Time up for the TMO

IMG_1060.JPGTHINK has said it before and we will say it again; when are the TMO going?

It is not satisfactory for RBKC TMO residents to not have any knowledge of who will be in charge of our social housing.

Our council is being secretive about this and we not only fear social cleansing  carried out and/or privatisation but we will also point out that some from the TMO may be subject to criminal investigation, so allowing them to be in control of our social housing in RBKC is beyond inappropriate.

Also for many North Kensington residents, living near Grenfell, this just adds to our trauma and also our increasing anger with the council and still charging residents rent while they are grieving for their friends and neighbours and also  receiving a very limited service now only adds further insult to injury…..

 

 

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North Kensington Library: Happily ever after

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Once upon a time  back in 1891, there was a  purpose built  public library in North Kensington, It was enjoyed by many local and nearby residents of all backgrounds for over a century.

Then one day the ruling  Self-Servatives  in charge of the Royal Borough took a look at this much loved library  and decided that a beautiful Grade Two listed building was too special for its ordinary residents and made plans to lease the  existing library building to a Prep School and provide residents with an ugly inferior new library  building instead.

The Royal Borough’s Prince of Darkness, Rock Feilding-Mellen also had booked places at this Prep School for his children.

The citizens of North Kensington were astonished at the very nerve of  the Self- Servatives and the Prince of Darkness to take away a much- loved local library, appalled at how Prince Rock apparently had conflicts of interests in the matter and outraged at the planned layout of the proposed new building which combined the children’s and adults libraries.

Prince Rock  and his Self-Servative cabinet cohorts also had been behind plans to  take away people’s social housing, replace a local much-needed community college with so-called luxury flats and many other controversial redevelopment plans. It appeared their priorities were to carve up and sell off council-owned property in  North Kensington alongside developers for pure financial gain.

The frustrated citizens of North Kensington came together to fight a strong campaign to save the library for public use.

Then disaster struck and a needless and entirely preventable tragedy in the shape of the fire at Grenfell Tower sadly devasted the local community and many lost their lives or their homes.

The good citizens of North Kensington supported each other throughout the constant grief, trauma and stress, and still continued  campaigning to save their library, their College and their social housing.

People from all over the country and the world began to take notice, and soon fingers were pointing at King Nick, leader of the Self-Servatives, Prince Rock  and many others.

Soon public pressure forced many of the Self-Servatives in charge to resign and the Prince of Darkness was banished to the shadows, where he still remains today.

Now the good citizens of North Kensington have heard the good news that (what are left of) the Self-Servatives have now scrapped the plans to take this beautiful building away from the public and the Friends of North Kensington Library were instrumental in their campaign  to save it – a community will be forever grateful to these dedicated and passionate campaigners.

The End? Well we are not “sitting comfortably” quite yet – there are still many other things going on in North Kensington that give us cause for concern. We are still under Tory rule in RBKC, many in charge appear to be connected with property interests, our community college, Wornington College and the provision of further education is under threat and there is still a big question mark hanging over our social housing.

We did not mean to appear flippant, but this really is one true story that almost sounds make-believe. We thank the Friends of North Kensington Library and this good news has made THINK’s day.

Here is today’s Evening Standard:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/plans-to-lease-north-kensington-library-to-5800aterm-prep-school-scrapped-in-wake-of-grenfell-tower-a3637151.html

Let’s  work at the other campaigns, hope and strive for success in those too. So we are pleased that North Kensington Library   has been saved for public use and  after Grenfell, our community more than deserves to live happily ever after.

The elusive Laura Johnson

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Pictured here is RBKC Director of Housing, Laura Johnson She despite having a high profile career is more than reluctant to have her picture shown – we cannot imagine why she chooses to be camera shy when she is in such a senior public position.

She  is still in power over what is left of our public social housing and. THINK will remind fellow residents that she  has been in her post since 2009.

What has happened in her tenure you might ask? Try the social cleansing plan that was attempted by RBKC towards residents of the Silchester Estate.

Also there were many more homes under threat of regeneration, particularly in Notting Dale Ward, North Kensington  (the ward that Grenfell Tower is in)  and the Grenfell Action Group had this to say:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/notting-dale-is-latest-rbkc-regeneration-target/

And  back in 2014, RBKC  changed the housing points system  to remove localism points from those who have strong links and family background in  their local area, replacing them with absolutely nothing!

Also a member of the public  has  been in correspondence with Ms Johnson on a few occasions. Most recently was when she was threatened with “regeneration” and asked several questions about it. Some of the questions were indeed  rephrased  by Ms Johnson to fit a rehearsed answer.

What Ms Johnson did confirm however, is that RBKC does indeed socially cleanse those with not very many housing points  (so basically the young, single and physically healthy do not stand any chance of being housed  in the borough) and does make final offers of housing outside the borough and indeed, outside London in some cases.

Also Ms Johnson knowingly placed this same resident  some years back, around the corner from a known antisocial tenant. The resident had previously taken a restraining order against this antisocial neighbour only for RBKC’s housing team to ignore this. RBKC also had a few years back,  made the ridiculous mistake of  placing this woman in the same temporary accommodation as the antisocial neighbour when the court case was pending!

But what was Laura Johnson’s response when then local MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind  questioned the council over this? That’s right, Ms Johnson cited the shortage of housing in RBKC and did not even bother to apologise! Yes we are told that it is unusual for Ms Johnson to reply to ordinary tenants, though we can bet that many have various questions to ask; especially  now. So lurking in the shadows and hiding from the  residents that they are responsible for  does not make either  Ms Johnson or RBKC  look particularly helpful.

So if anyone wonders after Grenfell about RBKC’s attitude towards social housing and their neglect and contempt for those who live in it, THINK point out that it is not only elected councillors who are responsible.

We have also heard  talk that Laura Johnson has ambitions to be a Conservative MP; for once words fail us….

Is Little Lord Rock Weilding-Felon about to pack his bags?

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We have heard the latest  From The Hornets Nest that Rock Feilding-Mellen (pictured above) and Warwick Lightfoot may be about to resign from RBKC here:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/resignation-dishonours-list.html?m=1

Rock Feilding-Mellen was Deputy Leader of RBKC and cabinet member for housing, property and regeneration from 2013 up until the 30th  of June this year when he resigned. His resignation statement here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/newsroom/all-council-statements/cllr-rock-feilding-mellen-statement-30-june-2017

In this, over the Grenfell Tower fire,  he said “Like my neighbours, I feel heartbroken”. Well we at THINK happened to believe that he felt more “heartbroken” at not being able to finish the job of a developers’ carve up of North Kensington, depriving many locals of public assets, amenities  and many social housing tenants and leaseholders of their homes.

Here is a rough list of projects his footprints (or should that be fingerprints?) were all over, what the potential plans were (they are very secretive about this) and the current situation with them now:

Westway Information Centre – redeveloped to be leased to Notting Hill Prep School :  The information centre is no longer no more.

North Kensington Library – to be closed and leased to Notting Hill Prep School and a new (ugly and inferior Library building provided for the public): Now cancelled for good – thanks to the excellent campaigning by Friends of North Kensington Library.

The Silchester Estate: Silchester East and Silchester West Estate both under threat of regeneration: Safe – for now

Other smaller housing regeneration projects, including social housing flats threatened with regeneration on Oxford Gardens, Raddington Road and Portland Road: Merely “put on hold” for now – no word yet

Wornington College: See our previous article: under threat of closure, RBKC owns the freehold (which they bought from KCC for £25million) : Likely to be closed and redeveloped into “luxury flats”

“Little Lord Rock Weilding-Felon” was also a trustee of the Westway Trust until 2014. For those not in the know, the Westway Trust was originally a charitable trust set up in the 70s with the aim to hold 23 acres of land in Trust  and develop and manage for the local community with the aim of creating positive spaces for the community to use under the Westway.

Sadly the Westway Trust in recent times have proved less than trustworthy, favouring moneyed developers and businesses over local community projects, paying themselves exorbitant salaries – sometimes to a higher amount than to what they are actually spending on the community – truly dreadful.

As it is there are many positive spaces provided under the Westway, but most of the work has come from those in our community who have volunteered and donated – as has also been the case now in the aftermath of Grenfell.

We mentioned Feilding-Mellen and his trip to MIPIM at Cannes before. We can also point out that Angela McConville who was chief executive of the Westway Trust, also accompanied Rock there on one occasion.

If the news is true, we welcome seeing the back of messrs Feilding-Mellen and Lightfoot, though we would rather see their humiliation next year at the local elections being exercised by the voting public (both are councillors for Holland Ward).

Warwick Lightfoot has featured here in THINK before too:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/warwick-lightfoot-sorry-we-have-no-money-but-are-sitting-on-300-million-reserves/

Some of us are wondering if this terrible twosome are planning their getaway just to avoid  some of the full facts  that  may come out  about others at RBKC – about cabinet members, councillors and some members of senior council staff, particularly those closely associated  with these two.

So maybe a desperate PR exercise in damage limitation by the RBKC Tories to  attempt to rescue their  tarnished reputation? If so; that just proves how hopelessly they are out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent. By the way, the suitcase and holdall Rock is carrying in the picture look big enough to whisk away a stash of important papers……

Save Wornington College – the campaign goes on……

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Many in and around our community (and beyond) will have heard about the fight to Save Wornington College.

For those who are not fully aware of the facts, let THINK give you a brief but general outline of what has happened, the situation now and why there is a strong campaign to keep this College in our community:

There have been education facilities  provided in Wornington Road, North Kensington, since the first “ragged school” was opened there back in 1874.  Ragged schools were charitable organisations devoted to providing education for impoverished children.

It remained a school in various different forms over many years  of social and economic change, and in the 1970s started on  its path to become what we know it is now, by offering English courses to the Vietnamese  boat people. In the 80s it became a further education College in full and therefore has a long recorded of providing valuable and much needed courses to many in our community.

The Wornington site is in a very multicultural area and many have benefited from its provions of ESOL (English as a second or other language) courses. Many adults in the area have also benefited from the college’s providing of Access  courses which offer a route to university education and a second chance in life in less fortunate circumstances. Also the provision of vocational and arts  and design courses at the college have also benefitted and provided life changing career opportunities to many. The college also has a crèche providing childcare to students with young children.

Now we are in the position where KCC (Kensington and Chelsea College) runs the site. KCC also have another site in Hortensia Road, Chelsea. Sadly, we have been disappointed to see  that provision of some of the vocational courses have been dropped at the  Wornington site but maintained at the Chelsea site.

We have also learned that the site has purchased by our local council RBKC for £25 million. Now why might they want to do this, some might wonder? Well, THINK and the Save Wornington College campaign believe that the intention is to redevelop the site for luxury flats instead and sell of to private developers.

We also know (see our previous post – “KCC win our first ever Piglet-Pie award”) that KCC have been less than forthcoming with the public as to their intentions, as even though they made it clear that a merger with West London College was their preferred option, they did make out that it was not a done deal – though we have seen  advertisements for  courses at the site saying “KCC – in partnership with West London College”

So why might we object to this, some might wonder?  Well the provision of these much needed courses provides  real opportunity to many in our local community for a start. Also that many students are on low incomes or are time-constrained by having jobs and/or families and would find a commute to Ealing or Chelsea too difficult. Also there are no direct public transport routes for such a journey provided in the north of the borough.

Another thing that gives us concern is that KCC are making staff at the Wornington site redundant – which also points to reduced facilities or complete cessation of  provision of education at Wornington College altogether.

Also KCC and RBKC have mentioned education facilities continued to be provided at the site, but they have not stated how big the new site is. Also what sort of courses would be provided at the proposed “mysterious” new site. We fear that their “proposed site” would be far smaller and many more courses would not simply have the space at the new building to carry on there. This is particularly true of  many of the arts and crafts courses.

As they have been less than open with us and our friends at the Grenfell Action Group have been doing some digging into planning laws and some at the KCC board,

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/wornington-college-the-smoking-gun/amp/

We do not believe that they will guarantee the future of our community college at all and that we will lose the provision of further adult education  that enhances the life chances of many in our area altogether, only to be replaced with “buy to leave” empty luxury flats, which are nothing of any benefit to our community whatsoever.

Please do come to the public meeting on Tuesday September 26th 6:30pm at Bevington Primary School, Bevington Road, W10 to support our college and our community and don’t let them  take it away from us.

 

 

 

 

KCC board take our first ever “Piglet-Pie” award…..

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Our friends at the Grenfell Action Group have long had a “pants on fire award” for those who have let’s say been rather economical with the truth.

Unfortunately there are more than enough deserved recipients for this award hovering around our community and THINK has decided to launch our own “Piglet-Pie award” – in tribute to former RBKC leader Nick Paget-Brown and his statements and interviews regarding residents and sprinklers. Our post about it then here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/well-ask-nick-whos-telling-the-truth/

Regular readers of this blog will know of our support for the campaign to keep the KCC College site in Wornington Road, North Kensington. We strongly believe that the provision of further education needs to stay in our community and that the Wornington site staying open is the only guarantee of that.

Followers of the Save Wornington College campaign will also know that there is a proposed merger with West London College and we fear that our college will be closed if this goes ahead. Read this from the Grenfell Action Group here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/kcc-merger-partner-or-prey/

It seems the management of KCC are less than honest with us unfortunately.

The prize of our first ever “Piglet-Pie award” has to go to the KCC (Kensington and Chelsea College) board of governors who have denied that there is a merger with West London College with Mary Curnock Cook chair of governors on the board on Twitter saying ” The KCC College merger will strengthen provision in North Kensington. Discussions about the Wornington building are still open. No decisions yet”

Excuse us at THINK for pointing out that local newspapers advertisements have gone out for West London College stating that KCC is “in partnership with West London College”  really?

Back at the “consultation meeting”  at the end of June this year, Interim Vice Pricipal Ian Rule stated that there was a surveyor’s report showing that the Wornington Site of KCC  College was no longer “fit for purpose” He did announce that he would make the report available.

When the Save Wornington College campaign emailed the KCC  management asking to be sent a copy of the letter on four occasions  asking for a copy of this report – here were some of the responses from Mary Curnock Cook:

Back in August: “There is no single document that sets out the information about the state of the college building but the condition is referred to in a number of documents”

And at the beginning of this month: “You are right that we haven’t been able find definitive documentation about the state of the Wornington Road building”

Well, both the Save  Wornington College campaign and THINK believe that no such report ever existed!

We THINKers therefore believe that the KCC management more than fully deserve our first “Piglet-Pie” award and that the staff and students at KCC and our whole North Kensington Community fully deserve to be treated better.

Here is the link to the Twitter video clip of “I Rule” stating that there was a surveyors report at the meeting – and that is Mary Curnock Cook standing right next to him, by the way.

https://t.co/LgtpSP3x4J

 

Cllr Daniel Moylan: Smoke and mirrors

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The debauched-looking chap pictured above is Cllr Daniel Moylan. Conservative councillor for Queen’s Gate (alongside THINK “favourite” Matthew Palmer)

The always amusing  From The Hornets Nest blog on both here:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/very-odd-peas-in-queens-gate-pod.html?m=1

Cllr Moylan has had a long career at RBKC and is something of a master illusionist , disappearing and reappearing. He was last seen by us throwing knives at then-leader Nick Paget-Brown. Of course there are many things that Daniel Moylan would rather people forget; namely that he has also served in the RBKC cabinet and is a former deputy leader.

Here are a few  more things that some ought to know about Cllr Moylan. He is known as the”king of planning” (you can see his work in Kensington High Street and Exhibition Road) but of particular local interest to us – Portobello Road. Yes anyone here who is fed up with the increased commercialisation of Portobello Road can look back to Moylan and his lack of support for small businesses, even telling antiques dealers to “raise their game” and comparing Portobello Road to Kensington High Street.

His website also lists him as non-executive director of Glanmore Property Fund – gone into liquidation – see here:

http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/seven-year-itch-glanmore-property-investors-locked-up-until-2022/a782349

His website also lists him as non-executive director of Guernsey-based British Real Estate which has gone bust. See here:

https://www.fundstrategy.co.uk/issues/online-november-2011/tilneys-british-real-estate-fund-goes-bust/

THINK are far from impressed with such a portfolio and point out that there are already more than enough shady property dealings in our borough already.

And of course he is very partial to Peter Bingle’s company. See our post here:https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/a-rocky-road-well-travelled-and-a-terrapin-in-the-tank/

In fact he is on record as having enjoyed the hospitality of Peter Bingle and Terrapin Communications on at least 10 occasions – the last being as recent as exactly one week before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Back in 2012, Daniel Moylan was made chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation by former London Mayor Boris Johnson. This was criticised by several London Assembly members as some pointed out that Moylan did not demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience in regeneration.

Here is an excerpt from Moylan being questioned back then by London Assembly members:

John Biggs: ” Can you give an example of a regeneration initiative where you have helped facilitate the employment of low-skilled unemployed, long-term unemployed, unemployed youth for example?”

Daniel Moylan: “No, I cannot, not in that sense”

Unsurprisingly, Cllr  Moylan lasted just three months in his position.

So why are THINK interested in Cllr Moylan and his illustrious career, some might ask? Because with “Dizzy Lizzy” Elizabeth Campbell floundering and struggling to do the job, many are talking about the prospect of him becoming RBKC leader – that’s why! (He has also stood unsuccessfully for the position three times).

As several Tories have labelled him “untrustworthy” and “arrogant” and many of the things we read about him do not make for comfortable reading, THINK believe that such a move by the Tories really would be “out of the frying  pan and into the fire”.

We believe that it is about time that Cllr Daniel Moylan’s leadership ambitions did a disappearing act for good: along with most of the Tories in the Rotten Borough of Kensington  and Chelsea……

 

 

 

A new Deputy Mayor – bad decision, Beinazir

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We have learnt this week that  Beinazir Lasharie, one of the Notting Dale Labour councillors, has taken up the position of being Deputy Mayor. Here she is pictured on the left above with RBKC existing mayor Cllr Marie-Therese Rossi

Now we we know that at different times in the past, opposition deputy mayors have been appointed. In many different times and era, we have had Labour councillors including our own Judith Blakeman and Robert Atkinson serving  deputy mayor duties.

One really particularly awful example is  one is former Labour councillor Marianne Alapini (no longer in the Labour Party) who served as unofficial mayoress to disgraced paedophile Conservative mayor Barry Phelps.

Now is a different story, we have had the Grenfell disaster and were sad to see that Cllr  Beinazir Lasharie had lost several people and was traumatised like a lot of us were too. We at THINK  did see see her out and about around Lancaster West (where she lives) and being supportive to many who were also distraught and in grief.

THINK have pointed out before that the regeneration plans of RBKC are “on hold”, rather than cancelled and that they have not been properly held to account over this.

So we do not believe it is right or appropriate for any of the Labour councillors to accept such a position when such  decisions are being made by the ruling Tories.

We know it has been a busy and exhausting time for fellow Notting Dale Labour councillors Robert Atkinson (leader of the Labour group in RBKC) and Judith Blakeman, who is a neighbour of one of our group and is also traumatised and has been a helpful and supportive local representative to us over years.

We ask for opposition to RBKC but are not seeing enough of it. The  only Labour councillor that we have heard to speak up about this is Emma Dent Coad, also our MP and she has more than enough do deal with. Let us make it plain; you are supposed to represent us – not your own self interests.

Is is acceptable for them to just sit there and let these disgraceful  (some of whom will soon be publicly disgraced) Conservatives to carve up our social housing  on the quiet?

If the Tories decide as more than likely to go ahead with smaller regeneration schemes, many in the North Kensington area, this will reflect very badly on all the local Labour Party and we believe that this is a very bad decision.

As it is we fed up with the lack of opposition provided and ask that the Labour Party demand that RBKC drop ALL plans for regeneration, take back their control of social housing and drop any talks with housing associations or other mysterious outside groups or companies.

We still support Labour and our Labour councillors, but do know that many in our community are unhappy about this and would be if any Labour councillor took up the position. It will likely cost Labour votes at the election. Most ordinary members of the community do not understand or relate to “Town Hall cameraderie”.

After Grenfell, we have many questions about RBKC and some of those in charge. Elizabeth Campbell, leader of the council was cabinet member for children and family services at the time the KAA academy was built. She treated the Grenfell Action Group’s fire safety  concerns about a school being built on the site with dismissal. Also Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader who sat on the housing and property scrutiny committee during the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower and now claims not to remember anything.

In short, we do not believe that it is acceptable for these people to be in charge, given what happened at Grenfell Tower and the pending inquiry. We expected more forceful opposition  and defence of our community from our Labour councillors and feel  very let down to say the least.

This is not an attack on Cllr Lasharie personally, she is a popular and much-liked and respected member of our community and we wish her well, but we do not believe that it is  a wise decision to accept this position in the current climate and the same goes for any other Labour councillor.

In the current climate, THINK believe that accepting such a position amounts to an endorsement of the RBKC Conservatives and is inappropriate at best.

Here is a great video of Cllr Robert Atkinson doing what they should be doing= opposing: and showing guts and fire and above all,  respect  and representation for this  traumatised community, not deference to those that have harmed us – more of this please!! We haven’t given upon you (yet!!)

 

 

THINK say don’t stop our Carnival!

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As regular readers of the blog will know, THINK are very interested in the views of our local community and some of us visit the Nextdoor site to see what people are talking about.

There is currently a post on our local Nextdoor about “Carnival graffiti” doing the rounds on our local section of the site.

Now we at THINK love the Notting Hill Carnival and fully support it continuing in our area. It is in our view a vibrant, inclusive, fun and free street party and a celebration of our multicultural community. Carnival is part of life here,  generates a lot of revenue, has been going on longer than we have been alive and  we very much hope it will be here long after us.

Sadly some on Nextdoor and beyond, some do not share our views.  Most ordinary locals round here can talk about Carnival without talking about crime  – but some try to use this as a reason to either re-route it or scrap it altogether. THINK will just point out that crime occurs at any event with a very large gathering of people but the event for the vast majority of people is safe.

Some have  complained about graffiti and people using their gardens or driveways  as toilets. Yes this is not acceptable and we’re sorry that some have to go through this – but a few minor incidents that are easily resolvable in our view are not a good reason in themselves to want to get rid of  such a major event as Notting Hill Carnival.

THINK point out that it is just two days a year! Some of us who live in social housing under the neglectful watch of Kensington and Chelsea TMO have to put up with this kind of thing on a regular basis.

We appreciate that crowds and loud music are not for everyone and  we will say that we are genuinely sorry for anyone who is a victim of crime during Carnival.

We say to those who seek to blame all society’s problems  on Carnival or just simply dislike it to just please accept that it is part of community life here . After all they can either go away for the bank holiday or  why not just make constructive suggestions regarding Policing and better provision of  public toilets during the event?

We also note that a number of aliases have come on the Nextdoor site; “Chad Pembridge” (of Pembridge), and another one who claims to live in social housing (in a £1.5million flat in Bayswater!!) and not on the Carnival post but have previously seen someone going on the site as “Wolstan Dixie” – see here:

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

As Nextdoor is supposed to be a “private localised social media site” and has a generally  friendly, neighbourly and positive atmosphere going on – who are these people we wonder? Could they possibly be supporters of  our former MP Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick in covert campaigning mode as some of them have only popped up to lay into our Carnival?

Yes, Victoria Borwick is still on the scene and has been campaigning to change the venue of  Carnival to Hyde Park and even to introduce ticketing. Yes this is a ludicrous and unworkable idea and we love our Carnival staying here  and don’t wish to see the corporatisation of it – thank you very much. She was also talking to the media  about “acid attacks” at the Carnival this year. Fact: there were none.

THINK invite the people who are concerned  to just get the crime figures for Glastonbury and also the Henley Regatta and then to tell people in our community how much “at risk”they are.

We will also point out that Lady Borwick’s professional backgroumd prior to politics was in  events management  – now why has she not mentioned this when she talks about Hyde Park and ticketing we wonder?

A Rocky road well- travelled and a Terrapin in the tank…

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Let THINK take you down a road well-travelled:

Pictured above is Peter Bingle of Terrapin Communications, a property PR firm. Mr Bingle is apparently known for his “generous hospitality” which former RBKC leader Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown, RBKC former deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property Rock Feilding-Mellen and RBKC former deputy leader and  former  deputy leader of Transport for London, Daniel Moylan have all enjoyed.

Last year two of our fellow local blogs the Grenfell Action Group and  From The Hornet’s Nest both questioned why these senior councillors at RBKC would be enjoying Mr Bingle’s “free lunches”.

From The Hornet’s Nest questioning the motives behind the meetings between Rock Feilding-Mellen and Peter Bingle and why there wasn’t a senior council officer present to record them  here:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/still-on-subject-of-rocky.html?m=1

And Grenfell Action Group here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/rocky-mipim-and-the-lobbyist/

And also informing us about Nick Paget-Brown’s associations with MIPIM the luxury property developers’ conference  in Cannes  here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/paget-brown-and-mipim/amp/

Terrapin Communications  and Mr Bingle do not only have associations with RBKC Tories though. Mr Bingle’s “lunch companions” also include Labour-run Haringey Council in North London, who are currently under fire from residents over the sale of Hornsey Town Hall and their HDV (Haringey Development Vehicle) regeneration plan which is transferring around £2billion  worth of publicly provided housing into 50/50 public-private ownership.

Haringey cabinet members who have also been enjoying Mr Bingle’s hospitality include leader Claire Kober – who was also at MIPIM with Rock Feilding-Mellen, cabinet member for housing and regeneration Alan Strickland and cabinet member for finance and health, Jason Arthur. And let us also mention that their  chief whip, Adam Jogee  actually works for Terrapin Communications.

So why might we be still still interested in Mr Bingle’s firm or any other firm connected with property developers, today some may wonder?

We did mention in a previous post that RBKC were “phasing out” the TMO, but did not give any further details, other than the mysterious statement that they were “in talks with housing  associations and other local authorities”.

This leaves all TMO tenants and leaseholders  with a very big question mark hanging over of  their future living in the borough. The fact that RBKC  prefer to have such discussions behind closed doors makes us more than suspicious of their motives.

Over a year ago, we found out that RBKC had some “regeneration” plans for Runcorn Place and Hesketh Place – these are mainly temporary accommodation flats, though a separate block on Hesketh Place consisting of nine flats which are homes for  both permanent and fixed term tenants and leaseholders  and shares its communal back garden with the temporary flats.

The plans were then shelved as RBKC informed us, there was a “shortage of temporary accommodation  within the borough” but then RBKC announced plans to “regenerate” the temporary accommodation flats at 36 Oxford Gardens (just off Portobello Road) – so forgive us if we are having difficulty believing this council and find some real discrepancies between what they say and what they actually do. We also point out that it is easy to get rid of residents in temporary housing on the quiet and that many in small blocks which are not on estates do not have Residents Groups or Associations  to help form a strong opposition to any such plans.

Some living in Notting Dale Ward may wish to see the Notting Barns South Masterplan, obtained by the Grenfell Action Group under the Freedom Of Information act here: https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/notting-barns-south-masterplan.pdf

As it stands, our council announced that the regeneration plans for the Silchester Estate were cancelled and that RBKC contracts for this (we guess he means  Porphyrios Associates who held the “consultation” ) jointly with RBKC . But let us just point out that the plans had already been drawn up (we have a copy of them) earlier this year so the work done by “Porphyria Associates” (as we call them)  had already been done – so their contract had likely come to an end anyway –   and  that most “regeneration” plans are subject to change (usually for the worse as the developers usually get their own way with less social housing provided than initially promised).

But finally we have heard the excellent news from  the Save Our Silchester campaigners – whose words we can actually believe – that the Silchester Estate is safe. We now hope that RBKC will now carry out much-needed work on some of the properties there as residents are calling for – not let them fall into “managed decline”. but there is the cautionary note that it is subject to funding. As it is, we are very happy for them but the same cannot be said for others  in the borough who fear being forced out of their homes.

As far as we know, all RBKC’s other regeneration plans  are “on hold”. Yes – they do never have very much to say about this and their reluctance to share information with the public  just leaves us with more questions then answers.

We question why management of social housing stock has not been brought back “in house”  and why RBKC appears to be hesitant to do  this, but some may not have to spend too long wondering as we point out that former RBKC leader Merrick  Cockell is now in charge of the lobbying firm Cratus Communications, which mainly specialises in property. – so we believe that the alleged vested interests  and connections of some concerned and  the very high value of property and land  in RBKC  may prove far more attractive to those in charge than providing much-needed social housing in the borough.

Here is the website for Mr Bingle’s firm – we note their comment: “Terrapins are the masters of the art of self preservation. They know when to stick their heads out and when to keep them in their shells!” We believe that  the RBKC Tories have been keeping their heads in their shells for far too long with regards to our housing and obviously prefer covert discussions behind closed doors to open discussions with residents:

http://www.terrapincommunications.co.uk/

Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?

We’ll leave you with a video of Save Our Silchester protesting outside Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house: