Grenfell Silent Walk: 14th March – Nine months on

Today is nine months since the fire at Grenfell Tower and our  North Kensington local community lost at least 72 people in the fire. Many survivors  from the Tower and walkways are still without permanent accommodation.

We thank all  from both near and far, who have shown our local community support and have marched in solidarity with us – your support really  means a lot to us.

Here, posted by Grenfell Speaks on Twitter, is Lancaster West walkways  resident and friend of THINK, Joe Delaney :

We thank everyone who has signed and shared the petition calling on the Prime Minister to build public trust in the Grenfell Inquiry. The petition now has over 150,000  signatures and will now be debated in Parliament on the 14th of May. If you haven’t signed please do so here:

We also thank the people of Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol who have also held Silent Walks in solidarity with our community today.

We always on the 14th of every month feel a combination of sadness, reflection and remembrance for our friends and neighbours.

We also feel  real anger and frustration because:

– Some  of the people we hold  responsible for the fire have not yet been brought to justice

– Some of the survivors and bereaved have been treated  badly by our council, our Government and  even some of the media,

– That we know that RBKC is still leaving some of  its social housing in a poor condition and putting  further lives at risk.

And  of course  simply because:

– This was an entirely preventable disaster that took the lives of so many innocent people.

Back on the 1st of July last year, on the Not One Day More protests, RBKC Labour councillor Pat Mason called for prosecutions over Grenfell. Today Pat has told THINK that  he still feels the same way.

We also will say thanks to all who provided art, positivity and also provided refreshments to many who attended , including Hamid who runs the Moroccan Fish food stall in Golborne Road – his stall was providing excellent food  to many outside the Maxilla today (pictured below)

We’ll leave you with a video of Pat’s powerful speech from back on July the 1st . No justice; no peace.



Surely a technical error? 

Conservative councillor David Campion is the longest serving councillor in RBKC, who has represented Pembridge Ward since 1964.

Cllr Campion is one of a very small number of Conservative councillors that we do not hear complaints and allegations about. In fact, most of the feedback from residents we have heard, has been positive.

We did venture to have a look at his website and found a list of websites created and managed by him, including his blog here:

Being interested in architecture, we clicked on a link to the “Franco-British Union of Architects” (FBUA). What we found instead, pictured below, was quite something else! (We did note his blog post that said “Links to a number of other websites were removed”!!)

Of course, Cllr Campion’s website has not been updated for some considerable time, so there is the possibility that this website link could have been hacked or taken over without his knowledge, but we would recommend that all elected figures check their websites regularly and make suitable edits!

A bit of news from the RBKC Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee…… 

Yesterday at the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee meeting,  THINK “regular” Tory  Cllr “Chicken Run” Matthew Palmer attempted to bring up the dubious  (and false) TMO surveys that claimed that 95% of residents before Grenfell, were satisfied with the services they were receiving – this was his pathetic attempt to claim all was well with our social housing.

Cue red faces, RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith shrinking in his seat and senior council officers wanting to hush  liability Cllr Palmer up!

Unfortunately at that council meeting, THINK witnessed some senior council officers lying. This was by way of an answer to Labour councillor for Notting Dale Judith Blakeman, who brought up the subject of Hesketh Place and the lack of fire exits. See our previous post here:

The lie council officers told  was that the Fire Brigade had said that the  best emergency exit was at the front door – which was their  attempt at an explanation for a sticker pointing the way to the front door, rather than providing residents with an actual fire exit.

Well, some  THINKers  spoke to the Fire Officers attending that day and  we can state that they in fact recommended  that RBKC provide the building with an emergency exit by way of  a push bar door at the rear of the property – a recommendation that still to this day has not been carried out……..

Local Elections: A confused candidate in the thick of it! 

Meet Laura Round, she is one of the Conservative candidates for Pembridge Ward. She has recently been seen going around North Kensington conducting her own “investigations” into the Kensington Labour Party and was spotted attending a Labour fundraising event with a couple of her friends at the weekend.

Ms Round also appears to be in a state of confusion as to who the Labour candidates are. We have heard that she has been going about   asking if the Labour Party has been “taken over by the left” and mentioning a nonexistent candidate called “Peter Henderson”.

Maybe THINK can help clear things up?

One of the Labour candidates hoping to take Pembridge Ward  for Labour is in fact Henry Peterson OBE. Mr Peterson  is chair of the St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum and a well known figure in the local community  and someone with sound knowledge of planning and neighbourhood issues. We do not recognise him to be a “hard left” activist so we don’t know where Ms Round gets her information from!

Maybe she can have a good look at their website here?

THINK have been rather amused by hearing tales of Laura Round’s amateur “detective work”, which involves her trying to elicit information about the local Labour Party from their members (which has only led to them giving her false information  just for for a laugh!) and her insistence that “Peter Henderson” is a Labour candidate.

Pembridge is a marginal council ward, and the Conservatives will likely need every vote they can get. With the personal votes for Conservative councillors Barbara Campbell and David Campion (who are stepping down), gone , two popular  Labour candidates there  – Henry Peterson and Annabelle Louvros – and the arrival of new party Advance on the scene, we suggest that Laura “Dense” should brush up on her local knowledge of the political scene before making such a fool of herself……

Local Elections: Consenting adults making  an exhibition of themselves 

Here is an Instagram picture posted by the Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives, showing their candidates for Earl’s Court. Pictured from left to right are Hamish Adourian, Lloyd North and Cllr Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding. We’re rather amused by “Bananaman” standing in rather an unfortunate position in this photograph…..

Many of our readers will be familiar with Cllr Spalding of course. But who are the other two, some may ask?

Well, Hamish Adourian is known to some in our local area from the Colville Community Forum. He is also known to be an author of childrens books.

Lloyd North, on the other hand is well  known for less than “family-friendly” reasons. Maybe parents of  some of the young readers of Mr Adourian’s books may not wish their children to see the image below:

We have heard that Mr North, going by the name of “Warren Lord”,  has made a few “appearances”  in  pornographic films. Fellow local blog From The Hornets Nest reported on this four years ago:

We  at THINK are a liberal-minded bunch, but we’re not so sure this will go down too well  with some true blue Daily Mail readers.

In other news on Conservative candidates,  Chelsea Riverside have selected artist Alison Jackson as one of the candidates there. Maybe some ardent true blue Royalist Conservatives may not be fans of Ms Jackson’s work either:

We did wonder if the Tories’ unintentionally funny  Instagram photo was some work of Ms Jackson’s?

As for Earl’s Court Ward, the Conservatives  have in the past, benefited from a split Labour-Lib Dem vote. With local Liberal Democrat councillor Linda Wade doing outstanding work for the local community there, the Labour candidates  proving to be popular in the area (particularly Earl’s Court resident and campaigner Bruno De Florence) and the  new Advance party also looking to take votes, we’re not banking on the Tories to hold on to this one!

The Rotten Borough behaving like a rotten dictatorship!



Here is something the Rotten Borough  of  Kensington and Chelsea did not want you to see. This is when a few protestors held some signs behind  former leader Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown when he was making a speech. 

The local residents protesting were  holding up some signs that read “Commissioners Now!”, “Do not bill us in North Ken for something you have done”, “Rotten Borough Kills our Community” and  some others were holding up posters of Rock Feilding-Mellen that said “Where?”

Well where indeed?  Rock Feilding-Mellen has been a complete no-show to public council meetings and to his home in North Kensington, also to his surgeries in Holland Ward, but appears to think that it is totally fine to sneak into private council meetings, to pick up his councillors’ allowance and remain as a councillor whilst attending to none of his duties.

At a few different times in the meeting, residents and volunteers  from the Public Gallery heckled the council . THINK believe that some at RBKC should  expect and do fully deserve this kind of treatment after Grenfell, a less than adequate responses to the disaster from RBKC, the nerve of the council to make local residents pay extra council tax for their failures, and their policies and decisions made  long before the fire.

The signs were also held up during speeches from Kim Taylor-Smith and Gerald Hargreaves.

The meeting, of which the main part was to set the council’s budget, lasted over four hours.  But RBKC, at first decided to cut out two hours from the webcast (including the protestors and Piglet-Pie).

There was nothing illegal, violent or obscene in that meeting and THINK believe that  censoring the meeting in the first place  amounted to behaviour worthy of a dictatorship. If they broadcast public meetings online; then then we  believe that  all residents deserve to hear them in full. Was this another of Michael Clarke’s “mistakes”?

Please sign and share this petition for him to resign:

Fortunately after many complaints from residents, the meeting has now been put on the webcast in full. We thank some  at  the council for (finally) listening, and having some common sense; but the meeting  shouldn’t have been censored in the first place! Do we have to make a fuss on social media every time RBKC gets it wrong?

Perhaps it is time the ruling Conservatives at RBKC were sent packing in May?  Register to vote or check you are registered to vote here:

And here, finally, is the link to the webcast of the meeting in full!

Here are some pictures of Nick Paget-Brown  from the meeting (He was going  all around the chamber taking pictures on his phone at one point).

Linda Wade, the Wonderwoman of Earl’s Court!

Today is International Women’s Day and THINK has decided to  positively focus on one of RBKC’s most dedicated and hard working councillors.  Liberal Democrat Cllr Linda Wade (pictured above as “Wonderwoman”).

Cllr Wade represents Earl’s Court Ward and has done  so since 2010.
She also sits on the Housing and Property Scrutiny committee and is one of the best speakers there.

Linda’s knowledge of housing and property is second to none : she has expressed her concerns over housing associations moving away from their  once-commendable charitable  roots and turning into corporate giants, leaving perfectly decent homes empty, letting them fall into a terrible condition and then  either selling them off or pulling them down.

See a post of ours about Notting Hill Housing here:

Linda is a shareholder of Notting Hill Housing who voted against the merger with Genesis Housing Association for that reason  She also  joined us on the demonstration against the merger some time back.

Sadly as regular readers of THINK will know, shareholders of both voted for the merger to go ahead. We will be keeping an eye on what happens next, as will the campaigners from both associations and so will Cllr Wade.

She is a supporter of  the Save Earl’s Court campaign  and is chair of The Earl’s Court Area Action Group.

THINK believe  that the masterplan, which has seen the demolition of the world-famous Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre has only brought , noise, pollution, loss of business and loss of identity to the area and Linda has been one of the most vocal critics of this plan, which was mainly focused on providing luxury housing.

Of course there is now a real question mark hanging over the masterplan and also over the future of developers Capco and their involvement in the plans. We say that the plans  now need to change and must include a replacement for the Exhibition Centre, they need to fully  local residents’ views into account, and there needs to be real much-needed provision of social housing.

Read about the ingenious and visionary alternative plans from the Save Earl’s Court campaigners here:

There are in fact, three council seats in Earl’s Court – the other two are occupied by  Conservative councillors  – Cllr Malcolm Spalding (who has featured on this blog a few times before)   and Cllr Fenella Aouane – here is some feedback we have received from some local residents about these two:

Cllr Spalding: “arrogant”,  “too chummy with developers” , ” doesn’t care about social housing” .

Cllr Aouane: “invisible”,  “doesn’t answer ANY emails – wrote to her several  times NO RESPONSE ” ” never turns up to any meetings”

Oh dear, if residents of  Earl’s Court haven’t  had enough of a bad deal with the Earl’s Court masterplan, these two could really make things even  worse, but fortunately Cllr Wade does respond to emails from her constituents  and go to meetings, does care about social housing, is very knowledgable  and could never be described as “arrogant”!

Having met her a few times, we can honestly say that she is one of the most down to earth and honest local representatives that we have ever met. We hear complaints and allegations made against local  councillors (ranging  from the completely believable to the completely ludicrous!) but only positive things about her.

Cllr Wade  clearly cares deeply about Earl’s Court and  all the residents there and so do we, so we’ll invite all our readers to please sign and share this petition from the Save Earl’s Court campaigners to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre (which is sadly missed).

We believe that most people can learn from Linda and from the Save Earl’s Court campaigners that listening to residents, taking a keen interest in local matters, retaining a positive attitude yet still fighting a  good strong campaign,  really makes a difference to people’s lives.

We’ll leave you with some London Live interviews with Linda Wade and with local  campaign supporter Desi, courtesy of the Save Earl’s Court website here:

And to those in charge of RBKC we say watch and learn…..

The Rotten Borough puts on a show…….

This evening, there is a full council meeting  at Kensington  Town Hall.. This will be when the budget is set and RBKC taxpayers will be lumbered with a 5.99% council tax rise this year. THINK  strongly believe that residents should not have to pay the price for  mistakes made by our local authority over Grenfell.

We also bring good news from Dixon House and can inform our readers that both lifts in the block are now in working order. It’s just a shame that it took a blog post and several posts on social media in order to get this resolved . RBKC  should have responded to complaints from residents  living there in the first place.

We also bring news that Kim “Tailored-Sloth” Taylor-Smith has written to TMO tenants and leaseholders informing them of the transition to RBKC in-house services. We  really hope that they also drop the useless TMO contractors who  ignored the residents of Dixon House, plus countless residents of other council properties.

In further news we can  also report that RBKC has sent letters of to residents in all their properties informing them of upcoming fire  safety inspections. We welcome this but we can inform the council that when one such inspection was made on Hesketh Place, their officer did not appear to be too bothered that RBKC has completely ignored the Fire Brigade’s recommendation to have a fire exit provided for the building  and had instead provided residents with a sticker pointing the way to the front door.

Some communications and results are a good start from RBKC, but we have yet to be convinced that they are really listening to residents – we believe this to be more of a public relations exercise after they have read blogs like ours and been exposed on social media for their incompetence and poor services.

Situations like these have been going on for years and  we sadly believe that what occurred at  Grenfell is the tragic reality of the consequences  of their actions and  inactions.  The local elections are due in May and THINK do not have any confidence in  those in charge of the Rotten Borough and  we will not venture to  “take a chance” on them………

Time that Kensington Town Hall had a makeover?

Pictured above is the council chamber in Kensington Town Hall. We have heard others make various suggestions for memorials to Grenfell, but THINK believe that the Town Hall  would be best.

Some of us really don’t want  constant parades of camera snap-happy tourists in what was, before the Grenfell Tower fire, a  fairly quiet but vibrant local area around Latimer Road.  Instead we would rather invite tourists  and visitors to see part of what caused  the Grenfell Tower fire disaster

Ahead of a very long meeting tomorrow in Kensington Town Hall’s drab soulless atmosphere we thought we would make a few suggestions of our own.

We would  rather the coat of arms (with a boar and a “winged bull” no less) and the list of former mayors (we  certainly don’t  feel proud  that our local authority wants to remember one, Barry Phelps, who  quit over indecent images of young boys for example) was replaced  with something more fitting.

Instead we would suggest  that the coat of arms and list of former mayors was replaced with some artwork in  the form of a large mural  representing Grenfell  and the local community made by schoolchildren from North Kensington; generations will have to live with this and we feel our local authority should too.

We believe our local  representatives should have stand and speak in front of a setting that should constantly remind them of their responsibilities, as well as to always remember our friends and neighbours from Grenfell Tower.

But don’t stop there, the  wooden panelling   in the Great Hall resembles that as seen in a low-grade minicab office, Not forgetting the former leaders pictures (Town Hall  rogues’  gallery of shame) on the stairs – the preposterous and vulgar painting of Nicholas Freeman should go for a start!

We suggest replacing  the pictures with some wonderful and positive artwork and photography from all over the borough and  get rid of the panelling –  there could be better uses for this as many council properties do not come with adequate flooring for a start – , which darkens the hall and induces boredom and tiredness, and paint the walls white to  let some light in.

We suggests putting an end to councillors’ only exclusive areas in the Town Hall  – full access to all – no more fancy  toilets for councillors and filthy ones for residents. Turn the Mayoral Suite into a good independent coffee shop. Let’s get rid of this “them  and us” exclusivity. Stop  naming parts of the building after politicians – get rid of “Freeman Suite” and”Thatcher Room” and instead name them after upstanding  residents who do good work in the community.

And here are a few suggestions for meetings: Hold one minute’s silence for Grenfell at every council meeting. Allow members of the public to always be able to address full council meetings.. Have two full council meetings every month rather than just the one to allow all the items on the agenda to be carried out without denying residents the right to speak. Allow members of the public in advance to submit questions at every scrutiny committee meeting.

Of course a change of culture at the Town Hall cannot be made with aesthetic changes alone, but we feel that these changes are in order  for some to always remember Grenfell and to ensure our councillors do too, and to create a more positive atmosphere in the Town Hall.

THINK believe that when some councillors  bow to the chamber – yes some appear to really think they are in the Houses of Parliament! – it should be to the whole community whose duty it is for them to represent, rather than a failed  and archaic establishment.

Down the road from Grenfell: Lifts in 20 storey tower block not working 

This is Dixon House, it is a 20 storey block of flats located on the West side of the Silchester Estate in North Kensington, minutes away from Grenfell Tower.

THINK have just heard from residents there that the two lifts in the building are not working. This is disgraceful and we particularly feel for residents there who are elderly, disabled or have small children  who really need these lifts to be in working order.

Despite residents of the building phoning to report the fault,earlier. it seems that nothing has still been done about this.

Some would think that the Grenfell Tower fire and the loss of 72 lives there  – yes we have  recently heard the very sad news that one resident there, Pily Burton who had been in hospital since the fire has sadly passed away – would be enough for a local authority to spring into action and make sure all their other buildings are safe – but not RBKC.

THINK say they should get these lifts repaired at once and also make sure that all high rise flats like Dixon House in the borough have sprinklers fitted and also have a  fire alarm and fire extinguishers provided for the whole building.

We expect some at the Rotten Borough to ignore this completely and instead  try to portray themselves falsely as a caring and responsible local authority which clearly they are not.

We note that their Director of “Communications and community engagement”, Michael Clarke, is still in his post despite our calls for his resignation.

More on him here:

Their mishandling of the Grenfell Scrutiny, their hiding Grenfell in ther newspaper back pages and their total indifference to many here living with trauma and grief ought to be more than enough for Mr Clarke to step down.

We were sent an email about this petition from Mahad Egal, a Grenfell survivor calling for Mr Clarke to resign. We have signed and shared and we fully recommend that our readers do too.

Yes, some on the council appear to be more concerned with the upcoming Local Elections than good communication with residents, the survivors and bereaved from Grenfell as well as  basic fire safety measures in their buildings.

It is a  truly dreadful and terrifying thought, but we really cannot face another disaster of this magnitude. We urge RBKC to take urgent action over Dixon House and to check the fire safety (or rather send the Fire Brigade or a fire expert like Stephen Mackenzie to check as we have zero trust in this local authority) in ALL their buildings.