development that could hinder or compromise Grenfell investigations.

3. They are seeking to reduce the power that resident members currently have to vote on proposed rule changes of any kind in the future.

If these changes are approved this week then we members will have very little power to call special meetings or influence the new Board and Directors and the TMO as a Tenant Managed Organisation will have ceased to exist at a time when we members need to be sure that the KCTMO remains accountable to us and to the Grenfell Inquiry and the Police.

KCTMO: Judgement Day is approaching: Vote NO at the EGM

The KCTMO EGM is on at the Town Hall on Thursday 27th September. This blog recommends that TMO members who haven’t voted yet go there and vote NO. Below is a press release from the Kensington and Chelsea Borough Wide Alliance of council Residents’ Associations and some information to explain more – plus information and contacts on voting and on proxy votes.

THINK recommend that all TMO members read this very carefully:

RBKC Town Hall, 18:30, 27th September 2018 An Explanation for Residents

What is the problem?

KCTMO is a limited company; this means that it must have published rules that govern its operation and administration. These rules are in KCTMO’s Articles of Association and Constitution but these were designed for a company that would manage residential properties on behalf of RBKC. As it no longer fulfils this role but needs to remain in existence to respond to the criminal investigations, public inquiry, and civil litigation it will face for its role in the Grenfell Tower fire; there is a need for changes to be made to the rules to reflect its new purpose.

KCTMO have said their changes will address this issue, so what is the problem?

KCTMO’s proposals do FAR more than address this problem; they are seeking to remove resident members from its board and the power that resident members currently have to vote on proposed rule changes of any kind. The current board may have questions to answer related to decisions they made during their tenure and may even face criminal charges if they are judged to have any responsibility for decisions that led to the fire; KCTMO’s proposals would grant these people power to decide future board members and this is clearly a worrying development that could hinder or completely derail Grenfell investigations.

OK, but KCTMO’s proposals require 75% of members at the EGM to vote in favour – they will NEVER get this – so what’s the problem?

KCTMO have a significant amount of proxy votes, delegated to them by existing members, with broad discretion on how to use these. In previous years, they have used the proxy votes to push through decisions which were widely opposed by residents and it is feared they will try to do this again unless we attend the EGM and vote against them.

I am willing to attend on Thursday 27th September and vote against them, so will many other residents, so what’s the problem?

KCTMO are demanding pre-registration, by postal application, if a member wishes to attend. This is clearly designed to prevent access to the EGM by residents who care enough to attend and ensure that KCTMO acts in an open and honest manner – with proper accountability and oversight.

What is the solution?

We need resident members to either attend on Thursday, or appoint a trusted fellow resident to act as their proxy. There is no limit to the number of proxy votes a person may cast, but the form MUST be completed and returned, by post using the pre-paid envelope with the pack, to the Southampton company KCTMO has chosen to administer the process.


nngton & Chelsea’s Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO)- which managed all council- owned properties before the Grenfell Fire – recently told its resident members that it will face closure as a company unless they agree to radical changes to its current constitution and management structure that would allow the current Board complete and permanent control of the organisation, including how it responds to any criminal investigation, the public inquiry, or civil action it may face.

Currently, a majority of seats on the KCTMO Board are reserved for resident members and any changes to its operation or management structure can only be implemented if they receive a majority vote from resident members.

At last year’s KCTMO AGM, held after the Grenfell Fire, residents used their voting power when they blocked an attempt by RBKC to seize control of the organisation, which was backed by the KCTMO Board. Despite concerns that the police investigation and public inquiry would be hindered if one organisation under investigation, RBKC, were allowed complete control of another organisation under investigation,the KCTMO. This proposal would have succeeded had resident members not turned out in force to vote against the controversial proposal.

Under the new KCTMO’s proposals, such actions would no longer be possible because the voting power of resident members would be removed and the Board would be reduced to five members. Three of this new Board would be chosen by existing KCTMO Board members, who have been in power since before the Grenfell Tower disaster; residents would no longer be permitted to serve on the Board and would also lose the right to vote on rule changes or other major decisions. The three Board members selected by the current Board would then select the final two Board members; these five would have the sole power to make any rule changes or other decisions they see fit without any scrutiny, oversight, or fear of veto from residents.

A coalition of resident members from council homes across the borough has worked to create alternative proposals. Proposals that recognise changes are necessary to KCTMO’s constitution but that maintain the need for member voting on changes to the constitution and resident representation on the board, but which barrs residents involved in legal disputes against KCTMO and anyone with a direct or indirect relationship to RBKC from serving.. These proposals, submitted as a motion for debate at next week’s KCTMO Emergency General Meeting, and within the required 14 days advance notice, have been rejected by KCTMO.

The fact that proposals submitted by the Borough Wide Alliance of Council Residents Associations (BWRA), which was highly influential in bringing about the Council’s decision to end its management contract with the KCTMO, and proposals which had been vetted by independent legal experts were rejected by KCTMO is highly controversial. The KCTMO has instead opted to create proposals that would remove external scrutiny and grant power to a Board whose decisions are currently under criminal investigation and opened the company to civil liabilities, clearly shows that KCTMO’s only aim is to insulate itself and its employees from proper scrutiny whilst also frustrating the police and public inquiries.


The KCTMO has called an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) for Thursday the 27th September, at the Town Hall. Survivors of Grenfell Tower, residents of the wider Lancaster West Estate, and council residents from the rest of the Borough will again be forced to attend a meeting simply to vote against proposals which serve selfish interests, when all we want is openness and honesty from an organisation which has serious questions to answer about issues that could have implications for the future of social housing across the country

Press Release from the Kensington & Chelsea Borough Wide Alliance of council Residents’ Associations (BWRA)

For further information and comment contact:

Cllr Monica Press

Tavistock Crescent RA and RBKC Councillor

Tom Fitch

Swinbrook Estate RA –

Gordon Futter

Campden House Residents’ Compact –

Joe Delaney

Lancaster West RA –

More Terrapins in the tank at the London City Hall of Shame

Part 3 of our “London Trilogy”

Peter Bingle (pictured as the terrapin “on top”) the property lobbyist and his firm Terrapin Communications are no strangers to this blog, or indeed no strangers to some former RBKC Tory councillors.

We posted about Terrapin Communications before:

And about their dealings with former RBKC councillor Daniel Moylan who was former deputy chairman of Transport for London, former chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation and was chief aviation advisor to Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London

In fact, hearing of Peter Bingle’s meetings with RBKC councillors opened THINKers’ eyes to some of the goings on behind the scenes over property developers and regeneration . But as some have seen from our previous two posts we are becoming increasingly concerned as to what property dealings are going on at the GLA, who is influencing them and the dreadful consequences of frankly letting moneyed property development companies who do not have Londoners’ best interest at heart and their lobbyists pull the strings here.

So let’s have another look at the GLA register of gifts and hospitality and go Terrapin spotting at the City Hall………

Juliemma McLoughlin (pictured as the other Terrapin in our main picture) is the Chief Planner, Development, Enterprise and Environment at the GLA. She had dinner with Terrapin Communications on the 22nd June 2017, attended a concert at the Barbican with Terrapin Communications on the 19th October 2017, and this year she was at a Terrapin and Greystar dinner on the 26th March and on the 2nd of May she attended a concert performance of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony – tickets provided by Terrapin.

Ms McLoughlin has featured on our previous post about the GLA before. Well many residents and local businesses are very worried as to whose plans she could possibly favour here.

David Lunts above) is the Interim Head of Paid Service and Executive Director Housing and Land and the GLA’s Mr Creosote (as people can see from our previous post. David “Lunch” had dinner with Terrapin Communications at Quo Acadia on the 16th June 2015, attended a Mahler concert at the Barbican and had dinner at Smith’s of Smithfield with Terrapin Communications on the 19th of May 2016, had lunch with Peter Bingle at the Blueprint Café on the 7th June 2016 and lunch with Peter Bingle at Kai Restaurant on the 24th January 2017.

Len Duvall is the leader of the Labour Group on the GLA and represents Greenwich and Lewisham. He is also Deputy Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee, Deputy Chair of the Budget and Performance Sub-Committee, Deputy Chair of the GLA Oversight Committee, Member of the Confirmation Hearings Committee and a Member of the Police and Crime Committee.

Len Duvall had dinner with Bingle’s former firm Bell Pottinger on the 13th May 2009, and the 14th of September 2009, Dinner with Peter Bingle at Roux Restaurant on the 17th January 2012, received a ticket for a performance of Iolanthe at Greenwich Theatre from and had dinner with Terrapin Communications on the 26th July this year and received dinner and tickets to the Proms on the 28th August this year from Terrapin Communications.

Tom Copley is a Londonwide Labour GLA member and is Deputy Chair of the Housing Committee a Member of the Confirmation Hearings Committee, a Member of the GLA Oversight Committee, a Member of the Planning Committee and a Member of the Transport Committee.

Tom Copley goes on Twitter a lot and tweets largely about housing. We thought he was a member who appeared to show a good understanding of social housing.

But impressions can be deceiving, as he had lunch with Peter Bingle at Magdalen in Tooley Street on the 10th February 2014, lunch with Peter Bingle at Le Pont De La Tour in the 9th July 2014, lunch with Bingle at Magdalen again on the 28th October 2014 and attended a regeneration dinner provided by Terrapin Communications on the 12tv November 2014.

We have also noted that he has dined with Pocket Living too (clients of Cratus) and no, Tom we do not think that offering Londoners cupboards to live in provides a good solution to the housing problem. The people you are dining with are making the housing crisis worse,

THINK have come across Leonie Cooper before here

She is a Labour GLA member for Merton and Wandsworth and a Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee a Member of the Budget and Performance Committee a Member of the Environment Committee, Member of the Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee and a Member of the Housing Committee

Leonie Cooper impressed us when she spoke at the Rap23 Let’s Clear Some Air public meeting in Acklam Village last year .

What we are less than impressed with is the fact that she has had lunch with Terrapin Communications on the 18th of May 2017, received a ticket to the Proms from Terrapin on the 6th September 2017, had lunch with Terrapin on the 27th September 2017, had dinner and a concert from Terrapin Communications on the 19th October 2017, lunch with them again on the 13th December 2017, dinner with Terrapin on the 11th of May 2018 and a ticket to the Proms again and dinner from them on the 20th July 2018.

And here, are a couple of Terrapins who have since left the murky depths of the London City Hall tank:

Richard Blakeway was Deputy Mayor and in charge of Housing, Land and Property at the GLA from 2008-2016. He was a Board Trustee at the Chartered Institute of Housing from 2011-16, a board member of the London Enterprise Panel from 2013-16, a commissioner of Crossrail 2 Growth Commission at TFL from 2015-16 and a special adviser to the Prime Minister’s policy unit in 2016.

Richard Blakeway was provided with an “evening of hospitality” ; dinner and a trip to the Proms by Bell Pottinger on the 10th September 2009, lunch with Bell Pottinger on the 21st May 2010, a ticket to a Mahler concert provided by Terrapin Communications on the 24th September 2015 and dinner with Terrapin Communications on the 26th January 2016.

In fact Mr Blakeway’s entry in this register is as exhaustive as that of David Lunch!It includes engagements with Capco, LendLease, Delancey, and Wilmott Dixon – who he is now a “Strategic Advisor to – we’re not exactly surprised.

He is also an advisor to EcoWorld Ltd, chair of BexleyCo the developers owned by the London Borough of Bexley (residents there in social housing might be concerned about this) , an advisor to JLL and chief adviser to the Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit at Policy Exchange and a Board Director of Homes England. With all those jobs and treats on the side you can bet Mr Blakeway never has to worry about his home!

Here is his entry in the GLA register (So many lunches and dinners, THINK have got indigestion just from reading it!):

Stephen Greenhalgh will be a familiar face to many as he was Boris Johnson’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime from 2012-2016. Before that, he was Conservative Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham. The Tories may no longer be in power there and Greenhalgh left ages ago but he remains a controversial figure there largely because of regeneration plans for West Ken and Gibbs Green Estates under the Earl’s Court Masterplan there. See this from Get West London seven years ago :

And this from SW Londoner:


Residents on the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estates have fought a strong campaign against this. See their website here:

The Conservatives lost control of Hammersmith & Fulham in 2014 and Greenhalgh left City Hall along with Boris Johnson. We would still be concerned as it appears (as some can see on our previous post) that some in the GLA still have strong links to Capco and Sadiq Khan has not called for a review of the Earl’s Court Masterplan.

Stephen Greenhalgh is not immune to Peter Bingle’s “charm” because on the 5th March 2013 he also had lunch with him.

Oh dear, so it seems there will be no “brandy and cigars” afterwards for many Londoners who had hoped that when Sadiq Khan became Mayor of London, we would see some real positive change here.

Perhaps some of these people can try to offer us a perfectly innocent explanation for their meetings with Bingle? Maybe some just can’t resist the lure of an all expenses paid slap-up meal in a fancy restaurant or something? PR Week said of Bingle ten years ago: “What is for certain is that Bingle is a not a man who is accustomed to spending lunchtimes slumped over his desk with a sandwich and a copy of the FT”.

Some may like to portray Peter Bingle as some sort of fun bon viveur with lots of stories and anecdotes but there are other concerns and it is not just his involvement with controversial regeneration projects which rings alarm bells here, below is an article in The Drum by director of SpinWatch and campaigner for the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, Tamasin Cave about Bingle’s former company Bell Pottinger and some of their “work” in South Africa:

And back to London , with this from The Guardian about Bingle’s work in Wandsworth – we certainly don’t think he is entertaining the GLA just for fun :

We’ll finish with a short video which is a trip down memory lane for us – or rather a “March to Frestonia” in Bramley Road North Kensington, outside Rock Feilding-Mellen’s House where local Save Our Silchester campaigners against the (now thankfully cancelled) regeneration plans for the Silchester Estate were protesting – many of the residents there were instrumental in inspiring us to start this blog – so we will end with going back to the beginning. Who will be dining with Peter Bingle next ?

This is the final instalment of our “London Trilogy”, but we don’t happen to think it will be the last time some of these people make an appearance in this blog. Business at City Hall done by an elected authority and by an elected Mayor should be accountable and transparent to the electorate, conducted in a way that is fair to all and important decisions over planning and development of our city should not be made behind closed doors or over lavish meals with property developers and their clients. Londoners deserve better.