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 – yes 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 – our 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:

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 – there 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.

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