Good news for Wornington College: The commissioner says no to the proposed merger!

THINK have received some very good  news from the Save Wornington College campaign There has been a meeting with the FE commissioner Richard Atkins and the Deputy FE Teresa Gulley, Scott Ruby from the Department of Education and members of the Save Wornington College campaign.

Mr Atkins has asked for a new Structure, and Prospects Appraisal (process of assessing and interviewing potential merger partners) Рin plain English, the proposed merger with Ealing, Hammersmith (EHWLC)  is definitely off!

The campaign  to save our college does go on however, as there is nothing to  legally stop  EHWLC from trying to merge with our College again. We believe that this hostile takeover of a proposed merger would have meant the certain closure of the Wornington Road site and the end of provision of further education in North Kensington Рwhich is needed more now after Grenfell than ever.

RBKC had ¬†bought back the freehold of the College for ¬£25million and the council’s ¬†Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Grenfell Recovery, Housing and Property Kim “Tailored-Sloth” Taylor–Smith had confirmed that the council would be looking to use at least part of the site for housing (he did say “affordable housing” make of that what you will).

Many of our community ¬†had ¬†very real concerns about the council’s ¬†act of buying the freehold of the building. See this from the Grenfell Action Group:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/save-wornington-college/

The FE Commissioner  and his Deputy and Scott Ruby from the Department of Education  were apparently appalled by the  haste in which the building was sold and they will investigate more into this. They agree that things are different now after Grenfell and North Kensington deserves to have a first class college run with vision for its community. We thank them for this and there will be a report out next week.

Most of all we thank the Save Wornington College campaigners and all in our community who  worked hard  on the campaign and all who support the campaign to save our College Рas well as the Grenfell Action Group for their blog  posts keeping us informed as to the back story of all this.

We believe that Mary Curnock Cook Р  the KCC Chair of Governors and Elaine McMahon РKCC Interim Vice Principal who ignored our community and pushed for this merger should resign.

Mr Atkins will be looking at options for the College  which will be included in the report next week.

We also posted on here  before with regards to the appalling treatment of staff at KCC here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/wornington-college-signing-or-resigning/

So here for Mary and Elaine, is our community’s ” exam test paper” grading of them:

 

Gagged by the Rotten Borough 


Yesterday there was a full council meeting in which members of the public were invited to speak. One resident who lives around the corner from Grenfell Tower ¬†was banned from speaking at this by one of their “enforcers” because they had previously spoken.

They did allow one person (who spoke well and had also contributed on a previous occasion) to speak, but in not allowing others to talk ; they show themselves up for being a selective bunch who prefer the sound of their own voices.

What about the rights of some to tell them about their situations and when the situations change? We know that some of those in charge when sent emails and letters are completely unresponsive.

This is particularly disrespectful to those affected by Grenfell, but also a slap in the face to residents in general. The council  have also allowed  some other residents who have spoken at meetings before to address them but in recognising others who have been critical of them before and not giving them the same rights; we are concerned.

Is it because some have openly criticised this council  before, we wonder? Call us cynics, but we believe this whole exercise  is an empty gesture, designed to placate the public while they  are completely unable to figure out a way of restoring their ever increasingly tarnished  reputation. However, we do feel  that councillors should hear from  local residents  at all council meetings and that all  who wish to speak get the oppportunity to do so when they wish Рnot when the council says so.

But some appear to  think that banning  local blogs and hiding  Grenfell on page 7 and the back pages of their in-house newspaper will make everything go away.

What we do know is that Michael Clarke, Director of Communications and Community Engagement (and responsible for THAT newspaper decision Р more than mistake), is still in his post. See our previous post about him here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/michael-clarke-should-resign-now/

Some of us ¬†also believe that Mr Clarke’s Daily Mail and right wing PR connections and the negative ¬†prejudiced ¬†and offensive way that some on the right wing press have portrayed ¬†our community ¬†around Grenfell ¬†(“illegal immigrants” “benefit sctoungers” ) ¬†are not unconnected.

Here is ¬†the charisma-free (media communications?!!) ¬†Michael Clarke’s response to leader of the Labour group, Cllr Robert Atkinson’s ¬†criticisms of him and the council earlier:

Michael Clarke : resign now

This is Michael Clarke He is “Director of Communications and Community Engagement” at RBKC. He is also responsible for the absolutely disgusting insult to our local community in North Kensington by hiding Grenfell on the Rotten Borough’s in-house ¬†local newspaper for residents ¬†all the way back on page 7.
This was nearly six months after Grenfell, many of us were bereaved  and traumatised, it was when just before the Grenfell Tower Inquiry held its preliminary hearings, just before six months after Grenfell and the Silent Walk and just before Christmas.

THINK had something to say about this last month, as we felt utterly disgusted and insulted,

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/the-rotten-borough-and-their-attitude-towards-grenfell-you-would-think-it-never-had-happened/
One THINKer attending the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee meeting yesterday (and  we have plenty more on that to come) ,  afterwards, went up to him, asked him how he would feel if he had watched a fire where their friends lost their lives or homes  around the corner from Grenfell,  held up  her phone and showed him our article and told him to resign. He responded by turning pale, quivering  and  saying they had made a mistake.

At the meeting when he admitted that he had been responsible for this, many locals ¬†had also ¬†shouted at him to resign. He replied that “it was a mistake”.¬†

We suppose at least he admitted his more than a mistake, but we know that communications  our community from RBKC have been truly appalling.

Several ¬†points ¬†at yesterday’s meeting were made with the regards to RBKC not listening to residents affected by Grenfell. THINK believe that this council ‘s incompetence and generally arrogant attitude towards us will sadly never change while the Conservatives remain in control of it. They have made little to no effort to truly engage with us – shameful.

Before being appointed to his post at RBKC , Mr Clarke was Head of Press at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. If that doesn’t sound worrying enough for our community, ¬†let us also inform people that before that he was Interim Chief Media Spokesman for Tory Damian Green.

Is it any wonder why so many affected by Grenfell do not have any confidence that the inquiry will be unbiased and thorough in looking into the actions and inactions of RBKC and their Frankenstein’s monster of the TMO?

He also set up Thames Advisors, a media relations company in 2012 Their tagline? Better communication better results – really?

Maybe better election results obtained by their  friends in the Conservative Party by both locally and nationally sweeping Grenfell and our community under the carpet?

Mr Clarke also started as a journalist at the Daily Mail (no kidding!) and moved into the corporate sector, also  working for Serco and G4S no less.

THINK do not have any confidence in Michael Clarke and we say that he should resign right now.

We also believe whoever even thought that making such an inappropriate appointment to such a position when all the serious issues in our community require a non-biased, locally based but outward-looking and sensitive approach, should also step down.

Someone at RBKC who writes the Twitter feed did respond to us. when we posted about our blog being banned on RBKC’s wifi and computers. We hear that the ban has been lifted, but so many of us already know that we cannot believe anything that this disgrace of a local authority says or does anymore.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/think-censored-by-the-rotten-borough/

We just wish they were just as responsive to their other  residents who put much more important  serious and urgent  concerns to them. It shows a very poor sense of priorities to say the least.

Don’t shoot ¬†the messenger? Well THINK, alongside countless local residents in RBKC ¬†and many others, ¬†have long called for this council to go……

As to  the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, we share many of the concerns expressed by the survivors and the bereaved with regards to to our community and the many local issues in it and receiving full and fair representation at the Inquiry.

We ask our readers to please sign this petition and let’s give our local community some real involvement in the Inquiry : ¬†

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722

Is the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee a farce? THINK  scrutinises some of  the scrutinisers

There is a meeting of the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee tonight at 6:30pm at Notting Hill Methodist Church, Lancaster Road, W11 Forgive us for the amusing  picture  Рmany issues that need to be raised at this meeting are  very serious but we have questions about a few who sit on that committee.

Take Cllr Daniel Moylan,, Cllr Mary Weale, Cllr Malcolm Spalding and Cllr Catherine Faulks – they are Conservative councillors who had senior positions at RBKC at one time or another in the run up to Grenfell.

Daniel Moylan is no stranger to appearances on THINK.

Here:https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/cllr-daniel-moylan-smoke-and-mirrors/

Here:  https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/a-rocky-road-well-travelled-and-a-terrapin-in-the-tank/

And falling asleep in this very committee here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/daniel-moylan-asleep-on-the-job/

Yes as well as showing our community utter disrespect by sleeping in part of the last Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee – we say he should resign from that as well as the council – he was involved in secret meetings with property PR firm Terrapin Communications

He served as Deputy Leader of RBKC from 2005 to 2011. He was also Member for Planning Policy  and Housing Policy from 2009-2011.

Here from a few years ago, posted by the Grenfell Action Group, is the Notting Barns South masterplan, also know as the Latimer masterplan :

https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/notting-barns-south-masterplan.pdf

Yes, it has plans for the demolition of a lot of social housing ¬†– including Grenfell Tower, as well as whole streets in North Kensington. We question Cllr Moylan’s part ¬†in planning and housing policy in shaping these plans.

The flammable cladding was put on Grenfell Tower to apparently make it look more attractive to the new  privately built homes on the other side of Kensington Leisure Centre (which are still under construction) and for the  homes that were due to be built for the once-planned Silchester  Estate regeneration.

There are many other serious questions about the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower ¬†and the power surges that occurred there before the fire. We believe that Cllr Moylan, ¬†considering his alleged regeneration kingpin role ¬† – he was once nicknamed “the king of planning” should not be anywhere near this committee.

Cllr Mary Weale served as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health from 2013 to 2017. She presided over the disgraceful closure  and selling off of the much-loved Thamesbrook community residential care home in Chelsea, which has left some vulnerable adults now placed in homes outside the borough a long way from their families and communities.

Cllr Weale is also a ¬†cousin of Rock Feilding-Mellen’s stepfather ¬†– ¬†but she is most well known for telling people “we hear residents but we don’t listen” She is presently Cabinet Member for communities. Well a major factor over Grenfell is this council not listening to the community. Not least the residents of Grenfell Tower who gave RBKC countless warnings over the building. Some, like our friend Edward Daffarn of the Grenfell Action Group, have lost their homes, others are sadly no longer with us.

THINK believe Cllr Weale’s ¬†political career should go straight in the wheelie bin and she should not be serving on this committee and ¬†on the RBKC cabinet too..

Catherine Faulks has appeared on the THINK “stage” ¬†before:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/cllr-catherine-lady-false-faulks-the-shaming-of-the-shrew/

And on this very committee appearing to fall asleep too

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/not-only-daniel-moylan-but-catherine-faulks-also-appears-to-be-falling-asleep-in-the-job/

She also was Cabinet Member for Education and Libraries for a short time last year.

Yes she might have only been in the  RBKC cabinet for a very short time, but was prepared to go ahead with plans  to lease North Kensington Library to Notting Hill Prep School (where Rock Feilding-Mellen had places booked for his children) on  the cheap.

Cllr “Lady False” Faulks was also vice chair of the Family and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee from 2013 to 2017. This is around the time when the Maxilla Nursery and Family Centre was closed. When Labour put a motion to reopen this much-loved and needed Centre, Lady False did not appear to actually know where it was! We wonder if she also dozed off while serving on that committee when the Maxilla came up for discussion – if she finds our issues so tiresome then she should go too.

Malcolm Spalding has also made a few appearances on our blog too.

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

And :https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/cllr-malcolm-spalding-bananaman-and-the-disasterplan/

Yes Cllr “Bananaman” Spalding putting his foot in it may amuse us, but he also served as ¬†chair of the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee back in 2014. One of the remits of that committee was to scrutinise the “preservation, enhancement ¬†and protection of the built ¬†and natural environment”

Well Grenfell Tower certainly wasn’t “enhanced” during that time and the residents were certainly not “protected”.

We accept that Bananaman may have had a lesser role than the others we have mentioned but he is a Tory councillor for Earl’s Court and a supporter of the terrible Earl’s Court Masterplan. According to many of his Ward constituents who have been in contact with us, Cllr Spalding also has shown a very dismissive attitude towards social housing and the residents living in it. Not exactly ideal to be serving ¬†on this particular committee with the issues raised in it then.

One member of this committee who is not a councillor is Sheila Durr. She  was appointed Director of People and Communities last November.

It has been pointed out to us that Ms Durr has failed to answer many questions put to her after 6 weeks. One alleged decision of hers was to close the night service provided locally to residents in our community in the run up to Christmas. There was only two days notice of this apparently and many vulnerable and traumatised users of the service were not informed.

The planned closure was due on the 30th of November, not long before the Inquiry Hearings and not even six months after Grenfell. The alleged decision was swiftly reversed after news of this was leaked and publicised. Still many in our community have questions to ask over this.

We do realise that Sheila Durr is new to her position but this simply is unacceptable.

As for the RBKC Tories on the committee that we have mentioned above, in the words of local campaigner ond friend of THINK Niles Hailstones, they were part of the culture here that brought Grenfell.

We agree with Niles and say that anyone who played a part in the in the run up to the Grenfell Tower fire and the many other issues in our community around it, should not be playing a part in scrutinising the aftermath in our community after Grenfell The last thing we need is an encore of their “performances”.

Adding insult to injury : Who pays the financial price for Grenfell? Local residents

THINK have recently been informed that our not so beloved Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea intend to raise council tax by 5.99%. This is below the 6% required to hold a referendum on it apparently.

We are concerned that the burden  for the  actions and inactions of RBKC over Grenfell will fall on the less well off in our community Р some of whom live in the North Kensington area and are traumatised.

Why aren’t the powers that be at ¬†RBKC appearing to ¬† ask that ¬†this ¬†money should be funded directly from the Government? Could it be that this council is such a national disgrace and an embarrassment, that Theresa May and co ¬†would just rather look to be seen to not have anything to do with them?

Well we know that’s not the case as several senior RBKC Tories are very well connected to the Government ¬† .For example, ¬†Cllr Daniel Moylan and former MP Victoria Borwick ¬†both served under former Mayor of London Boris Johnson who is Foreign Secretary. So we believe they are more concerned about public relations than the general public.

If the fact that ordinary ¬†local residents will have to pay for Grenfell – an entirely preventable disaster in which at least 71 people ¬†needlessly lost their lives, isn’t bad enough, here is some other news:

Insurance charges on TMO properties will go up and now TMO  leaseholders will  face exorbitant service charges rises  to pay for this.

TMO leaseholders are not wealthy and many of them live inNorth Kensington and are affected by Grenfell too. We are worried that many will not be able to afford the increased charges. What will happen to them?

We at THINK  are  utterly appalled by this  Рwe believe that  they do not even make more of a case for obtaining extra  funds from the Government too because it looks far  better for them if Grenfell is not classified as the severe disaster it is and   sone of them are held criminally responsible. Yet they expect members of our local community who have lost family and friends in a disaster of their making to pay for it Рastonishing.

We hope that next May this council are Spring cleaned out of here and are left with several questions and even  some prosecutions for their roles in Grenfell and our local community.

We know so many in North Kensington who are suffering over this. It is immoral and unjust that they should also have to pay a financial price ¬†for this tragedy while this bad ¬†joke of a council ¬†who caused it are still here and some are still taking a councillors’ salary for doing nothing.

 

Notting Hill Housing and Genesis: Two weddings and a funeral?

Yesterday, shareholders of both Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger.

The voting figures for NHH were: 55 proxy votes (before the meeting) for the merger. At the meeting there were 20 votes for the merger and 12 against.

The voting figures for Genesis were: 49 votes for the merger, 1 against and 1 spoiled ballot.

THINK agree with many of their residents and ¬†believe this is a wrong decision on so many levels. ¬†We have very real concerns regarding both associations, their treatment of tenants and properties and their social cleansing “regeneration” activities.

Both the Listen NHH and the Genesis Residents fought and continue to fight a strong campaign for social housing and for residents’ rights. THINK salute these dedicated campaigners who put so much effort, passion ¬†and research into their excellent ¬†campaigns and have shared so much information with us.

Something that the Listen NHH campaigners informed THINK about  some time ago was Notting Hill Housing selling off their empty properties in  higher priced areas like ours, rather than doing them up to re-let to their tenants.

The picture above is of an empty house  owned by Notting Hill Housing at 69 Cornwall Crescent, London W11. It is in North Kensington, less than five minutes down the road from Grenfell Tower.

Perhaps Notting Hill Housing can explain just what they intend to do with this particular property?

The picture below is of the same property taken in September, back then, campaign group  Listen NHH queried them with regards to why this empty property was left in that way. They stated that it was being refurbished, but it is still empty to this very day!

Maybe some should check NHH’s friends at Savills or some property auctions? We thought that Notting Hill Housing (they dropped the “trust”) was a previously charitable and commendable organisation that bought properties at auction to refurbish them and give them to those in need – not do the reverse!

THINK joined the protests against the merger held yesterday and we will continue to support  these important  campaigns to save  our social housing.

The protests were well attended and even managed to be heard from inside the meetings.

Notting Hill Housing are very good at blowing their own trumpet, so we thought they should listen to what some of their residents have to say. Here are just a few complaints we found  posted online:

“Terrible at sorting repairs, the system is totally disorganised. They hardly ever return calls and have to be chased up constantly”

“Hold vendettas against tenants who fight for their rights. NHHT break tenure agreements and fail to repair homes”

“Really poor service. I have been trying to get in touch for the past ¬†3 weeks and no one picks up the phone”

“Notting Hill Housing has made my family distressed for the past 7 years. They have treated us extremely badly, avoiding our needs. They show pure ignorance as well as Kensington and Chelsea. This Borough and this housing association are like the plague”

“They treat tenants like third class citizens”

“Sleep deprived since October 2015 due to neighbour above. I am a disabled tenant, deemed vulnerable. Two psychologists from two different hospitals wrote to my housing officer and her manager saying they were afraid for my mental wellbeing and suicidal thoughts. Notting Hill Housing Trust never replied to them. Yet they still win gold awards. I got in touch with ¬†CEO Kate Davies numerous times – NOTHING”

Gold awards? After these comments it appears NHH don’t even deserve a wooden spoon……

Housing, particularly in our part of London should be for all and we condemn those from some ¬†housing associations, local authorities and the Government whose intent appears to be to price people on a low to average income out of London with schemes to replace social housing ¬†with “affordable”housing (80% of market rate) ¬†and simply cash in on property. values.
We are proud to live in a mixed community that consists of people from all backgrounds, rich and poor, but we know that the wonderful diverse character of our area  will change  if social housing is continually pushed to the back of agendas or even abandoned altogether.

We leave you with some live Tweets  recorded by some of us  from the Notting Hill Housing protest in Hammersmith:

 

Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association: Far from an ideal union¬†ÔĽŅ

Tomorrow, on the 16th of January 2018,   shareholders of Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association will vote on whether to merge these two housing giants   together and form a supersize housing association.

This for several reasons as we will explain, will put social housing in London at risk, will give their existing residents fewer rights and will leave many  in parts  of London like our local area subject to unaffordable rent increases and leasehold charges and the changes in moving to a more corporate structure will threaten the existence of  housing co-operatives, the trust between staff and residents, the wellbeing of vulnerable residents and will  further remove these once-charitable organisations away from their original purposes Р from which they have been already straying  Рnamely providing social and genuinely affordable decent homes  to many in urban areas of London.

THE “BRIDE”: We at THINK are familiar with Kate Davies, chief executive of Notting Hill Housing and designated chief executive of the proposed merged association ¬†(pictured above). See our previous posts here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/notting-hill-housing-and-genesis-residents-say-no-to-the-merger/

And here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/ūüéÉthink-halloween-specialūüéÉ-part-1-notting-hill-housings-kate-davies-the-wicked-witch-of-the-west/

And also our post about Notting Hill Housing moving away from its’ once charitable and decent housing aims here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/notting-hill-housing-where-has-the-trust-gone/

Back in 2008 “Wicked Witch” Davies wrote a report for ¬†right wing Tory Iain Duncan Smith’s ¬†misnomer of a think tank The Centre for Social Justice, claiming that ¬†“tenants pay little or no rent and get their home maintained in good order for free” She ¬†has also stated ¬†in an article for the Times that ¬†“social housing is not a desired destination” and that “private ownership is preferable to ¬†state-provided solutions” .

We suppose at least she does not hide her desired intent to what she intends to do with NHH’s housing stock – but we point out that in areas of London like ours, you have to be wealthy to buy a property – just where does she expect people to live?

Davies and her partner Nick Johnson also run a company called Davies Johnson Ltd that advised on, wait for it, the disastrous redevelopment of Earl’s Court!

Notting Hill Housing’s website has claimed that residents views on the proposed merger are ¬†welcome, but that is not what ther residents have told us.

Yes, meetings about the merger were limited to ticket holders only, even had bouncers manning the doors, and yet still many concerned residents who managed to get hold of tickets were denied entry.

After residents have received that sort of treatment and seen evidence of social cleansing and selling off housing stock in areas like ours and have suffered huge rent and service charge increases under Davies’ rule, is it any wonder that they do not for one minute believe the claims on the NHH website that “no one will be worse off due to our proposed merger”.

THE “GROOM”: Meet Dipesh Shah, he is the chair of Genesis Housing ¬†Association and set ¬†to ¬†be the ¬†“chair designate” of the merged association if it goes ahead. He may only pocket around ¬£9,000 for his position, but as a multimillionaire director of several wealth management funds, and as a former CEO of BP and the UK Atomic Energy Authority among other things (we actually lost count of his past and present directorships!) and rumoured to be earning over ¬£4million a year; he really doesn’t need the money!


“Deep Pockets” Shah (pictured above) has the nerve to defend Genesis’ exorbitant rent increases to residents who cannot afford them. He like NHH’s Kate Davies is also a supporter of converting their ¬† existing social housing to so-called “affordable housing” (up to 80% of market rate).

According to him, the funds raised from this are supposed to help Genesis build more homes but according to Genesis Residents, the association has only built just  three social homes in the last two years!

“Deep Pockets” has also treated residents who complain about ¬†the association’s poor maintenance of their properties with dismissal. He claims to be “unaware” of any failures.

Maybe “Wicked Witch of the West” Kate Davies can show him our blog? Because here, for this gruesome twosome ¬†are just a handful of ¬†serious complaints from residents of Genesis that we found posted on Twitter

“IF ANY OF YOU HAS REASONS WHY THESE TWO SHOULD NOT BE MARRIED, SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE” : Let’s take a deep breath here, how many reasons have THINK got? The threat to many of their residents in areas like ours where land value is high, the corporate structure putting ever more distance between management ¬†and residents, likely rent increases and service charges that residents will face as the organisation becomes even more profit-driven, the cuts to good local staff ¬†working at both ¬†organisations, the threat to council housing in London that this merger would bring, ¬†and the ¬†general immorality of charging excess costs to their residents to pay for newly built homes they will never be able to afford?

But don’t just take our word for it, see this ¬†letter posted on ¬†the Grenfell Action Group from Robin Sharp, a founder member of Genesis and first chair of PCHA ¬† here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/genesis-founder-condemns-merger/

THE “ICING ON THE WEDDING CAKE”

THINK ask shareholders to not be tempted into being seduced by the sugary sweet enticements of huge profits by the corporatisation of both associations. We ask that you put people and communities  first and vote with your conscience.

Also we have good grounds to believe the merger process may be legally flawed. Please read this excellent post from the Grenfell Action Group here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/notting-hill-genesis-merger-legally-flawed/

THE “WEDDING CRASHERS”:

We thank the knowledgable, tireless and hardworking campaign groups from both associations who campaign against the merger, against social cleansing and  for better treatment and standards in their housing.

See  the Listen NHH  website here:

https://listen-nhh.org/

And Genesis Residents website here:

http://genesisresidents.org.uk/

The VENUES: “GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME”:

We urge shareholders of both NHH and Genesis to please vote NO. A vote against the merger is a vote to save not only social housing in London but also the  social face and layout of many areas of London and the South East   which are  under threat from this indecent proposal of a merger.

The peaceful protest against the merger will be at 5:15pm ¬†for Notting Hill Housing and the shareholders’ meeting and ¬†vote for NHH at Sussex Place, Hammersmith, London W6 9EA.

The  other  peaceful protest  against the merger for   Genesis  and the shareholders meeting and vote  will also be at 5:15 tomorrow at Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street, London NW1 ODL

THINK will of course be joining the protests  and showing our support against the merger and we recommend you do too. Here, posted by Grenfell Speaks on Twitter, are residents and campaigners  Natasha and Gemini:


Notting Hill Housing and Genesis: Unhappily ever after

On Tuesday the 16th of January, shareholders of both Genesis Housing Association and Notting Hill Housing will be voting on whether to merge into one giant organisation.

Collectively, if the vote goes through, they will be responsible for  the housing  of around 170,000 residents.

THINK has long been  concerned about the issue of housing associations straying a very long away from their roots back  when they initially started out as charitable organisations Рsocial landlords, providing many   with decent housing in the local community.

We share the concerns of many residents of both associations ¬†have raised, from rent increases that many, particularly those housed by Genesis Housing Association, are facing in high land value areas, particularly in London, to the move instead to provide “affordable” housing rather ¬†than housing at social rent level ( a long way from the original aims of both associations) , and the moves into property development and regeneration.

Yes these organisations have been chronically underfunded by successive governments and from the outset are increasingly in need of funds, but THINK believe that turning into socially cleansing property developers for the wealthy is not the way forward.

We had a  closer look at  just a few of the rules of Genesis Housing   Association based on the model rules from 2005:

“The Association is formed for the benefit of the community, its objects shall be to carry on for the benefit of the community”

And this: “This association shall not trade for profit”

We believe that this merger amounts to a marriage of convenience  Рconvenient for those in charge to rip up their own rule books and shrug off the responsibilities they were originally designated to have and go chasing vast profits at the real cost of not only their existing residents, but also to many other ordinary residents of London and the South East who are already struggling  to afford a home.

Many have noticed appearances in recent years executives on the boards of both associations who may have some very questionable motives as to their positions on social housing.

Take Richard Powell ¬†for example, who joined NHH last year. He previously worked as a “director of urban communities” at Lendlease. Yes – the Australian based global property development responsible for the demolition of the Heygate Estate in Walworth, South London and also for the proposed HDV regeneration ¬†plans in Haringey council, North London.

See the Stop HDV campaign website here:

http://stophdv.com/

For those not in the know, Haringey planned a 50/50 public private partnership with the company to the tune of ¬£2billion ¬†that would be likely to see most of their residents in the less affluent areas of the borough, lose their homes. Lendlease has also been ¬†in partnership with US president Donald Trump – yes Trump Towers! It almost sounds laughable but we really don’t think that taking a wrecking ball to peoples’ social homes , forcing residents out of London and ¬†replacing their homes ¬†with luxury flats for wealthy “buy-to-leave” investors is really a laughing matter.

If that doesn’t sound worrying enough, Mr Powell also previously worked as a director of planning at Capital and Counties! yes, Capco (or Crapco, as we call them) – responsible for the dreadful mess that is known as the Earl’s Court masterplan.

Have a look at our previous Earl’s Court post here:

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

The ¬†Save Earl’s Court campaign ¬†website ¬†here:

http://www.saveearlscourt.com/

And West Ken and Gibbs Green  campaign website here:

https://westkengibbsgreen.wordpress.com/

The demolition of the Earl’s Court exhibition centre ¬†plus greedy Crapco hiking rents ¬† has come at a real cost to some small businesses around the area – so ¬†it is not even merely a concern for residents in social housing either.
And just in case some reading this still  think this is just a matter for housing association residents and not for those housed by their local authority, let us point to the Aylesbury Estate (formerly Southwark council)  Рunder regeneration  by NHH and Grahame Park (formerly Barnet Council)  under regeneration plans by Genesis Рboth with far fewer homes for social rent.

What could the future of the now-disbanding TMO in Kensington and Chelsea possibly be?

RBKC appear to have little idea of what will happen to their housing stock, and we believe that this supersize beast that collectively will sit on reserves of around £3billion may make the council (whose once cushy reserves are now dwindling) a nice (not so little)  offer Рone that will also appeal to the Rotten Borough Tories wanting to expel many of their social housing residents from the borough. We believe that all social housing residents in and around our borough are at very real risk from this proposed merger.

All the ¬†regeneration projects that these two associations ¬†have been involved in have vastly reduced the provision of social housing places, or even worse, The planned development in Canada Water, South ¬†London ¬†(pictured below) will have 1,030 homes – ¬†consisting so-called “affordable” (up to 80% of market rate – actually completely unaffordable to many), homes for private sale, ¬†homes for private market rent and shared ownership (which only is of real benefit to soon-to-be high flyers starting out on the property ladder) and that’s it. No mention of homes for social rent at all.

All will be familiar with the phrase “charity begins at home”: THINK believe that these two organisations need to get back to being charities that provide the less well off with a decent ¬†social housing ; not become developers who do ¬†ordinary people out of ¬†the right to live in decent social housing. This union in our view will move these once ¬†associations ¬† even further from their once commendable and charitable ¬†roots.

We urge all shareholders who haven’t voted yet to vote NO to the merger and all in and around our community to join the protests outside both meetings tomorrow.

NOTTING HILL HOUSING : at 5 15 pm, Tuesday 16th January 2018   at Sussex Place, Hammersmith, London W6 9EA

GENESIS HOUSING: Also at 5:15pn Tuesday 16th January 2018 at Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street, London, NW1 ODL

2017 was THINK’s turbulent rollercoaster ride of a year

So here we  start a new year and a new chapter and say goodbye to a year that marked  the beginning of THINK and landmark political change in having a Labour MP for Kensington, but also tragedy and devastation to our community  in the many lives lost in the fire at Grenfell Tower.

We mark the end of a very difficult  year by sharing our journey and  some of ourhighs and lows of our community here

MAY 

We ¬†really only started as a community noticeboard-type blog for campaigners. One of our earliest posts was when one THINKer joined Emma Dent Coad and Kensington Labour on the doorsteps for the general election. Encouraged by their positive message and wanting postinve change in the area, we gave Emma and Labour our backing. Some ¬†mocked and laughed at us when we suggested that Labour could win Kensington…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/vote-for-emma-dent-coad-to-be-your-mp-for-kensington-constituency/

Then our posts reporting on the RAP23 (Reduce Air Pollution)”Lets clear some air” meeting (held on 12th May) in which pollution (a major health and environmental concern in ¬†London – North Kensington in particular) and the ¬†excellent speakers at the meeting brought the hard facts to public attention. Even some of the Tories turned up and we weren’t going to let the presence of a few of them distract ¬†us, but we were disappointed that none ¬†committed to a new clean air act, unlike Labour the Lib Dems and the Greens.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/lets-clear-some-air-rap-23-meeting-part-2/
On May 20th, one of our THINKers received a copy of our ¬†(at the time) Tory MP Victoria ¬† Borwick’s election leaflet. We were both astonished and amused at the claims made ¬†in this and thought we’d just point out a few things about Lady Borwick’s voting record to set things straight…..,,

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/victoria-borwick-mp-and-the-half-baked-truth/

And we weren’t going to forget ¬†this ¬†on the ivory trade either…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/because-voters-never-forget/

Then it was time to pay a visit Nextdoor to see what other local residents were saying:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/funny-goings-on-nextdoor/

Then sad news and the closure of our beloved local pub the KPH. (We have recently heard the news that it might reopen as a different venue and not at least end up as flats, but of course it won’t be the same):

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/the-kph-end-of-an-era/

JUNE:

Hustings at St Johns Church in Notting Hill. Emma Dent Coad was outstanding (as always)  while Victoria Borwick got  booed  jeered and heckled Рwhich even took THINK by surprise:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/kensington-constituency-sees-red/

The last round of hustings at St Cuthberts in Earl’s Court. ¬†After the ¬†difficult time ¬†she had at the last hustings, Victoria Borwick did not even bother to ¬†turn up, along with most of the Tories, leaving only Cllr Malcolm Spalding to defend them (which he made a bit of a mess of). Emma Dent Coad was outstanding again:

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

This was it, the amazing election result with Emma Dent Coad being elected at our Labour MP for Kensington after a hard fought and amazing campaign. It was a real victory for  people power locally in North Kensington and a real show for positive social change as many from all around the constituency backed Emma and the Labour Party.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/emma-dent-coad-is-our-mp-for-kensington-constituency-a-victory-for-the-people/

Then four days after,  complete devastation in the shape of the Grenfell Tower fire. Our community will  always have this horrific tragedy and  loss in our hearts and we posted this:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/grenfell-tower-fire/

Of course many in our community knew just where some of where the blame over the refurbishment of the Tower did indeed stand, and we pointed to RBKC’s then Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property, Rock Feilding-Mellen:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/from-a-rock-to-a-hard-place/

Also RBKC’s Leader (at the time), Nick Paget-Brown:

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

The “consultation” for Wornington College was due to be held and THINK believe strongly in keeping our community college in North Kensington. We encouraged many others to join us there:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/save-wornington-college-kcc-consultation-event-today/

JULY:

RBKC then cabinet member for Finance and strategy, Warwick Lightfoot was another senior councillor who we also blamed over Grenfell Tower and this council’s failure and we had this to say :

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

A change of leadership at RBKC in Elizabeth Campbell, ¬†but THINK were very far from impressed with her record…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/dizzy-lizzy-and-the-town-hall-of-shame/

A return  visit to Nextdoor and no surprise to see that the majority of  local opinion was still overwhelmingly against  the RBKC Tories:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/dizzy-lizzy-and-the-town-hall-of-shame-2/

Our coverage of the Wornington College consultation meeting. Again, locals were not short of things to say and there was a large turnout of people all in  support of keeping  our College here in North Kensington

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/save-wornington-college-a-community-speaks-out/

THINK was at the first full council meeting at the Town Hall after Grenfell. This was a very distressing meeting on so many levels – both on hearing the experiences of survivors and bereaved and shockingly, RBKC’s “security” measures, which led to survivors and families being further traumatised after being locked in a fire exit at the Town Hall.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/a-caring-community-under-a-callous-council/

At the same meeting, three incredible  local campaigners and friends of THINK, Edward Daffarn (Grenfell Action Group), Eve Wedderburn (Friends of North Kensington Library) and Piers Thompson (Save our Silchester) spoke at the meeting РEve and Piers presenting their petitions and Eddie, a survivor from Grenfell Tower who had warned the council previously about the fire risks telling the council a few home truths.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/thank-grenfell-action-group-friends-of-north-kensington-library-and-save-our-silchester-they-are-north-kensington/

More new faces in the RBKC cabinet and THINK decided to  take a look at Kim Taylor-Smith :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/kim-dizzy-lizzy-the-tory-kitchen-cabinet-hang-on-to-power/

Then we were at a meeting at Notting Hill Methodist  Church about the Grenfell response ( a response which many found  less than helpful):

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/grenfell-and-a-community-in-pain/

Sadly, disasters can also attract  persons with less than honourable intentions  and the activities of one former Labour councillor (no longer in the Labour Party) raised many suspicions in the community:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/not-so-sweet-charity/

AUGUST:

A break from North Kensington as we ¬†headed for Earl’s Court and reported on the Save Earl’s Court campaigners and their brilliant and visionary ¬†alternative plans to the ¬†(disastrous) ¬†masterplan. Their initiative ¬†and forward thinking approach is an inspiration ¬†to all:

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

Unfortunately not everyone supports the Save Earl’s ¬†Court campaign – ¬†the Tories supported the “disasterplan” as we call it ¬†and THINK believe that ¬†they are truly out of touch and their days are numbered. Here’s ¬†a post on Earl’s Court Tory Cllr Malcolm Spalding:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/cllr-malcolm-spalding-bananaman-and-the-disasterplan/

Back home to North Kensington and a personal opinion from one of our THINKers:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/north-kensington-the-local-community-and-the-rotten-borough-a-personal-account-from-one-of-our-thinkers/

And more on the RBKC Tories (insert your rubbish poultry puns here!) , plus the launch of our art competition (we needed cheering up!)

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/rbkc-tories-chickens-turkeys-and-ducks/

Our art competition launched here. Judging this made a pleasant and positive change from writing about our issues with RBKC most of the time! Thank you to all who entered:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/your-north-kensington-art-competition/

Some you win and some you lose. Sadly, Notting Hill Police Station will be no more. Here is a post back from when we campaigned to save it.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/save-our-local-notting-hill-police-station/

Next, RBKC Tory Cllr Catherine Faulks after her excruciating interview on Radio 4 came under the THINK spotlight:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/cllr-catherine-lady-false-faulks-the-shaming-of-the-shrew/

It really was the “Summer of our discontent” – cue an angry and frustrated post…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/grenfell-the-rotten-borough-and-the-terrible-mismanagement-organisation-now-is-the-summer-of-our-discontent/

Then some good news from the Silchester Estate (which had been under threat of  regeneration) :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/silchester-grenfell-the-tmo-and-rbkc-good-news-at-for-some-at-last-but-we-have-reservations/

Notting Hill Carnival was a quieter event this time around (for obvious reasons)  but many turned up wearing green (for Grenfell Рthe idea was thought up by some local schoolchildren ), with love and respect for our community and to just simply have a good time.  We shared some pictures:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/notting-hill-carnival-goes-green-for-grenfellūüíö/

Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer frequently gets into silly  arguments with North Kensington residents and appears to be something of an  embarrassment  to many of his colleagues. Here he goes flying off the handle with some locals on Nextdoor again:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/chicken-run-matthew-palmer-gets-in-a-flap-again/

SEPTEMBER:

Cllr Palmer may be something of a liability for the Tories, but he is a gift that keeps on giving to bloggers!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/too-much-time-on-your-hands-cllr-chicken-run-matthew-palmer/

With the TMO in complete disarray, frustrations in our community about the situation  and the  management structure were all too evident :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/rbkc-and-tmo-a-travesty-of-local-representation/

The murky world of property PR firms and the involvement of senior RBKC councillors with them came under our gaze

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/a-rocky-road-well-travelled-and-a-terrapin-in-the-tank/

THINK are big supporters of Notting Hill Carnival and were disappointed to see some trying to discredit this wonderful event. Unsurprisingly, many were Tories and their connections who had their own motives and some were even posting on social media using aliases:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/think-say-dont-stop-our-carnival/

This post on Notting Dale Labour Cllr Beinazir Lasharie ¬†accepting the position of Deputy Mayor was one of our most controversial. We are actually ¬†pleased to say that this is one time when we didn’t get things right and we ¬†have since thanked Beinazir herself for answering our concerns directly:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/a-new-deputy-mayor-bad-decision-beinazir/

This post of ours on  Rotten Borough Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan was one of our most popular and was also posted on famous RBKC local blog From The Hornets Nest:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/cllr-daniel-moylan-smoke-and-mirrors/

The management of KCC (Kensington and Chelsea College) appeared to be less than honest with their claims over the Wornington Road site. They more than fully deserved to win our first ever “Piglet-Pie Award”

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/kcc-board-take-our-first-ever-piglet-pie-award/

For those who weren’t in the know, here was some of the ¬†background story of Wornington College and why it is so important to our community:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/save-wornington-college-the-campaign-goes-on/

We had more to say about disgraced RBKC former Deputy Leader Rock Feilding -Mellen here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/little-lord-rock-weilding-felon-about-to-pack-his-bags/

Some senior council officers at RBKC have had  key roles in the disastrous policies of this council. Here is one we took a good look at:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/the-elusive-laura-johnson/

A happy ending for North Kensington Library and some much-needed good news for our community. A huge thank you from us to Friends of North Kensington Library and all their supporters for this. This one of our  personal favourite posts and is our most popular and best received   post to date with nearly 60,000 people reading this  one post alone!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/north-kensington-library-happily-ever-after/

Time up for the TMO or confusion as to what would replace it?

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/time-up-for-the-tmo/

And more on messrs Paget-Brown and Feilding-Mellen (again!)

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/rotten-borough-of-kensington-and-chelsea-what-were-you-thinking-or-taking/

RBKC Leader Elizabeth ¬†“Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell did not turn up to the Grenfell vigil but preferred to stand less than a minute down the road in front of the media. She took off when local residents and families confronted her about both this and their frustration and anger that so few Grenfell survivors had been offered permanent homes:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/dizzy-lizzy-pretends-to-be-busy/

THINK’s well-deserved “Your North Kensington” Art Competition winner Karimah Bint Dawoud announced here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/karimah-bint-dawoud-your-north-kensington-art-competition-winner/

And her profile here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/profile-thinks-your-north-kensington-art-competition-winner-karimah-bint-dawoud/

The Save Wornington College campaign made clear their demands to KCC management and they had the support of the vast majority of the community:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/wornington-our-college-our-future/

OCTOBER:

Another council meeting at the Town Hall, a statement from THINK  in reply  to our earlier post about Beinazir Lasharie as Deputy Mayor  and  yet more distressing accounts  from some members of our local community affected by Grenfell

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/grenfell-locals-at-the-town-hall-the-community-speak/

Then   another encounter with Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/cllr-chicken-run-matthew-palmer-gets-his-priorities-right/

The Wornington College consultation meeting was packed with local residents unanimously against the proposed KCC/EHWLC College merger and the closure of the Wornington Road site. Both KCC management and the RBKC Deputy Leader received a rough ride……

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/a-community-comes-together-in-our-battle-to-save-wornington-college/

Confusion  and anger reigned over the terms of the proposed TMO vote:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/rbkc-and-tmo-adding-insult-to-injury-with-confusion-reigning/

And more on the vote here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/rbkc-tmo-vote-electoral-mass-suicide/

Then another post on former councillor Marianne Alapini ¬†and ¬†her dubious claims for ¬† “charity” money

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/marianne-alapini-the-vulture-returns-to-a-new-low-at-grenfell/

An open letter from the Save Wornington College campaign:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/save-wornington-college-campaign-an-open-letter/

Our local MP Emma Dent Coad also supported the campaaign to save Wornington College. Here is her open letter:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/our-local-mp-emma-dent-coad-speaks-up-about-wornington-college/

More on the Save Wornington College campaign and some exclusive footage of the demonstration outside:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/spread-the-knowledge-save-our-college/

” Managed decline” of properties is a familiar term in RBKC, but we didn’t expect to see this at Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/rock-gets-the-builders-in-after-his-house-falls-into-managed-decline-what-will-the-neighbours-say/

More about the TMO vote in relation to Grenfell

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/grenfell-and-why-the-tmo-have-to-remain-in-place-for-the-timebeing-anyway/

Possible social cleansing plans to do with what is left of the TMO? We took a look at Tower Hamlets….

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/the-rotten-borough-and-their-possible-rotten-plans-for-our-social-housing/

TMO vote: Judgement Day:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/judgement-day-for-the-tmo-grenfell-and-the-fate-of-our-social-housing/

Residents voted to adjourn the TMO AGM:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/tmo-agm-adjourned-for-now-lets-get-the-commissioners-in/

A link to our petition to get commissioners in to sort out our disgrace of a council:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/sign-our-petition-to-theresa-may-to-get-commissioners-in-to-sort-out-our-rotten-borough/

Notting Hill Housing was once a  wonderful housing provider  with charitable aims. THINK examined just how far it has strayed from its roots:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/notting-hill-housing-where-has-the-trust-gone/

The proposed merger between Notting Hill Housing and Genesis and the fight by residents  to  save these associations for social and truly affordable housing

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/notting-hill-housing-and-genesis-residents-say-no-to-the-merger/

Nick Paget-Brown announces he is to quit RBKC but doesn’t have the decency ¬†to immediately resign ¬†from his seat:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/nick-piglet-pie-heads-for-the-exit-but-keeps-a-foot-in-the-door/

Sometimes dogs know best. Here is one whose canine insticts about the Rotten Borough are spot on…..

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

A warning to lazy journalists and plagiarists: Quote and put a link to your sources!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/blog-posts-and-then-some-ruby-lott-lavigna-named-and-shamed/

Part 1 of our Halloween special and the very horrors that lurk in the mindset of Notting Hill Housing’s chief executive Kate Davies:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/ūüéÉthink-halloween-specialūüéÉ-part-1-notting-hill-housings-kate-davies-the-wicked-witch-of-the-west/

Part 2 of our Halloween special and a flying visit to Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house down the road – don’t have nightmares….

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/ūüéÉthink-halloween-specialūüéÉ-part-2-outside-rocks-house-of-horrors/

NOVEMBER:

Big figures for our blog; so many thanks to the local community who keeps us going!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/think-are-officially-big-cats-of-the-kensington-jungle/

Labour’s Judith Blakeman takes the RBKC Tories to task over the Maxilla Family Centre:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/judith-blakeman-takes-on-the-heartless-rotten-borough-tories/

The poster  for  and more information on the campaign to Save Wornington College and keep locally provided further education and opportunities here Рthanks to all who turned out for the demonstration!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/wanted-save-wornington-college-halt-the-merger-demo-your-local-community-college-needs-you/

The KCC management and our council may not care about further education in the area – but clearly many locals do!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/save-wornington-college-a-community-shows-their-support/

And KCC management treat their staff disgracefully  too:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/wornington-college-signing-or-resigning/

Our Tory ¬†leader of RBKC, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell, ¬†has moved away from being a local embarrassment ¬†and has become a national disgrace. More on the appalling so-called “Grenfell Response” :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/grenfell-response-clueless-dizzy-lizzy-tries-to-get-by-on-a-wing-and-a-prayer/

And some other members of the Tory RBKC cabinet are both a local and national embarrassment too…….

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/dinosaur-dave-and-the-rotten-borough-tories-that-time-forgot/

Other leadership plans afoot within the RBKC Tories? It was time to have a say about this:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/daniel-moylan-and-julie-mills-the-axeman-and-the-henchwoman/

It is also extremely important that our council doesn’t forget about housing ¬†and providing support for the elderly and vulnerable already in need before Grenfell:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/care-in-our-community-or-lack-of-over-to-you-rbkc/

The Tories’ Shaun Bailey and the smear campaign against our Labour MP Emma Dent Coad – it was time to set the record straight:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/shaun-bailey-not-a-man-of-the-people/

And more on our MP Emma Dent Coad, against the disgraceful Tory detractors ¬†who aren’t exactly in a position to try and discredit her and the ¬†honest views of some of the locals who know her best :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/in-support-of-our-mp-emma-dent-coad/

Out belated Thanksgiving special and rumours  afloat that Tory Cllr Julie Mills (Norland) who is also local Conservative chair,  is about to quit North Kensington for a safer seat in Chelsea:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/belated-thanksgiving-post-thanksgiving-and-misgivings-is-cllr-julie-mills-doing-a-turkey-runfrom-norland/

More about RBKC Tory David Lindsay, his questionable views and some Grenfell protestors paying his North Kensington home a visit:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/grenfell-protestors-pay-dinosaur-dave-lindsay-a-visit/

DECEMBER:

“Jailhouse Rock” Feilding-Mellen may run but he can’t hide…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/jailhouse-rock-feilding-mellen-a-man-on-the-run/

Fairness and equality  regarding the treatment of all TMO tenants and leaseholders? Why no!

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/rbkc-and-tmo-all-animals-are-equal-but-some-animals-are-more-equal-than-others/

Chair of Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Tories Cllr Julie Mills was appearing to axe Tory councillors who didn’t support Daniel Moylan and his bid for leadership:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/julie-mills-and-daniel-moylan-another-fine-mess/

And here  again is  Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan, social cleanser, former cabinet member and former Deputy leader of TFL, treating our community with utter disrespect by falling asleep in the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/daniel-moylan-asleep-on-the-job/

Our reflections on Grenfell and the local community nearly six months on:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/grenfell-and-the-local-community-nearly-six-months-on/

Proposals to merge Kensington and Chelsea as one constituency and give our Labour seat to the Tories and replace our Labour MP with Tory Greg Hands? It was time we took a further look at Mr Hands…..

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/greg-hands-off-our-carnival-and-our-constituency/

Yet another sleepy Tory councillor at the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee. We only let Catherine Faulks off of ¬†any calls to resign (unlike ¬†Daniel Moylan) ¬†because she didn’t actually fall into a full-blown slumber at the meeting:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/not-only-daniel-moylan-but-catherine-faulks-also-appears-to-be-falling-asleep-in-the-job/

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry and its lack of involvement and relevance to our community: Please sign the petition:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/the-grenfell-tower-inquiry-needs-to-take-full-account-of-our-community-please-sign-the-petition/

Daniel Moylan resigns! Surely not anything to do with our blog post featuring him sleeping in the Grenfell recovery scrutiny committee? Julie Mills means business

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/the-tory-chansaw-massacre/

Sign the petition to Save Wornington College and the latest press release from the campaign:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/save-wornington-college-camapign-press-release-and-petition-to-stop-the-merger/

Grenfell and a personal account from one member of THINK:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/grenfell-six-months-on-a-personal-account-from-one-of-our-thinkers/

Grenfell Silent Walk  six months on- an appeal to all to join and support us

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/grenfell-six-months-on-silent-march-tonight-please-join-us/

Our thanks to everyone who joined and supported the Silent Walk :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/grenfell-six-months-on-yesterdays-silent-walk/

RBKC’s in-house local newspaper hides ¬†coverage of Grenfell away ¬†back ¬†on page 7:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/the-rotten-borough-and-their-attitude-towards-grenfell-you-would-think-it-never-had-happened/

Tory Ben Goldsmith thought he would have a party opposite Grenfell Tower and  not only disrespect the Silent Walk, but also tried to smear our  North Kensington community:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/ben-goldsmith-and-his-party-friends-in-low-places/

A temporary reprieve granted for Wornington College for now. The vote on the proposed merger called off for the timebeing:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/wornington-college-a-temporary-reprieve-for-now/

And finally,  our  blog  was   banned from RBKC computers and wifi :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/think-censored-by-the-rotten-borough/

2017 was a year of  devastation  grief and trauma, but also a year of change  when all the many severe concerns raised  by  residents over many years came to the national forefront. .

We hope this year will bring truth, justice, answers and real community representation for North Kensington on our council  that has been severely lacking in the past.  There are still many issues, in particular to do with housing  and also local amenities in our area.We thank all our local friends and campaigners  who have worked so hard to bring about the positive changes, such as Emma Dent Coad elected as our MP, the Silchester Estate regeneration cancelled and North Kensington Library saved. We still have a lot of work to do and will continue to report on the issues and do everything we can.

:

North Kensington, Grenfell and the Tory Grinchmas

Pictured above is our Christmas “Grinch” mock-up picture of¬†¬†leader of RBKC, Elizabeth ¬†“Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell. Sadly, Dizzy Lizzy gave many in our community nothing ¬†to be amused about at Christmas.

As regular readers will know, Dizzy Lizzy is one of the senior councillors at Kensington and Chelsea who we believe to be partly responsible for the system of failure althat brought about the Grenfell Tower fire.

Back when the KAA school was built, Dizzy Lizzy reacted to ¬†fire warnings about the school being built in that particular location where fire exits were located ¬†from Edward Daffarn of the Grenfell Action Group by ignoring his concerns and dismissively rolling her eyes at him. We now know that the building of the school in that particular location limited the Fire Brigade’s access to Grenfell Tower.

The objections raised by residents  at the time were  not in  fact opposition to a school Рmany local schoolchildren were faced with having to be bussed out to schools outside the borough before; but the previous  Conservative administration  at RBKC (which Elizabeth Campbell was part of) had sold off the previous local  school building to Virgin and is now a private gym.

Last month, Dizzy Lizzy appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire television programme on the BBC for an interview and didn’t exactly cover herself in glory. Many of the Grenfell survivors did in fact, have to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation.

When Cllr Campbell was asked “what do you say to those households who are upset, frustrated and angry that they are still in a hotel?”she merely ¬†replied “I would say talk to your key worker, especially if you have children ” and then disgracefully, “is that the right place to have children?” We think at least ¬† an apology would have ¬†appeared slightly more genuine…….

THINK say to Dizzy Lizzy that your council and its policies played a very large part in ¬†this disaster, it is good to hear that the council is now buying properties to accommodate survivors in now, but we say you should have been doing this from the start. And do not even get us started with your despicable attempt to blame survivors because of this council’s less than adequate response.

Dizzy Lizzy came  across  in that interview as impatient with survivors for not taking up temporary rental accommodation places Рoutrageous.

She did at one point admit that “it’s our responsibility to make sure there is a sufficient amount of permanent accommodation available ” – well she got that bit right at least. To which Victoria Derbyshire replied : “and you haven’t done that”.

Some of survivors are not always  being offered like for like tenancies and we also know that some are not always taking up temporary rented accommodation places as many fear (rightly in our view), being socially cleansed from the borough.

Also, many survivors have been made offers of permanent accommodation only for the council to withdraw the offers. Not exactly much of a Christmas present  to do that to someone already deeply traumatised is it Dizzy Lizzy?

THINK say that the best thing that  this hopeless so-called leader of our council could ever do for North Kensington and the  Grenfell survivors  and the bereaved, would be to resign.

Of course it isn’t just the council who have failed our community on continuous occasions. The Conservative Goverment has made deep cuts to the Fire Service and many deregulations ¬†to ¬†house building – which is also where we put some of the blame. See this article by Diane Abbott, shadow Home Secretary in The Independent here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.independent.co.uk/voices/grenfell-tower-fire-inquiry-government-failure-broken-promises-sprinklers-social-housing-a7946086.html%3famp

Many in and around our community have lost confidence in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry ¬†– the issue of social cleansing from our neighbourhood and many surrounding areas in West and Central London is highly important – and ¬†retired Judge Martin Moore-Bick, who was appointed to head the inquiry had previous “form” ¬†at the court of appeal for ruling that neighbouring Westminster council were allowed to move a severely ill mother of five 40 miles away to Milton Keynes on the grounds of the government-imposed housing benefit cap.

He also further added that it was “not necessary” for Westminster council to give a detailed explanation as to what other accommodation was available.

Fortunately, Judge Moore-Bick’s ruling was overturned at the Supreme Court the following year in 2015.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, with respect, ¬†is a very experienced judge; but his background is in contract law and most of us who live here believe this to be a criminal case – after all, at least 71 residents needlessly lost their lives – if that isn’t grounds for a thorough ¬†criminal investigation and case, we don’t know what is.

One appointment  that has been brought to public  attention by Matt Wrack, chair of the Fire Brigades Union, is the appointment  of Steve McGuirk to the panel. Mr Mc Guirk  previously presided over deregulation and cuts to the Greater Manchester Fire service.  See this in the Independent here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-inquiry-expert-stephen-mcguirk-cuts-deregulation-fire-brigade-union-deaths-tower-a8105841.html%3famp

Another objection we have to the inquiry are as to why the inquiry team is not culturally diverse – unlike many locals here. For an unknown person to this community, let it be known that so many people from various diverse backgrounds so many residents in the local area have constantly being ignored and even suppressed by the council and also by the Government which does have the power to put this Borough into special measures (which we believe are needed).

Survivors and bereaved from Grenfell speaks submitted this petition to call on the Prime  Minister to take action build public trust  in this inquiry, which is  increasingly looking just about as relevant as our out of touch disgrace of a local authority. We urge everyone to sign and share:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722

Theresa May had in her Christmas message, ¬†“paid tribute” to the emergency services ¬†stating that “the heroes in our emergency services whose courage and determination so inspired the nation in response to Grenfell Tower ” (Yes, unlike her Government and our disgraced ¬†Tory once “flagship” of a council that she continues to prop afloat, at many real costs to residents.

But ¬†what was Theresa May’s ¬† actual Christmas message to our community ? On the 22nd of December, she refused the petition. This left Grenfell survivors and bereaved with only 14 working days to appeal – all but impossible on that date.

Of course she has also refused to appoint additional panel members so the first stage of the inquiry could be completed “as quickly as possible” is it any wonder why so many are now calling the inquiry a “cover up”? She, in our view handed our community a rotten “Christmas present” that not only did not take into account views of survivors and the bereaved, ¬†but has yet again, left residents of North Kensington fighting against an unwanted tide of Upper Class outsiders, whose only interest in our area, appears to be asset and property-based.

Further thoughts tfrom the Grenfell Action Group here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/further-thoughts-on-the-grenfell-inquiry-panel/

And also their post on Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on ¬†fire deregulations here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/hackitt-report-slams-building-regulations/.

And further concerns from our local MP Emma Dent Coad and fellow Labour MP Clive Lewis regarding the disgraceful fact that auditors KPMG have been appointed to the Grenfell Inquiry too. Yes they also audit RBKC and Celotex, the firm that produced the flammable cladding on the Tower. Conflict of interests or what?

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/07/theresa-may-urged-to-drop-auditors-kpmg-from-grenfell-inquiry

Is anyone surprised the inquiry has lost the very little confidence from our community that anyone had in the first place?

This is an anguished time still for us in North Kensington, but THINK would like to say a huge thank you to all who volunteered and donated to Christmas For Grenfell, which did help to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer to many and we would  especially like to thank all our readers who donated to such  wonderful cause.

We have a community who make us feel proud, but feel utterly let down by both our council and this Government. We ask all the wonderful people who care about our community to please sign and share this petition to get over 100,000 signatures and get the matter debated in parliament and help restore some confidence in  our community and bring some hope  and hopefully justice for Grenfell this year.

Unaccountable Policing around the shadow of Grenfell Tower

Here, pictured above are the not-so-secret society that several of our Conservative councillors are members of.

THINK do not have anything against members’ clubs or societies, but we do question why the policing of Grenfell Tower and the surrounding area is under control of the mysterious “Grenfell Command” and not under Notting Dale Ward.

Why should the governance and management and general accountability (or lack of) to the public not only go on, but in fact worsen in an already very fractured local community ?

There have been some  recent discoveries of Freemason regalia around the vicinity of the Maxilla space area. This is outside the  blocked off grounds of Grenfell Tower and is a public space. We question why therefore, it is not Policed by the local Notting Dale Ward officers and by unknown officers from elsewhere?

All a community asks for is that their Police and local governance is open to scrutiny and while the matter of investigation into Grenfell Tower is sensitive and has to be treated with confidentiality, our local community ¬†is being denied ¬†direct accountability. Who are these mysterious “Grenfell Response” officers? Why ¬†have there not even ¬†been a mention of a name of ¬†at least one of them?

We have the utmost respect for our Notting Police  Ward officers, particularly Steve Curtis and John Turner, who know many in the local community and do an outstanding job.

But THINK believe that conducting other Police duties in absolute secrecy only further undermines our local community and in fact  causes division and undermines  the Police themselves.

Further closures of our Police stations – yes Notting Hill Police Station ¬†will close – ¬†and cuts will only put fewer ¬† and ¬†less experienced officers from other areas in charge and completely undermines community Policing and our confidence, particularly important for us ¬†in North Kensington, ¬†in the authorities in general…..,