Impact of Covid-19: Residents’ survey in Kensington and Chelsea

THINK have not gone bonkers with Lockdown and become the “RBKC advertising blog” but we thought as our council Communications Team do not always manage to send these things out on time and not everyone sees them , that we would publish their link to this Covid-19 survey and share to help ensure that as many residents can take part as possible.

The questionnaire, which can also be completed anonymously, closes on Friday 14 August 2020, is HERE

Maybe if our council sees people responding to this blog posting information, they’ll hopefully cut down on most of the junkmail council newspapers and magazines (we get five of them!) and instead spend our public money on where it is really needed – such as help for small businesses and vulnerable residents who have been affected by the pandemic.

No, we’re not doing the council’s work but we would really like to see them take all the residents’ responses into account.

Just don’t expect us to blog about what days and times our councillors have surgeries or when the rubbish is going to be collected……

Here’s the PR blurb from RBKC below:

“We‚Äôve launched a survey for residents
to have their say on the effect of Coronavirus on their lives. We know this is an extremely challenging time for you and that the Coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of your day to day life.
We want to better understand how your life has been affected, how you are feeling now, what support services you are accessing and how Council services can help support your recovery over the coming months.
We would be grateful if could complete this short survey which should take you less than 10 minutes. Your answers will remain anonymous unles you would like to provide us with your contact details so you can be involved in future conversations about service delivery. Survey results will be shared with residents and used to inform further conversations and engagement sessions from September/October 2020. These will help the Council have a deeper understanding of how services can meet your needs.
Cllr Anne Cyron, Lead Member for Communities, said: ‚ÄúThis really is a chance for residents to tell us how Covid-19 has impacted their lives and how services are delivered in the future so they respond to your needs. ‚ÄúI would urge you to complete the survey and invite your friends and family in the borough to do the same, so we can improve how we support our communities over the coming months as lockdown starts to ease. As you have shown throughout this pandemic you, our residents, are key to ensuring our borough bounces back and continues to thrive so we are keen to understand the issues which will inform and influence what we do to support you.‚ÄĚ
This survey does not include detailed questions about residents’ health and wellbeing. Residents‚Äô health and wellbeing is such an important part of the recovery that we will be following up with a detailed consultation in the near future.”

Leaflets, lies and Piglet-Pies

A local resident has shown us a¬† local Conservative Party leaflet from March , which tells an absolutely outrageous lie.¬† Let’s see if our readers can spot it too:

Some THINKers  are part of the Save Wornington Colkege campaign and we know that  NOT ONE  Conservative councillor supported the campaign to save the College, let alone worked with  the campaigners Рwhat a nerve!

David Lindsay did reluctantly turn up to the open community meeting Рbecause this THINKer persuaded him to Рas  we still  felt RBKC was not listening to the voices of our community .

But it was former minister Anne Milton and the Government FE Commissioners who listened to the campaigners and the community when they  put the case to them  as to why we need  our College  Рand the Government who  provided the money Рnot RBKC.

Also, the FE commissioners were not  exactly too happy with  the  dealings at KCC and the way in which the College was sold to the council at a knock down price for luxury flats Рsomething which  a few  Conservative councillors shamefully had a role in.

We bet they won’t be¬† putting that on a¬† campaign leaflet…..

RBKC had no choice but to agree to the terms Рthey had to because the Save Wornington College campaign, supported by the  community, students and staff persuaded the Government of the vital importance of  locally provided further education in helping the people of North Kensington  recover after Grenfell.

We would like to know who is personally responsible for this leaflet (and they must have something seriously the matter with them  to imagine they could get away with this)  Рbecause THINK cannot possibly give one of our Piglet-Pie Awards  to an entire political party!  Or can we?

We guess their Chairman, Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster will have to do the “honours”…..

So for members of¬† his party campaigning on¬† outrageous fibs,¬† for¬† the¬† claim¬† that Conservative councillors worked with the campaign –¬† which they didn’t of course, – for trying to take credit for helping to save Wornington¬†College (they didn’t help to save it¬† – they didn’t care)  and for having the outright cheek to put this leaflet through the door of a member of the Save Wornington College campaign member’s door, THINK present Andrew Foster, Chairman of Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives (KCFC)¬† with a Piglet-Pie Award:

We know it probably wasn’t¬†Bully Beef who came up with¬†the leaflet but they’ll probably never tell us who did. Whichever idiot¬† is responsible ought to have their¬† party political¬† career put in the KCFC bargain bucket bin for good.

You’ll find our suits doing the Lambeth Walk

(L to R: Sue Foster, Iago Griffith & Rachel Sharpe)

These days  we  have more suits  (senior staff) than ever before and also less accountability  and transparency than ever before.

The RBKC  Leadership Team  (Cabinet) do keep telling us that there will be no regeneration – so why are they hiring so many suits who have cut their cloth in regeneration in other London urban areas then? Let’s look at three from Lambeth….

These suits do not come cheap: Sue Foster – now our Director of Planning and Place  received a ¬£90K “golden goodbye” from Lambeth  bedore arriving here and Rachel Sharpe   – received ¬£84K.  Before she danced off to Lambeth, Rachel was  Head of Strategy and Regeneration at Southwark. But Rachel has itchy feet  and has recently walked off to  sunny Brighton

Rachel “Wendolene” Sharpe was here for a  short and unremarkable time – this post is pretty much all most of us got from her all expenses paid flying visit  to the Royal Borough – she will not be missed- and we wonder how much she was paid off?

Both Rachel and Sue had been singing and dancing around Lambeth for some time and are not too fondly remembered by residents there  as they are two of the suits behind the  controversial regeneration and the destruction of several  social housing estates.

Residents of low rise Cressingham Gardens  have been fighting an incredible campaign to save their homes. Read more about this here

Sue Foster before arriving at RBKC,    was “playing the spoons” as Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Growth at Lambeth. Foster didn’t just attack social housing though, Network Rail’s redevelopment of Brixton Arches   – which came with termination of leases and rent increases to small businesses  by as much as 300% was aided and abetted  by Foster and her Lambeth colleagues.

A fitting tribute to Foster and her Lambeth colleagues at Brixton Arches

Before she was at Lambeth, between 2002 and 2008, Foster was the Assistant Director for Regeneration and Planning at Hackney but in 2006, Hackney council was heavily criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman in three reports for failing to take action on planning breaches over several years

The Ombudsman had said ‚ÄúThere were very serious failures, with delays in taking action of several years. It is fair to say the planning department was in a state of complete disarray,‚ÄĚ but that didn’t stop Sue from remaining in her post, getting an OBE for her services to planning after being nominated by her friend, Hackney’s Chief Executive and going on to bigger things.

Iago Griffith is not as much of a senior suit as Foster and Sharpe, but he also danced over to us from Lambeth where he was  one of Foster’s underlings and working in – you guessed it – regeneration He is now  supposed to be a Resident Engagement Officer at RBKC but is rarely seen or heard from. Most of us wonder what he is doing here, but we guess that his former boss Mrs Foster put in a few good words….

Back to  local matters in Kensington and From The Hornets Nest reporting on Harry “Bimbo” Hart and his controversial (to say the least) plans for a supposed “luxury care home” at Avon House, Allen Street here

We were warned  by our Lambeth friends about Sue Foster coming to Kensington before and the warnings appear to  have been on point, as she is trying to steamroller the Planning Comnittee and is flying in the face of residents’ objections (127 of them so far) by pushing   for this schene that will bring nothing to the area and wil impact heavily on the lives of the  people nearby – see this From The Hornets Nest blog post

Worryingly, the “Quality Review Panel” that our council now has set up, seems an easier way to get schemes like this through as well as any possible regeneration schemes. We wonder if this was Mrs Foster’s idea?

This comment, below,  from someone  regarding how Sue Foster allegedly has  behaved towards residents in her former borough,  below, is far from reassuring, and so is the nickname that  Lambeth locals give her: The Grim Reaper

RBKC Question Time: Put your questions to Sarah Addenbrooke

Residents have until the end of tomorrow Friday July the 3rd to put their questions regardng the council’s Covid-19 response, to Sarah Addenbrooke, RBKC Leadership Team (Cabinet) Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health.

Send your questions in to uk

Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke is responsible for:

Public health: supporting COVID-19 response and recovery; promote healthy living; strengthen health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities
Safeguarding of vulnerable adults
Assessment and care management of social services for vulnerable adults in need
Elderly people services
Services for people with learning disabilities
Mental health services
Physical disability services
Transitions from children’s services
Partnership working and service integration with the local NHS
Friends and Family Assistance Centre (Grenfell)
Discretionary welfare provision and subsidised transport
Chairs the Health and Wellbeing Board

    Tonight, as well as this meeting regarding Covid-19 and resident engagement for RAs and groups in the borough at 5:30pm, there is also a meeting of the RBKC Adult Social Care and Health Select Comnittee at 6:30pm.

    The agenda here includes a report from Healthwatch CWL on Coronavirus and local engagement, a Grenfell update and the Scrutiny report on palliative care in Kensington and Chelsea.

    THINK are very pleased that the RBKC Comnunications Team have listened to us and have made the effort to put the online meetings on YouTube, so we can now either watch the meetings on there via livestream or go on the council’s YouTube page and watch them later. We thank them for this and we hope the recording of meetings does continue even when eventually (when it is safe to return to normal meetings of course) Town Hall business goes back to “business as usual”

    Slumlord millionaires and the disgraceful dumping grounds for our homeless and vulnerable

    Pictured is Mario Carozzo of Caridon, a Croydon-based property firm that is best known for being owners of slum warehouses where some homeless families get dumped in such as Templefields House and Terminus House in Harlow.

    Both of these modern day slums have been in the media see this “Is Harlow being used to socially cleanse London”, this , “Harlow human warehouse drug deals and violence uncovered” this , “Inside the human warehouse: Desperate fanilies describe life in office block turned into flats” and this “GRIM FIND: Horrified cleaner who discovered rotting corpse in human warehouse quits after being forced to tidy up aftermath”

    Some Caridon “flats” are as tiny as only 18 metres.

    Caridon, who house tenants in these types of properties in various locations, are reported to have received over £8 million in housing benefit for putting people up in these conditions.

    If being sent to go and live miles away and being isolated from family and friends, work and support isn’t distressing enough, living in a crime and vermin- ridden cramped dangerous warehouse certainly is.

    But arrogant nasty piece of work Mr Carozzo doesnt care; here, below is the sprawling property in Surrey that he lives in after raking in so much cash off the back of people living in squalor:

    The video of the Panorama programme from earlier this year which shows some of the utterly disgraceful and thoroughly depressing conditions that some homeless households housed by Caridon after being sent there by their local authorities is extremely depressing. Our readers can watch it on this link

    Personally we’d feel safer sleeping on a park bench…..

    Some might be wondering what we are doing blogging about other areas generally outside our remit, but RBKC does send most people on the housing list in the borough to go and live out of the borough and disgracefully, we can reveal that contractors Mears Group -who house people in accommodation provided by Caridon – are on the list of private providers of tenporary accommodation that our council uses.

    Last year Caridon sent out this b√ó’¬į$¬į¬įt to some local authorities including RBKC.

    Mears Group back in April this year commissioned a report fron (not very) “independent” local government think tank Localis to review the Social Value Act.

    Former Leader (until 2014) of RBKC Sir Merrick Cockell is the Chairman of Localis.

    Social value? Are they having a laugh? We don’t think that people who have to live in these slums have too much to laugh about.

    Mears Group do not appear to have consciences, let alone any sort of social values – and this is how they treat asylum seekers – here

    Both RBKC Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell and RBKC Deputy Leader Leader Kim Taylor-Smith are known to have previously appeared at Localis events. Perhaps they can tell us if like Cockell, they still approve of Mears ?

    THINK are not exactly sure what “social value” there is in dumping homeless and vulnerable people in warehouses far away where we wouldn’t expect a stray animal to live.

    Assetgrove, headed by Sot Sotiriou, pictured above are a property company based in Winchmore Hill, are another approved temporary housing provider that RBKC use. They are also the landlords for slum warehouse Connect House, which in based on the Willow Lane Industrial Estate in Mitcham. The owners of the building РConnect House Ltd and property developer Joel Wider are reported by SW Londoner to have made nearly £2.5 million profit within a year of the building being converted.

    Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, who has some constituents housed there has previously highlighted the terrible conditions that families there are living in.

    Assetgrove are involved with a wide range of properties and also act as a seemingly ordinary letting agent in north London. Some blameless small time property owners of flats who might think they are doing the right thing by letting Assetgrove manage their properties and use them to help provide accommodation to the poor and homeless may be in for a shock too, as Assetgrove were expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme after they apparenty failed to conpensate a property owner for missing rent and a cooker that went missing

    Finefair Consultancy Ltd are another temporary housing provider that RBKC uses. Two years ago, the Hackney Gazette reported on some of the conditions that Hackney locals were living in. The hostel is owned by Blue Chip Trading Ltd. who Finefair contracts out to.

    We couldn’t find any pictures of the slum landlords at “Blue S**t Trading Ltd” but here they are on Companies House

    Pictured above is Finefair’s founder Kamran Naseem. Housing people in poor conditions doesn’t stop Finefair fron winning awards for best property management however (but then again we also remember KCTMO winning awards too – just what planet are these people on?)

    It is ultimately Eric Pickles when he was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he made changes to the law bringing in Permitted Development Rights (PDR) in 2013 which allowed developers converting offices and shops to bypass planning laws who we have to blame for these slum warehouses and the rise of the unscrupulous property developers and magnates making a killing – literally.

    Councils are putting people in conditions where some will end up killing themselves, or one another, or perhaps end up dying as a result of fire and anyone with half a conscience after reading the articles and seeing that Panorama programme will be wondering about the fire safety risks posed by housing hundreds of people in cramped conditions in buildings that were not intended for that purpose in the first place. We also think the risks of people catching and transmitting Covid-19 will be vastly increased in such places too.

    Shamefully, Pickles, like Gavin Barwell , another former Government minister who does not care about the health and safety and wellbeing of residents in social housing either, now sits in the House of Lords.

    If our council really does want to provide “high quality temporary accommodation” as they said here then they must stop using providers like these immediately.

    If anyone at RBKC accuses us of media hype and sensationalism, we’ll just renind them that a THINKer once spent time being dumped in temporary accommodation outside the borough some years back which was provided by this council – and which she still has nightmares about to this day, and certainly witnessed violence and drug dealing on an every day basis, no effort to safeguard residents and was afraid for her life – and this wasn’t even in any of the places described here which appear to be far, far worse. The articles linked to this piece sadly ring true.

    At least Peter Rachman’s tenants were able to live in their local community…..

    RBKC Question Time: Any Answers? Part 5: Anne Cyron

    Community Engagement empty “nightclub” with Iago Griffith & Anne Cyron

    This is our fifth instalment of our “Any Answers?” transcripts of RBKC Question Time regarding the council’s response to Covid-19 , and this time Anne Cyron, RBKC Lead Member (Cabinet) for Communities has responded to our blog and our questions and points about campaign groups being acknowledged, residents’ associations and the poor show from Community Engagement officers at our council as we have referred to prevously here and here

    There is also an online meeting this Thursday July 2nd at 5:30pm of the newly formed Residents Association Engagement Network and residents can sign up for the meeting here.

    Readers will see in our previous post that this meeting has not been shared with all the local RAs and groups and has just instead been posted in RBKC’s Facebook page.

    We’d like to know if Cllr Cyron considers such a lack of effort towards direct communication with residents to be adequate (is copying and pasting a link and emailing it to RAs really too difficult? ) , so this is far fron the end of the matter in our view…..

    Question from THINK blog: Why has the council not officially recognised local campaign groups like Westway 23, Save Wornington College and Friends of North Kensington Library?

    Anne Cyron: “Thank you for your question about local campaign groups. We absolutely recognise the role that these groups have played in bringing local views to the council and it’s very important that the council have changed their direction on both North Kensington Library and Wornington College because of these campaigns which I know has been a very long journey.

    As for Westway 23, I’ve personally engaged with many members of this group and they’ve played a key role in moving the board of the Westway Trust to be much more community led and I fully support the board as does the council, so I’m not really sure what you mean by formally acknowledge? The groups themselves don’t want to be formally constituted which is of course completely up to them, but the council have met with, listened and worked with all three of these groups and in some cases actively supported their work.

    It’s completely our duty to engage, listen and discuss concerns with local people and campaign groups and local people totally want to be involved in policy development and the council believe that service users rightly expect to be part of the service development. I beluece this is the nost inpirtant part of the change that’s happening with the council and it’s certainly what I strive to do in my role. ”

    Question from THINK: Why have the Resident Engagement officers continued to deliberately refuse to recognise long-standing residents’ groups from Housing Association properties?

    Cllr Cyron: “Tenants’ and residents’ associations including those from housing association properties play a very important role in ensuring that residents” views and voices are heard by the council. I was very worried to hear that those officers who are entrusted to engage with groups deiberately refuse to recognise some of them.

    The council wants to work with all residents groups and we do not exclude associations for any reason, and particularly not because of their housing tenure, and if there are any groups who do feel excluded I’d ask you to please to contact me directly.

    We’d also work with and hear views from local associations which are not residents’ associations for example conservation area societies and others. A full list of all the groups that have given us permission to include their details publicly, appears here on the council website.

    I do think that some groups may not be included because perhaps they are not formally organised, and this should never be a barrier to having their voices heard, and it does not mean that you can’t be registered on our list and receive communications from us.

    We will support groups to become a formal association for example; having a constitution, having regular committee meetings, and we will provide guidance and support where we can to ensure that groups become formally organised if they would like to do that.

    Please email Community Engagement on this email address if you would like to receive this support.

    We do produce a community update enewsletter which over 700 organisations now receive; including comnunity and voluntary groups, faith partners and RAs, and this contains quite a lot of useful up to date information and we publish it really regularly because things are obviously changing so fast. I really would urge any group that we’re not aware of, to contact Comnunity Engagement or contact me.

    I think that we need to listen to as many residents views as possible as we continue to respond to the emergency.”

    THINK know of and are encouraged by the fact that Anne Cyron is having some productive communications with both some campaign groups and a number of both residents groups and individuals involved with our communities , but she is being let down by what we can best describe is a lackadaisical approach that some of RBKC’s Community Engagement officers are taking and also some of her Cabinet colleagues.

    In this article, “Grenfell, still raging after three years” Labour councillor for Golborne Ward North Kensington and our MP until last December, Emma Dent Coad makes several good points including this:

    My plea is to stop using what is called ‚Äėcommunity engagement‚Äô (which more often results in community enragement) as a proxy for real change and empowerment of communities. What we need now, as ever, are fewer photo ops at food banks and more structural realignment.

    While there are some pigeon steps towards more postive communcation with residents being taken by a few Cabinet councillors such as Cllr Cyron and Kim Taylor-Smith, many residents , especially in the North of the borough, still feel that their voices are not being heard and concerns are being ignored

    Most of us who are affected by Grenfell really do want our Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee to be reinstated forthwith .

    After all, this Committee was abolished against the wishes of most residents in North Kensington and our views were certainly NOT taken into account when RBKC’s decision over this was made…..

    Residents groups who are still not included on the RBKC list or who are concerned about the lack of communications to their RAs fron the Community Engagement team can email Cllr Cyron here

    Covid-19 RBKC Residents engagement meeting this Thursday

    THINK are sharing details of this online meeting for the Residents’ Association Engagement Network this Thursday July the 2nd at 5:30pm – register here– because RBKC’s “community engagement ” officers have not bothered to share with a number of RAs on their list and a number of other RAs groups still not included on their list have not heard about this either.

    Instead this link was posted on RBKC’S Facebook page and a resident sent the link to us to share.

    We have the transcript of the Q & A with Anne Cyron, Lead Member (Cabinet) for Communities and some more words for our council *and the rather poor show from their community engagement officers) coming up in our next post Here are further details of the upcoming meeting plus contact details for RBKC’s community engagement team:

    Event description

    “Join us for the first meeting of the Residents’ Association Engagement Network to support the Council’s work for Covid-19 recovery”

    “Please join this meeting to comment on Council plans for Covid-19 recovery, share your ideas, and hear information about latest government guidance and what this means for our residents and communities.

    This will ensure the Council hears from those who are closer to the ground to understand the needs of local people. It will also complement work with other local groups such as neighbourly and faith groups.

    For the first meeting, we’ll discuss work to support some of our most vulnerable residents and have an opportunity for Q&A.

    The network will be chaired by an independent facilitator and is the first of two planned meetings.

    This meeting is open to representatives of:

    • Residents’ Associations
    • Tenants’ Associations
    • Leaseholder Associations, and
    • other similar residents’ groups

    Please register in advance by clicking ‘Register’ at the top of this page, to guarantee your place and to ensure we can accommodate everyone on Zoom. You can join the meeting online or by dialling in on your phone.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at or 020 7598 4633 (9am-5pm)”

    RBKC Draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy and survey

    RBKC residents have up to tomorrow to give their feedback by completing this survey here which will go some way to help formulate our council’s housing policies on homelessness, rough sleeping and housing support.

    THINK support these and have made some points at the end of this post as well as in the survey. We encourage our local readers to complete the survey, give feedback and share.

    The ten key points across four broad areas from RBKC are :

    Preventing residents from becoming homeless and assisting them when they become homeless

    1- Giving residents the power and ability to solve problems by refreshing and personalising the advice and information we provide when people may he facing homelessness.

    2. Make sure we have the right solutions and ensure we are maximising all pathways into appropriate and settled accommodation

    Providing suitable temporary accommodation for homeless households

    3..Improve our provision and procurement of high quality temporary accommodation for homeless households

    4. Ensure a range of settled accommodation and support is available to homeless households that we have a duty towards when homelessness can’t be prevented.

    Reducing and working towards the elimination of rough sleeping

    5. Prevent residents from rough sleeping in the first place

    6 Helping residents that are sleeping in the streets for the first time off the streets for good

    7. Support entrenched rough sleepers off the streets for the long term

    Working with partners to prevent homelessness earlier

    8 Look at the wider causes of homelessness in the borough and develop solutions through early identification and intervention

    9.Make our housing services more visible and accessible to all residents and better communicate what we can and cannot offer

    10. Work with partners and other housing providers to develop more effective interventions and solutions to homelessness through earlier identification and intervention.

    A few points from us on this:

    These points are all encouraging and admirable but perhaps rather ambitious considering that Housing needs and support services in our borough are at best, stretched. We really hope that RBKC plans to provide increased funding in order to meet these points.

    We hope that with regards to the last point, that our council will look further into hidden homelessness in the borough – which is more commonplace here than some would think.

    We are also concerned that there appears to be no commitment to ending the “Temporary Accommodation Lottery” which often means that households in very similar circumstances receive very different accommodation – ie someone getting temporary housing in the borough while another person gets sent to the other end of London when both have identical housing points and needs.

    We also believe that our council needs to have a written commitment to housing residents of this borough in the borough first.

    We are pleased to see that our council wants to work with other housing providers but there are still very few Housing Association properties being advertised on the Home Connections website. Also including more HA homes in nearby areas which are just outside the borough such as in Westminster or im Hammersmith amd Fulham just for example, on the Home Connections register would be helpful to some homeless households too

    Some THINKers have direct experiences of living in temporary accommodation and we are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of residents, living there. We would also like to see a written commitment and increased help and support ftom the council regarding the safety of residents placed in TA. We also know of cases of residents becoming homeless after leaving TA in which they did not feel safe in after receiving no help and support from the council.

    With some cases around homelessness prevention, residents often receive better help and advice from the Citizen’s advice Bureau or their local Law Centre – such as North Kensington Law Centre or the Nucleus Law Centre in Earl’s Court – than they do from Kensington Town Hall.

    The mystery of the suits in the dark

    Before Grenfell, for a number of years, Tony Redpath was Direcror of Strategy and Local Services at RBKC and thanks to the outstanding research from the Grenfell Action Group had been revealed to have had a crucial role in the not very above board sell off of Wornington College to RBKC at a knock down price back when he was also “coincidentally” a Governor of troubled KCC.

    It was only disaster and devastion at Grenfell that put an end to the plans that Redpath played a role in. It was the Save Wornington College campaign who helped to get the Government and the council to recognise the importance of the College in North Kensington residents’ lives and so much more so after Grenfell when the community needed rebuilding and recovery.

    Redpath had been last seen by residents at Kensington Town Hall back on the 9th of June 2017 when after three recounts, Emma Dent Coad was elected as our MP. He had been the Returning Officer. After Grenfell he did a disappearing act.

    But where is Tony Redpath now? This is a question that many people still ask and that someone asked us only yesterday.

    We thought he had retired to Colliers Wood and was now spending time being secretary and head groundsman at his local little league football team and pottering about in his office in the garden , but maybe not…

    We thought to take a look at Redpath’s LinkedIn profile which says he is still at RBKC:

    Well we know that he is, shall we say, a somewhat shady type of suit (our term for senior council staff) ,it wouldn’t surprise us if he thought it best to “accidentally” mislead people into thinking he is still at Hornton Street when bis council days are long gone, but as some others at RBKC seem to be just about as untrustworthy as him, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Redpath was still here lurking in the shadows.

    Some other suits appear to be cloaked in a mysterious shroud of secrecy:

    Who is this mysterious “Andrew L” the Head of Grenfell Housing Services? Does he even have a surname? Why is he not listed on the council website or on any council material?

    Hiding in the dark does not appear to be particularly “customer focused” to us…..

    We do know for a fact that RBKC is very cagey about disclosing to the public about who their senior staff are and what they do; they do not publish a full list of senior staff (just a rough very out of date chart of a tiny handful of suits is what they bother to share with us) on the council website and when residents ask them, we get met with a wall of silence.

    A THINKer put in a very simple FOI request to RBKC:

    Does RBKC not think that their residents affected by Grenfell and their housing have a right to know who is involved and who has responsibility for this?

    Apparently not, because the information, that RBKC could have provided to us the next day or so, is now TWO MONTHS overdue.

    While many of us can thankfully close the book on the murky story of KCC and our council, RBKC’s lack of willingness to be transparent and accountable and their deliberately keeping us in the dark over something so basic such as letting us know who is in charge of what, only leaves us wondering if there is something shady over another matter going on that might give residents a nasty shock . Let’s hope not for all our sakes.

    What do they have to hide?

    LinkedIn or logged out?

    Former RBKC Cabinet Member Cllr David Lindsay is back on the backbenches and appears to be looking for work:

    Just look how he describes his council cabinet career :

    North Kensington residents are still waiting to see that culture change at RBKC along with more empathetic councillors and staff but perhaps Dinosaur Dave lives in prehistoric times….

    And there’s more:

    Oh yes, the “smooth running of council meetings”, complete with the shouting, heckling, booing and protest signs from affected residents living near Grenfell.

    Or like this Administration Committee meeting fron last year that Cllr Lindsay chaired?

    This is what The Dame at From The Hornets Nest says:

    The Dame was looking for an accounts chappie to run her complicated financial affairs when up on Linked In popped Cllr David Lindsay.
    Talk about using the Council to blow one’s own dented and tarnished trumpet!
    According to Cllr Lindsay, the supposed cultural sea change post the Grenfell tragedy was more or less down to him!
    One resident in the north countered his self promoting garbage by saying, ” worse chairman ever; barked at and upset traumatised residents at last summer’s admin meeting.
    Oh, and what cultural change exactly do you claim responsibility for?”
    The Dame decided not to shortlist this blowhard for the £350k a year position

    But at least Dinosaur Dave has other strings to his bow and a background working in managerial and finance roles, unlike some other councillors.

    Here is Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell’s profile:

    Yes, that’s right, the Leader of Kensington and Chelsea does not appear to have ever had any job other than being a councillor!

    And this “like’ from Cllr Campbell is very telling:

    We guess this goes some way to explaining why she wastes so much of our taxpayers’ money on PR nonsense – and yet she still continually fails to engage with residents in the north of the borough.

    Who knew that Kensington Town Hall also serves as a Job Centre for the unemployed and the unemployable?

    And speaking of the unemployable, here is Matthew Palmer’s profile:

    No, we did not Photoshop that – Cllr Palmer has genuinely listed “husband” as a job on his profile !

    As for “Council Skills” , simply Googling his name tells anyone that he is probably the last councillor on earth with those.

    What Cllr Palmer forgot to mention on his Linkedin profile was that he was a losing contestant on the first ever series of reality TV show The Apprentice back in 2004.

    Now out of the Conservative Party and sitting as an Independent, and with no other job and an empty CV, it looks like Matthew Palmer really will be facing genuine unemployment after the 2022 Local Elections.

    But we will not feel too sorry for him, because he spends his spare time outside the Town Hall trolling us!

    We think a spell in the real world would do Matthew Palmer some good. After all, he expects many of his constituents to get on and make do.

    What a bunch! If only their profiles and CVs appeared on the ballot papers…….

    RBKC Quality Review Panel: Green light for regeneration in North Kensington?

    Not everyone is aware of the Quality Review Panel at our council (maybe RBKC Communications Team decided to take a holiday?)

    Here is the official description of it :

    The Quality Review Panel provides expert advice to applicants, council officers and the planning committee during the pre-application process, and by commenting on planning applications. The panel is provided by Frame Projects and is funded independently of the council.

    So who exactly are Frame Projects, some might be wondering?

    Frame Projects are an architectural consultancy firm based in Islington. They are currently involved with other Quality Review Panels in some other local authorities such ad Barking and Dagenham and Camden as well as large scale regenerations and developments with Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) as well as with that soulless mutant Olympic Park area in East London that nobody ever goes to.

    This does not bode well at all.

    The link to the terms of reference for the panel is here

    Concerned yet? We believe a number of residents ought to be.

    Pictured above is Nairita Chakraborty. She is an architect at Iceni Projects, a member of Historic England and now a member of the RBKC Quality Review panel. She also was Principal Conservation Officer at Haringey from 2013 to 2018.

    We do not think that Nairita has necessarily moved on from playing with Lego as a kid, because this is what she has appeared to do when at Haringey .

    The last time a THINKer visited Haringey, they were very shocked to see that Tottenham Hale looks more like “Tottenham Tower Block Hell” now, with the once pleasant views of the River Lea and the reservoir obscured, or rather completely ruined by what we can best describe as a dystopian nightmare of a Lego set of tower blocks.

    Most of the planning decisions over these buildings were made while Ms Chakraborty was there.

    Nairita appears to enjoy toying around with local residents too as this Tweet from a resident (and former councillor) in Haringey back in 2015 appears to show:

    There is one member of the panel that we are pleased to see on there – architect (they’re almost all architects) Barbara Weiss – who is co-founder of the Skyline Campaign. Her appointment to the panel is one of only a couple of positives we can glean from this.

    As for residents, or strictly speaking local area conservation groups who are mostly residents, the Chelsea Society were fortunate enough to get a meeting with RBKC and both Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Johnny Thalassites listened to them and now there will be a representative from the Chelsea Society and another from the Kensingon Society on the panel – this is the only other positive.

    But really, this offers little hope for residents in the more economically deprived wards of North Kensington who stand next to no chance of ever being heard, let alone ever getting a meeting about this with RBKC of course.

    Sadly we think the formation of this panel spells the beginning of sneaking in regeneration by the back door in North Kensington and possibly the end of some social housing here too (that’s one way of getting rid of us!) – just look at the schemes that Frame Projects are involved in for starters – which do not exactly say “small-scale planning advice to someone building an extension on their house” do they?

    We know that residents living here will likely end up getting this forced upon us with no say whatsoever while parts of our community get carved up to “create communities” (we’ve already got a wonderful community thank you very much) and all that nonsense while the needs of residents and small businesses in our community take a back seat to the wants of developers.

    North Kensington residents – you have been warned……..