“Chicken Run” Matthew Palmer gets in a flap again…….

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You might  remember Cllr Matthew Palmer making a few appearances on this blog before, as well as on fellow blog From the Hornet’s Nest. Not forgetting been caught on video muttering not to let Grenfell survivors into the Town Hall and also his outbursts on Nextdoor against ordinary residents.

THINK can again report that he has now got in a flap with residents on Nextdoor yet again. He of course at the last local elections did a “Chicken Run” from what was St Charles Ward to Queen’s Gate, realising that the RBKC Tories are becoming increasingly unpopular in the north of the borough, so ought to know that discussing social housing in the borough – by defending the ruling Tories in RBKC – to North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove residents wouldn’t exactly go down too well..

One resident was concerned about social housing in RBKC now the TMO are being phased out (they are still in charge of all RBKC housing outside what was Grenfell Tower and the Lancaster West Estate ) and very worryingly, RBKC are in talks with other local authorities and housing associations behind closed doors, which in the view of many TMO tenants and leaseholders here, points to possible social cleansing in the borough being carried out on the quiet.

See this Evening Standard article:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.standard.co.uk/news/london/grenfell-tower-managers-to-be-stripped-of-10000-homes-after-deadly-blaze-a3619241.html%3famp

Cllr Palmer responded by saying that ” NOTHING has been decided and it will not happen without the full and valid consultation of TMO residents”

The resident posted a link to the above article and pointed out that”many residents, especially those in the north of the borough have long grown to mistrust RBKC’s particular interpretation of the word “consultation”

“Chicken Run” flew back in again “Options are being aired, many will get shot down early on, after that viable ones are left for wider discussions. Nobody has discusssd with me the long term options for the TMO, and therefore nothing is out for consultation yet”.

The resident then sarcastically thanked him for “your openness”

Then another resident:”It has been the plan all along, use the TMO to run down the housing stock until it gets so bad that is gets turned over to a private corporation and they continue the process of killing off K & C assets and following the process of social cleansing… only following orders”

Then “Chicken Run” started  flapping about:

“I do not know from what authoritative source you are quoting from but everything you say is not true. There is no or was no plan to run the TMO down. If that was true explain the millions planned to be spent upgrading and improving estates. Secondly a former CEO of the TMO did try to get it to become a self-contained social landlord. The leader of the council politely turned him down. This was done because the council know TMO residents in general liked the council’s involvement and the council had a benchmark against other social landlords. When you ask TMO residents (which I did) what landlord they would prefer to be under every time they had their complaints about the TMO, they still preferred the TMO over Octavia, Notting Hill etc.”

Then the feathers really started to fly:

“which brings me to your disgraceful remark about social cleansing, this is not Bosnia or pre-war Germany and therefore you should withdraw it”

Well some of his more senior Conservative colleagues, who aren’t exactly basking in the warm glow of popularity right now, may not enjoy his outbursts so much.  THINK have noted that Victoria Borwick and Robert Freeman are also on Nextdoor and both have kept well away from his arguments with residents.

They will have been reading his comments and it appears that Cllr Palmer is “the elephant in the room” on there.. (Could this be the reason why Lady Borwick when she was our MP, lobbied Theresa May to drop the ban on the ivory trade?)

The  last thing the RBKC Tories could do with right now is bad publicity –  oh well……..

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Notting Hill Carnival goes green for Grenfell💚

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To show love, respect and solidarity to our all in our local community, we have decided to in tribute to those all at Grenfell Tower  to just share some wonderful pictures from this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.  Our thanks to  to all who took part (in particular those  who helped decorate the area Green for Grenfell, the survivors and families who backed the Carnival and all who volunteered in helping to maintain the quiet zone) the organisers  of course, who always put on a fantastic Carnival and also the many visitors who showed peace, love and respect to our community.💚

We were not all in the mood for Carnival this time but you all showed love and respect for both the survivors and deceased – thank you and love and respect back

💚💚💚💚Green for Grenfell💚💚💚💚

Silchester, Grenfell, the TMO and RBKC: Good news at for some at last but we have reservations…..

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THINK have  finally received some good news amid all the chaos, misery and grief that our local North Kensington community has had to go through.

The first piece of good news relates to the Silchester Estate that has long been under threat of “regeneration”.

Our friends from the Save Our Silchester campaign have fought an amazing campaign to save their homes from social cleansing over a long period of time.

We have since been informed that not only have the Silchester regeneration plans been put on hold, by following  a residents meeting, the options appraisal and all external consultations with regards to the “regeneration” plans have ended.

We are really pleased for the Silchester Estate residents and have  long supported their campaign to save their homes. This really is a victory for people power and the North Kensington community!

We will also take the unusual step of thanking Kim Taylor-Smith for actually listening to the views of the residents (for once!)

We have also heard the good news that the TMO are now no longer in charge of the Lancaster West Estate (which Grenfell Tower is in) , so hopefully residents of the neighbouring blocks will also be listened to.

And further good news is this report that RBKC do actually plan to buy some properties on the open market (as we suggested in our previous post), in which to offer Grenfell survivors as social housing –  see the Evening Standard article here:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/kensington-and-chelsea-council-set-to-buy-nearby-homes-for-grenfell-survivors-a3617101.html

We are pleased, but THINK still do not have much confidence in the Conservatives on this council as we have years of  living under their rule and our experiences and those of the majority of people in North Kensington are far from good.

A few notes of caution  here:

The first  is over “regeneration” . We are really pleased to hear that the Silchester Estate is safe, but we haven’t heard any news regarding their other smaller regeneration plans.

We believe that those of us living in low density blocks of flats in North Kensington which are not considered part of an “Estate” and those who are living in or share part of their communal areas with temporary accommodation flats in the borough should be very wary. After all it is easier for RBKC to push through “regeneration” plans in lone buildings that do not have residents’ groups or those where some of those who are still waiting to be housed are living – especially if RBKC could likely get away with using this to make out there was “little objection” to any plans.

We are also unhappy that the TMO are still responsible for managing the rest of our social housing outside Lancaster West. We also recently have encountered some of them behaving in a tactless insensitive and rude manner to some tenants and leaseholders, particularly those in North Kensington.

THINK believe that it is time that the TMO was shown the back door for good. Most in North Kensington since Grenfell now have more than enough reason to distrust them (especially those who saw the fire and knew some of the deceased or know some of the survivors.) After all, what does it say if  you believe the TMO to be incapable and incompetent enough to remove them from Lancaster West, but still allow them to be in charge of all other social housing in the borough? So forgive some of us if we are still feeling like second class citizens here.

We are also cautious that RBKC has only mentioned purchasing one and two bedroom flats for Grenfell survivors , so we do wonder where some of the larger families will be offered accommodation too.

Anyway, some good news is better than no good news and we are pleased that RBKC appear to have taken a few steps in the right direction.

Just a warning though; appearances can be deceiving.

 

 

Grenfell, the Rotten Borough and the Terrible Mismanagement Organisation: Now is the summer of our discontent….

Demonstrators protest against the Grenfell Tower fire outside a Kensington and Chelsea Council meeting at Kensington Town Hall in London

Last week there was another Grenfell meeting at Notting  Hill Methodist Church. Only the Police and Fire Brigade gave us any reassurance about the situation.

The very difficult subject of recovery of things from the building was brought up, but at least some are open to explaining to the public with regards to structural engineering as to going into the building.

We not only know that the air quality wasn’t monitored on the day (or the following day) when cyanide fumes and other toxic gases were released and many in our local area suffering from  respiratory problems and sickness. We now know that this Rotten Borough appointed two outside sources for their “own” data. Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy”Campbell not only neglected to say where they were from and who appointed them (oh don’t worry, we can take a wild guess….) but also went on about children’s and family services (thin ice!) and said “I’ve worked with these people for ten years ” so friends of yours then, Dizzy Lizzy?

One woman who had lost her son, gave a brave, brilliant and beautiful speech, and spoke about her son, and also others who our community have lost in the fire. She asked for the Notting Hill Carnival to go ahead, as long as those who have passed away are remembered and there are suitable tributes paid.

We as a local community blog who have also lost people in this dreadful disaster, will second this. It is important for our community to move forward and enjoy ourselves; but we should never forget those who are  missing or no longer with us – you will be forever with us and we will not be silenced from speaking out about this entirely preventable disaster, and we will pay silent tributes as well as speaking up for our community as needed.

Friend of THINK and local campaigner Samia  Badani, brought up the fact that the TMO is completely unaccountable. She has submitted countless questions under the Freedom of Information act, and asked at this meeting, a simple question regarding who is accountable, RBKC or the TMO, only for Dizzy Lizzy to turn round and say “we don’t know”!! “I don’t think it is possible to answer”  and “the council is separate from the TMO” so that’s crystal clear then.

If our community, friends and family weren’t so devastated, there would be a comedy act in there somewhere, but after all the continual insults to our intelligence that this council still exercises and after still having zero accountability after all this we just  feel utter and total despair.

And as regular readers will know, Dizzy Lizzy at her time in charge of family and children’s services, made destructive cuts to basic and vital facilities for the most vulnerable, only for this Rotten Borough to cut taxes for the wealthiest.

Samia pointed out that the TMO have a responsibility to share information. But all we got from Dizzy Lizzy was “oh well, we can ask”

Anyway as for not providing permanent housing in the community, sadly our fears regarding social cleansing appear to be true. If this sorry lot in charge of our council really wanted to care, they would use their very large reserves to  simply buy properties in the area – it is the very least they could do – after all,  we have more than enough Estate Agents with vacant properties here.

Back to the TMO – their presence was missed  at the meeting. Several survivors asked “where are they?” Well we can answer that question- meeting residents of the Silchester Estate. Two meetings around the corner from each other, same day and same time – now what are the chances of that?

The TMO exists (in sorts), they have a new chief executive, Elaine Elkington, who completely failed to mention Grenfell in her first media appearance.

What is this, some might wonder? In our view is nothing but an empty plutocracy and a complete travesty of democracy and accountability, that’s what.

Many TMO tenants now have no housing office and barely anyone they can contact, but the TMO likes to flex its muscles still and bully people if they dare to make their voices heard.

It has also got to be said that we do not want our social housing  to be privatised. A man from Notting Hill Housing does keep popping up at public meetings to put the boot into the TMO – he does appear to have an ulterior motive because  we know that they and Genesis are planning a merger and they together are sitting on £3.5 billion reserves (no, not a misprint!) These were once progressive and charitable organisations which have become fixed with greed and self interest and paying little interest to the rights of tenants and leaseholders.

We know that they are planing social cleansing by the back door and are looking  to sell off properties in the more lucrative areas (which means our community)

There is no respite and we will try to enjoy Carnival, but our community is not only being failed, but we are being deceived and cheated as well.

We wish the RBKC Tories could experience every second, minute and day of what a thoroughly depressing and anguished time  that we are going through. But justice is really only a hope. See what our former liar (leader) is doing here:

 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/uk_599a96bbe4b0e8cc855e707e/amp

Oh well for him, one door closes and another door opens. We despise this lot for all the destruction that they have brought to this community and we are not getting just getting a lack of accountability, let alone answers, but also now are subject to whatever RBKC entirely decides it wants to do. But enough – will not be trodden on, humiliated and defeated – we stand proud and will defend our community and each other come what may.

Do not expect us to simply put up with any more of this, so go on Tories, enjoy your summer holidays while we don’t. It has to be said that Dizzy Lizzy finished the meeting by shrugging her shoulders, rolling her eyes and eventually throwing her arms up in despair. Well how could she ever begin to imagine how we feel?

No justice: no peace

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Cllr Catherine “Lady False” Faulks: The shaming of the shrew

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Meet Cllr Catherine Faulks, she is a small figure  with a big mouth who is seldom without anything to say – so let’s see what  she says and who she speaks up for.

In a radio interview with the Today programme, she made out that former RBKC Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown had to resign as it was a stunt by the press! Yes  the fact that this council at that time (after the Grenfell Tower fire) refused to hold a public meeting in public even though essentially they are servants of the public and the poor decisions made by Piglet-Pie and his colleagues are the fault of journalists apparently!

She also made out that “people stormed the Town Hall” at that time and that she was “very frightened” She also made out that she had to call the Police “on 999 for the SWAT team to take me out of there” What an absolute liar and an egotistical drama queen to boot: because she then adds “but this isn’t all about me” oh really?

Fast forward to a very angry meeting at St Clement James with survivors, other locals  and those (supposedly) in charge, where she made out afterwards, that she was insulted and felt threatened. Well a member of THINK was standing next to her at the back of the hall in that meeting and nobody spoke to her!

Maybe Lady Faulks supposes she is some kind of celebrity “don’t you know who I am?” Because the only recognition she received at that meeting was a few angry glances from those residents who follow local politics!! (So we won’t flatter a shrew by posting her photo on here!).

Back to the interview, in which she spent more time emphasising on what a traumatic experience it was for her evacuating the council chamber than speaking about the actual disaster and the people affected. Sorry “Lady False”, if we don’t exactly sympathise, go tell that to the Grenfell Tower survivors and the nearby residents who had to evacuate their homes.

When she did, she defended RBKC’s poor immediate response by saying “there is a lot of hand-holding going on”.and referring to the matter of rent still  being deducted from a Grenfell survivor as a “tiny thing” Seriously?   we’d be laughing if we weren’t crying and  our community hadn’t gone through a horrific disaster only for the crisis to continue.

A couple of days ago one THINKer was at the meeting at St Johns church because as regular readers know, there are plans to close Notting Hill Police Station in Ladbroke Grove (our local), which of course we will fight.

Now encouraged by a show on all sides of the political spectrum locally, we hoped to keep this a non partisan issue, but then Lady False attempted to shift the blame entirely on to Sadiq Khan. Well let us point out who has cut the funds for Policing – yes, the Conservative Government!

Oh well, if Lady False gets bored of embarrassing her colleagues on the radio or at meetings or working the local political garden party circuit, she can always team up with Bananaman Spalding and do a “foot in mouth” comedy double act – it would be the only time this community could ever welcome their presence here!

 

 

 

 

 

Your North Kensington – Art Competition

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We at THINK are very proud of all the creativity in North Kensington and wish to celebrate this. We also need cheering up for obvious reasons. Walking around our area and seeing all the amazing local artwork has inspired us and lifted our spirits, so we have launched a This Is North Kensington Art Competition.

We would like you to email us your photos, and copies of your drawings and paintings and any other pieces by you that show what North Kensington means to you.

Winners will get their pictures published on the blog with a name credit (if you wish!) The Competition is open to all ages and will close on the 1st of September. Some pictures may be published by us before the closing date on blog posts too. (And please no selfies of Grenfell Tower) Please send entries to our email address at: thisisnorthkensington@gmail.com

We look forward to receiving your entries and get visitors from all over London, the U.K. and the world! Let’s show them North Kensington  and what we are made of!!!

 

Save our local Notting Hill Police Station

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This is Notting Hill Police Station, which serves the communities of Notting Hill, North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove. THINK have just heard that there are possible plans to close it.

THINK are appalled to learn this and we will be attending the meeting about this on Tuesday August 15th between 1 and 2pm at St Johns Church, Lansdowne Crescent, W11.

We believe that the local Police do an outstanding job protecting our community and they deserve our support.

Regular readers of this blog will note how many amenities are disappearing from our local area and that we as residents will campaign to protect them.

As we have pointed out before, since Grenfell, our community is traumatised, fraught and volatile – we need a good local Police  presence to keep order in our community.

There is talk behind this of a move towards “reporting crimes online” instead. Well THINK will point out that this is difficult for many of the poorest and most vulnerable in our community and also that many from Grenfell Tower and also neighbouring blocks that had to be evacuated   now do not always have access to a computer.

We urge all the local political parties and campaign groups to stand together and tell Theresa May and Sadiq  Khan that this should not go ahead. Most residents of North Kensington, Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill need a local Police station, not more so-called “luxury flats”

Please sign the petition:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-notting-hill-police-station

RBKC Tories: Chickens, turkeys and ducks

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This is Conservative RBKC councillor Matthew Palmer. You might recognise him from a particular video that he would  wish some to forget about. See it here:

http://news.sky.com/video/grenfell-councillor-matthew-palmer-mouths-do-not-let-them-in-at-meeting-10955174

He is also noted for being a North Kensington “Village idiot” making regular appearances in From The Hornet’s Nest, being a failed reality show contestant (first series of the UK Apprentice), friend of Warwick “Liquid Lunch” Lightfoot and for getting into pointless social media fights with ordinary concerned North Kensington residents and accusing those who question RBKC’s decision to lease North Kensington Library to a prep school and those who are in fear of losing their homes due to so-called regeneration, of a “smear campaign”

Cllr Palmer also did a “chicken run” from what was the now defunct St Charles Ward in North Kensington – boundary changes –   it is mostly  St Helens Ward now- to Queen’s Gate in the more affluent south of the borough.

This left the Ward to be held on to (by one vote) by Eve Allison. Cllr Allison lives in a council property and is not from the old boys and girls white upper class network that governs our council but is a Conservative – she gets very little support from her colleagues. Still we cannot understand why she cosies up to them.

We say she is a turkey voting for Christmas just like three – yes only three  – residents from the Silchester Estate (under threat of regeneration) that we encountered during the general election who vote Conservative even though the Tories’ policies with regards to housing mean they  will likely be forced out of London!

Then back to Cllr Matthew Palmer again . He ducked  out of a question regarding North Kensington Library that residents on Nextdoor put to him, even though he had initially promised to answer it. The question was about the proposed size in area of the library and the quiet study space.  Cllr Palmer not only failed to answer, but then lost his temper and flapped  about when many questioned his failure to do so in a spectacular (for all the wrong reasons) way!

Well Cllr Palmer and all his Neo Con friends are revelling in Brexit these days.  The poorest will likely be  getting free breast  enlargements due to eating hormonally enhanced factory farmed poultry. anyway. The RBKC Tories are on borrowed time and are shedding feathers every time somebody mentions Grenfell. They are out of touch and merely a collaboration of the self- deluded and the completely delusional.

We could just finish with  a rubbish pun here and tell them to “cluck off” or something .

It  ought to  be noted that some of the RBKC Tories actually live in our area  but they do not associate with us or go to local events. They use estate agent speak to talk about the area, with no recognition of the local community here.

We are fed up with the Rotten Borough Tories, counting down the days until they are out and badly need cheering up – so we will have an art competition: please send us your pictures of local community art here and we will publish the winners on the blog!  (All ages welcome)  Show us your version of what North Kensington means to you and let’s celebrate the good in our community.

North Kensington, the local community and the Rotten Borough: A personal account from one of our THINKers

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I live in Notting Dale Ward, just around the corner from Grenfell Tower.When I saw the fire (from my back garden), my obvious feelings of shock were mixed with feelings of anger towards this council and the system of failure that caused this and outright anger as in “they’ve mutdered my friends”.

Then later, as people came together to help, feeling an overwhelming sense of pride in my local community as many came together to offer help and donations. Sadly RBKC’s so-called responses have been less than adequate, adding insult to injury for many of those affected

North Kensington is a real “London village”- we all have connections to one another and see the same faces at all the local events and feel a real sense of togetherness around here – sadly something that those in charge of this council fail to understand.

They draw up so-called “regeneration” plans that propose to “create communities” Well we have a strong community thanks you very much – communities are not created; they evolve, and ours has evolved over a considerable time to be one of the most vibrant and inclusive communities you could ever wish for.

DIVERSITY:

What is unique about North Kensington is not that it is socially and culturally very mixed – you can find this in many other areas of London too – but that people from so many varying backgrounds, and ethnicities freely mix with one another without putting barriers up and categorising themselves and others into separate groups.

As someone who comes from a rather unusual background both culturally and socially, “fitting in” to a particular community can be a challenge, but I have never found that here. People openly accept each others’ differences while also finding similarities and common ground. It is impossible to live here and not have a wide circle of local friends – I would not dream of living anywhere else.

The talk of “rich vs poor” here is the feeling of most of us that this council who mainly come from very privileged backgrounds, do not care one bit about the poor and the vulnerable. They do not mix with most of the North Kensington locals and only turn up to events if the media do.

There is very much an “old London” tight-knit community feeling mixed with a free spirited creativity and a real internationalist outlook too. We are living breathing proof that mixed communities work.

You really can come to this area and see the world yet experience traditional London at the same time and these aspects of North Kensington uniquely compliment rather than conflict each other.

A key point showing that the Tories do not understand us is their attitude towards the Notting Hill Carnival. They appear to want to turn what is a free, fun and inclusive event that celebrates not only the Caribbean community here but shows our inclusive and positive attitude to its best here, into some kind of corporate event. They go on about re-routing it to Hyde Park and even suggest introducing ticketing – ludicrous.

CREATIVITY

North Kensington also has a fairly “Bohemian” artistic creative spirit to it. There are always interesting things going on around here and you never get bored. There is street art everywhere for all to admire. There are some amazing musicians on Portobello Road and many of our residents have their own unique sense of style.

Historically this area has many links to art, music literature and fashion, but the council couldn’t be any less interested in artists, musicians, writers  and other creative types, unless they thought they could get any money out of them!

SOCIAL HOUSING:

RBKC appear to  consider social housing a privilege rather than a right. They do not invest much time or money in it and when you complain about the quality of your accommodation or other problems within it, they dismissively fob you off with excuses or completely fail to respond at all and then go on to make further cuts.

They have made really devastating cuts to housing staff which means that so many problems in social housing in the borough are not being seen to. I have had to go to my local (Labour) councillors in order to get things resolved – Cllr Judith Blakeman has effectively done the job of my housing officers for the past few years!

The fact that many in Grenfell Tower who tried to bring their many issues about the building were ignored or even bullied and many are now no longer with us or left homeless and traumatised is a national disgrace, but still this council appears to have not learned any lessons and wishes to go on with “business as usual” and has put their regeneration plans “on hold” rather than cancelled them.

A long time ago, RBKC drew up something called the “Notting Barns South Masterplan” which includes my home as well as many neighbouring blocks, and the Lancaster West Estate which Grenfell Tower is in. RBKC never actually approached any of us who live here to tell us about this plan – it was the Grenfell Action Group who obtained it under the freedom of information act.

What RBKC did announce were “regeneration” plans for the Silchester Estate (five minutes down the road from me). Of course they show plans with glossy new buildings to entice residents into thinking that they will be living in them, but in fact will be unaffordable to most and the number of social housing places will be greatly reduced.

It is also a disgrace, that some of the leaseholders affected have bought their properties under the Tories “right to buy” scheme and thought they were secure for life, will face being forced out of North Kensington and possibly even London, as well as families being broken up. It is not unusual in this area to see several different generations of families all living together – something which also  adds to the closeness of our community.

Of course Rock Feilding-Mellen  has bought a place in Bramley Road, within eyesight of both Silchester and Lancaster West Estates and the people he wishes to remove from the community. This shows ignorance of this area and also arrogance regarding  the feelings of his neighbours.

LOCAL AMENITIES:

If the actions of council couldn’t hurt North Kensington any more, there are of course, other plans that RBKC has for North Kensington.

The vast majority of residents around here  do not want North Kensington Library being leased to a private school. Yes the council plans to build a new one, but most of us are happy with the existing one.

Their plans for the proposed new library are ill-thought out to start with – the proposed building is ugly in design and they plan to combine the adults and children’s libraries together.

For me personally the library has been an oasis of calm in the middle of a very busy area. I cannot imagine being able to fully concentrate and study in peace and quiet if there are children running around!

Then there is the possible loss of Wornington College. This is a local community college with adult education courses that has provided opportunities for many around here and forms part of many local peoples’ success stories.

Many of the students there do not have the time and resources to travel very far, so it is crucial that the College remains here and retains provision of all its courses and staff. Wornington College has a real place in the hearts of many in the area and from nearby and is a key part of this community’s identity – you cannot replace this with so-called luxury flats.

Not to forget that the council also once considered giving away part of Kensington Memorial Park to a private  school as well – it appears that nothing is safe from this council who only think of money and don’t consider the true cost in devastation  to the local community that their decisions make.

A real problem all over London that many will recognise is the building of homes for the wealthy that sit empty as are bought purely for investments.

While social housing is sold off and fewer genuinely affordable properties are built, the existing local population falls. The council appear not to care that once thriving local small businesses will be forced to close and the vibrant atmosphere of our community will gradually fade away if this is allowed to continue.

We don’t want Portobello and Golborne Roads decimated and our markets, pubs and small shops to go, only to be replaced with chain stores, shops selling tourist tat and estate agents.

THE FUTURE:

North Kensington and many of our lives have been devastated by the Grenfell Tower fire and we will be traumatised for a very long time. It makes me furious that the council still wish to carry on and ignore the wishes and needs of this community and yes the TMO is still responsible for the borough’s social housing – do they ever learn? It appears not.

No sadly we will probably have to help each other as neighbours and friends to recover and count down the days to the local elections to finally give the Rotten Tories here a long overdue eviction from the Town Hall.

I believe that the future of our community is better served in the hands of residents who understand it, not those who take an interest in it that is purely financial. The Save Earls Court campaigners have produced a very inspiring set of proposals for their area, and there is no reason why we in North Kensington cannot put our heads together to come up with our own positive solutions here for all.

I am very proud of North Kensington but feel ashamed of this council and deeply angered by their attitude towards us – as soon as they are out the better.

Cllr Malcolm Spalding: Bananaman and the Disasterplan

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This is Cllr Malcolm Spalding, as well as being a Tory councillor for Earl’s Court Ward, We call him “Bananaman” not after the 1980s childrens’ cartoon, but because of his tendency to keep slipping up – one faux pas and ludicrous statement after another – see our old post featuring him standing in for our then MP Victoria Borwick at hustings in Earl’s Court here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/hustings-victoria-does-a-theresa-may-and-so-do-most-of-her-colleagues/

As we mentioned in our previous Earl’s Court special post, he is not very well liked by his constituents. His support for the Earls Court Masterplan and his ignorance of residents’ concerns doesn’t exactly help. In one case when local residents were complaining about all the dirt and dust caused by the redevelopment, he answered by saying that he had not seen any dust when dusting his grand piano – ludicrous!

Yes this bad joke of a Tory councillor prefers schmoozing property developers to meeting residents. Last Christmas, can you guess who he invited to sponsor the Earl’s Court Society Christmas do? That’s right – dodgy developers Crapco!!! (see more about them in our previous post) to the very understandable anger of many residents – not really in the spirit of the season of goodwill is it Bananaman?

In fact in Earl’s Court Ward last election the majority of his constituents voted for other parties – combined votes for Labour, Lib Dems and Greens: 3028, combined votes for Tories: 2714. With local Tories now more unpopular than ever, RBKC far from ship-shape and Labour and Lib Dems gaining in popularity there (particularly local Lib Dem councillor Linda Wade), his other Tory councillor colleague Fenella Aouane, has decided to abandon ship. THINK believe that at next year’s local elections, the Earl’s Court voting constituents will throw this one-time admiral of the fleet overboard…….

THINK special post from Earl’s Court: A new beginning?

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THINK decided to take a break from our North Kensington territory and head south to visit our friends in Earl’s Court. The world-famous Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, pictured above would have been 80 this year. Sadly, developers Capital and Counties (Capco), Boris Johnson (when he was Mayor of London), RBKC and the former Tory regime at Hammersmith and Fulham had other plans and sadly it is no more.

Read about it here:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2015/jun/25/earls-court-how-to-do-regeneration-wrong

and also here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2016/jul/05/earls-court-uncertain-times-for-landmark-london-regeneration-scheme

The exhibition centres together contributed over £1.25 billion to the economy and since their closure,  some local businesses there have reported turnover losses of up to 60%.

Our friends at Save Earl’s Court face a very uncertain future and many residents are living with ongoing noise, dust and mess as a result of the work going on. Also many local businesses are suffering due to the loss of the exhibition centre.

Save Earl’s Court campaigners are down but not out and have kindly shared their “Earl’s Court: Rescue, Recovery and Renaissance Campaign Report” with us.

In the report they set out their campaign and their positive  visions  for the future of the area.

The Save Earl’s Court campaigners have fought against the Earl’s Court masterplan for five years. They  campaigned  to 1. Stop the demolition of Earl’s Court 1 and Earl’s Court 2 exhibition centres, 2. Stop the demolition of West Ken and Gibbs Green estates which provide social housing to more than 2000 residents, and 3. Stop the demolition of Lillie Bridge Depot which provides manufacturing, training and safety services for London Underground.

Of course now the exhibition centres are now gone  and Earl’s Court residents were intially promised a replacement venue, a promise that Capco has not kept. Residents also face being priced out of the planned new “luxury” developments and many in social housing forced out altogether.

Save Earl’s Court’s campaigners report plans a venue from scratch on the former Earl’s Court 1 site. Their tag line is to “Think big, think green” The proposed venue would be flexible in design (to accommodate various types of events) and multi purpose to feature exhibitions as well as cultural (such as music) and sporting events. They also plan for an international architecture campaign for the project and for the venue to be given ACV (asset of community value) status to protect it

The proposed building would have green aspects built in to the design such as solar panels, living walls and urban food growing and an anaerobic digestion plant near the venue.

Other plans in the report are for a creative enterprise zone in the Earl’s Court and West Kensington opportunity area. Earl’s Court has a rich cultural history and the campaigners want to strongly preserve.

Also that the Lillie Bridge Depot is retained and further incorporates a training hub for local residents interested in pursuing a career with London Underground.

Also that creative enterprise zones and music zones are incorporated into the area.

As well as that historic Empress Place is preserved and there is also affordable space for artists provided nearby (local artist Duggie Fields wrote a foreword to the report) and to make the surrounding “Lillie Enclave”  area a conservation area.

We note that Save Earl’s Court have received support for their campaign from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and even UKIP, but Tories? No. Local Labour MPs Emma Dent Coad and Andy Slaughter have also given their support, but not Emma’s Conservative predecessor Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick.

Special mention also has to go to Lib Dem RBKC Earl’s Court Ward councillor Linda Wade, who has worked hard to support local Earl’s Court residents (unlike the two Conservative RBKC  Earl’s Court councillors Malcolm Spalding and Fenella Aouane, who have annoyed and alienated most residents).

THINKers have many fond memories of Earl’s Court exhibition centre and fully support Save Earl’s Court  campaigners in their efforts to make their local area a real “destination” again. We also strongly condemn Crapco (as we call them) for their bullying tactics towards businesses in Lillie Road, (hiking up the rents and offering derisory lump sums in order to get them to leave) and for their dishonesty in not keeping their promises.

We at THINK believe that the Earl’s Court masterplan is a complete disaster plan and urge Sadiq Khan in his role as Mayor of London, to prevent further destruction and ruination of this once vibrant community and to look at Save Earl’s Court’s campaign report and hopefully work alongside residents and businesses towards a more positive solution.

We take off our THINKing caps to these tireless and amazing campaigners who have had to go through so much noise, mess, disturbance, stress and uncertainty and yet still come through with such incredible energy and an inspired and positive report – we thank them. We are not “anti regeneration” if plans are community-led and are not there for social cleansing purposes.

THINK believe this report shows a real shift in favour of community-led developments in which residents and local businesses have a say, to be the future for happy, healthy and successful communities as opposed to the soulless developer- led plans which are usually  for pure short-term financial gain, that our local Tories favour – they are living in the past.

We also believe that Boris Johnson and  both the Hammersmith and Fulham and the RBKC Tories should be deeply ashamed of themselves.