Stand with Chloe and stop the eviction – protest at Kensington Town Hall this evening

Pictured, top is Ladbroke Grove resident and Mother of two Chloe Williams who is facing eviction by RBKC. This evening , Thursday 26th September 6 pm there will be a protest at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX

Unacceptable

Chloe and her two children have suffered for five years, lived in a cramped council flat provided by RBKC. The flat has been heavily infested with rats, mice, bedbugs and cockroaches. Chloe has complained about the conditions of her flat to the counvil over 50 times.

Social cleansing

RBKC has offered Chloe alternative housing, but this is in East London, a long way from her family, friends and local community. Because she is unable to accept this offer – Chloe and her children now face beimg evicted.

Heartless

More than two years after Grenfell, our council has shown that it is still failing residents in social housing . Chloe is sadly not the only council tenant who has been forced to live in disgusting conditions and this council is still carrying out social cleansing on the quiet by moving households outside the borough and far away their local community This has to stop.

Join the protest

THINK will be joining the protest, showing our support for Chloe and we urge our readers to do the same.

Same old RBKC

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting will be in the Small Hall at the Town Hall today at 6:30pm. We will also be going along to this. Perhaps other residents can give councillors some feedback? Because many of us feel that RBKC has not changed one bit…..

Happy 7th Birthday to the Save Earl’s Court campaign and a call for action!

The Save Earl’s Court campaign are celebrating 7 years of campaigning today and to show our support. above, is our special birthday card for the campaigners. We thank them for their inspiration, their friendship both to us and to many and their dedicated and original work.

Dressed in Comic Con cosplay costumes – remembering some of the colourful character who used to visit Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre are : (left to right) RBKC Liberal Democrat councillor for Earl’s Court Linda Wade, Kensington Labour MP for Kensington and RBKC Councillor for Golborne Emma Dent Coad, Green Party London Assembly Member and Chair of the Environment Committee and Islington councillor Caroline Russell, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee Caroline Pidgeon and last – but by no means least – Co Leader of the Green Party their Mayoral Candidate in the 2020 elections and Camden councillor Sian Berry.

All have shown their support for the Save Earl’s Court campaign but Linda “Wonderwoman” Wade is the amazing founder of this campaign – her work for the Earl’s Court community is beyond outstanding – she is a real life “superhero”.

Earl’s Court is just two and a half miles from us and it is a place that is also close to THINKers’ hearts as we have many friends there and also have fond memories of times there.

22 acres of the site are in RBKC and currently lie as wasteland awaiting redevelopment into luxury flats – this is unacceptable. The Save Earl’s Court Campaign agree and we have written about their alternative plans for the world’s greenest venue there two years ago :

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

And followed their campaign with updates – here are a few:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/could-there-be-good-news-for-earls-court-at-last/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/earls-court-masterplan-debated-at-westminster-hall/

The Earl’s Court Masterplan is not just failing residents and businesses in the area; it is failing London as a whole This scheme, with no replacement for exhibition centre is in our view, unworkable, is out of place with the surrounding area and mostly consists of densely populated luxury flats with no homes for social rent at all.

What is more, something badly needs to be done to address the severe pollution issue there – which affects all of us. Earl’s Court has the highest pollution levels in the UK – with levels of NO2 over three times the World Health Organisation legal limit. See this Daily Express article from “the UK’s most polluted road”:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj7vreGueTkAhW-A2MBHYnIA_cQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.express.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk%2F1111938%2Fmost-polluted-road-uk-earls-court-road-west-london-ulez-sadiq-khan&psig=AOvVaw1Dq_F4775j3gRiQiZeFde6&ust=1569242246115432

In a week that saw climate action strikes across the world, it is time to take action here. It is time for not just a rethink but also action on regeneration sites and developments.

Filling an already severely polluted area with densely populated luxury flats will only make things worse. What is needed there is green space, a replacement for the Exhibition Centre and environmentally friendly housing for all.

Fortunately the Save Earl’s Court campaigners really have come up with some fresh thinking and are calling for action – we urge our readers to sign and share this petition from them to Sadiq Khan to intervene to build green housing and the world’s greenest venue on the site here:

https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-mayor-khan-intervene-to-build-green-housing-and-the-world-s-greenest-venue-in-earl-s-court

It is time for others responsible for these decisions to seriously consider regeneration sites and developments and how they affect not just housing and businesses but our health and the planet too. Many of these short sighted short term financial gain- led developments already ruin local communities they are beneficial and only usually finally beneficial – to the developers and to the people who can afford to purchase them as an “investment” Any new developments in our view, should be beneficial on every level – to EVERYONE.

We need to be thinking locally as well as globally and we urge RBKC, Sadiq Khan and the Government to take action now – and with their ingenuity and initiative , the Save Earl’s Court campaigners are showing a way forward. Developers need to take note and politicians need to take action.

Infighting, local trolling, bullying and a few words

It will come as no surprise that as a local North Kensington blog, as members of the immediate community around Grenfell, that THINK has had quite a lot of trolls over the two and half years we have been operating. Now we can be outspoken, we can poke harmless fun at some people in power and not everyone will like our blog and will agree with what we have to say – and that’s totally fine.

THINKers are used to opening our inboxes and seeing unpleasant things from trolls from a long way outside our community (usually Grenfell- related). Occasionally, the “crime”of being female can get us quite a few unpleasant emails and comments too. We probably shouldn’t be, but are, used to it- part of being a campaigner and blogger is also growing a thick skin.

We often deal with this by simply skimming through our emails, not engaging and discarding any bonkers or hostile ones and also making comments on our posts subject to approval before they appear. That usually stops any nuisance as we are depriving these morons of attention and their five minutes of “fame”

But in recent times, we have also received some comments to our blog which have clearly been made by locals and some comments in person which have offended and undermined us. We will not let them win. THINK are not bullies, and also recognise that some of these people are traumatised and even (supposedly) on the same side of us so THINK will not be personally naming and shaming here.

When we covered the fire at Markland House. One THINKer received, in person a few local people and friends of theirs from other areas (no they don’t live in Markland House or anywhere else on the Silchester Estate either) amusing themselves by making distasteful comments that we were using this just to boost viewing figures for our blog. But we have also kept receiving nasty comments and emails over the past month with comments to that effect.

So let’s just clear matters up shall we? The THINKer who reported on the fire lives in Notting Dale Ward down the road from the Silchester, and knows a number of people living both in and nearby the building. That afternoon when she heard someone in the street mention there was a fire there; she dropped everything and ran down there to find out what was going on, and also in fear of what she might find there. She also lost friends in Grenfell and some of her friends are survivors by the way.

On fortunately finding out that nobody was hurt and that the fire hadn’t been more serious, she talked to a number of residents and to Cllr Mo Bakhtiar outside about it to report their concerns in the blog. A number of residents recognised her and welcomed a local person reporting the issue.

One reason why our THINKer is a familiar face to some on the Silchester Estate is because before this blog started, she supported the residents’ campaign against its (thankfully cancelled) regeneration.

Back then, NOT ONE of these people who made the offensive remarks actually was seen to support the campaign or had previously joined the residents at meetings or on demonstrations to save it!

As the later comments and emails we received were anonymous, we do not know for a fact if these were the same people but let’s just say that some of the wording rather gave things away.

We sometimes attend more Town Hall meetings than have hot dinners. We support many other campaigns outside our area too. And as for local campaigns, where were some of these people when our Library and our College were under threat? Nowhere to be seen……

Fine – some people don’t like each other and we can’t all get along – but we can be grown up enough to stand on the same side with some we do not personally like without making trouble without good reason or else walk away.

Of course this sort of thing happens to many other locals. We will not go into individual examples – but it doesn’t help anyone and needs to stop. We are all entitled to our own opinions but let’s be sensible here Let’s not undermine someone publicly, lets not spread silly rumours and let’s not pick on people. Differences of opinion are inevitable but we can be grown up about this? Sometimes if someone’s negative opinions are based purely on personal grounds, it’s usually best to keep them that way.

Some also need to remember that having big spats that others get drawn into (we’ve have to stop doing this one ourselves in the past!) , sniping and bullying is very hurtful to many who are completely blameless in the matter – and please no more fake rumours about people either – hasn’t our community been through enough?

So here is our message to the snipers, the bullies and the armchair critics in our North Kensington community:

Some people do writing, some do art, some do history, some do music, some do campaigning, some do volunteering, some do theatre, some do politics, some do gardening, some do sports, some do film, some do media, some do teaching, some do caring and some just do. If you can’t do then leave it and find something else rather more productive that you can do – and leave others in peace to get on with trying to do some good in this community.

Because it could be your own battles some of us are fighting next…….

KCTM – Oh No!

The discredited Kensington and. Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) or “terrible mismanagement organisation” as most of us call it, has written to resident members requesting that they “update your contact details so we can stay in touch with you” .

The letter goes on to state that ” In order for us to stay in touch with you, it’s important that we have your correct details. This means we can give you the opportunity to vote and participate in any TMO member decisions” The letter also says to “please respond by Friday 30 August 2019”

But one THINKer who is a resident member received this letter only today! That’s right – Monday 2nd September!! Words fail us sometimes.

Some resident members did receive the letter, with only a week left to respond, some received one shortly before the Bank Holiday Weekend; others have not received a letter at all!

The letter tells residents that “Your details will be held by Mi-Voice, the company thay we use to manage voting and communication with TMO members”.

So who are Mi-Voice? They are the company supposedly responsible for managing this fiasco of a vote that we reported on back in October last year:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/never-mind-the-ballots-at-kctmo-kensingtons-allegedly-corrupt-terrible-mismanagement-organisation/

Yes, a very dubious vote, conducted at in a most appalling way, with no ballot boxes (though unsecured ones later made an appearance after residents objected) So who is to say that updated details that residents have submitted have been received and that they haven’t actually disappeared somewhere into the offices of Mi-Voice in Southampton? Because there is no way of actually checking this!

Mi-Voice who also go by the name of “Democracy Technology Ltd” (no, we’re not joking) were also behind the very dodgy TMO “statistics” (which some at RBKC now concede were in fact false) like this here:

So for all these activities, THINK are proud to award Tony Slater the “Delivery Director” of Mi-Voice, a not-very-coveted but very richly deserved Piglet-Pie Award:

Tony Slater, Mi-Voice, KCTMO. Piglet-Pie Award

Also we note that Andrew Taylor is still Interim General Manager of KCTMO. We are amazed that he has lasted so long! He has made some disgraceful previous appearances in this blog before too.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/communication-problems/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/apology-public-statement-its-a-no-no-from-the-tmo/

Yes, naughty Andrew never did bother to respond to us. He is very evasive – what does he have to hide? He even tries to avoid having his photo shared publicly. Let us do the honours:

So perhaps the elusive Andrew Taylor who doesn’t respond to us might care to bother to respond to others?

Here are his email addresses:

andrewtaylor@kctmo.org.uk

ataylor@kctmo.org.uk

And as for Tony Slater, perhaps residents can really use “Their Voices” to let him know of what they think of his company and shambolic practices? We will just leave his email addresses here:

tslater@mi-voice.com

tony@mi-voice.com

Shame on the pair of them.

We are relieved that KCTMO is no longer responsible for managing our housing, but it does have to remain as an organisation for the purposes of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. But we believe that is is time for the organisation to dispense with the “services” of Mi-Voice and also time for Andrew Taylor to resign.