THINK have some good news and congratulations but have to take some in the mediaÔĽŅ to taskÔĽŅ……

Congratulations to  rapper Stormzy (pictured above), who won two Brit Awards  Рbest male solo artist and best album last week.   He then made an  superb freestyle performance in  which he laid into  Theresa May over Grenfell.

Watch it here:

We also have news of another fantastic achievement , Stormzy also encouraged his followers on Twitter to sign and share the petition to the Prime Minister to build public trust in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The petition now has over 100,000 signatures and will now be considered for debating in Parliament

We ask all who have not yet signed to do so here:

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

Three bereaved members of our community – Adel Chaoui, Karim Mussilhy and Sandra Ruiz, ¬†who started the petition, issued a joint statement: ¬†“this week the public have shown they’ve not forgotten about Grenfell. Just as in the immediate aftermath of the fire, when local and national Government response was lacking – they’ve backed us again – and demanded that the voices of the survivors and bereaved are heard”
But two articles appeared in the press over the weekend to cause much anger in our community. One, ¬†from Amanda Platell appeared ¬†in the Daily Mail on Saturday. In the article, Ms Platell wrote ¬†that Stormzy should show a “scintilla of gratitude to the country ¬† that offered his Mother and him so much instead of trashing it”

Oh dear, so some expect Stormzy and others who have become successful  to go away and remain silent on Grenfell? That their success is because of and not in spite of, this country and Government? Because  this is the tone that the article appears to have taken.

Well we at THINK believe that under this Government and the previous coalition Government, that living standards have fallen and many of the poorest and most vulnerable are the people who have suffered the most because of their  heartless policies and the drastic cuts they have made.

We certainly wouldn’t ever give them any credit for Stormzy’s natural talent and sheer hard work!

We as North Kensington locals who lost friends and neighbours in the fire, have more than a “scintilla of gratitude” ¬†not only to Stormzy ¬†and some other well known celebrities such as Lily Allen and Adele, who have supported our community, shared this petition ¬†and spoken up in support for many survivors and bereaved around Grenfell, but also many in our community who have been directly affected and yet still campaign for justice for Grenfell and for better treatment for our community.

Maybe Ms Platell can write about our council and our Government who appear to want to forget ¬†Grenfell and all affected? (Or perhaps not) ¬†Anyway, we believe that the only award that Ms Platell could ever possibly win would be a”Queuing up behind Katie Hopkins ¬†rent-a-quote look how controversial ¬†I can be s*** stirrer award” – but there isn’t one so we won’t bother wasting any more time on her……

We have seen some excellent ¬†coverage in the media on Grenfell and some in our local community particularly from Channel 4 News, The Guardian and even The Times, and from James O’Brien ¬†on LBC, but sadly of course, we have also seen some truly shameful articles ¬†in the press too.

Take the singling out of the resident of Grenfell Tower with the alleged faulty fridge  for example. He was named, blamed and pictured in various newspapers  without any real evidence that either him or his fridge was to blame for the fire.

We know that it is important to report far and wide of many possibilities over the fire, but is ¬†stating “man whose faulty fridge started ¬†Grenfell Tower ¬†inferno” really an accurately reporting ¬†of the facts?

We know that before the fire, that residents  of Grenfell Tower were subject to a number of power surges there, and  if the fridge really had been the source of the blaze (we, in our opinion would beg to differ)  who ever heard of an individual who innocently purchased an alleged faulty appliance to be to blame for a supposed fault of the manufacturer anyway?

We decided to look at the NUJ code of conduct:

Principle number 2: “Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed. accurate and fair.”

And this: Principle number 3: “”Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies”

Perhaps some who have rushed to point the finger of blame at  this former resident of Grenfell Tower would like to offer him an apology?

Not forgetting this: Principle number 4: “Differentiates between fact and opinion”

Well it is our opinion that some in the media should not be portraying ¬†theories as facts…..

The other article that upset many locals here was a piece  in the Sunday Times  by Gabriel Pogrund  which made allegations about local campaigner, Lancaster West resident and friend of THINK, Joe Delaney.

The article, ¬†headed ” “Homeless” Grenfell Tower activist has flat” , alleges that Joe is staying in his flat and not his hotel while claiming to stay in his hotel to claim ¬†food ¬†allowances (which he would not receive if back living in his flat) . It is claimed in the article that Joe has been photographed a few times leaving his flat in the morning.

Now where do we start with this disgrace of a newspaper article? If Gabriel Pogrund had spoken to some of us or had actually attended local meetings here, he would have known that many residents from the walkways cannot live in their flats  as there has been a lack of heating and hot water and also the poor state of the communal areas, not to mention a close up view of Grenfell Tower overlooking their homes.

Residents there have made visits to their residences to retrieve their belongings and collect post,   not to stay there  Рif some would truly  like to know the facts.

If some actually knew Joe, they would also know that he has had to take a few short breaks as he has been doing so much hard work for this community. We support Joe 100% and do not appreciate some trying to do a hatchet job on one of our friends and most dedicated campaigners.

The piece also gives a false impression that residents from there are living in the lap of luxury – well let us state that we know many and they aren’t, but not to let the truth get in the way of a ¬†(not very good) story……

Maybe if Mr  Pogrund  is annoyed that some residents from Grenfell  Tower and the walkways are staying in four star  hotels, he should come and have a look at the  standard temporary  accommodation that RBKC provides for those on the housing list?  Because we have Р they send people to squalid bed and breakfast places, usually infested with mice, rats, cockroaches and bedbugs, where crime, violence and hard drugs are a regular presence.

We wouldn’t expect a stray cat to live in those places, let alone any human being. If Gabriel Pogrund seriously expects the council to be sending ¬†traumatised residents somewhere cheaper, he should say so, because ¬†these places are where the Rotten Borough sends others…….

We accept there are differences of opinion  and believe in freedom of speech, but we do wish that some would some would exercise their freedom of speech more responsibly. It is articles such as these which are provocative to say the least, cause upset to many local residents here, but also encourage  trolls and bullies to pick on already traumatised people online

THINK say to all who campaign for North Kensington, for justice for the victims of Grenfell Tower, for our housing and against the catalogue of injustices that both RBKC  and the Government have dealt our community  Рyou will always have our full support.

Community space for all the community 


Some will have seen our previous blog post  about  Pret A Manger and Notting Hill Prep School on land designated for local community use.

Some reading this will query as to what our suggestions for the use of this space should be

Well here is THINK’s suggestion: quite simply – a community centre. Our local area is in real need of indoor shared community space – we have many community group and activity groups in the area that are in real need of space to use for meetings, and activities such as music, art, social clubs and many other things.

The space on Ladbroke Grove under the Westway is centrally located to our local area and easy for people to travel to. Of course it used to be the Westway Information Centre and serve a purpose as a central community hub, as well as housing both the citizens advice bureau and social services.

We also feel that after Grenfell,  when  so many people in and around are still traumatised, that having a central hub of a community centre with plenty of space for various meeting rooms as well as central space is key to helping people recover.

Some might say “but what about The Curve?”. Well many, including ourselves do not wish do engage with mental health professionals, council professionals or any other official or outside body.

We believe that while mental health and medical professionals may play an important role in the community’s recovery, we could mention, for example, ¬†that some of the local religious groups ¬† do too, but going to a Church or a Mosque ¬†is not necessarily for everyone either.

Out idea is of a  large drop in community centre for everyone in an informal, non-professional and non-clinical setting Рrun by the community for the community.

Yes there are several community centres around the area, but the lack of space in some of these can make meetings of some groups, such as music groups for example, rather hard to organise and coordinate.

We have found that hobbies and activities and social meeting places are helpful to us, and we know that there are so many individuals  and groups with the skills and resources already to take part.

We also believe that any activities at such a centre should be free of charge and easily accessible to all.

There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” treatment and it is not necessarily the best thing for everyone who is suffering from grief and trauma. to have councilling or therapy or be put on a course of medication.

This is no disrespect to the professionals involved, but you cannot force people who however upset they might be, are still clinically sane, to undergo treatment.

We have also heard reports of a small minority of professionals apparently making ¬†mental health reports ¬†and references about people who have only just dropped into The Curve, without their consent. Such behaviour as this ¬†going behind peoples’ backs will only ¬†further fuel the ¬†deep mistrust that exists between many residents and authorities here, causes resentment and ¬†can actually make peoples’ suffering worse.

We doubt that RBKC and the Westway “Trust” will ever listen to us ¬†as they have completely ignored all other ¬†community groups over the course of many years.

It is  high time that  they woke up to the reality of the situation and started listening.

No Pret, no Prep on Community land!

Here is a photo taken from one of the demonstrations outside the new Pret A Manger in Ladbroke Grove. This is where the Westway Information Centre used to be. 

Local residents and friends of our community in North Kensington have been turning up for regular protests outside there.


Now some might say ” what is the problem with Pret A Manger?” The issue is that first of all, this is on land that is meant for the community. When the Westway was built, 23 acres of land underneath it were donated for use by our community, who suffered from the construction of the Westway ¬†and the noise, disruption ¬†and pollution ¬†this brought to our local area.


In addition to the new Pret A Manger the upper floors of the building have been leased to Notting Hill Prep School Рyes the same private school where disgraced former Deputy Leader Rock Feilding-Mellen  had places booked for for his children.


As regular readers of this blog will know, we are not exactly ¬†big fans of the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and we believe that ¬†if their idea ¬†of giving over use of space on our land to corporate ¬†interests running a chain coffee shop and also a fee paying school constitutes ¬† “community use “, this only shows that they have completely lost the plot.

Local campaign group Westway23 campaigns for this land to be used for the purpose it was meant for Рour community.  Over years, both RBKC and the Westway Trust have abused what supposed trust the community had in them by pursuing corporate interests over the community.

THINK stand with Westway23 and say that this land should be put to use to be of benefit to all in North Kensington, not just tourists or a privileged few.


Westway23 have also pointed out the hypocrisy of RBKC who once claimed that North Kensington Library was “inaccessible” , and yet closed the Westway Information Centre and now people needing to use the Citizens Advice Bureau, have to go to a location around the corner ¬†that is only accessible by a steep and narrow set of stairs – therefore unaccesssible for disabled people and small children in buggies.


Our local Kensington Labour MP, Emma Dent Coad (pictured above) ¬†also supports us, has ¬†joined the community outside there ¬†to protest and has spoken out against this council’s ¬†ludicrous ¬† sense of priorities on countless ¬†occasions. Both Emma and Westway23 have THINK’s full support and we say to the council that it time they listened to what the community really needs, instead off flogging off our public land and assets for pure financial gain.

We urge our readers to stand with the North ¬†Kensington and Ladbroke Grove community and to read Westway23’s statement and sign the petition here:

https://westway23.org/former-westway-information-centre-statement.php


We do not want our independent, vibrant, multicultural community turned into a bland soulless place dominated by chain stores and souvenir stores selling tourist tat.

We are also highly concerned about the toxic levels of pollution by the Westway and believe that with the Prep School there, traffic and pollution will likely increase  and prove a further threat to the health and wellbeing of many locals here.


After Grenfell,  the focus of this local authority really ought  to be on all in our local community and particularly  on helping all who have been affected to recover from grief and trauma. It is more important than ever that land intended for  the community should be of benefit to all who live around here, not just a privileged few.

We also believe that having a Pret A Manger located here could pose a real threat to our small independent cafes and coffee shops Рthere are several less than five minutes away-  and we recommend that anyone who pays a visit to our local area pays a visit to one of these instead.


Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee meeting: Lots of good points raised but ends in total chaos and disarray¬†ÔĽŅ

Some THINKers were at the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday. We have mentioned here before about how sceptical we are about this Committee as have no confidence in the council and do not think they should be scrutinising themselves. Anyway, we decided to go along and give it a chance.

When we got there, we were glad to see the panel (us and them) format gone and surprised to see various local residents and volunteers split into groups. And then, no we are not making this up, we learnt that we would be having a meeting about how to have a meeting!

If the issues around Grenfell weren’t so serious, we would think this had come straight out of Monty Python or something. Anyway, we got into our different groups and gave our input into things the council should or shouldn’t be doing.
Anyway, it was over to Labour Cllr Robert Thompson who was chairing the committee:

The question put to residents:”What would make the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee more effective for residents going forward?”

Many had listed various points and questions in their various groups. Here are just some:

“What does the Scrutiny do?”

“Make it clear what does the standing panel do?”

“End culture of impunity at the council”

“Chair should be from a Residents’ Association”

“Stop spending money on consultants”

“Many RBKC officers do not live in North Kensington and do not engage with us, understand or value us”

“Advertise notice of meeting on Estate noticeboards”

“Regulatory standing/status of the community and its’ power to hold people accountable – is there any point? ”

“Housing: Progress reports”

“Engage with residents’ advisory panel”

“The seating arrangements (panel at front, residents at back) need to change”

“Address council tax rises – residents should not have to foot costs over council’s mistakes over Grenfell”

“Accessibility to feedback and meetings in terms of language”

“Community should meet together prior to a committee meeting”

“Minutes to be circulated on time”

“Immigration needs scrutiny – it’s the council’s responsibility to listen to the bereaved and the community”

“Resident input is paramount”

“Lack of information that the community is given”

“Elderly/disabled/children: No services for them in hotels”

“Let survivors and residents speak- stop shutting us down”

“Access to papers should be made to the community in advance”

“The Committee needs more power”

“The leadership of the council should be held to account at these meetings”

“Accountability – code of conduct”

“Bereaved families will ALWAYS be a part of our community”

“Who drew the parameters around meetings?”

“Being filmed without knowing who is filming us”

“Emotional support needs its own forum”

“We should be scrutinising them”

“Meetings must change – feels like a waste of time”

Many were incensed by some alleged offensive comments made by Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan towards someone living in social housing here that were mentioned by one local resident at the meeting and we heard shouts of “shame on you” directed at him.

One woman talked about feeling that these meetings made her think of colonialism and she said this was partly because the format had mainly white upper/upper-middle class Tories were sitting at a panel at the front while the rest of us sat at the back.

One good thing we did spot at this meeting were two Tory councillors who didn’t really have much previous form over Grenfell and issues relating to it, Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke and Cllr James Husband, engaged in positive conversations with members of our community (sadly we could not hear the conversations as we were across the other side of the hall). We were at least pleased to see just a couple of them not treating locals like something on the back of their shoe…..

Then it was pointed out that there were plain clothes undercover Police officers in attendance. Things then kicked off with angry shouting back and forth , residents shouting at one another, some shouting at the Police, some shouting at Robert Thompson, others shouting at Daniel Moylan. It almost ended up with people fighting. The Tories made a quick exit and that was the end of the meeting.

It was also pointed out to us by a senior source at the council that Daniel Moylan had actually insisted upon serving on this very committee. Some may be wondering why – well here’s our answer – we believe that Cllr Moylan wanted to run down the effectiveness and credibility of this committee from the very start.

The ugly scenes at the end, we believe, were part of Moylan and some of his Rotten Borough Tory friends’ plan to alienate many and to portray a friendly but traumatised community as hostile. Which is sadly what anyone watching who wasn’t too familiar with North Kensington and the issues here would be thinking upon watching those scenes.

Most of the ruling Conservatives on this council are completely out of touch with our community and the real issues in it – not simply because they are overwhelmingly white and come from privileged backgrounds – North Kensington has long been a mixed community consisting of many from a variety of backgrounds after all (though we would prefer a mix of councillors that reflects the public who they represent) – but it is because many if them do not make the effort to communicate and engage with people here and some, like Moylan, have wanted to socially cleanse North Kensington from the start and never had any positive intentions to engage with people here in the first place.

There is, in our opinion no point in asking for better communications from people who have no intent on listening to what you have to say, taking your points on board and carrying them out.

There is only one more meeting of the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee before the local elections – we are really struggling to see the point of this.

What we do see some point in is first of all registering or checking to see if you are registered to vote, secondly voting the Rotten Borough Tories out of power at the local elections on the 3rd of May and thirdly being the change and insisting on residents holding a new administration to account.

The deadline for registering is on the 17th of April – we encourage all to make sure they are registered and do this here:

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

In our opinion, the only way people can really bring about some real positive change in this sorry excuse for a local authority is to vote to get rid of those who have played a part in Grenfell and in the turmoil so many of us now find ourselves in.

We know some might go ” I’m not interested in politics” or “it isn’t for me” but that is the point – the issues matter to everyone and should be for everyone – it really isn’t just for boring men in suits. We hope that our blog covering many local issues with a bit of humour helps to go some way towards persuading some of the need to take part.

The only one bit of good news we thought we had heard about the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee is that Daniel Moylan had apparently resigned from it. But we have since heard that this arrogant and allegedly corrupt councillor wishes to stay in his post and defecate all over our community.

So, in keeping with the Punk theme on this post, we will give Cllr Moylan a two-fingered gesture, call for his resignation and leave him with this.

RBKC’s ludicrous definition of an emergency fire exit¬†

Some might remember our New Year post from Hesketh Place and residents being trapped in the building. The door handle to the front door was fortunately replaced, and after the incident, residents there received a visit from the Fire Brigade who looked around the premises and criticised RBKC for not providing residents there with an emergency fire exit.

So what have this sorry joke of a council done about the situation? Well, we can report that over a month on, the council has still not done anything about the situation.

Instead, in what we can only sarcastically describe as a “stroke of genius”, RBKC has put a sticker up in the hallway (pictured above), that points the way to the front door!

This council clearly must think their social housing residents are stupid, because in another “stroke of genius”, they have also rehired exactly the same TMO staff in the same positions!

We wonder just how they ever plan to engage with our community which is recovering after Grenfell, when they make mistakes that not only ensure there is zero trust between residents and housing staff, but also still compromise peoples’ safety?

Actually the Fire Brigade recommended thar a push bar exit door be installed at the rear of the block flats but our council clearly isn’t listening

We say that it is time that those in charge of the Rotten Borough made for the exit……

Could there be good news for Earl’s Court at last?

Pictured above are some Save Earl’s Court campaigners outside Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre back in 2014. Sadly this world famous Exhibition Centre is no more, thanks to the Earl’s Court Masterplan.

The “Disasterplan” (as we call it) has only brought chaos and havoc to the residents and small businesses ¬†of Earl’s. Court ¬†– 77 acres – of which 22 ¬†fall under the jurisdiction of RBKC – have seen a sea change in the change of regime under the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – which turned from Conservative controlled, to Labour at the last local elections .

Stephen Cowan, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) has made moves to take the under threat council estates of West Kensington and Gibbs Green (from the Masterplan)  back under council control. Unsurprisingly, this has caused stirs, not least from Capital and Counties Ltd (the developers) AKA Capco (or Crapco as we call them!)

Crapco of course,  got rid of the world-famous Exhibition Centre and replaced it with  absolutely nothing!

They had no contingency plans or ideas, other than just building luxury flats and chain stores,  and when their plans went ahead,  many residents and small businesses were  hung out to dry and left to suffer.
The Save Earl’s Court Campaigners had came ¬†up with a brave, bold and brilliant initiative to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former Exhibition Centre ¬†which would ¬†make positive change by. resurrecting the fortunes of the area.

We reported upon their inspirational  initiative back in August. We strongly back them and believe in community-led changes that benefit all, rather than developer-led short-sighted changes that only benefit buy to leave investors and  are purely of short-term benefit to the developers and their shareholders.

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

They have started a petition to get this wonderful venue built and to make Earl’s Court a real destination again. We have signed and shared and we recommend that all of our readers do too.

Please sign this inspirational petition to help reinvigorate and revitalise the fortunes of Earl’s Court, and the lives of residents, businesses and London as a whole:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/build-the-world-s-greenest-venue-on-the-site-of-the-earls-court-masterplan-london-1

Kim Taylor-Smith (Tailored-Sloth) made a statement at RBKC’s last council meeting that he does not support this redevelopment ¬†– as he stated the scheme – which would have seen the end of LBHF’s West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates, is “incredibly controversial”

Tailored-Sloth in his objections however, appears to be dependent on bending the ears of those in charge of E.C. (Earl’s Court) Properties Ltd (Parent company Crapco) and hasn’t given any backing to this wonderful petition and a way forward for the area.

He had to make this statement in response to a question put forward by the (always excellent) Lib Dem Cllr for Earl’s Court, Linda Wade who asked ¬†for an update abou the Earl’s ¬†Court Masterplan and also queried the press reports about alleged interests from Saudi Arabia in the plan…..

Cllr Taylor-Smith’s ¬†objections appear to be based upon the former (Tory) administration and the loss of social housing in Hammersmith and Fulham (dare we mention the shortage of social housing in RBKC?!) Let THINK ¬†remind him of ¬†some who were responsible for giving Crapco permission for this idiotic scheme then…..

Step forward former Mayor of London Boris Johnson! But don’t let THINK just rain on his ridiculous clowns’ parade, here is Dave Hill:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2014/dec/15/earls-court-final-curtain-is-sad-reflection-on-boris-johnsons-london

The decisions for this disasterplan were taken in 2012 – who was Deputy Mayor of London back then? Another familiar face – former Kensington Tory MP Victoria Borwick!

Lady Borwick (who actually once worked at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre – so really ought to know better! ) is ¬†someone who is well known to say something very different to the way she votes and the policies she supports as seen here from an old post of ours when she was our MP:

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

Transport for London is of course also responsible for this lunacy, but who was Deputy Leader of TFL until 2012? (And went back to his position in 2016?) :Daniel Moylan – RBKC Tory former cabinet minister, with dubious ¬†offshore ¬†property deals (he has since removed the references, ¬†to which he was daft or arrogant enough to put on his own website!) , meetings with ¬†luxury property PR man Peter Bingle and he is still councillor for Queen’s Gate ¬†(social housing is rather scarce there). Here are a few of our previous posts about Cllr Moylan:

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

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

And his “associations” with Terrapin Communications and Peter Bingle here:

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

Of course our Member of Parliament now, Labour’s Emma Dent Coad, was always opposed to the disasterplan – we are very pleased to see her back the petition and support campaigners on the area (unlike her two Tory predecessors), plus was only one of three councillors on the initial committee who opposed the plans in the first place.

As for some Tories on RBKC ¬†who supported this ridiculous ¬†scheme, (which got rid of the economic generator of a major venue of the Exhibition Centre and ¬†planned to replace social and genuinely affordable housing with buy- to-leave flats for overseas investors), so here’s a few things ¬†from some ¬†who supported it:

Cllr Paul Warrick (Conservative, Stanley Ward): “Redeveloping Earl’s Court to provide much-needed housing and other uses has been our policy for many years. On both sides of the border we hope that the granting of this planning application ¬†will make Earl’s Court a more desirable place to live with less congestion and ¬†more opportunity for work, commerce and leisure”.

Didn’t anyone ever tell him to read the small print?

Here’s Cllr James Husband (Conservative, Abingdon Ward) -“I do not see any difficulties with the ¬†demolition of the Exhibition Centre” ¬†– only that it is the ¬†main source of the area’s economy? And Cllr Husband’s ¬†Abingdon Ward adjoins Earl’s Court Ward – ¬†so he should have really made just a trip up the road to talk to some locals as basic research before making such an ignorant statement.

Of course Rock Feilding-Mellen supported these idiotic plans which basically amounted to doing away with a world – famous venue and replacing it with empty deposit box flats -an empty-minded, vacuous speculator-driven gamble at best…….

As for Crapco, they are in financial trouble Рthey are living proof that it is  in our opinion, time that these arrogant and ignorant property developers  purely driven by the thirst of a quick profit, were stopped  from having the ultimate say in  and influence over who  and what shapes the infrastructure in our city. 

We are pleased that the ¬†Labour administration at Hammersmith and Fulham has seen things differently and clearly has some vision for the area, unlike the last Conservative regime in the borough. THINK are also grateful to Emma Dent Coad for her ¬†continual support for Earl’s Court and her objections to this completely ¬†ridiculous scheme – her knowledge of architecture, infrastructure and the environment is second to none.

We also thank Liberal Democrat councillor ¬†for Earl’s Court, Linda Wade for her backing the Save Earl’s Court campaigners and for standing up for the community there.

It is good to ¬†finally hear after residents and businesses in the area have had to suffer from the noise, nuisance and financial loss caused by this ludicrous plan over some years, ¬† a few¬†positive-sounding noises from the council and ¬†THINK fully ¬†back the Save Earl’s Court campaigners – they have had to deal with so much and yet come up with a wonderful, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way to bring back the music, entertainment and revenue to the area and ¬†we urge everyone to sign the petition – let’s give Earl’s Court the new beginning and positive future that both the ¬†local community there ¬†and London as a whole deserve.¬†

Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee:  Curtains down on the Rotten Borough

Yes, it’s that time again, the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee meets again tonight at 6:30pm at Notting Hill Methodist Church. This is probably set to be yet another debacle and this council are a joke – hence the picture.

The committee is chaired by Labour’s Cllr Robert Thompson (Dalgarno Ward). Recently he has come under ¬†heavy criticism from many in and around our community in his role as chair of the committee.

We at THINK know  Robert and we believe that the format and remits of the committee were placed upon him in his duties in that role. We also accept that he has not been in a similar role before.

However, at previous meetings , we were less than satisfied that local Lancaster West resident and campaigner Joe Delaney (one of only two resident members on the panel) was not given adequate time to speak.

If the committee is serious about community engagement, then they should make it a bigger priority to hear from the community and let Joe and others to have adequate time to have their voices heard.

Many of us in the community have found these meetings frustrating as the format (with a panel of councillors – dominated ¬†by the Rotten Borough Tories) and a “consultation” (yes, that dreaded word again) that alienates many of us.

Local resident Judy Bolton had said “every time we come here we go through further further mental distress. It is too convoluted. How did you come in your consultation to decide who was in the catchment area around Grenfell?”

Before Judy spoke there had been shouting amongst residents as some who were traumatised by the fire did not live in the Tower or walkways Рcue shouting back and forth amid disputes among  residents  over who was local or affected or not.

Well some THINKers live in Notting Dale Ward (the council ward in which Grenfell is situated), but not Grenfell Tower or Lancaster West and one of us lost friends in the fire – which she witnessed from her back garden.

The question of services to traumatised residents goes way beyond those who were living in the direct vicinity of the Tower in our view; we ¬†had put out a post several months back in which one man who had lost two members of his family in the fire pointing out ¬†to Dizzy Lizzy and co at the Town Hall about the council’s poor engagement with the bereaved.

The subject of traumatised children in the community came up too. Labour’s Cllr Judith Blakeman pointing out as she has done at meetings before that we need more children’s services, and local resident Melanie Phelan mentioned the fact that many children not living too ¬† near the Tower will have ¬†also lost classmates at school.

Samia Badani from Angels4Grenfell, (an informal resident-led community engagement initiative – which we are regular visitors to) raised the point of an open letter signed by many in and around he community (including THINK), calling for resident engagement to be co-designed by the community.

Of course it was at this meeting when Michael Clarke, Director of “Communications and Community Engagement” at RBKC admitted to his “mistake” of putting Grenfell all the way back on page 7 of the council newspaper.

The meeting unsurprisingly did end up ¬†in disarray. Cllr Robert Thompson ¬†has written an open letter that we have reprinted below, with regards to using tonight’s meeting to discuss how the meetings can be ¬†structured.

We ¬†at THINK like Robert ¬†personally and will give him a chance and try to be positive in the meeting ¬†– but we have no faith left in this sorry wreck of a ¬†Rotten Tory council. They do not understand or respect our community, they show a top-down approach to community relations which clearly does not work, and they keep making “mistakes”. Let us remind them of all the “mistakes” they made in the run up to Grenfell – it seems some never learn from their mistakes.

Sadly we believe that RBKC will only begin to engage with our community well  when there is a complete change of regime Рthat unfortunately will not come until the third of May. Until then in our view, it is up to our community to  unite together and show the way.

We  strongly believe that a council that caused  Grenfell by way of their actions and inactions should not be scrutinising themselves or their friends. This is an impossible position that not only leaves our community in a mess, but will impact deeply  upon the lives of many vulnerable others in the borough. It is time this was stopped once and for all Рit is time the Rotten Borough Tories were given their marching orders.

Here is Cllr Thompson’s open letter:

“As Chair of the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee I have been heartened by the depth of interest and engagement, at our meetings, from local residents and from those involved in the voluntary, community and faith groups of North Kensington. These contributions have been valuable in allowing Committee members to do their work, to hold the Grenfell Recovery Programme to account and to make it better for those of us affected by it, and I am extremely grateful to all those who‚Äôve taken part to date.

I have also listened carefully to the criticism that the very structure and nature of the meetings has not been conducive to facilitating the widest possible participation and representation from our
local communities. I believe that in order for the Committee to do its work effectively this needs to be addressed. The meeting on 15 February will therefore be a facilitated meeting dedicated solely to giving local people – and the representatives of local voluntary, community and faith groups – the opportunity to consider what kind of meeting might enable the Committee to achieve its aims better in future, and identify topics for priority discussion at the March meeting.

I would like this next meeting to provide the opportunity for us all to learn from one another how these Committee meetings can be improved in order to achieve better outcomes for us all. We want to make sure that the voices from our local communities and our experiences of the Grenfell Recovery Programme are both listened and responded to. This is in order to allow the Programme to fall under the critical eye of those of us most affected by it, and to allow that experience to inform the Programme’s development. The aim of all scrutiny is to make the work of the Council more effective for all of us who live and work in our communities, so I feel we need to discuss together how the work of this Committee can be as effective as possible to make sure:

-Ôā∑ it can be seen as being owned by the communities most affected by the fire;

-Ôā∑ the agenda reflects the concerns of our communities;

-Ôā∑ the constructive input of those most affected by the fire is maximised; and

-Ôā∑ the role of elected councillors and co-opted members of the committee is used to its best effect.

As Chair, I will open the meeting before handing over to an independent facilitator, Graham Elder. Graham has broad experience of helping council meetings run more productively to support local residents, having worked with more than 15 councils. He will encourage discussion in small groups about the kind of meeting that residents, and those involved with our communities, might hope to achieve in future. Towards the end, these groups will feed back to the wider meeting on key points raised in the group discussions ‚Äď all of which will inform what happens at the following meeting on 21 March.

I do hope that as many of our local residents, and those who work in our local community, voluntary and faith groups, will be able to come, to enrich our discussion and help move us forward in a positive and productive way by co-designing the format of future meetings.

I hope to see you on 15 February.

Robert Thompson

Cllr. Robert Thompson
Chair, Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee”

 

Grenfell Silent Walk – ¬† 14th February – Valentine’s ¬†Day from the heart of our community

It is eight months since the Grenfell Tower fire. Our community is still trying to recover but we support each other and are strong together. We need to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and get the Government and local authorities   no  take measures to ensure no  further disasters ever happen again. . We remember the men, women and children from our community and ask that others do too.

It ¬†was Valentine’s Day ¬†and a new route for the Silent Walk from Kensington ¬†Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX
Here below is the new longer route:

Yesterday  a joint Silent Walk was also held in Manchester and  we at THINK thank all who took part in both.

We also thank so many from our community in North Kensington, from all over the country and across the world for your continued  support for our community and together we will campaign in solidarity for truth, justice and safe homes for all. If you can, please  join us on the 14th of  every month.

Sadly many Grenfell survivors and nearby residents are still living in temporary accommodation eight months on and we are left with  very little confidence in the official inquiry into the fire.

We encourage all to  sign and share  the petition to give survivors and bereaved more involvement in the inquiry here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722
We’ll leave you with a few photos taken from yesterday’s Silent Walk to remind ¬†RBKC, the Government ¬†and Judge Martin Moore-Bick among others, ¬†that many people braved the cold and rain to show support and remembrance.

We ask those in charge  to please  have a heart and listen to the very many real concerns and issues over Grenfell raised by residents, families, campaign groups, fire officials, housing campaigners and many more.

No justice, no peace.





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Local Elections: Get registered to get rid!


We at THINK are no fans of the “Rotten Borough” of Kensington and Chelsea and we spend a lot of time going on about them of course; but we cannot emphasise enough to our readers the importance of using your vote in these coming Local Elections.

The Local Elections on the 3rd of May, will be the biggest say that RBKC voters have over who is in charge of our council.

The deadline for ¬†electoral registration is on Tuesday 17th April. ¬†This vote is hugely important for those who live in social housing (both council and housing association provided) as we know that the RBKC Tories have only cancelled regeneration plans ¬†temporarily and should they be re-elected, will likely have regeneration plans in the pipeline with a an emphasis on “affordable” (up to 80% of market rate) – not social housing.

With regards to RBKC’s other “activities”, we believe that the council’s policies and their utter complacency ¬†were part of what caused Grenfell. We have no confidence in their ¬†so-called (inadequate to say the least) “Grenfell Response”,their out of touch attitude to most everyday general issues we face, ¬†plus their habit of flogging off public assets – ¬†such as community land underneath the Westway ¬†– obviously there are more than enough reasons to warrant seeing the back of Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell and co.

We believe that any change of culture in the governance of this council  will not  just come about; all of us who care deeply about our communities  have to make sure it happens.

Your vote will really make a difference so we urge all to register (also to check/amend your details) here:

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

We also encourage all to vote tactically with the aim of getting the Rotten Borough Tories out and warn the disallusioned and the disinterested that sitting on your hands  will only give this Borough more of the same governance  or worse.

We need change at RBKC now more than ever and believe the Tories will likely feel justified to ¬†embark on some major social cleansing ¬†projects if they think they have an electoral mandate to do so…………

Wornington College: Mary and Elaine are bottom of the class

On the left is Mary Curnock Cook, chair of the board of Governors at Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC), on the right is Elaine McMahon is the interim principal there. 

On our previous post we reported that the FE Comissioner Richard Atkins has asked for a new structure and prospects appraisal (process of assessing and interviewing. merger partners) which means for the timebeing at least, the proposed merger with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC)  is off. 

Both Mary Curnock Cook and Elaine McMahon in their roles have tried to push through this merger, knowing full well it would mean closure of the Wornington Road Site and the end of further education provision in North Kensington.

Unsurprisingly, this proposed merger has no support at all in our community and both Mary and Elaine should have recognised that. When we confronted both (separately) after the Governors meeting at the Hortensia Road, Chelsea site, Ms Curnock Cook ridiculously insisted that a  merger which would close our College would  be the only way to save it! We suppose at least she stopped to talk to us, unlike her colleague Ms McMahon, who ignored us and walked off!

Both have been to meetings where students and staff past and present and many others in our community have spoken out against this merger, they have read the open letter from our MP Emma Dent Coad, and they have seen the petition against it which has over 1,500 signatures.
But yet both have turned a blind eye to the very real needs and concerns of our community and  continuously talked about merging with EHWLC  as the only solution for KCC and even though Curnock  Cook admitted there were other options, she point blank refused to openly discuss them  with our community!

We, as locals, know all too well that our  community in North Kensington  is traumatised and  many people will take a long time to recover from Grenfell. Inevitably, the education and careers of many in and around North Kensington will be affected. This is why we believe that now, more than ever, Wornington College is needed as is crucial to our recovery as a community.

Both THINK and the Save Wornington College campaign have pointed this out ¬†several times but still Mary and Elaine don’t get it. Here are just some of the comments posted on the petition against the merger:

“Wornington Coll√®ge has been a central resource for the North Kensington community for decades. Please don‚Äôt destroy this. Already the inspiring fat prospectus has been reduced to a slim document listing just a few courses. Gone are the vibrant days of car mechanics, hairdressing, modern languages, dance and many many other courses. Be inspired by the community, not afraid of them, together we can rebuild this community college to be once more the heart of the community. We need it more than ever. Don‚Äôt make deals behind our backs that you think are the only solution. They‚Äôre not”

“I am a former Student at Wornington. Life changing courses there. Excellent Tutors and facilities. I can not praise Wornington college highly enough to do this great place justice.”

“I attended excellent photography classes here at the right time for me as a convalescing adult. Precious local facility”

“It is simply outrageous that a site in use for education for 140 years should be lost purely for short term financial gain.”

“My daughter attends this college. It‚Äôs location, she can walk there, and inclusive ethos enabled her to return to education. Having to travel to Ealing would have proved a insurmountable hurdle”

“I wouldn‚Äôt have been able to study for a B.Sc if I hadn‚Äôt done an Access Course at Wornington. Should be available to all locals”

“KCC college is stonewalling the community. Is this the behaviour we should tolerate post #Grenfell?”

We believe that Mary Curnock Cook and Elaine McMahon need to go now and we urge all our readers who care deeply about our College and out community to email the Governors of KCC and join THINK and the Save Wornington College campaign in our call for the resignations of both:

David Adams <david@dhadams.co.uk>;

Peter Hay

<peter1hay@aol.com>;

Ian Valvona <ian.valvona@education.gov.uk>;

Suzanna Rennie <suzanna.rennie@gmail.com>;

Tom Woolf

<tom@edaid.com>;

Alison McArthur <alisonmcarthur@aol.com>;

Mary Curnock Cook <mary@curnockcook.com>;

Hawra Mohamed

<Hawra.0302@hotmail.com>;

Julio Ducollari <julioducollari@hotmail.co.uk>;

Jon Allen

<jonallen777@me.com>

Elaine McMahon <e.mcmahon@kcc.ac.uk>

Michael Doolan <m.doolan@kcc.ac.uk>

And here is the brilliant  latest poster for the Save Wornington College campaign :


The Save Wornington College meeting is on Tuesday 6th February at 6pm in Room 203, KCC, Wornington Road, W10.