Cabinet and Committee changes: McVeigh promoted and Weale in the wheelie bin

After the disappointing (well for anyone who had the faintest hope of seeing any real positive change at RBKC anyway) Local Election results, we have a few changes at the RBKC “Leadership Team” (AKA Cabinet).

No, don’t get your hopes up , Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Cambell is still Leader Kim “Tailored Sloth” Taylor-Smith is still Deputy Leader .

We’re disappointed to see that when many Tory councillors have ambitions to go into Parliament or into political advising etc. NONE of them seem to be after the RBKC Leader’s job Well not yet anyway..

But Mary “Wheelie Bin” Weale has “ended up in the wheelie bin” as she now out of the cabinet.

A few other changes: Sof McVeigh has been promoted and is now in charge of Communities. This is some slight good news for North Kensington, because Cllr McVeigh has been one of the few Tories who has been fairly sympathetic to our community. Also she might be a councillor for Brompton and Hans Town Ward, but she is a resident of North Kensington (lives around the corner from our Editor in Norland in fact).

Anne Cyron, another of the few Tories who has been more sympathetic to our community, moves across from Communities to take over at Adult Social Care and Public Health . We hope that she will not try to ignore or downplay Grenfell and its effect on our mental health . Many of us around North Kensington have suffered from PTSD and its long term effects. We do not ever want to see a survey on mental health from this Council again that fails to acknowledge that Grenfell is a factor :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2022/02/11/when-the-grenfell-council-doesnt-acknowledge-grenfell-trauma/

Cem Kemahli moves over to Planning, Place and the Environment so we’ll remind him of this over the Kensington Odeon and that THINKers will be watching him :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/06/07/no-happy-ending-for-the-kensington-odeon/

Taking over at Finance and Customer Delivery from Cllr Weale is Johnny Thalassites who moves away from Planning, Place and the Environment We were wondering how long he would stay in his after this decision:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2022/05/05/heres-johnny-and-heres-an-issue-in-holland-ward-that-he-would-probably-rather-we-kept-quiet-about/

But this is a curious move , because journalist Cllr Thalassites has no financial background!

One Cabinet Member who does have a background in Finance is Josh Rendall, but he moves over from Family and Children’s Serevices to take over at Local Economy and Employment.

He has swapped with Catherine Faulks who takes up the Family and Children’s Services position.

Emma Will stays put in Community Safety, Culture and Leisure.

RBKC has a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, so we’ll congratulate David Lindsay and Janet Evans. Out blog has been quite critical of David Lindsay a couple of times before but we do know he is a genuine community minded councillor and our political differences aside, he is someone we can work with and a councillor who is well liked and respected in North Kensington. Janet Evans may be one of the feistiest councillors there is but she is always nice to THINKers and is an expert at promotion and putting places in and around South Kensington on the map . We think these two will do a good job (and they’ll probably both be relieved that thanks to Covid, there won’t be any protest signs appearing behind councillors for a while!)

As for Committees, Cllr Weale, now RBKC’s longest serving councillor (having been there since 1987) hasn’t actually gone in the wheelie bin, as she is now Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. We’re not so sure how thorough she will be in her post – it’s more like the old guard scrutinising their pals.

We are very pleased to see all the talk about Labour boycotting Committees was just speculation and that Kasim Ali is resuming his Chairmanship of the Housing and Communities Select Committee . We’re genuinely pleased to see Cllr Ali back there. (Our long put to bed misunderstanding we once had with him over temporary housing aside), On the whole he has been a thoughtful and intelligent chair of this committee so we send our congratulations to him.

As for other Committee Chairs, Sarah Addenbrooke is Chair of the Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee (and we hope unlike Cllr Elnaghi, she won’t spend the best part of the meetings thanking people!), Tom Bennett is Chair of the Environment Select Committee, and Walaa Idris is Chair of the Family Services Select Committee.

Gerard “Bulldog” Hargreavees is chairing the Audit and Transparency Committee. He is an RBKC old guard devotee, so that kicks any hopes for greater transparency from RBKC into the long grass.

James Husband is Chair of the Planning Applications Committee, and he is also chair of the Planning Committee . The vice chairs are Tom Bennett and Gerard “Bulldog” Hargreaves – again. Clearly Tory councillors do not listen to us . Perhaps having Bulldog on the RBKC Planning Committee is is something for dodgy property PR lobbyist Peter Bingle of Terrapin Communications to celebrate? He is friends with Bulldog after all. Here is Bingle’s Facebook friends list again

If we weren’t keeping a close eye on the Planning Committee before, we certainly are now, with Bingle’s friend being on it And even more so, given the monstrosity Terrapin clients Ballymore are set to put up in the Kensal Canalside “Opportunity Area”

https://www.projectflourish.co.uk/

Whatever the case, as for the changes, There isn’t any REAL change at RBKC, just like the supposed culture change we believe its all show and no substance.Without a change of Government there won’t ever be any. Plus √ßa change plus c’est la m√™me chose – the more it changes the more it’s the same.

By the way, we had to make a quick edit as some of the information provided to us on the RBKC website was wrong – all that money spent on communications and they still get it wrong!

Dizzy Lizzy, you’ve had long enough in charge and it’s time for you to go. Cabinet Members and Committee Chairs (especially Wheelie Bin and Bulldog), we’re watching you….

Singing the blues as RBKC fails to turn red: Where it went wrong for Labour

Nearly 3 weeks after the Local  Election results and  despite  neighbouring  Westminster and Wandsworth turning red, Labour in Kensington and Chelsea failed to make a single gain.

Look, nobody ever expected a similar result in RBKC , but Labour’s poor showing, on a night of Conservative losses, when voters were turning against the Tories raises a lot of questions.   Perhaps Kensington and Chelsea  Labour Party  would now  be doing some analysing and some soul searching as to why? 

Well most would think so but we’re not seeing or hearing much of  that right now



But just in case  a few  poor  deluded souls are far too preoccupied with  celebrating an  increased share of the vote in  two- just two – Labour  held wards,   as a left of centre local blog,: we think its time for our own analysis of where RBKC Labour went wrong ; it should serve as  a serious reality check  for some..

Disorganisation

First of all stating the obvious .   Disorganisation in the campaign was an issue  for Labour four years ago.  One of us remembers only too well all  the occasions  when times, dates and venues for leafleting and canvassing  were mixed up or not sent out, when  some councillors and candidates were  overloaded with work and had to put a call out, when people wouldn’t get emails and texts despite asking numerous times, when a few councillors  would barely venture outside their wards, the absence of set times and days  for daytine canvassing – we’d be here forever listing all the examples  The main point being thet Labour hasn’t learnt from psst mistakes. Perhaps some of the  local leadership  should have  done a “post-election analysis”, examining  what they could improve on and what went wrong in a wider debate with local members and supporters  and then gone about  making improvements and planning  for next time?

Clearly that either didn’t happen or   just a few people just discussed it amongst themselves and didn’t do very much, otherwise there wouldn’t be worse this time round. By worse, we mean after a campaign that barely got off the ground, and only did so months after the Tory and Lib Dem campaigns had been going , members still weren’t being notified, campaigns ran out of election material when in full swing., partly members asking about canvassing and leafleting sessions and not hearing anything back. In fact the general local party was put to shame by the few members who used their  own initiative   to  organise and get things going . Holland Ward, with public leafleting sessions and big names brought in,  being the most prominent  example  of this.  We’d helpfully suggest that some of  those who worked hard in Holland Ward  have a bigger role for next time, but perhaps  its not only Tories  who don’t care to  listen to us!

  It goes without saying that if you go into election campaigns without being reasonably organised and prepared, you might as well prepare to lose. 

Poor  external communications 

Its time for a comparison of party leaflets.  Have a look at the Tory election leaflet:

Whilst we entirely agree with the political points made in this Urban Dandy takedown of the Conservative leaflets below, the fact that the leaflet caught their eye, means it more or less served its purpose. It got them on people’s radar, it got noticed:

https://urbandandylondon.com/2022/04/17/review-torynews/

The Tory leaflets may have an obsession with bin collections (and of course they conveniently forget that Boris Johnson back when he was London Mayor scrapped the thrice weekly bin collections!) But they are eye catching, they have pictures and a good typography layout, and crucially, they do go into a few local issues. The leaflets definitely do not speak to everyone but the presentation of them (politics aside) is undeniably good.

However, if we’re going to mention bin collections, it really is the bin is where this very poor excuse for a Labour campaign leaflet belongs :

Where do we start ? Certainly the layout isn’t eye catching. There is far too much writing and there are very few pictures. Someone has forgotten that they have about 10 seconds to catch peoples attention before it gets binned . Most glaringly, the leaflets offer NOTHING in the way of LABOUR LOCAL POLICY!

Parts of it¬† are better suited to General Elections rather than Local Elections.¬† Bits of it come across as “conversations down the pub”. . Other points made are¬† very valid such as cuts to council services and RBKC’s misguided spending priorities, but when the criticism hits the right note, there is nothing positive offered for voters to get enthusiastic about. People more than already know what they’re voting against, but what people would like to know is what they are supposed to be voting for .

Here are the Lib Dem leaflets:

Whatever some may think of how realistic or not the Lib Dem policy  over reopening Police Stations is, it is a policy of sorts, and something attractive for the voters . The presentation  and layout of this leaflet is better too. 

When whoever responsible for the Labour leaflets gets their head around why putting nothing much more than some bunched up writing, hardly any information about councillors and candidates, copy and paste statements and hardly any accompanying pictures that doesn’t do anything other than preach to the converted and no positive message to encourage people to vote for you isn’t such a great idea, here’s a quick tongue twister for them: “Poor presentation prevents positive performance” – but that’s if they can get their heads around our criticism that is .

Now we come to websites. Look at the Westninster Labour website :

https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/

https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/ward-news/2022/05/02/maida-vale-little-venice-labour-action-report-may-2022/

Now look at the rather poor website efforts of Kensington and Chelsea Labour:

https://kensingtonlabour.com/

The website is rarely updated , local issues require more in detail attention the absence of a good up to date blog, the absence of up to date publicity for their councillors and candidates We could again go on all day about this, essentially as to what they are doing (or indeed not doing), the website speaks volumes about something – basically it sends out the subliminal message to locals and also others watching, that K & C Labour do not care about winning anything, have no ambition and are merely content to hold fort in a handful of safe wards in North Kensington. We know not everyone feels that way, and obviously candidates in particularly Holland , also Chelsea Riverside, for example, may feel rather diffently about wanting to win, but being satisfied with the status quo is the general message that the lack of care and attention to local party communications gives. We strongly suggest getting in some help from Westminster Labour to help make improvements.

Public party disunity, infighting and deselections

Now perhaps the most controversial point of all in this blog.

First of all the deselections  of three popular  councillors.  We’re talking about Ian Henderson, Nadia Nail and Pat Healy .  We don’t think that this exactly helped the  party’s chances locally and Ian Henderson is also perhaps Labour’s best known figure in Chelsea, being the force behind the brilliant Save Our  Sutton Estate campaign and responsible for saving this lovely historic estate in Chelsea. This particular deselection also sends out a negative message to grassroots campaigners in the  local Labour Party as in  “this is what happens  to campaigners who have a strong voice “.

No doubt some Labout members will point out the RBKC Covid Hub incident and that Ian can be quite rebellious, but a lot of grassroots campaigners do have a rebellious streak ; that is to be expected , but what is also to be expected is that councillors who have a strong background in local campaigning are very good at getting publicity and attracting the floating voters . Perhaps¬† it would have been better for the party to keep such a good effective campaigner as a councillor and utitilse their skills for doing¬† some good rather than putting them publicly on the “Naughty¬† Step” and then kicking them out.

A few senior figures have claimed that the deselections were not deselections at all but ward selections that simply chose to pick other candidates and gone on about selections and the supposed democratic process of these to us. However, when one senior figure in the party told us that “Pat had to go” and when members of their wards were telling us that they received no notification at all of the ward selections, we have to question how democratic this all was.

Also before some people think we can’t read the results and tell us¬† that Colville¬† Ward – formerly Ian and Nadia’s ward¬† – was one of the few wards where Labour performed well, increasing their share of the vote there, it perhaps should be noted thst Cllr Mo Bakhtiar changed wards from St Helens to there and he is one of the few familiar returning faces they have left.¬†We noted that there was at least some sort of¬† a visible campaign there – which wasn’t the case in every held ward.

Which brings us to the number of new councillors. We’re not going to¬† needlessly blame them¬† and some are more or less well known than others, but we didn’t see a great deal of effort made on behalf of the party to familiarise the electorate with their new candidates and set-to-be councilors.¬† Whether¬† people in the party agree with it or not, here is is what a Labour-supporting resident said on Twitter after we posted about the low turnout :

And there is the infighting. Infighting in the local Labour Party has been going on for as long as we can remember and no doubt it will continue. All parties have their disagreements. The trouble is, when those disagreements become very public, and also when some of the disagreements are not just political but personal. It really does undermine party morale of members and supporters. This was an issue last time and yet again, it was an issue this time round and¬† on a much greater level,¬† with the deselections and the poor party communications with members¬† –¬†¬† it gets ridiculous when¬† members and supporters are left out of campaigning¬† events and were not notified of candidate selections just because they happen to be friends with Judith Blakeman or Ian Henderson for example.

Yes there is left VS right and there are personal disagreements too. None of it should undermine the party campaign¬† but it does, time and time again.¬† If there is¬† one thing¬† that Labour could learn from the Tories it’s how to put on a united front.. We¬† also doubt Westminster and Wandsworth would¬† have turned red if their local Labour councilors and party figures¬† were squabbling with each other in public. Simply put, it doesn’t exactly fill voters with confidence in them.

On a personal note, two senior¬† local Labour figures were evidently so determined¬† to shut our blog up, that they were round spreading the¬† outrageous lie that our Editor got her new flat¬† because she supposedly was in with¬† the¬† RBKC Tories, and also that she was supposedly “best mates” with Anne Cyron which is why Cllr Cyron got¬† her into the Election count!!
Both utterly ludicrous of course (and our Editor’s new flat is housing association not RBKC , she bid for the place – it wasn’t a direct offer – and she got the¬† housing points to move¬† because of violent attacks from downstairs neighbours at her previous home¬†¬†( so some people really might want to check their facts first), but that hasn’t stopped a few residents, even some of those who were friends, from believing this rubbish .¬† When a¬† senior member of the RBKC¬† Opposition (no we’re not naming – they know who they are) and¬† a couple of their party comrades conduct themselves like immature schoolchildren, something has gone badly , badly wrong.¬†

Needless to say, such pathetic behaviour has done nothing to silence our blog and all it has done is  helped to ensure that our blog, whilst politically on the same side,  will not be able to endorse the local party if  people who behave like this are having a say in running the show. That is not a left VS right matter and not strictly a matter of personal opinion : it is a matter of common sense, wanting the best for our community and simply  expecting people who ought to know better, to conduct themselves in a decent appropriate manner. The School playground behaviour has to stop. How do these people expect to be taken seriously?

All of the points above do not fill us with much confidence in our local  Labour Party and we’re  sorry some of them won’t like hearing our home truths. We’re also sorry to our friends  who are still in the party trying  to positively campaign for social justice who won’t like seeing  this up  but  do  privately  agree with some of our points.  This is  not a post we hoped to write, and we wouldn’t  write such a public post if some of us were still involved with the local Labour Party – but those days are long gone.   We don’t know  if or when  the day will come  when  we will ever be up to writing  something more   positive and encouraging, but there it is.

Some members might want to see look at this  blog post in From The Hornets Nest:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2022/05/dent-coad-cracks-whip-and-cements-her.html?m=1

Or maybe not, because no doubt a few people we can think of will no doubt be blaming blogs for the negative publicity when really some of them ought to perhaps be looking more at themselves. Yes it is very clear that Hornet is not a Labour supporting blog, but we have to say to the members and councillors upset about it if that you deselect popular councillors, if you call Police to an elderly councillor’s house late at night for no good reason and if you play “musical chairs” with mysteriously changing wards, what do you seriously expect? As well as providing the blog with material and Tories with ammunition, you certainly leave residents – including your own supporters – asking questions at the very least . As a politically left of centre blog and trying to be fair here , we have to say we accept there is always more than one side to a story, but these activities do not provide us , let alone the average resident – with a positive image that they are an alternative “Cabinet in waiting” and that is what they are supposed to appear to be In order to attract the voters.

As for that particular blog post, yes Emma Dent  Coad is indeed now  Leader or the Labour Group and Kasim Ali is Deputy Leader , but that aside, we cannot comment too much on the rest of the post too  much,  except that we  truly hope it  is not the case that Labour will be boycotting Committees again and that new councillors will not be trained  – because that will only makes a bad situation worse.  

We are also hearing that Cllr Mo  Bakhtiar has been suspended for some unknown reason and we’re deeply puzzled as to what on earth likeable hard working and long-serving Cllr Bakhtiar has done to deserve this. Quite why  some may imagine that any of this helps restore local  confidence in Labour is just bizarre and we have to say that it  might not  only be the Tories who are  out of touch with the public around here.  

Lets face it, that disappointing¬† election result¬† was chickens coming home to roost.¬† No gains.¬† Three of their five¬† held wards had a swing to the Conservatives.¬† In Earl’s Court Ward their closest call in 2018, they came a dismal third place.¬† .¬† This poor showing is nothing¬† for Labour to celebrate at all. As our blog illustrates, there is far more than one reason why they failed to attract the voters and this is why we decided, despite knowing the mixed responses we will receive, to get this post up. We hope it is taken in the right way, as it is intended – as constructive criticism – and not as nasty attacks on councillors, members or the party as a whole. In short, we wrote this because we genuinely care.

  If Labour’s “action plan” was to come third  behind the Lib Dems and be regarded as something  of an irrelevance or a bad joke here, they’re  certainly going about it in the right way. And this is a dreadful shame, because it’s their voters, their supporters, their members,  their wards and the people who are in the most vulnerable situations in life  in  our borough who suffer most  from an underperforming oppostion – as if all  these people  haven’t suffered enough under the Tories  as it is already.

We’re back to ranting and raving about RBKC again…..

After a lengthy absence (and some of us being busy with moving!), our blog is finally back! We turned five years old on May the 11th and we’re pleased to be back, our blog is still undertgoing significant improvements , and we hope to bring more and more news and views from North Kensington, RBKC and neighbouring areas in time to come.

That’s about most of the only good news there is. Here are the election results from just over two weeks ago:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-councillors-and-democracy/local-democracy-and-elections/local-elections-2022-results

Well we say most of the only good news. We send our congratulations to the Liberal Democrats and new Cllr Tim Verboven, who joins Linda Wade in Earl’s Court. Despite several close calls (and fellow Lib Dem Earl’s Court candidate Christophe Noblet was only 6 votes away from winning there too) this was the only electoral change at RBKC . But for the Lib Dems, this is significant as they are now a “group” and can now put motions to the Council .

There are plenty of other changes, as in plenty of new councillors and new faces but sadly we’re not really expecting any real positive changes. Anyway, here is our Election Blog:

Our Editor got there that Thursday evening with a good friend. We sat outside watching councillors and staff arrive and felt doubtful our Editor would be allowed into the count . She brought an umbrella, spare clothes and baby wipes (perhaps in anticipation of  being reduced to staying outside all night  and using the bushes in Holland Park as the toilet)

Fortunately (and fortunately for the bushes of Holland  Park!), Anne Cyron, RBKC Lead Member for Communities Рone of the few genuinely decent ones on the  Conservative side, saw her predicament , had some good things  say about our blog and our work, and went to the extra effort of  putting in a good word  to Town Hall staff.  In the end, surprisingly, RBKC Leader  Elizabeth Campbell personally intervened (and authorisation  to get in  for the count was  tight- we saw Walaa Idris being asked for ID) and finally authorised the entrance of our  Editor and she was in!

Our blog is thankful to Cllr Cyron for the effort she went  to get our Editor in and Cllr Campbell for authorising her admission. There’s a bit more to the story with our Council Leader; we’ll come back to that later on….

Having got in, we¬† saw that some councillors and candidates were still arriving, and so were some boxes of votes. It was going to be a long night . At the previous count four¬† years ago the tables – (different ones for each ward with the different¬† colours of trays with our votes in them) were all in the Town Hall Chamber, this time some of them were just outside there with social distancing¬† in mind – which didn’t work at all¬† as people were still crowded in and pushing past each other and especially¬† around the busiest tables.

Having decided we  were not going  to be like a few candidates and councillors  last time round predicting the outcomes of wards and some even assuming they had won or lost (yes you Cllr Campbell!)   based on looking at the trays before postal votes came in, we  waited for the results. 

Barry Quirk, Chief Executive in the  role of returning officer, announced the  borough turnout. Very low – at only 32.7%.

Later the results came in.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Kensington_and_Chelsea_London_Borough_Council_election

All in all it was a “good” night for the Tories who only lost one seat even though they expected to lose more (Kim Taylor-Smith had said earlier he though they would lose 4!)

It was a genuinely quite good night for the Liberal Democrats – with Tim Verboven joining Linda Wade in Earl’s  Court . Apart from a few results in  some safe Labour wards in North Kensington, the Lib Dems managed some huge swings in the borough, with Christophe Noblet narrowly missing out in Earl’s Court,  candidate Sam Dodgshon beating Labour into 3rd place in now marginal   Pembridge  and  candidate Marc Goldfinger (we never did get to ask him if he was related to Erno) for achieving   a whopping 20% swing in Courtfield  beating Labour into 3rd place. 

But it was a truly disappointing night for the  Labour  Party who despite fighting hard in Holland and Chelsea Riverside Wards, failed to take a single seat. ( We have more on why Labour  had a disappointing result coming up next)  They came third in Earl’s Court  – which had been their closest call last time, and had swings against them in some of their held wards ( such as Golborne and Notting Dale which had swings to the Conservatives). 

At the end, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell (yes the nickname is back too !) decided to go and make a smug winning speech claiming that the voters backed her Council, the Conservatives  and what they were doing.  And for that  she was rewarded by being heckled by our Editor – “Not in North Kensington!! Look at the  results!!”

Yes perhaps  Dizzy Lizzy  should have a look at   the share of the votes here before claiming to have a ringing endorsement:

If there is cause to campaign for a change to the voting system it is this result and  a glance  at the share of votes. Talk about our votes not counting…..If only there was an AV or AV plus system in place. If only.

Unfortunately we don’t think  Conservatives or Labour would ever want to give up their strangleholds on safe  councils so we doubt this will ever happen.  We  would hope that next time round, perhaps Labour and the Lib Dems  in RBKC do a bit of “horse trading” in some wards. For example, Lib Dems not fielding candidates in Chelsea Riverside in exchange that Labour do not field candidates  in Redcliffe. Perhaps then a few more results would be different. 

“The opposition tactics were s***”  in the words of Marie-Therese Rossi  who perhaps would have lost to Lib Dems if the two parties had  adopted our idea……

A few other bits and pieces from the night:

– Most of those who know us were happy to see our Editor there,  bar three – just three  – people from Labour who weren’t happy to see her there at all . And that’s why Dizzy Lizzy was so keen to get our Editor in – to rub it in their faces!   One of them, Claire Simmons was  obvious (but that’s because our Editor had a falling out with her a few years ago).  When our Editor went up to congratulate her on her win in Notting Dale she snubbed her! OK fine Claire if you don’t want to engage with THINKers but  then please don’t  go and post comments  on our blogs and refuse to talk to us afterwards – or you will come across as a keyboard warrior! Actually we predict Cllr Simmons to be one of the best speakers on the Labour side and we think  the Tories  will  not be looking forward to her giving them a hard time!

We genuinely hope to be hearing more from her on this:

  – One new face at Labour who was happy to see us and who  we think will be a brilliant councillor is Toby Benton –  now  councillor for Colville Ward . We know Toby as a strong community campaigner  in North Kensington   and a thoughtful and  intelligent speaker.   We predict  good things to come from him.

  – Our Editor got told off for using the toilets downstairs without realising it was the area for  count staff (there were no signs).
Her baby wipes ended up coming in handy as there was no toilet paper anywhere!    So she left them there for others.
Dear RBKC, our counting officers did and always do  an excellent job, the very least you could do is provide them with some toilet paper!

  – The coffee was  terrible – like dirty dishwater . So our Editor stuck to tea and water . RBKC seemed to get a sponsorship or something with Twinings to provide a good selection  of teas. We strongly suggest they get a good  deal with a decent  coffee manufacturer,   especially as people are going to need something to stay awake in some of the Council meetings yet to come…..

  –  Early on in the evening when we arrived with a friend plus their dogs, one of our friend’s dogs decided to have a good run around and get through security!  The lovable dogs charmed some of the councillors. Fortunately for Kim Taylor-Smith and his trousers , Bert wasn’t there!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/do-not-trust-the-rbkc-tories-be-like-burt/

  – Some of the younger   Tories offended  quite a number of others in the place including us  with their boisterous celebrations whooping and thumping like drunken football supporter yobs having their post match celebrations down the pub . We don’t know if any of them had been “powdering their noses”  but they were behaving as if they had. A few guests of opposition candidates  were in tears outside upset by this rowdy behaviour . So we’ll just leave this here  and remind these hooligans  that 72 innocent members of our community lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire atrocity.

And we also recommend they have a good listen to some episodes of this excellent Grenfell Inquiry podcast before they all queue up to ritually kiss the RBKC’s Leadership’s backsides:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066rd9t/episodes/downloads

So this is our message  to them “There were affected residents and councillors present  who found the manner of your celebrations to be wildly inappropriate. Remember who you are, where you  are and who is around you . If not, we’re going to give you a  VERY hard time “

Our Editor stayed until about 7am the next morning and after some clumsy attempts at live Tweeting  the results as they came in (sorry we missed a few!), we eventually signed off with this new saying:  Good night and good morning”  indeed.

We’ll see if there will be any more “good mornings” as  it is a  concern of ours  that there will be at least one  “Jailhouse Rock Feilding-Mellen  Mark II ” in the Tory fold, and another concern of ours is that many other councillors will be too inexperienced to catch them out .  Let’s  just hope we’re wrong about this……..

“Here’s Johnny!” And here’s an issue in Holland ward that he would probably rather we kept quiet about…..

Residents of Holland Ward have alerted us to a Planning matter that is cause for concern in the area, and one that their local Conservative councillor – one Johnny Thalassites RBKC Lead Member for Planning, Place and the Environment- may have some real questions to answer over from what we can see….

First we’ll start with a bit of Planning Info on Neighbourhood Areas. These were first introduced under the Localism Act 2011 supposedly with the intent to empower communities with much more control over Planning in their immediate areas. We recommend reading this piece for further explanation : https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/w-008-0735?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true

One very good, well known and well-run of these is St Quintin Woodlands Neighbourhood Area in North Kensington. Here is their website: /https://stqw.org/wordpress/

St Quintin Woodlands are a shining example of how Neighbourhood Areas can work positively for communities together to get the best out of the area. . But not every Neighbourhood Forum may be as community-minded or as well-intended as they are….

See this comment from a Holland Ward resident we received on our blog, that first sparked our interest:

This is what the resident was referring to:

The letter – from Cllr Thalasssites — is hard to read but here goes:

Dear Sir/Madam

RE: Decision to designate a “West Holland Park Neighbourhood Area” – excluding the eastern side of Holland Road, as well as Upper and Lower Addison Gardens

You may have heard that a group of local people applied to designate streets spanning from Upper and Lower Addison Gardens in the east, and Hansard Mews, Russell Gardens, Russell Road and Elsham Road in the west as a “West Holland Park Neighbourhood Area”.

Built legislation and national planning policy guidance state that where qualifying resident groups make such an application, the Council must designate some or the whole of the zone applied for as a Neighbourhood Area. The Council cannot refuse the whole application.

In discharging our duties, the Council is obliged to hold a consultation on the application and the Lead Member for Planning is responsible for taking a decision on the application

As not just the Lead Member for Planning, but also one of your Holland Ward councillors, I have carefully considered all submissions received in relation to the proposed neighbourhood area.

I want to personally thank residents for participating in the consultation process.

We received 113 responses, 86 objections, 32 letters of support and three further comments. Objectors lived primarily in Upper and Lower Addison Gardens, whilst supporters tended to live to the west of Holland Road .

I recognise the arguments made by residents of Upper and Lower Addison Gardens who regard the proposed neighbourhood area as unhistoric and are concerned that existing Holland Park Conservation Area policies may he diluted by a new designation.

However I also understand that some residents to the west of Holland Road, who support the designation, are anxious about how the green near the Shepherds Bush roundabout may be developed in the future. I hope to reassure them by confirming that councilors have taken their views on board. That is why I have taken a decision to remove the eastern side of Holland Road, as well as Upper and Lower Addison Gardens from the designated area. Instead the west of Holland Road, Hansard Mews, Russell Gardens, Russell Gardens Mews and Elsham Road will form a smaller “West Holland Park Neighbourhood Area ”

The change of area means that we have had to refuse the proposed Neighbourhood Forum as the original forum could not meet the requirements of the regulators.

Local councillors are elected to take difficult decisions, representing and balancing the competing interests of different community interests. I am confident the decision represents a fair approach.


If you wish to hear more about the decision, and to see a plan of newly designated West Holland Park Neighbourhood Area, please look at the Neighbourhood planning papers on our website..

If ever I can help with Planning issues please write to

Yours faithfully, Johnny Thalassites

Proposed area
Amended area

OK, we will correct the resident slightly- a Neighbourhood Area is not a separate ward but we could see their concern. Seeing that the views of the majority had not been listened to, we decided to look into the matter further. ..

Our blog looked at the comments of support and the objections. So here is the summary of their views as put in the Council papers:

Supporters had said that this would protect the area protect the green from development, help make the area safer. Some said differemt ends of the Wards did not communicate with each other and that tbis area would give a real voice to residents living to the west of Holland Road, would create a sense of community and identity. They wanted to lobby for greater flood protections as many of theresidents had been badly affected by flooding.

Opposers said it would divide the community. That it did not promote the social economic and environmental wellbeing or the area That this was unhistoric and undermined the conservation area.

What particularly grabbed our attention was an email we received from another resident:



“Dear Editor,
Please can your blog look into this new West Holland Neighbourhood Area and Forum and the reasons why this was created and then granted by RBKC . Please pay particular attention to the members.
They appear to be unelected. The vice chairman owns property in the area , but doesn’t live here.
He is saying he will help protect the area with his own personal CCTV (to get support from residents who have suffered from antisocial behaviour and drug dealing).


Their membership is open to people who have an interest in the area rather than residents who live here.

West Holland forum claim to lobby for greater protection of flood victims. I am a resident of a neighbouring street outside the designated area whose home was badly flooded. A lot of peoples homes were. Not sure this is a legitimate reason for the Neighbourhood Area. There is local concern that the will of the people has been ignored and overruled for a minority view, a small group, some of whom perhaps have vested interests and hidden reasons for this move”

So with a list of names of members of the Forum, we decided to did to look them up; the results are very interesting….

First of all the only name we heard of was fashion designer turned author Bella Pollen who is Secretsty of the forum . We found nothing more directly relaying to this but plenty of things about her life and work. Here is her Wikipedia profile:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabella_Pollen

Here is what we found found on the treasurer Lorna Parker , she works in private equity .


https://www.msp.co.uk/people/lorna-parker

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lorna-parker-93b9201b

Now it gets far more interesting……

Next we looked up the Chair – Dominic Woods. Mr Woods appears to be resident of both Lower Addison Gardens amd Holland Road – or at least is registered there and is a Property Consultant. His firm, Allied Central Estates seems to have been dissolved over 20 years but Mr Woods still uses “Aliied” on his personal contact email address for some reason…

https://opencorporates.com/officers/36565962

Well, lots of people here do work in property, we were beginning to think there was not too much of concern until we looked up the Vice Chair – Nicholas Tubbs who is a multimillionaire property developer:

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/diBlgjCRqG26AtnP1lCExrpOYRs/appointments

https://www.northdata.com/Stockbridge+Land+Ltd.,+London/Companies+House+11310995

£50m Chilwell residential scheme gets green light

Another member caught our eye – one Rosamond Rose



Here is her property company

http://www.rosamondroseproperties.com/


http://www.rosamondroseproperties.com/RR_TheHillJul05/RR_TheHill_July05.htm


Here is a blast from the past:

Ms Rose appears to be a member of the local Holland Ward Conservative Party and does appear to tbink highly of Cllrs Johnny Thalassites and Aarien Areti . This was her comment submitted to the Council:

So in summary we think the residents raising concerns have more than sufficient grounds to . After all, if someone wanted to get a stronger voice together for residents living around there, why wouldn’t a residents association be formed instead?

We also note that contrary to what Cllr Thalassites says about the responses, some of of the leading members of the forum and resident supporters (including Ms Rose) actually live on the “opposing” side and now outside this area that they they have a Neighbourhood Area for.


It concerns us that sone of the persons with significant control over the area are woring k in major property development, property consulting, or renting out luxury property. Will the green be saved fron development? We’re not sure of that and surely the next question really will what developments and demolitions are in store for the locality?

We will not be publishing the full list of names of the members of the Forum or the supportesr as we believe that some genuinely thought this to be an inititiative that would be there to give a voice to some who felt voiceless, to protect the green and to lobby for flood prevention measures . They might be in for an almighty shock .

We question the Council’s position and especially that of Cllr Thalassites. It is clear that at least one member of the forum is a friend or at least friendly acquaintance of his, as member of the local Conservative Party, and we wonder how any others have leant on him and how much influence they have had? Cllr Thalassites certainly should have declared this and there shuld be some sort of Council precedure in place in case of such situations

Cllr Thalassites says that legally the Council had to grant , but we question how much they have to? Shouldn’t membership of these areas, how representative of the community living in these areas and existing conservation areas be taken into account?
If he is right in that case, it calls into question the policy, especially in areas like ours which have higher land value and can result in significant control gotng to property investors and developers rather than community minded genuine residents groups – and this appears to be what is happening here.

If we were social housing residents or renters in the area, we would be extremely concerned as to what developments would come up and how long we would actually have to live here. Certainly the interests of Mr Tubbs, Mr Woods and Ms Rose point to the luxury property sector. We note that one of the supporters is a Council tenant in Elsham Road, and she might come to regret supporting what she likely thought was a well intentioned initiative.

We should mention thst one of of the key points that supporters raised – and rightly so in this instance – was that RBKC , which claims to have hardly any family properties available for social rent? has TWO Mews houses in Hansard Mews and has left them empty and derelict for years .

Seriously how does someone “forget ‘they left two houses? (“I went out for a night on the town and left them behind in a nightclub or in the back of an Uber”?!!! )


This case highlights very serious incompetence at RBKC and any case, if Cllr Thalassites will have checked on the people and properties involved if he was doing his job and the figures- which are entirely undemocratic since a majority opposed.this – and a vast majority . . So this leaves questions over his job frankly., because just like Rock Feilding-Mellen he appears to be complicit in knowingly handing over control to privileged vested interests – in this case to privileged proepryy vested interests . We don’t think this area will be protecting any community except the interests of the few members who would profit from a luxury development going up there We doubt Hansard Mews will exist in its current form ten years down the line.

We would call for Johnny Thalassites’ resignation, but perhaps as today is Local Election Day, more enough residents are angry at the decisions and Labour are becoming increasingly popular – especially as a number of residents of the ward have been hit very hard by the cost of living crisis – he might end up losing his seat and having to go anyway?

The reappearance of Nicholas Holgate

Tomorrow, Thursday May the 5th, might be Election Day, but for some also thinking about RBKC, it will also be when Nicholas “Naughty Nick” Holgate appears at the Grenfell Inquiry:

People in and around the Grenfell community might  remember Nicholas Holgate.   He was the Town Clerk of RBKC (Barry Quirk’s predecessor) until shortly after the Grenfell Tower fire when 72 innocent members of our community lost their lives. He resigned from the Council  around a week after the disaster, saying he would be a “distraction”.

But when asked by journalists if the then Secretary of State for  Housing, Communities and Local Government,  Sajid Javid authorised this. MHCLG did not deny this and just issued a statement saying that “The appointment of chief executives is entirely the responsibility of the local authority,‚ÄĚ sometime afterwards.

For anyone who happens to think Holgate was just some innocent “fall guy” director simply doing his job and simply just took the rap from the decisions of Nick Paget-Brown, “Jailhouse” Rock Feilding-Mellen and co, we’ll  just post a link to his statements and evidence so far:

https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/evidence/nicholas-holgate-evidence-read-26-july-2021

Holgate might be highly intelligent and like to think he can cover his terms with official speak and an air of detachment but reading what he says and contrasting that with the goings on at the time tells quite another story – and that story is that he was a collaborator. We recommend interested readers to have a look look through the Grenfell Action Group archive to decide for themselves :

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

Questions  of “where are they now? as to the whereabouts of the former “old guard” at RBKC have long been asked by residents. Shockingly, THINK can report thst Nicholas Holgate, since leaving the murky depths of the Rotten Borough of K & C, has been working as a teache and locally based too. . Here is his LinkedIn profile: 

Of course, there is no mention of Grenfell on his profile, and  while RBKC is basically under questioning at the Grenfell Inquiey , and the affected local North Kensington community, survivors  and the families of those who died in the fire are struggling to get on with their lives and hoping that one day some of those responsible will be brought to justice,  Holgate is going  about getting on with his life  without an apparent second thought for people here affected. Perhaps if he cared, he wouldn’t have picked a school so closely located to here to teach in. Sacred Heart High School iis less than 2 miles from Grenfell, and  we do know some locals , whose children attend the school and will have perhaps been unaware of Holgate there

Not so long ago, friends of a Grenfell survivor  were horrified to find our that their daughters maths teacher at Godolphin and Latymer School, was Holgate This school is also fairly nearby and is  only 2 miles from Grenfell. We’ll remind Holgate that 18 of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were children.

An affected local resident, on hearing about this commented ” “Wonder how he got the job at these schools and how the parents and pupils feel being taught by someone whose organisation’s concerns with numbers resulted in cheap flammable cladding being substituted on the exterior of Grenfell Tower.Is it ethically acceptable that the disgraced ex Chief Exec of RBKC has access and responsibility to youngsters in the local Hammersmith/Kensington area?”

Just as an example of Holgate’s murky business with his fellow collaborators at the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, people can see this old Grenfell Action Group blog about Wornington College and see how little he cared about the education of our community:

The Town Clerk, Nicholas Holgate, did not disappoint us after we predicted that he would respond to our concerns by claiming that there was no conflict of interest and that the Council, and the officer in question, had both behaved properly. We have decided to publish Mr Holgate‚Äôs response to us below”

From: Nicholas.Holgate@rbkc.gov.uk
Sent: 16 January 2017 10:34
To: ********
Subject: RE: Complaint regarding RBKC and K and C College.

Dear *******,

Tony Redpath joined the Board at the College‚Äôs request. They sought his membership because they valued his knowledge and experience. It is not unusual for officers to take on such roles. But conscious of the possibility of conflicts of interest arising, before joining the Board, Tony met the then Principal and the College‚Äôs Clerk on 25 February 2014 at which they reached a clear understanding that he would not act on the College‚Äôs behalf on any matter concerning the Council.  Accordingly, he played no part in discussions about the Council‚Äôs purchase of the Wornington Green site.

As further evidence of the care with which he has managed any possible conflicts of interest, he suspended his membership of the Board in February 2015 because he was involved, as a Council officer, in the London Area Review of Further Education. The Review has now concluded and, after taking advice from the Head of Legal Services, he has agreed to re-join the Board from the start of this year. Coincidentally, he was therefore not a member of the Board during the period when the College and the Council agreed the sale of the Wornington Green site. Nor did he play any role in advising the Council on the purchase: that was a matter for the Corporate Property department.

In short, we have taken care to ensure that there has been no conflict of interest.

Nicholas Holgate

Town Clerk

Piglet-Pies? Well, he’ll avoid be questioned about Wornington College tomorrow, but we thought we’d just post this as a brief history lesson. . We’ll be waiting to see how the Inquiry goes tomorrow, to see how Holgate’s “evidence” holds up – or not, and we hope that Richard Millett QC gives “Naughty Nick” six of the best….

Local Elections: Further tales of Chelsea Riverside

THINK have heard that controversial (on his own side!) Chelsea Riverside candidate Ross Allan  AKA “Poundshop Cummings” has been thrown in the KCFC bargain bucket bin and he is no longer a candidate.

We only say what a pity because aa we have never had or even seen a picture of him he has managed to escape our infamous photoshops! But as we have heard that he was deselected due to selections of bullying, we’re not  unhappy he has gone.  If anyone has any further  information about the allegations on Ross “Poundshop Cummings” Allan, and even better, included with with pictures of him, please send to our blog at thisisnorthken@gmail.com

So who is “Poundshop Cummings” replacement? Step forward Laura Burns AKA Lauta “Who?: .  We have never heard of her, nor have our friends in Chelsea and nor have most residents of the borough. Well,  wonder no more……

This is what the KCFC website says about Laura on her profile:

Laura is passionate about her community and actively participates in local campaigns and issues. Having graduated University of Westminster with a degree in Commercial Music, Laura went on to enjoy a career as a model, actress, and physiognomist.Laura has also worked within the hospitality sector for a number of years curating, organising, and overseeing entertainment, media, and arts events. She is also a long-standing member of an American media group, where she works as a presenter, interviewer, and reviewer for major film and music festivals. With her high energy and enthusiastic approach, she aims to encourage residents to enjoy Chelsea Riverside’s rich heritage and green spaces. By sharing and understanding the needs and experiences of the local community, Laura wants to help build an open dialog around key concerns such as safety and local economy.”

Now what prompted the local Tories to update their website and post info on all their candidates and councillors for winnable wards ? Oh yes. This:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2022/03/15/rbkc-and-taking-the-pee-is-our-town-hall-being-turned-into-parliamentary-potty-training-grounds-for-conservatives/

Note the absence of any real local references¬† there. Nothing really about Chelsea, nothing about Kensington, nothing about any other¬† part of our borough. Nothing about community organisations or groups or initiatives she may have supported or worked with either. Nothing – which means there is nothing¬† and only leads us to draw the conclusion thst¬† ‘”Laura Who? is¬† yet another carpetbagger¬† the Tories are sending in, who has¬† little to no connection with out borough and who is only here to further their career in something else.

Our blog got a ticking off from  Tories for suggesting that other new Chelsea Riverside  Sonia Zvedeniuk may end up commuting to Kensington Town Hall from Australia. We were told that our mental picture of Sonia getting  long haul Qantas flights from the other side of the world  to Council meetings was wrong because they said she does in fact live here. Рbut then they declined to say how long she had been a resident of RBKC Рwhich essentially means not long at all.

(Perhaps Sonia and Laura will be staying in Air B&B?  Well we hope if they do they won’t causing noise, nuisance and misery to some of our residents in  the south of the Borough while at the same time be in their role as Tory councillors, be promising their constituents that they will tackle this.)

Here is Laura’s travel vlog  and we’ll have to just tell our readers that it isn’t X Rated (though one would assume by the title of it –  “Lovely Laura.com” – that  it was!)

https://lovebylaura.com/Portfolio

We looked up her Facebook page -(and yes the posts are old but  this is mostly all we could find besides the Tory website).

A lot of travel, but how on Earth  will she ever find the time to see to the residents of Chelsea Riverside and attend Committee meetings?

NO reference to  RBKC ,  barely any actual interest in politics – certainly nothing at all  on local or national politics –    and not even ONE mention of the  Conservative Party!

Dear, dear, dear Conservatives; you’re really scraping the barrel with this one!

One would think with all her travels, that Laura would have a very good understanding of geography – but no, she thinks The Bahamas comprises of only one island!

OK Laura, here’s a very brief geography lesson for you……

Does Laura ever bother to get topical on there? Only just a tiny  bit, and here she is with her finger sort of on the pulse –  but completely forgetting that she is a member of the  Conservative  Party and that  it is  mostly  her party and Government who are responsible for substandard housing and health care . Not to mention that in safe Tory RBKC – the Grenfell Council – we more than know all about what substandard housing is:

(Back at the 2018 elections, this blog mocked Laura Round for getting her  opposite candidates mixed up and getting names and facts wrong, but we’d like to apologise to Cllr Round (who despite that silly mistake, isn’t actually lacking in brain power)  for calling her “Laura Dense” four years ago, especially because this Laura is far more deserving of the “Laura Dense” nickname!)

It’s bad enough that Tories are selecting people with tenous at best local connections, but even worse if some of those people have little to no experience and may even appear to not too much interest  and knowledge of  politics! The Tories might as well  have stuck blue rosettes on hamster, a water rat and a guinea-pig!!  Seemed like a good idea at the time? Quite. If Laura does get elected, she is very likely going  to regret it  – Kensington Town Hall  with long hours , hard hitting  casework,  Committees, procedures etc . It really isn’t the place to head to if  you are set on making   your media career get more exposure in the public spotlight and becoming a celebrity! It’s not exatcly glamorous or all that much fun…   

Anyway, we’re going to now give Laura a break, but not so much her party…..

For taking the p- out of the electorate by picking people with little or no connections to this borough – let alone the wards they are standing in, for fast tracking someone with very little political knowledge or experience into the position of likely councillor – and  also for insulting the residents of Chelsea Riverside, THINK proudly present Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives  with a Piglet-Pie Award

We don’t know if Andrew Foster is still their¬† party Chair (he seems to have disappeared from the scene?) But we’re guessing that even if all the mistakes aren’t entirely his fault, he won’t be for much longer? Anyway,here he is to collect it:

Some Tories have been laughing at the lack of experience of some of the Labour candidates but at least they are all residents.   When the local Tory state of affairs is that a candidate of theirs was deselected due to bullying allegations and someone with no political background was suddenly brought in to replace him Рin a held Ward too Рclearly they are not much of a position to criticise

Tories may have thought  we have forgotten about their only Chelsea Riverside  candidate who iis experienced, is a long-term resident of the Borugh and has been a councillor for 11 years – RBKC Mayor Cllr Gerard “Bulldog” Hargreaves – but we most certainly haven’t….

Bulldog  really loves being Mayor  especially as it gives him a chance to  throw his weight around. Back in March, at a Full Council meeting, he had a showdown with Labour’s Robert Atkinson  Cllr Atkinson was rightly objecting to  how RBKC has reduced the time of  what was supposed to be the “residents hour”   and in some meetings –  removed it all together.  Places to speak have been more limited and residents are vetted.

Cllr Atkinson:” I had a resident approach me yesterday wanting to speak about the situation in the Ukraine and about its relevance to housing in the Royal Borough. He was told that, the three spaces reserved had already been occupied so please come back in July this summer. I think that one of the few changes that we have made in the light of the Grenfell fire was the one hour that was set aside for residents to come and speak to us and gradually this has been taken away and has been hemmed in taken over by the Town Hall establishment. I think it’s particularly bad tonight that we’ve had half an hour already talking about what I mean I don’t want to be unpleasant  but “municipal Flim Flam” for if you want, and we could have done that outside of the Council meeting” . Both Bulldog and Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell responded with Dizzy Lizzy  saying “Robert, obviously we have to ask people to book in advance because if you remember in the past there were people who are coming who weren’t residents and I remember you, you taking umbrage at that.” Well OK Dizzy Lizzy, what about your party picking COUNCILLORS  who aren’t locals?  Then she claimed they hadn’t reduced the speaking slots “its just tonight for the budget” (we know that’s a lie) . Then Bulldog got off his leash asking Robert Atkinson to behave (!) after he objected to such a silly non-answer and threatened him that if he didnt be’quiet, he would have to ask him to leave! Well sadly Robert Atkinson is leaving RBKC , and we’re sorry to see him go, but voters in Chelsea Riverside  now have these Local Elections as  a perfect opportunity to send  Cllr Hargreaves packing  – this is a marginal ward!!

Residents- and Robert Atkinson – gagged

RBKC does give out Mayor’s Awards but we think its time they got one of ours. ….

For lying to residents, taking peoples voices away, being very much part of the initial problem at RBKC in the firet place, and then having the nerve to pretend they are the solution,yet still go and make our problems worse (we won’t hold our breath for answers about on the ¬£50million on a Grenfell Reocvery we did not get, being left with no trauma centre at all after this Summer – and all the money wasted on unhelpful and out of touch execs including Robyn Fairman who received a ¬£500K “golden goodbye”) for making lots of positive sounding noises and PR but yet very little in the way of improvement in Council services or relations between RBKC and residents especially residents living in social housing – THINK proudly present Elizabeth “Dizzy LizzyCampbell and Gerard “Bulldog” Hargreaves with a Piglet-Pie Award:

Our Awards stage may have undergone a few cosmetic changes, but it still amounts to EXACTLY the same thing. Ring a few bells RBKC?

Cllr Hargreaves lives in North Kensington, but served in Nick Paget-Brown’s troubled pre-Grenfell Cabinet, serving as “Cabinet Member for Civil Society and Community Safety” . Our Editor first came across him in 2016, when she was living above nightmare neighbours running a crack den and making peoples lives in the neighbourhood a living hell . All Bulldog did in response was posture – but of course the then Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration “Jailhouse” Rock Feilding-Mellen – who Hargreaves served alongside in Cabinet with – had deliberately turned a blind eye to the situation, allowing the antisocial drug dealers to operate , because he knew it would bolster suport for his plans to knock down the block where she lived, force her and the other innocent residents out of the borough , and then turn it into homes where they planned to decant the few Silchester residents with legal rights to remain when he regenerated that (both plans now thankfully abandoned but only because of Grenfell).

Hargreaves also served in Dizzy Lizzy’s Cabinet as “Lead Member for Communities and Culture” and “Lead Member for Planning and Transport”. Dizzy, Bulldog and Co don’t care much about the bereaved and survivors but we know other more decent people do, so we’ll just share this article from the Grenfell Inquiry on how our friend Nabil Choucair – who lost six members of his family in the disaster – was treated in the aftermath of the fire: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/i-was-threatened-with-arrest-says-man-who-lost-six-members-of-his-family-in-grenfell-tower-fire-75197

We remember all what Bulldog’s “Grenfell Response” was: marching up and down Bramley Road with his face like a bulldog chewing a wasp (hence the nickname)

Chelsea Riverside is home to a lot of council¬† housing,¬† but residents of World’s End tell us¬† their lifts are frequently breaking down in the towers.¬†
We  also heard  that residents of Dartrey Tower only a few days ago were left with no heating or hot water.(So Laura might want to hear some real life experience  from  residents there to know more about substandard housing conditions before she posts  on Facebook? )

We have heard from residents that the Council has made cuts to children’s play services and youth services in Chelsea Riverside too.  The  RBKC PR ūüí©show comes at the real expense of vital services for our less affluent communities.  And Hargreaves, who has  postured a lot about crime and community safety in the time we have known him, ought to know that one thing that  really helps our young people do well , improves happiness in communities and helps to cut incidents of antisocial behaviour is making sure our youths have clubs and activities to go to and get involved in.

Some residents of the ward may wonder about housing and the future of it since the Council shelved the Cheyne scheme and may wonder what else could possibly be in store in the future,? RBKC have been very quiet and reticent to go into real detail about plans for the land they own on Lots Road….

Sone Chelsea Riverside residents will be looking across the river at all the unaffordable huge luxury flats that have gone up in Wandsworth and worrying that this borough will follow suit, and this brought to mind a familiar figure in this blog – Property PR Lobbyist Peter Bingle:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/peter-bingle-still-a-threat-to-our-communities/

Who just happens to be a friend of – Cllr Hargreaves! We really hope Bulldog is never in charge of our planning again. This is taken from Bingle’s Facebook friends list:

Hargreaves has a few other friends he’d probably not like us to mention. See this in From the Hornets Nest. http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2022/04/pooter-cockell-is-colonel.html?m=1

And here is the picture of Bulldog with Sir Merrick Cockell (the last thing Cockell deserves is to be made a Colonel- he certainly didn’t deserve his knighthood either. No doubt he will one day join the likes of Daniel Moylan in the “House of Frauds”).

So this is what Cllr Gerard Hargreaves represents- the old guard – he was part of that and is still part of that . With two candidates little more than visitors (and one not even appearing to have much knowledge of local politics!), Bulldog standing for what the worst of what RBKC was and still is, and Chelsea Riverside being a two horse race between Conservative and Labour, and the Labour candidates all being locals with good knowledge of the area and community; we’d say it’s a very easy choice at the ballot box on Thursday over there. But will residents of Chelsea Riverside see red? Let’s hope so for all our sakes.

We’ll leave readers with a timely reminder of what Cllr Hargreaves stands for : “Peter Bingle is my friend” from the Silchester residents in North Kensington – and let’s hope that no such social cleansing regeneration plans ever materialise again here – or in Chelsea for that matter either:

RBKC moves out residents with disabilities from Piper House after fire safety report shows substantial risk

This is Piper House, a residential care home for residents with disabilities in St Marks Road, North Kensington. The home is run by LDN on behalf of RBKC .

Shockingly, we have heard that RBKC have suddenly moved out wheelchair user residents after a recent fire safety report revealed it wasn’t safe for them to live on the first floor of their residential living.

Piper House resident Ricky (Ricardo) Clarke who lives in the residential building Piper House was cast out in a haste whilst his relatives were given a vague explanation of building works as the reason why.

Heather Clarke, the sister of Ricky discovered the true reason herself after requesting a recent fire risk assessment for Piper House. The fire risk assessment report showed there was a substantial risk to residents in the event of a fire and the council needed to make changes to give the building a safer rating.

The council responded by kicking out vulnerable residents and hiding the real reason why. Ms Clarke said she implored the Adult and Social care team at Kensington and Chelsea, to be honest with her, but the lies kept coming.

Ms Clarke says : ‚ÄėI was given no notice when Ricky was moved, and I was told the move was temporary whilst the council completed building works. But Ricky has been away from his friends for six weeks. I have now found out that it was never safe for Ricky to be on the first floor. I have been told that Ricky will be moved back into Piper House on the ground floor. The council has deliberately hidden the truth from me and now I don‚Äôt know what to believe.‚ÄĚ

Ms Clarke had previously sued RBKC and the care provider Learning Disability Network London for £15,000 after a court decided they neglected her brother Ricky.

The fire risk assessment report (included at the end of this post) shows in the event of a fire disabled residents who were wheelchair users on the first floor would not be able to get out quickly in the event of the fire. After running a test on the wheelchair stair machine NW Fire solutions found it would take more than 20 minutes to bring a wheelchair-using resident down to the ground floor. Consequently, it was recommended that wheelchair users should not be living on the first floor.

Hanne De Luca, Mother of another Piper House resident said: ‚ÄėThe council has failed to keep its vulnerable residents safe in the event of a fire. They have not learned any lessons since the Grenfell fire. I am very worried for my son‚Äô

The report also concluded Piper House did not regularly check their fire extinguishers, fire doors did not meet fire safety requirements. The emergency lighting and door systems regularly failed, and staff do not have access to the fire exit assembly point.

The council are currently charging residents about ¬£2600 per month to live in Studio Flats in Piper House. All residents have assured tenancies. Each resident is paying around ¬£31,000 a year for their studio flats. Hanne De Luca notes she has not had an updated tenancy agreement from the council and her original tenancy agreement says her son Adrian is supposed to be paying around ¬£800 a month for his flat. But she has received no notification of rent increases.

This blog is deeply shocked by the lack of care and attention to fire safety and the safe evacation of residents with disabilities. We are appalled at the lack of transparency over the matter with the families of residents and the rent increases. RBKC – the Grenfell Council – has failed and is still failing residents with disabilities and their families. We are sending this blog to RBKC and to LDN as well as to the RBKC Cabinet and to relevant Council Committees. We ask them to urgently ensure that Piper House meets fire safety standards, that the building is inspected more regularly to ensure it is being cleaned and maintained properly, that the needs of all residents there are met, to apologise to the residents’ families , to improve communication with residents and their families and to look into the rent increases.

As well as the serious matter of safe evacuation from the building, we note that the report shows that there are no fire safety conditions imposed on outside contractors. We also note from the report that with no security alarm or CCTV provided, security at Piper House might be less than adequate. Also, that there is a lack of – or a poor standard of housekeeping at the building which is not only causes concern about fire safety but also raises questions about the living conditions for residents at Piper House too. But before RBKC passes the buck and points fingers squarely at the failures of LDN over all this, we have to tell the Council that it is THEIR JOB to be ensuring that LDN is keeping the building and residents safe and making sure that the residents are living in decent safe conditions.

We also ask that RBKC urgently looks into ALL supported accommodation in the borough to check that it meets fire safety standards, that all residents can be safely evacuated in the event of a fire and to ensure all their needs are met. We also ask that RBKC improves the less than adequate provision of in-borough social and genuinely affordable housing for residents with disabilities. We cannot stress enough how unacceptable this all is.

At the present time, campaigns for May’s Local Elections are in full swing and whilst the ruling RBKC Conservatives are very keen to talk about bin collections, community “policing” wardens and electric vehicle charging points , we are hearing NOTHING on what they are doing to ensure all residents are living in decent safe housing – especially our borough’s most vulnerable residents. If this isn’t a priority for our Council , then it should be. After all, the housing, safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents ought to be a top priority and not an afterthought.

RBKC and taking the pee: Is our Town Hall¬† being turned into “Parliamentary potty training grounds for Conservatives”?

On Sunday we posted this about soon-to-be Conservative councillor for Queen’s Gate Ward, Roberto Barnet- Carpetbagger:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2022/03/13/invasion-of-the-carpetbaggers/

Tories now tell us that Mr Barnet-Carpetbagger  ” has family in Chelsea” (well, our Editor has family in the US Midwest, but she’s not blogging about Minnesota and Iowa or standing for election over there is she?!) . They also tell is that Barnet-Carpetbagger “has just bought a flat here” . How convenient. They declined to comment on his association with nasty piece of work Brian Coleman.

Because Tories were initially silent on the identities of mysterious “Chelsea Riverside Two” – the two mystery candidates for Conservative marginal Chelsea Riverside Ward supposedly standing alongside present Mayor of RBKC Cllr Gerard Hargreaves in May, THINK decided to do a bit of sleuthing…….

The “Chelsea Riverside Two” revealed

Meet Australian Sonia Zvedeniuk. She is apparently a former advisor to Liz Truss, she has been an intern at  UN watch  Ms Zvedeniuk has also written tfor the Australian Spectator :

https://www.spectator.com.au/author/sonia-zvedeniuk/

Here is a video of Sonia when she was an Intern at UN Watch speaking up about violence  against women:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NeBtqrgl9_4

Perhaps she could have some words with Roberto Barnet-Carpetbagger about his association with Brian Coleman?

Sonia also happens to be one of two Chelsea Riverside candidates  that for some reason, the Tories don’t want us to know about. 

But what on earth, we wonder , has Sonia done to be so controversial with them? 

Perhaps this is why: We mentioned Conservatives sending in  RBKC candidates who don’t live here, before  but this is the first time we have ever heard of a candidate  for Chelsea  who might be based in Australia!

Clearly Sonia travels a lot. If she is still living in Australia she will have one hell of a commute. We do worry about her carbon footprint attending all those Town Hall meetings and constiuency surgeries (after all the claims from RBKC of being “carbon neutral). And of course, we worry about residents of Chelsea Riverside Ward ending up without proper repressentation .

Here she is pictured  enjoying the “slopes of the Chelsea Riverside Alps”:

Tories tell us that Ms Zvedeniuk IS living here so perhaps they’d like to tell us why we found no record of her on the RBKC Electoral Register?!! (Her LinkedIn page says she’s in London- – how long for we don’t know – but we have no information that she is living in RBKC. Maybe she’s suddenly going to buy a place here too?.)

(One of the Tories completely misunderstood us and mistakenly thought we were objecting to Australian nationals becoming councillors! Of course we aren’t – we do not mind what country of origin our councillors hail from at all- as long as they are RBKC residents! Got that?)

Next up is one Ross Allan . He lives in Chelsea but only recently moved there.   One of our sources told us that he is a right wng Tory who was a big figure on the Vote Leave campaign. In fact he is described as a “shady Dominic Cummings figure”  Tories declined to comment on Mr Allan at all. Not exactly a ringing endorsement is it?

We think Ross will get short shrift from residents about Brexit. Expecially as most people in this borough voted to Remain in the EU . There’s plenty of social housing in Chelsea Riverside and residents who are struggling to afford a basic grocery shop are suffering partly because of his Brexit activities . There are more local food banks now in our borough than ever before.

And that’s not all we found on Ross…….

Some people might remember this blog post from last years on From The Hornets Nest, “Conservative Association Knives Out”:

https://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2021/07/conservative-association-knives-out.html?m=1

Sounds very murky doesn’t it? We know Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke, and while we do not always agree with her political views, we do know her to be a very good councillor, a long-term resident of this borough and a decent human being. We do not know Mr Allan, but “decent human bring” is not a term we’d ever apply to a shady figure on the far right, coming here to further his political career, who hides in the shadows from the public gaze and gets called a “Dominic Cummings figure” One Dominic Cummings is more than enough.

So as well as likely not receiving a a warm welcome if he hits the doorsteps in World’s End , he doesn’t even appear to be too popular with colleagues on his own side!

By the way, this, Facebook profile picture is all we found of any sort of picture of Ross Allan.

We’re also going to take back our words on Sunday about asking Matthew Palmer to come back because residents have since informed us that soon-to-be be ex-Cllr Palmer moved away from North Kensington TWO YEARS AGO and only turnsd up to meetings recently so he can still get his councillors allowance!

Here is an amusing exchange between our friend Jill Manasseh, a Queen’s Gate Ward resident and Matthew Palmer (that was first featured on From The Hornets Nest) :

You may be amused by my recent encounter with Matthew Palmer one evening, recently There was a loud knock on the door and a huge man asked me how I was .
Me: “Cold”
P:” I am Your Councillor Palmer”
Me:” I am not a Conservative. I do not want an argument.:
P:”What do you think of the Council?”
Me:”Simply dreadful, quite appalling.”
P. “Why don’t you leave?”
Me:” I have lived here for 70 years.”
P:” Name a better borough.”
Me: “I don’t want to argue. Good bye”.
As I closed the door Palmer shouted “Name a better borough!”

We think that the Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Cknservative Party are  really taking the pee out of the electorate now.

They appear to have designated  Kensington Town Hall as “potty training territory” for future careers in as MPs and political advisors with ZERO consideration for our communities and residents.

We think ALL our councillors ought to be residents of the borough and if they move away, then they ought to stand down.

(When Labour’s Robert Thompson moved away from RBKC he did the decent and honourable thing and stood down, triggering a by election in Dalgarno Ward – which Cllr Kasim Ali won for Labour. But hey – one rule for Tories, another rule for the rest of us?!)

We know that some councillors have their eye set on a future carrer in Parliament, and we don’t mind that, as long as they are residents and they put in the work (Hello Cllr Tom Bennett!) What we do mind is people who couldn’t give a pee about our communities and doing Council work coming here to be councillors with the sole motive of furthering their career and that only. We remind the Tories that outside their political circles, RBKC is regarded both nationally and internationally as “The Grenfell Council” . (By the way Matthew Palmer,our blog could be here all week naming better boroughs.)

Chelsea Riverside is nowhere near as safe as some of the other Conservative-held RBKC wards, and the voters now have a chance to have their say and vote against this.

Here is the link to register to vote. The deadline for voter registration is April the 14th and the deadline to apply for a postal vote or amend your details for postal vote registration is April the 19th;

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The ward is a “two horse  race” between Conservatives  and  Labour. The three Labour camdidates are all RBKC residents.

Maybe it’s time for both local  and non-local Tories around Chelsea Riverside to get a wake up call on May the 5th from Labour with a shock early cold bath in the Thames?

Invasion of the Carpetbaggers

Meet Roberto Weeden-Sanz, he is set to be RBKC Conservative councillor for the ultra safe true blue ward of Queen’s Gate.

At present he sits as a councillor in Barnet Council for the ward of Brunswick Park, which is having boundary changes thst are more favourable to the Labour Party. So he decided to come here instead.

RBKC makes a big song and dance of refusing to allow residents to speak at Full Council meetings without registering first. They say the vetting is to stop non -locals from speaking, but .once they even very disgracefully stopped our friend, local resident Nabil Choucair who lost 6 members of his family in the Grenfell Tower fire disaster from speaking. But seemingly this same Council and the Conservative Party think it is acceptable for a non local to become a councillor. And we’re hearing that he’s not the only visitor set to become a councillor here either.

Tories say that he is not breaking any rules, but in our opinion the rules ought to be tightened and only residents of this borough ahould be eligible to stand for election here

There seems to be an increasing tendency amongst local Tories these days to pick careerist councillors with little or no connection to their wards and in a few cases, little connection to the borough.

Last year Mr Weeden-Sanz stood for the London Assembly for Barnet and Camden and lost to Labour’s Anne Clarke. (Planning a long stay in K & C then Roberto?)

Mr Barnet-Carpetbagger seems to be rather the self promoter; once featuring in The Sun, described as a “24 year old Justin Trudeau lookalike”:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6182467/justin-trudeau-londons-youngest-tory-councillor-barnet/

.In the article he says that “For people my age, the main concern is being able to afford to buy a place in the same way our parents generation were able to buy a place.‚ÄĚ Well, when he comes here (most likely with the aide of a map) he might care to note that properties in Queen’s Gate Ward start at ¬£1.5million and he might want to to look into the shortage of social housing and the complete absence of any Council housing in the ward at all? (The only solution that RBKC ever comes up with is building homes in Notting Dale and packing people into the Grenfell Ward – as if residents in our part of the borough haven’t been through enough as it is already.)

Roberto Barnet-Carpetbagger also seems to have rather “interesting ” taste in friends…..

Here is a rather odd video that had been posted on Facebook by Barnet Conservatives of his apparent “very very good friend” “actress and human rights activist” Annalynne McCord – endorsing his candidacy for Brunswick Park Ward and laughably mispronouncing Barnet as “Bar-Nette!” (In touch with the local community there, are we Barnet Conservatives?!)

https://m.facebook.com/BarnetConservatives/videos/a-message-for-brunswick-park-voters/1876554022642054/

Ms McCord has hit the Twittersphete recently for this crazy poem about Vladimir Putin:

https://twitter.com/IAMannalynnemcc/status/1496877541772062727?s=20&t=WsaMukX9M_8hXshktNYiAA

On a much more serious note, Roberto’s choice of mentor in Barnet was Brian Coleman.

Thug Coleman was once the London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden and a long serving Barnet councillor. In 2012 he was convicted of assault by beating upon Helen Michael, a North Finchley cafe owner.

Now that might be a long time ago, but only last year during the London Assembly elections, Coleman put out a sexist tweet dismissively labelling Roberto’s opposite number Labour’s Anne Clarke as a “Cricklewood housewife” .

Obviously more than a few voters were repelled by Roberto’s association with this odious man, and Anne Clarke won Barnet and Camden , turning what was once a safe Tory London Assembly seat into a Labour one.

We agree with excellent blog Barnet Eye, in that we “judge people by the company they keep”. The blog also seems to view Roberto as rather a forgettable councillor:

http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2021/05/senior-barnet-tory-launches-sexist.html?m=1

So here is our message to Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives:

Just because some RBKC wards are safe, that doesn’t mean you can just have someone in there whose intentions for becoming a councillor happen to be only because they want it on their CV for their future Parliamentary career. Is it really too much to expect our local councillors to be from the local area and be part of the community where they are representing? At least Barnet-Carpetbagger’s predessor in Queen’s Gate, Cllr Matthew Palmer was and still is a long term North Kensington resident.

This blog thoroughly condemns violence against women and sexism, but maybe Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives might approve of such vile behaviour? .After all, they have picked the protegé of the odious Mr Coleman to be a councillor here?

If RBKC councillors blindly assume that just because they’re in safe seats, they will be in for an easy ride here, we have to say they are greatly mistaken and that they had better fasten their seatbelts….

Do come back Matthew Palmer, (almost) all is forgiven!

RIP Malcolm Spalding: The loss of a Town Hall titan

We are shocked and saddened to hear that RBKC Conservative councillor for Earl’s Court, Malcolm Spalding unexpectedly passed away on Thursday night and our thoughts are with his family and friends

These are some of the tributes to him that we received from residents via email and WhatsApp:

Resident Maria: “Malcolm was a true solid community champion. He was always on hand to help and give advice.”

Earl’s Court resident: “Very shocked to hear of Malcolm’s passing. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him and cared deeply about all things Earl’s Court and the people he represented. “

Earl’s Court former resident: “Malcolm was a powerful voice standing up for residents and businesses in the area He was a brilliant and thoughtful councillor. Rest in peace”

Campden resident: “So sad to hear about the death of Cllr Spalding. He was one of the few councillors with the right balance of patience and enthusiasm and a genuine passion for local government. “

Colville resident: “Very sad news. I don’t usually care for Tories but Malcolm Spalding always seemed like one of the decent ones. A fair, just and reasonable man.”

Here are some of the tributes from his fellow Conservative councillors on Twitter:

This is what Labour Cllr Monica Press said to us: “I worked with Malcolm on the Public Realm committee, we took different political views on the Earls Court development but living in Earl’s Court he was an active ward Cllr. He and I worked closely together on the short-term lettings working group and he was fully supportive of a pilot to license short-term lettings (such as airbnb) in RBKC which blight his and my ward.”

And here is our Editor with some words:

“I first came across Cllr Malcolm Spalding when he stepped in for Victoria Borwick at Earl’s Court hustings, held at St Cuthberts in 2017. Lady Borwick had not turned up and neither had any other senior Conservative councillors, leaving Cllr Spalding to speak for the Conservatives and to take the flak from residents . I thought he was very brave!

Later on, as I spent more time at the Town Hall I got to know him better. There were a lot of things we didn’t agree on, our political views were different and our visions for the future of Earl’s Court were different, but there were also times when we were in agreement such as over the Royal Brompton Hospital and over holiday lettings – an issue that he worked tirelessly on, producing this report:

Despite the disagreements and despite this blog not always being kind to him, he never took it personally, was approachable and even though I didn’t think all his views were fair or right, he wasn’t afraid to speak up and speak out, and didn’t cower and hide from criticism; I respected that.

One particular memory I have of him at RBKC is when he stepped in to chair a Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee meeting. Understandably these meetings were fraught, being full of traumatised residents very distressed and also unhappy with RBKC’s supposed Grenfell Recovery efforts. After a rocky start, he managed to turn that meeting into an orderly one, where for once, it didn’t descend into a shambles with residents shouting over each other or end with residents in pieces, breaking down in tears. He was the only Chair of those meetings ever to manage this.

This borough has seen a lot of “fly- by-night” career opportunist councililors over the years who seem to use becoming an RBKC councillor purely as a stepping stone to something else, do not care much for Committee work, and are rarely seen in their wards, Cllr Spalding was definitely never one of those; he genuinely enjoyed being a councillor for Earl’s Court (not the easiest of wards to represent) and had a large personal vote there , he relished Committee work and speaking about his ward and issues there. Cllr Spalding was also an all-rounder, very knowledgeable and adept on a variety of subjects, from Planning and the Environment to Health to Finance. In this he was a rarity. Malcolm Spalding will be greatly missed. Kensington Town Hall will not be the same place without him.”

Local Elections, candidates, selections and the likely RBKC “Class of 2022”: Guess who, how, what, where and why?

Local Elections are now in full swing. Please do check if you are registered to vote and that your correct details are logged here:

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The deadline for registration to vote at these local elections is the 14th of April 

If you are an RBKC resident and unsure of what ward you are living in and who your councillors are, you can check here: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-councillors-and-democracy/councillors-and-committee-meetings/find-your-councillor-and-ward

Here are some  pictures of both councillors and soon-to-be councillors out on the  old “campaign trail”….

Here’s Labour:

Here are the Tories:

Looks like the Conservatives decided to wisely leave their “Young Conservatives” banner at home this time (even though Kim Taylor-Smith is really dressing the part!)  The banner made an appearance before in the Dalgarno by election  – here it is from back then:

And here are the Lib Dems :

The parties have now finished their selections – we now know who most of the candidates are in held wards and there will be a lot of new faces in North Ken.. Now most RBKC residents wondering who their next councillors will be after May – the “Class of 2022 ” – do not have to wonder or speculate for much longer Here are the line ups of your likely councillors for most of the wards (including some of the other candidates in marginals and possible close runs) :

Abingdon Ward

  No changes with RBKC Lead Member for Communities Cllr Anne Cyron and Cllrs James Husband (Planning Committee chair) and Sarah Addenbrooke standing again and this is a very safe Conservative ward so it’s safe to say they will all be back.

Sarah Addenbrooke

Brompton and Hans Town Ward

No candidate changes either.  We doubt RBKC Lead Member for Finance and Customer Delivery and old guard devotee  Cllr Mary Weale (who has been there since 1987!) will end up in the wheelie bin  in this, one of the safest Tory wards. She and her fellow wards councillors Sof McVeigh and Walaa Idris will  more than likely be returning  too 

Since Cllr Wheelie Bin thinks “there is no place for disgraceful soubriquets “and she “Wealie” doesn’t like being featured in THINK, here is an extra special picture of her:

Mary “Wheelie Bin” Weale

Campden Ward

RBKC Lead Member for Economy, Employment and Innovation Cllr Catherine Faulks is staying on. We are sorry to see thst Cllr Robert Freeman is retiring. Cllr Ian Wason is also leaving – and appears to be heading for Parliament The new Conservative candiates are Lloyd North and Preety Hudd

Campden is a very safe Tory ward so it’s safe to say these two will be joining Cllr Faulks.

Lloyd North

Chelsea Riverside Ward

Intriguing goings on in this Tory marginal ward, but probably no surprises to know that current Mayor of RBKC (and bad old days guard dog figure) Cllr Gerard Hargreaves fights on there again.

Cllrs Adrian Berrill-Cox and Alison Jackson are leaving in May. Unfortunately we do not have the answer as to who their likely replacements will be (more about that later).

Anyway, as this is a marginal ward and the nearest party is Labour, we can reveal that the three Labour candidates are newcomers Cehan Chiron, Mike Coelho and Jake Tbomas, who is a World’s End Estate local resident and he is pictured here:

Jake Thomas

This will be an interesting ward to watch. The Labour Party will see if the unpopularity of this Government really does translate into more votes going their way down here (which is home to quite a lot of social housing including both the World’s End and Cremorne Estates), possibly resulting in a shock exit for “Bulldog” Hargreaves. Stranger things have happened…..

Colville Ward

All change and some very interesting goings indeed in this Labour- held (but not safe) ward, and two of the incumbents Cllr Ian Henderson – who campaigned to save Chelsea’s Sutton Estate – and Cllr Nadia Nail have been deselected . Cllr Monica Press is stepping down. We are very sad and disappointed in what has been happening over this and sorry to see all three go. The latest news is that two of the candidates here are newcomers – Toby Benton and Dahabo Isse – and they are joined by one very familiar face, and that is Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Mo Bakhtiar – who was deselected from St Helen’s Ward and was picked here instead.

Mo Bakhtiar

Years ago this  North Kensington ward once used to have quite a sizable  Lib Dem vote, but those days seem to have gone, and now Labour might have to watch their backs from the  Tories here instead. Conservatives do  seem to be very hopeful of making gains here;  why else would they  be leafleting and canvassing this ward on an almost daily basis?   we think Labour will hold on, but just in case, the Conservative candidates here who could possibly become councillors (if the Tories are not being too overconfident here!) are Ellie Lines, Roni  Greenfield and Becky Walsh.

Courtfield Ward

No changes in this South Kensington Conservative held  Ward  Cllrs Greg Hammond, Janet Evans and Quentin Marshall  are all standing again.

This is a rock solid Tory ward with both opposition parties a long  way behind , so we can expect all three will be safely back without any difficulty.

Janet Evans

Dalgarno Ward

A safe Labour – not their safest  but safe enough  – ward on the NW side of North Kensingtom sees one change and it is a big change. Cllr Pat Healy was deselected  through no fault of her own – another councillor we will miss. Chair of the Housing and Communities Committee Cllr Kasim Ali stays on and he is joined by newcomer candidate  Eva Jedut.

Here is From The Hornets Nest on Eva Jedut:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2022/01/loves-labours-lost-plot.html?m=1

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-dame-to-face-unlimited-damages-for.html?m=1

And in the best  interests of fairness, here is soon to be Cllr Jedut’s (actually very good) Council speech sone time ago on HMOs.:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-councillors-and-democracy/councillors-and-committee-meetings/full-council-meeting-responses-20-june-2018/housing-houses-multiple-occupation

We do hope to see more of this sort of thing from her rather than countless angry comments and video links being posted in response to the FTHN blogs; (which could see her being labelled as a “Labour version of Matthew Palmer!”)

Kasim Ali

Earl’s Court Ward

This is always the most interesting ward as it is quite a unique RBKC word, being  a THREE WAY MARGINAL – and definitely the one to watch. Currently it has two Cosnervative councillors – Cllrs Hamish Adourian and Malcolm Spalding  – and one Lib Dem Cllr Linda Wade. All three are standing again.

Linda Wade

The new Conservntive candidate here is Stephanie Petit. The two other Liberal Democrat new candidates are Christophe Noblet and Tim Verboven. But this is not a two horse race, as this ward was also Labour’s closest call last time. Popular Earl’s Court local Bruno “De Florence” Diantantou stands as Labour candidate here again and he is joined by two other candidates, Sharda Rozena and fellow Earl’s Court local John Winter.

We cettainly think that this out of touch and problematic to say least Government and the cost of living crisis, the consequences of Brexit could possibly hit the Tories (both Tory Cllrs campaigned for Vote Leave) in tbis ward. This could be the one ward in which local, national and international politics may decide the result. Earl’s Court really could go any way……

Golborne Ward

Cllr Sina Lari stays on in this, the safest Labour ward, and he will be joined by two new candidates, Mona Adam (who stood in Norland last time) and Abdulahi Nur. All three are more than likely to be comfortably in. We’re very disappointed to learn that Cllr Pat Mason is standing down, and we’re also bewildered as to why Cllr Emma Dent Coad has decided to vacate this ward and head for St Helen’s instead.

Sina Lari

Holland Ward

Cllr Charles O’Connor is stepping down and Lead Member for Planning, Place and the Environment, Cllr Johnny Thalassites and Cllr Aarien Areti are staying on, to be joined by newcomer Lucinda Knight. This is a fairly safe Tory ward, but with a lot of residents in unstable rental situations being hit hard by the cost of living crisis  and strong Labour candidates   (including Nathaniel McBride who fought here  last time )  we predict a noticable swing to Labour in this ward, but probably nowhere near enough to trouble the Tories.

Lucinda Knight

Norland Ward

This is the safest one of the two (out of seven) North Kensington wards that is held by Conservatives.  Cllr Julie Mills is sadly leaving, but Cllr David Lindsay stays on, and he is joined by new candidate Stuart Graham Here is his Comms company Millbank Creative https://www.millbankcreative.com/

As if we don’t we have more than enough of all that comms PR stuff at RBKC as it is already?!! We  predict a Tory hold  with a similar result to last time .

Stuart Graham

Notting Dale Ward

Just minutes up the road from affluent Norland but almost a  different world away, this ward, home to Grenfell Tower and most of the borough’s Council housing,  is one of the safest Labour wards in the borough. Cllrs Robert Atkinson and Judith Blakeman are sadly standing down. Cllr Marwan Elnaghi is staying on, and he will be joined by Labour newcomer candidates (but who are both well known residents  in the ward)  Mona Ahmed and Claire Simmons.

Claire Slmmons

Pembridge Ward

This, the ward of Notting Hill Gate, is the only other Cosnetvative held Ward (besides Norland) in North Kensington.  Cllr Laura Round is leaving, Cllr Dori Schmetterling  stays on and he will be joined by a not so new face, as former  senior councillor and resident of this ward, Joanna Gardner makes her return. There is an increasingly strong Lib Dem presence here and Labour are the second party, but neither got nowhere near taking it last time – we predict this to be a safe Tory return, but with noticeable swings to both Labour and the Lib Dems..

Dori Schmetterling

Queen’s Gate Ward

All change and no change? Well quite, because this is one of the safest Conservative wards and all three of the councillors have either been deselected or share stepping down . Cllr Matthew Palmer was thrown out of the Connservative Party (for campaigning for UKIP ) so no surprise to see him go, but we are surprised to see thst that “The Good Doctor” Cllr Dr Max Chauhan was mysteriously deselected ((but he doesn’t seem to have any hard feelings about it and still goes out campaigning for other candidates) . Cllr Maxwell Woodger was also deselected and he is now standing in St Helen’s.    Sam Mackover who quit this ward in 2018 will be making a return , The two newcomers  who will be joining him at the Town Hall are Roberto Weeden-Sanz and Will Lane.

Sam Mackover

Redcliffe Ward

Cllr Charles Williams is standing down, and he will be succeeded by  new candidiate Sidney Yankson.

Sidney Yankson

Cllr Tom Bennett and  Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Cllr Marie-Therese Rossi are staying on. There is a  noticeable Lib Dem presence here, and we predict quite a swing to them , but think this will one, as ever, will stay firmly blue.

Royal Hospital Ward

No changes here at all and we don’t think that RBKC Leader Cllr Elizabeth Campbell,  Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health Cllr Cem Kemahli and Lead Member for Community Safety, Culture and Leisure Cllr Emma Will have anything to worry about in this very safe Tory ward.

Cem Kemahli

(But we do amusingly remember at the 2018 count,  seeing Dizzy Lizzy looking all aghast at seeing loads and loads of ballot papers piling up in the red trays and dwarfing her blue pile – there’s some social housing here, mainly around Chelsea Manor Street – but that later changed when the postal votes came in )

Stanley Ward

No changes here in this Chelsea Tory-held ward, which is home to the Sutton Estate. Independentts have had a go, Labour had a good go last time , but even though it is not the Tories safest seat, Stanley never budges from a firm Conservative hold. Incumbents Cllr Will Pascall, Lead Member for Family and Children’s Services Cllr Josh Rendall and RBKC Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Grenfell, Housing and Social Investment Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith stay on. They will more than likely be back in .

Josh Rendall

St Helen’s Ward

Same same but different. Cllr Portia Thaxter stays on and Cllr Emma Dent Coad comes across from Golborne  to this Labour-held  North Kensington ward.

However this is a marginal ward, Tories seen keen to want to take it back and Labour will be challenged by returning Tory candidate Miloud Bouhaddou and also Cllr Maxwell Woodger – who was deselected from Queen’s Gate and now hopes to be a councillor here instead. This one could  be quite a fight and possibly a close call but we predict Cllrs Dent Coad and Thaxter to hold on .

Emma Dent Coad

So that’s it, who your likely “Class of 2022” councillors will be. Obviously this is a safe Tory council so there is little point in us making a big thing about what the result will be, although for residents in North Kensington wards, most of whom vote for other parties; we just get stuck being ruled over by people we never voted for again and again – frustrating!

If only we had an AV or AV plus system instead. Certainly more Labour, Lib Dem and perhaps a few Green Cllrs would make for a much healthier more well balanced Council here – but not just here, we think ultra safe Councils are unhealthy, they get complacent and then go and do stupid, wasteful and reckless things. (Like neighbouring Westminster – or should that be “Wasteminster” wasting millions on a crap hill, or Labour-run Southwark having only woken up to the fact that their regeneration schemes have greatly reduced their social housing stock – so they now decide they will build on public parks! Dreadful) . But no change to this ghastly voting system will ever happen while this Government is still in charge, and that is why we still strongly believe in the importance of voting – and voting them out We also strongly believe that if more people bothered to vote, some of these results could be quite different; so please, please, no apathetic sitting on hands!

And now we are going to go into a couple of points of concern locally about both Labour and the Conservatives……

Labour pains and newborns

Three  Labour councillors  – Judith Blakeman, Robert Atkinson and Monica Press –  were stepping down already, but not so long ago, Labour held their selections and three more  Labour councillors- Ian Henderson, Nadia Nail and Pat Healy – were deselected.

Our blog doesn’t understand what on earth Cllrs Henderson, Nail and Healy did to be  deselected – we certainly can’t think of anything disagreeable about them  – and  now we have heard that Pat Mason is now stepping down too. They will all be greatly missed – not least by us.

So assuming that there is no change at RBKC – that would mean over half of their councillors would be newcomers .  Now some of the people selected we have heard of and others we haven’t, but regardless, new councillors usually undergo extensive training (some need it more more than others), leaving the most inexperienced Oppostion we have ever seen. It greatly worries us that casework may fall on the back burner and vulnerable residents could suffer whilst some of the newborns are finding their feet with far fewer senior very experienced councillors on their side to help. . Some of the “newborns” we know are well prepared, but  others may well  be “lambs to the slaughter” at the Town Hall  – especially as most of the senior Tories are staying put.

Some of Labour’s outgoing councillors are not stepping down quietly,; here’s what Monica Press had to say:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2021/10/an-important-farewell-letter-from-cllr.html?m=1

Infighting in the local Labour Party is nothing new. but recently it has been taken to new levels. There really was no need for the deselections, the “left” of the party was in charge anyway. All deselecting three decent councillors has served to do is to make the party look undemocratic, reduce the  personal votes these councillors had (and Colville is not safe!)  and will weaken them in  Opposition. When we asked a senior  Labour top dog about Dalgarno, we were told that “Pat  had to go”  – we beg to disagree- and that they had “a shortage of female candidates” which doesn’t explain why they are getting rid of two female councillors……

But the divisions in the  Labour Party may not necessarily be always  a straightforward  left vs right  thing, as previously we heard Pat Mason was staying on, now we hear that sadly he is stepping down, and it is bizarre that Mo Bakhtiar was ousted from St Helen’s. 

Also we regularly hear from party members who say they are not being regularly communicated with and many of these members are on the left of the party.

The manoeuvrings in Golborne and St Helen’s  are curious to say the least, but our blog is very unlikely to get answers, because despite the fact that we have often supported Labour and we have never personally criticised  her, Emma Dent Coad, for some reason has blocked us:

We’re also wondering where the Labour campaign has gone? The picture we have  posted was one of only three we could find after looking on Twitter. The Tories and Lib Dems have been out and about in the borough campaigning , but there has been  been little sign of any actual Labour campaign and most residents haven’t received so much as a leaflet  Let’s hope they haven’t given up. We do need a strong Opposition  to stand  up to RBKC but right now , it looks like some  people may be more concerned with fighting amongst each other, rather than fighting the Tories 

The mystery of the Tories at Chelsea Riverside

When we enquired about who was standing for the Conservatives besides incumbent  Cllr Hargreaves in Chelsea Riverside , we were given no answer. This can only lead us to believe that there must be some controversy going on with the other two candidates, but what could  it possibly  be?

Could Maighread Condon-Simmonds (who was deselected in 2018) be standing again? Could Cllr Adrian Berrill-Cox (who apparently  fought and won against deselection and stayed on as councillor  last time round ) be refusing to leave? Or could it be something else?

We’d really like to have answers and we especially believe that residents of Chelsea Riverside deserve to know who their candidates (and most likely councillors ) are.

We have hoped to do – and certaintly get more requests for – more blog posts from Chelsea , and whatever is going on has to be something of interest for the Tories to be so cagey over this. We want answers, and the electorate deserve answers  so we might be sticking our nosey beaks in down there to find out.

Maybe some of our clued up readers can fill us in? If so please get in touch with us at thisisnorthken@gmail.com

There are less than a couple of months to go, sooner or later the public will have to know, and the Tories are not making themselves look good by being so reticent to tell the public who their candidates are. It would be very odd indeed  for them not to select people for a ward they already hold!  Perhaps it would do Labour some good, for a change, rather than spending their time laying into each other up here, to instead spend more time in this marginal ward and  put their  efforts into taking advantage of the  Tory situation and the absence of two candidates?  Just a thought.