Wornington Green: Green no longer? North Ken residents fight to save 42 trees

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? Not for many North Kensington residents, especially those living around Wornington Green and nearby it won’t likely be.

That’s because Catalyst Housing Association who are regenerating Wornington Green plan to chop down 42 trees.

Catalyst apparently say they can’t make changes to the plans to save the trees – Really? Can’t or won’t ? Because they they also say they will plant 55 new trees – but actually only 11 of these trees will be in public areas. Most of the trees will be small sapling trees planted in private gardens for the newcomers buying the luxury unaffordable flats that Catalyst are still building in the area, which also happens to be in Golborne Ward , the ward in RBKC with the highest levels of social deprivation.

This is also located in a part of North Kensington right by the polluted Westway, and where the vast majority of residents do not have a garden and which has very few communal green spaces.

The area has been a “building site” with noise, nuisance and disturbance for many residents round there for a number of years , and we worry about the effects on peoples’ mental and physical wellbeing, especially in these bleak times, and even more so now.

A local resident there said to us “They are set to chop down these trees immediately – before Christmas – leaving us with stumps to look at. Why do they have to do this? Where will our local wildlife go? How will this affect our oxygen? ”

Well no prizes for guessing why Catalyst are changing the name of the estate from “Wornington Green” to “Portobello Square” then; because there won’t be very much “green” left when their chainsaws and bulldozers are done.

THINKers are appalled by this and we fully support the local community in their campaign to save the trees and protect the area and community. We urge all our readers to join us and sign and share their petition to get RBKC to put a stop to this:

https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-kensington-and-chelsea-save-wornington-green-estate-trees?recruiter=1005772075&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi&utm_medium=whatsapp&recruited_by_id=bbcb4ab0-dc1f-11e9-811a-1951335c9ae0

This week has been National Tree Week, and on Wednesday, residents presented the petition to officials at Kensington Town Hall.

It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill, but it appears that the only goodwill greedy Catalyst Housing seem to have, is towards the wealthy newbies and investors buying up the luxury flats and giving their Execs a big fat Christmas bonus of profit – at a real cost to the health and welbeing of locals – we say shame on this supposed “charitable” housing association.

Here is the video of North Kensington locals protesting in Wornington Green last week:

RBKC Scrutiny review of Housing Safety and Healthy Homes – have your say

The RBKC¬† Housing and Communities¬† Select Committtee has set up a Working Group on Housing Safety and Healthy Homes and they are asking for residents’ views on what the review should focus on.


Have your say here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-councillors-and-democracy/open-data-and-transparency/review-housing-safety-and-healthy-homes

Residents have until 11:59pm on this  Sunday, the 6th December to respond.



Now THINKers will just briefly have our say:

We are concerned that a number of our social housing residents are living in unsuitable accommodation partly because of the shortage of ground floor and accessible flats and partly because housing allocations and points are in serious need of a review.

Residents ages ago were told that the council would  review housing allocation points  but we have yet to see or hear anything of this.

Just in case some housing department suits have a rehearsed answer to this and say¬†it is already council policy and long has been to prioritise ground floor flats for the elderly, sick and disabled, perhaps they could answer then as to why people are still getting unacceptable “final offers”¬† .¬† Here is just one¬† example of that; in¬† one small¬†¬† block¬† , a ground floor flat was given to a single¬† able-bodied resident in their 20’s, but a top floor flat only accessible by several flights of stairs was offered to an elderly man who could barely walk and came to the viewing on a council minibus.

Also it has to be said that there are some  residents  who are living in  unsuitable accommodation  but are putting up with it because they are terrified of being moved away fron their local area and the borough or indeed London altogether.

Some permanent council accommodation   itself is  unhealthy and unsafe to begin with, but  residents who are saddled with it do not receive much in the way of help.    Look at the way that North Kensington mother of two young children,  Chloe Williams was treated by RBKC Housing last year. See our post from back then here:

/https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/stand-with-chloe-and-stop-the-eviction-protest-at-kensington-town-hall-this-evening/


Ms Williams¬† was given the “choice” of living with rats, mice and cockroaches or being moved to the other side of London – completely¬† unacceptable.

RBKC Housing also seem to think it is acceptable to not¬† bother to move one of us away from a neighbour who has been violent¬†and a flat which is in poor condition and¬† has been for a number of years¬† ( the flat¬†was given to her as¬† a final “offer” – take it or be homeless )
See our previous post for more on that  here РLINK

In many cases, calls for help and support have fallen on deaf ears.  Here is an excerpt from a post from us last year in which North Kensington resident spoke at a Full Council Meeting :

(full post here:
:https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-2-grenfell-committee-gets-the-chop-as-dizzy-lizzy-and-rbkc-lose-their-heads-the-full-council-meeting/)

First of all she spoke about Adair Tower, a council block in North Kensington, the tragic double murder of two elderly residents there Back in May, the media frenzy afterwards (which reminded some of the days after Grenfell ) and RBKC failing to provide vulnerable residents there any form of support despite offucers being in full knowledge of the situation.


Thankfully Sue Duggins, chair of the newly formed RA there got in touch with the Grenfell NHS Outreach Team and they were on hand to provide much needed support to residents there who had been in need of it

RBKC did not respond until June and them dismissely said that it was a ‚ÄúPolice matter‚ÄĚ . No referrals to victim support

We‚Äôre sadly not surprised by this as RBKC has form over many years, of neglecting the needs of residents in social housing ‚Äď particularly those in North Kensington (we would be amazed however if Elizabeth ‚Äúnever been in a tower block‚ÄĚ Campbell actually had any clue where Adair Tower was).

Leearna : ‚ÄĚ I would therefore ask do the council have a policy in place regarding serious incidents that affect residents that has a reference to ensuring their mental and physical welfare is safeguarded? And if not, would you please seriously consider putting this in place as you seriously have a duty of care over your residents. And as this example demonstrates, you are dramatically failing in this ‚ÄĚ


But what response did  the Leader of RBKC,  Elizabeth Campbell  have  to the  points and questions Leearna made about Adair Tower then, some might wonder ? Shockingly, Cllr Campbell  did not bother to  respond  on this at all.

So please¬† forgive us –¬†even though while¬† there may be a few on the council who may he¬† approaching this with good intentions – if we are¬† still unconvinced that RBkC will ever really act upon the concerns and needs of our poorest and¬† most vulnerable residents.

And where is the record keeping? We hate¬†to repeat ourselves, but we won’t be changing the record until there are strict rules and guarantees that our housing staff keep full and up to date records on their residents and properties. After all, how can they effectively ensure the wellbeing of both residents and our homes if they are continuously¬† failing to keep these?


It is not healthy or safe for anyone to live¬† in¬† poor conditions and/or in fear of¬† their safety¬† but¬† obviously RBKC expects some of their council residents to…..



As to the new council¬† homes RBKC is building – which our blog welcomes of course, residents will be in for a VERY long wait if they ever hope to get moved to these, so it’s very silly and pointless for some ¬†councillors and suits¬† to keep pointing out¬† that they are building new homes (ready in several¬† years time) to¬†people who¬† need to move¬†ASAP.

It is also not exactly helpful to the mental¬† wellbeing of¬† many¬† residents in North Kensington – where most¬† of our borough’s social housing is –¬† when the council still fails to¬† acknowledge¬†(beyond a couple of estates and blocks) that many more¬† residents here are still very¬†traumatised by Grenfell.

The Committee Working Group will have six months to look into whether homes in the borough   are as safe and healthy as they should be Рand the  simple and obvious answer to that question  is no, they are not. 

While we are pleased that RBKC is now taking fire safety issues seriously, they are still continually  ignoring a whole lot of other problems facing some of our most vulnerable residents.

Some of us feel that¬† even¬† if the Housing Committee were to listen and make some positive recommendations,¬† in the end this all has to be approved by the Leadership – and¬† that non-response¬† from Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell ¬†¬† regarding Adair Tower speaks a thousand words as to how¬† important to some of those in charge, the wellbeing of residents in council housing REALLY is..

We have to say that knowing  from both some of our own experiences and those of others, we are  left with next to no confidence that any of this will ever lead to real change.

We’d¬† really like to be proved wrong, but¬†sadly we think the most likely council¬† response in the end will¬†only be loads more¬†expensive council publications and useless PR stunts with nothing ever really being done to¬†addresss these issues.

What a mess.


RBKC Housing Residents Summit this evening and tomorrow – but THINKers are in no mood for fun

RBKC “Alternative” Residents Summit

First of all we have the news that – yes some suit has FINALLY seen it fit to get into contact with our blog from RBKC Community/ Resident Investment/Engagement (whatever they call it these days – still same thing) and notify us of an upcoming event which starts this evening. So we will say a big thank you to whichever suit sent this and now THINKers will do our job and publicise, so here goes (plus some extra commentary from us of course):

“The Alternative Residents Summit”

“Despite the restrictions of lockdown we can still enjoy a little light relief. We would like to invite all residents to join us at our Alternative Residents’ Summit, which due to lockdown restrictions, we will hold online this year. Plans are well underway for what promises to be an interesting, interactive and fun event that we are sure you will enjoy”.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20TH 6:30pm – 8pm

“Grab a seat on your sofa for a quiz and virtual tour of the borough. Landmarks, hidden gems and a few stories of life in the borough in bygone days”

Residents can join via Zoom on this link: HERE

https://zoom.us/j/93302013177?pwd=QnB4YkpSbG10dzlKeTliMWpvSTJoZz09

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21ST 2pm – 4:30pm

“Learn who does what in Housing Management”

“Award winning food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe joins us to discuss the challenges this year poses, and we’ll have a panel discussion and cookery competition.

(For more information on the cookery competition (subject to change) , please contact christopher.ioannou@rbkc.gov.uk )

Residents can join via Zoom on this link HERE:

https://zoom.us/j/96154753438?pwd=QUVNVHJnMlZ5cXZOYitxY3JPdjUzdz09


Well we hope other residents do enjoy these events and find them useful, but some of us are certainly in no mood for this.

As to learning who does what in housing management, perhaps RBKC would like to hurry up and answer this long overdue Freedom Of Information request that one of us sent:

This FOI request was sent back in April – the law states they must respond within 20 working days. All our Editor received back was an acknowledgement they received it and they said they would respond by May – liars. She requested an internal review back in July; also ignored by RBKC. We could ask why these very simple questions are being ignored – but we just wish our council would pull their socks up and provide us with an answer, please.

As for our housing services, THINK are not so sure that VIP guest – food writer and social campaigner Jack Monroe will be too impressed when she hears about some of the conditions that some of RBKC’s council housing residents are expected to live in (after all, they’ll be no cooking for one of us when the council refuses to replace to replace old rotting kitchen cupboards which have gaps and holes in them) plus a number of other more serious issues.

We are also concerned about the proposed changes to tenancy agreements; we believe these need a serious overhaul if RBKC really wants to commit to positive change and improved relations and communications with its tenants and leaseholders post Grenfell.

So our blog will go through some of these and also go into part of the ordeal that one of us has had to put up with by way of explanation in some parts; so we hope others can forgive us for not being in the mood to “party”…..


Proposed changes to RBKC Tenancy Agreements: A THINKer’s view

First of all this:

In fact only a SMALL NUMBER of RBKC social housing residents were consulted about these proposed changes. Certainly some of us weren’t. See this post of ours again:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/10/19/all-animals-are-equal-but-some-animals-are-still-more-equal-than-others-down-on-the-tcc-animal-farm/

It is certainly not a fair process of consultation if residents belonging to the TCC (Tenants Consultative Committee) Homes group were not thought worthy of inclusion in the process by the council at all and even more unfair and disproportional when a far larger number of residents in council housing have not even been made aware that the TCC exists.

Next, there’s this:

What is this “Tenant’s Handbook” ? Most of us don’t have one and many of us have never even heard of it. Moreover, why does this have to be separate fron the agreement anyway? Putting out various separate documents/booklets etc. all relating to what amounts to the same thing only causes confusion.

As for repairs caused by neglect or damage, we think this more than reeks of blaming tenants for the council’s neglect. Those rotten kitchen cupboards that one of us has were provided by the council!

This resident has been desperately asking to move (more on that later), will not spend money they do not have on a property they are desperate to leave and does not know the first thing about DIY anyhow (if RBKC encourages complete novices to fit kitchen cupboards they really will end up with tenants causing damages to council properties by the way). Nearly six years ago when that tenant was forced to take this property (a final “offer” – in fact it was the only offer of housing and not really an offer – more “accept this or you’ll make yourself homeless and we will never house you”), the council refused to fix most of the problems. RBKC/KCTMO’s work can be shoddy at times to say the least ; just look at these tiles protruding from a kitchen wall and the gap (which again RBKC have refused to fix):

RBKC also gave the same tenant a bathtub with a hole in – which rather than bother to replace, had just been filled in!

We understand that a very small minority of tenants may have caused harm to their properties but that is in many cases difficult if not impossible to measure properly who has damaged what and when because RBKC themselves in conjuction with KCTMO, have poorly maintained and in some cases, severely neglected quite a lot of their housing stock over a number of years – especially properties that were earmarked by the council for regeneration or potential regeneration and also a certain number of street properties.

There is also a monumental failure on the part of this council to keep full up to date records on the conditions of properties as well as on tenants.

It’s not only “Catastrophe Claire” Williams’ records and notes that appear to have ended up in the bin…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/11/17/grenfell-inquiry-catastrophe-claire-williams-kctmo-binned-diaries-and-more/

Here’s another page, we don’t disagree with or object to these rules of course, but just have a look:

What we object to is the format and the tone of it – eg. “You have to do this, you cannot do that”. There are only a couple of paragraphs on the agreement relating to the council’s responsibilities – and it doesn’t go far enough in our view. This format of the tenancy agreement and most of the wording of it remains COMPLETELY UNCHANGED since the TMO days.

Look, we are very pleased that the council is really taking fire safety seriously, we also very much highly welcome and applaud the decision made by RBKC some time back to restore lifetime tenancies – these are excellent and positive changes. But we believe that they must break firmly with the KCTMO past and they must start again with the tenancy agreements – and, by consulting ALL tenants and leaseholders.

We strongly suggest they change the format and wording – so in part 1 – with rules and conditions – is “what we expect from you ” and part 2 of same agreement is “what you can expect from us”.

So what should tenants and leaseholders expect from RBKC, some may ask?

Well, we would expect to see a condition on all housing staff and repair staff to keep full records of conditions of properties and needs of tenants – because they don’t – and there appears to be no condition that they do . See this:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/the-rbkc-tmo-bermuda-triangle-of-missing-case-files-and-housing-records/

What about the vulnerable? The ill, the disabled and the elderly? We believe that these chronic failures of RBKC/KCTMO to keep up to date records and documents puts the wellbeing of these residents at risk. Council housing management should not purely be just about properties and finances after all

We also expect tenants to be protected from violence and threats. RBKC have proposed this:

But this isn’t good enough. It does nothing to fully address needs of safety of residents if it is not properly enforced and if the council will not fully commit to moving tenants who have been subject to violence and/or threats away from problem neighbours.

The same tenant mentioned above, has also been a victim of violence in their block – from their downstairs neighbour (whose flat they have to go past every day) and also once (from druggies using the bin cupboards who punched said tenant’s front tooth out ) when the tenant went out to put their rubbish out in the cupboards late at night and accidentally happened to inadvertently interrupt these trespassers and their illegal activities.

The tenant is terrified and absolutely desperate to move. Kim Taylor-Snith and the housing officer responsible gave permission to move – but that’s it – no action taken to move her. Instead she is just told that she can bid under the system but has ZERO chance of being moved under that system as she is fairly young- ish, in good health and able-bodied and does not have many housing points.

RBKC just punishes this resident further and tells her she needs to go to the doctor in order to stand a chance of having her housing points increased – ridiculous.

This tenant also lives right around the corner from Grenfell and is affected , but is not considered by RBKC to be eligible for the Local Lettings Policy- under which she might stand more chance of being rehoused – because she does not live in Lancaster West Estate, Treadgold House or Bramley House. So RBKC is making an already traumatised resident (who lives nearer to Grenfell Tower than a few parts of Lancaster West) suffer even more by not accepting her case and other similar cases on this scheme.

There needs to be a guarantee that the council will act to move victims of violence immediately, otherwise the bleak prognosis is that the only way herself and others in a similar position will ever leave their living hell of a council home will be in a bodybag.

Lastly, THINK will reply to this below, as this was obviously proposed by council officers reacting to something we said on this blog:

Here is what one breach of data protection by housing officers towards ourselves was: Housing staff used our blog email and passed that email address along with one of our personal details to other departments without our knowledge or consent. Our Editor was contacted by RBKC Electoral Services via our blog email. She did not hand these contact details to them, she is on the electoral register anyway of course, but the point is, neither she or the blog consented to this and that is the email addresss for the blog and NOT for our personal details to be used and shared freely – for electoral registration or not – and certainly not for the council to pass around; completely unacceptable

Anyway, we will end by wishing all at the events a happy weekend .

Grenfell Inquiry: “Catastrophe Claire” Williams, binned diaries, lies and revelations

Last month, Claire Williams, KCTMO’s Project Manager for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, admitted to the Grenfell Inquiry that she had binned evidence – notebooks and diaries despite being in full knowledge of the Inquiry and Police investigation. This binning of vital evidence was done when she left in May 2018 – nearly a year after the fire. We are beyond appalled and hope that necessary action is taken against her.

THINKers had never met Claire Williams, but sonehow her name rang a bell with us from some time before, so we thought to have a good look through our thousands of pictures and screenshots the other day and we found this, taken from the TMO Link Magazine back in 2016:

No, that PR exercise certainly does not fill in the blanks at all, but it does mention Claire Williams saying “I update my notes to ensure that all progress is recorded ” What a pity then, after making such a point about her notes she decided to bin them later on.

Anyone having a look at Catastrophe Claire’s background might note that before she came to KCTMO, she was at Circle Housing. Yes, that is Circle Housing Group the failed former housing association who owned and managed over 60,000 homes and ended up, a few years after Ms Williams left for KCTMO, becoming best known for being put on notice by the HCA for leaving vulnerable tenants and leaseholders in dangerous conditions as a result of their failure to repair and maintain properties. Inside Housing had some insight into this here:

“Circle of Despair”

Even though she left Circle before then (rats and sinking ships do come to mind), many of our North Kensington social housing residents have also been through a ‘circle of despair” as well as death and destruction – partly because of Claire and some of her KCTMO management colleagues.

Back to the Inquiry and this, reported in Construction News , can leave nobody in doubt as to how out of touch and dishonest Williams is:

Richard Millett, counsel for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, highlighted a message sent by client Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation’s (TMO) project manager Claire Williams to colleagues on the morning of 14 June 2017, while the tower was still ablaze. The email had attachments of progress-meeting minutes and building-site inspections on topics relating to the refurbishment work.

Counsel for the inquiry Richard Millett said Williams gave no ‚Äúsuggestion of surprise or shock that the building was burning‚ÄĚ in her message. She had previously told the inquiry that she was assured by Rydon contracts manager Simon Lawrence that the cladding was inert and would not burn, something Lawrence denied when he gave evidence. Williams also told the inquiry that Lawrence‚Äôs claim about the cladding was minuted, but no such evidence has been found.

Catastrophe Claire the Bin Lady

She also burst into tears at one point.It was obvious that the tears were for herself feeling the pressure under questioning and for her reputation which, like her notes, has ended up in the bin – rather than for the innocent residents of Grenfell Tower . Here is what the brilliant Peter Apps of Inside Housing live Tweeted at the time:

“Catastrophe Claire ” certainly does not deserve an Oscar for that unconvincing performance , but she definitely more than qualifies for one of our awards….

So for her apparent lack of conscience, the outright nerve to fly in the face of an Inquiry into a disaster ( that happened partly under her watch and claimed the lives of 72 residents) by choosing to dispose of crucial evidence, for her lies, incompetence and insincerity , and also for her unconvincing performance under questioning at the Inquiry, THINK proudly present Claire Williams with a very well-deserved Piglet-Pie Award:

As for Claire the Bin Lady’s diaries , if getting rid of evidence isn’t perverting the course of justice, we don’t know what is, but as some of the “boys and girls in blue” do read our blog, and the last individual we pointed the finger at for perverting the course of justice with regards to disposing of Grenfell Inquiry evidence has been arrested on this charge; she might expect a knock at the door sometime soon – the next “afternoon with Claire Williams” could well be spent in a Police interview room .

But KCTMO is only one part of it and this week Module Two has continued and Celotex have been appearing at the Inquiry. Here is the latest horrific revelation from yesterday regarding former Celotex manager Jonathan Roper alleging that his former firm , a subsidiary of Saint Gobain rigged the fire safety tests of the combustible insulation and that his former bosses encouraged him to lie about its safety for commercial gain:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/16/fire-test-for-grenfell-foam-cladding-panels-was-rigged-admits-ex-employee

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/celotex-manager-told-to-lie-for-commercial-gain-over-safety-test-of-insulation-sold-for-use-on-grenfell—68619

.

We have more on Celotex, plus others coming this week. Our blog may have taken a short break but for obvious reasons, all this has certainly been the furthest thing from a holiday.

Protest this Thursday

This Thursday the 19th of November , there will be a protest outside the Grenfell Inquiry, Bishops Bridge Road (near Paddington Station) from 11:30am to 1pm. Do join us if you can and show your support for the bereaved, the survivors and the North Kensington community.

TMO AGM tomorrow: Watch out for snakes in the grass

Tomorrow, (what is left of) KCTMO, AKA Kensington and Chelsea’s Terrible Mismanagement Organisation, is holding its AGM at 6:30 pm tomorrow, Tuesday 17th of November via Zoom:

Just in case not all resident members have received their details by post for tomorrow’s online meeting, which people have to register to attend beforehand , we thought we would be of some help and pass on the email to our felkow residents for last minute registration . Register for attendance with dodgy Mi-Voice by 2pm tomorrow, Tuesday 17th November at this email here:

www.www.mi-nomination com/kctmoagm

Also likely to attend will be a certain resident who pretends to be a friend to our communities in the borough but actually appears to be pals with equally dodgy KCTMO Company Secretary Kerry Tromanhauser!

Otherwise why would this resident have become very angry and threatening to our Editor last Winter and demand that she remove this blog post of ours from last year?

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/todays-tmo-agm-postponed-now-time-to-try-and-clear-some-cobwebs/

But THINKers do not stand for anyone bullying us, let alone this snake in the grass, so last October’s blog post stays put and we might just happen to give this community traitor something of a taste of their own medicine…..

Some may wonder why are we bringing this up now, but wonder no more because we can reveal that part of this meeting will be to announce the new members of the KCTMO board and we’re concerned about who might be in these positions. See this brief for candidates, which was sent out to only few residents for some reason but certainly wasn’t sent to us, nor the vast majority of resident members – but somehow “accidentally” fell into our lap:

For obvious Grenfell and Inquiry reasons, this would rule out most resident members from our part of North Kensington but surprise surprise, the KCTMO bosses clearly don’t believe in a fair process and don’t want most resident members to know – why else would only a select few receive this?

As the tagline for our blog indicates, we are normally loathe to name and shame residents unless there is very good reason for doing so, so we won’t for now anyway; unless this resident just happens to get on the KCTMO board, which of course will give our blog more than very good reason for doing so…..

So let’s see if Mr Tromanhauser’s BFF decides to pop their head up at the AGM. Tomorrow evening might get quite heated if they do….

Grenfell Inquiry: Cladding, cowards, a petition and a protest

This Thursday, November the 12th, between 11:30pm and 1pm, there will be a protest outside the Grenfell Tower Inquiry at Bishops Bridge Road, London W2 (near Paddington Station).

Some people have been emailing us about the protest so we will just briefly explain; people are protesting mostly because Grenfell survivors and the bereaved are not allowed in, and also partly because some bereaved members of our community are expressing how they feel towards the various parties who have been responsible in part for the fire which took 72 innocent lives in North Kensington with some protest signs and banners . The protests are in the street outside and are not disrupting, nor are they at all intended to disrupt, the Grenfell Inquiry and the course of justice.

On Thursday, negligent profiteers who produced the insulation, Celotex will be appearing. Perbaps they will be able to answer some questions over this from back in September? (excerpt taken from the East Anglian Daily Times):

Ray Bailey, boss of cladding specialists Harley Facades, said the Suffolk-based insulation supplier made a ‚Äúbig, big deal‚ÄĚ about the Rs5000 product used to refurbish the tower before the tragic fire which claimed 72 lives in 2017.
Mr Bailey claimed Celotex marketed the ‚Äúspecial super duper‚ÄĚ product as being ‚Äúspecifically designed‚ÄĚ for tall buildings and that it was Class 0 certificated ‚Äď the minimum legal requirement for external surfaces of buildings.

Some of the revelations at the Grenfell Inquiry so far have been absolutely chilling. See this from The Guardian:

GRENFELL SUPPLIERS KNEW THEIR CLADDING WOULD BURN, INQUIRY TOLD

But anyone expecting makers of the Grenfell cladding, Arconic to turn up may be in for a long wait, as these negligent cowards are outrageously trying to use French law to worm their way out of facing difficult questions over what knowledge they had over the lethal flammable cladding that they were content to missell and make a big fat profit out of:

BBC News “Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Cladding firm employees refuse to give evidence

We think it’s time something was done about that….

THINK are giving our full backing to this petition from the Chair of Grenfell United Natasha Elcock calling on Foreign Secrecrary Dominic Raab to speak to the French Government and do everything in his power to get Arconic to appear at the Grenfell Inquiry, and we strongly urge all our readers to please sign, share and support at tbis link:

PETITION : Dominic Raab: Don’t let Grenfell cladding company Arconic get away from justice

As for the French Blocking Statute, perhaps this, back from 2013, could be a point of reference for legal challenges to Arconic’s position?

https://www.burges-salmon.com/news-and-insight/legal-updates/english-court-refuses-to-let-the-french-hide-their-evidence/

Many of us who are bereaved and traumatised do not sleep soundly at night because of the devastation and loss at Grenfell – and neither should those who are responsible for this.

Earl’s Court and the new RBKC Local Plan: THINKers have our say (and you can too)

Cllr Linda “Wonderwoman” Wade

It goes without saying that these are dark, depressing and uncertain times right now to say the least , but still we have to try to look forward to things and attempt to stay positive.

Today we have featured hardworking and heroic Earl’s Court Lib Dem RBKC councillor Linda Wade as Wonderwoman on this post for good reason . Her tireless work and positive campaigning , especially for members of the community aroumd Earl’s Court, but also for many other residents all around the borough and elsewhere, is a huge inspiration and help to many – including ourselves.

Readers familiar with this blog will probably be aware of our support for the Save Earl’s Campaign and our views on what we would like to see on the site of the former Exhibition Centre, but for those who aren’t, we will just share again a couple of old but still highly relevant blog posts of ours.

This one, back from August 2017 when the inspirational Save Earl’s Court campaigners shared with us their brilliant vision for the site:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/think-special-post-from-earls-court-a-new-beginning/

And this 7 years of the Save Earl’s Court campaign post from September last year, featuring Linda Wade, the campaigners and supporters :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/happy-7th-birthday-to-the-save-earls-court-campaign-and-a-call-for-action/

The site still remains empty wasteland today.

RBKC are currently working on a new Local Plan, and are taking views of both residents and visitors alike, so THINKers in the “comments” parts (and we would suggest that all residents who take part in the survey really do add comments and share their views) , said that we would particularly like to see social housing and green space provided on this site. We would also like to see a replacement green venue for the exhibition centre – which would help bring revenue into the area as well as help struggling local small businesses recover there.

Of course Earl’s Court is one part of our borough and the Local Plan is important to all of us who live or work in the various different localities of RBKC and we have another blog post coming up with more on the Local Plan, but for this post today, we encourage all to take part in the survey (you do not have to be a resident of our borough to take part) , which ends this Tuesday, 10th of November at 23:59pm

Link to redevelopment survey – plus there is also a short community survey at the same link for RBKC residents – here:

RBKC LOCAL PLAN – GIVE MY VIEW

As for the wasteland sitting vacant on the Earl’s Court site, we think that what ever happens to the site, thay the land ought to at least put into temporary use in the meantime. We think that it would be a good thing at this time to see this land being put to good purpose and used for socially distanced events, walks and exercise and perhaps as has been suggested by Earl’s Court Conservative councillor Malcolm Spalding and a number of other residents in the area, also for temporary use for socially distanced shopping if lockdowns and Covid-19 measures are to continue in this way for some time to come instead of just needlessly sitting empty – what a waste; let’s please put it to good use and do something positive.

Weathering difficult and uncertain times

So it’s official, we’re getting another Lockdown on Thursday. We could debate the politics, what is right or wrong here but we’re not really feeling up to it just now .

Here is the latest Government information:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

We were due to hop over the border to Westminster yesterday for a Halloween special post, but all the current gloomy news and the prospect of going through all that again has left this THINKer feeling utterly drained and depressed.

But we will try to get on and do something useful anyway and are currently in the process of updating our site.

Because of the impending Lockdown , we really do need to update our Covid-19 help and support page (which is now several months old) to ensure that our resident readers can get the up to date help and support they need during this difficult time.

So this is a call to all our THINKing readers based in RBKC and in nearby areas; if you know of any contact details of local help and support available for our vulnerable residents , please let us know so we can update our information.

Contact us on tianorthken@gmail.com

Sorry we’re not our usual selves right now , but hopefully our blog will be back to “business as usual ” eventually…..

Cleaning services in RBKC Housing survey

RBKC social housing residents have until this Sunday, November the 1st to complete this survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete, about their cleaning services (and one of the options is to have cleaning setvices back “in house”) :

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/cleaning-survey

Now we are going to have a few words here:

First of all we do not know why a survey about our cleaning services is asking residents for their date of birth,ethnic background, religion and sexual orientation (seriously what does any of that have to do with our cleaning services?!)

We are going to thank the suit who emailed us with the sutvey – we don’t know of he wants to be named, so we won’t, but we thank him – this is what a good RBKC suit does – shares council surveys and consultations with local blogs, who of course will share with others. He is not in the resident engagement team but we think he should be.

Now to the subject of cleaning, this THINKer likes their cleaners, we think they do a good job given the very little time and very few resources they are given to do the job and she is not going to put the blame them for a shortage of caretaking services and a failure of RBKC to deal with persistent vandalism to her comnunal flat (now thankfully fixed) door and constant fly tipping in her block of flats ( there is someone’s sofa STILL by the back door despite emails to the council about this).

This THINKer does not even know who their caretaker is.

But fly tipping in blocks of flats and estates is a constant problem and also a fire safety and hygiene hazard for many . One of us did suggest that the council promotes their “Too Big For The Bin” service because we think that if more residents knew they can get their old furniture junk etc removed for free or at reduced price, they will be far less likely to dump it in communal ateas around them. Here is the email for residents to book the service :

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/bins-and-recycling/rubbish-and-recycling/bulky-household-waste-collections

We think that RBKC seriously needs to keep an eye of blocks and estates that are regularly used as rubbish dumps and to please keep our corridors, stairways and fire exits free of the mess. We ask for more cleaners and a named caretaker and contact number – which many residents, including one of us, do not have.

We also ask the council to please , partly because of fire safety and also because of the risk of Covid-19, to ensure that other residents also remove their personal belongings from corridors and hallways – some corridors and landings are only a few feet wide after all .

Whatever happens to our cleaning services, we need more of them and for the council to please ensure that the communal areas of our homes are kept clean and safe.

IMPORTANT: One day left to have your say on controversial Government Planning White Paper

Robert Jenrick as “Bob The Bodger”

Tomorrow, Thursday the 29th of October at 11:45pm, is the deadline for public responses to the Government’s controversial to say the least, Planning White Paper.

Read it in full at this link here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

And respond to the survey and make your comments via this link here:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/MHCLG-Planning-for-the-Future/

Or email in your own words here:

planningforthefuture@communities.gov.uk

Yes, it is very long, but we cannot state enough the importance of responding; because this is set to be the biggest shake-up of planning policy in England since the 1940s , and will essentially fast track developments and leave both residents and local authorities with far less input and scrutiny.

We are also concerned that this could put some of our localities that are not in conservation areas, our social housing (especially blocks and estates owned by housing associations – likely in our view to be redeveloped to provide so-called “affordable” housing instead of for social rent) , green spaces and play areas at risk, as well as compromising the wellbeing of many of our residents.

Our local planning system is not perfect – indeed far from it, but THINK are deeply concerned about some of the proposed measures bypassing local democracy and that our communities will lose what little say we have in which developments get approved.

It hasn’t been nicknamed the “Developer’s Charter” for nothing….

We have already responded and will be sharing our responses on this blog.

The response from the London Tenants Federation can be foumd here:

Planning for the Future: London Tenants Federation Draft Consultation Response

We strongly urge all our readers who are residemts here in England who to set aside an hour of your time to read the White Paper and respond.

Have your say while you still can

Here, just to give an indication as to how serious this is, are a few things from the consultation paper that we have highlighted:

City Hall and Property PR firms: Too close for comfort

Front: Jules Pipe , Back l to r Nivk Kilby (Cratus) Sir Merrick Cockell (Cratus) Donal Mulryan (Rockwell) & Jason Kow (Queensgate)

This blog is no stranger to posting about property PR firms, developers , and their worryingly close relationships to our authorities..

See our London Trilogy from 2018 (and yes, a follow up series of posts are coming soon) :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/who-really-runs-london/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/david-lunch-lunts-the-mr-creosote-of-the-gla/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/more-terrapins-in-the-tank-at-the-city-hall-of-shame/

And see our previous posts about Cratus :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/cockell-and-his-connections-are-still-wreaking-havoc-all-around-the-rotten-borough/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/cratus-communications-creeping-out-from-under-the-curtains/

Well it is no sectret that Rockwell Property (the developers together with Queensgate Investments , who are behind the redevelopment plans for the Holiday Inm Forum Hotel in Cromwell Road) are clients of Cratus.

Tomorrow at the hearing, it will be one of Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayors, Jules Pipe making the decision.

But we do not think it is right or fair that Jules Pipe is making the decision, especially since we have heard about his associations with Cratus , – last month on September the 3rd, he hosted a webinar for them.

This is supposed to be a democratic and fair process? Really?

It does from reading the papers, look like City Hall will override our democracy and approve this monstrosity….

Our readers can see the papers and tune in at 1:30pm tomorrow on tbis link:

https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/planning-applications-and-decisions/public-hearings/kensington-forum-hotel-public-hearing

And of course, there is another property PR firm that have been used by Rockwell and that is Terrapin Communications.

Here again, is Peter Bingle of Terrapin Communications getting cosy with Sadiq Khan:

As said before, we totally fail to see the point in having a London Mayor and GLA if it is developers who are really the ones pulling the strings.