Wringing the wrong numbers: A poor reception for Shaun Bailey

Conservative London Mayoral candiate, Shaun Bailey, is making a long overdue return to tbis blog today.

The Dame on From The Hornets Nest http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/?m=1 had this to say on him last December:

Over a sandwich lunch, the Dame endured an hour of Bailey talking incoherent rubbish. Not once did he ask a question. He behaved like a mobile phone salesman not the potential mayor of a super city. So we thought we would do the Photoshop honours….

Recently, THINKers received a copy of his election leaflet disguised as a magazine “London Life”

In this publication, Bailey seems very keen to play up his less privileged background in North Kensington …

Here’s what homes in the North Kensington street Shaun Bailey grew up in go for these days:

Rags to riches? But Bailey’s supposed answer to homelessness and the housing crisis in the capital was to ridiculously suggest encouraging London’s 62,670 homeless households (and that official figure doesn’t include “hidden homeless” – people “sofa surfing ” or living in overcrowded households) to apply for shared ownersbip!

No answers as to how cash strapped homeless bouseholds might somehow out of thin air, be able to get the £5,000 deposit together or acknowledgment of the fact at all that unemployed people, those on lower incomes and some who work but do not always have the guaranteed regular level of regular income, wouldn’t be accepted in the first place.

Rightly, fellow Kensington blog The Steeple Times was very scathing about this, calling Bailey “Moron of the Moment”:

https://www.thesteepletimes.com/the-fog/shaun-bailey-homeless/

Here’s more from Shaun Bailey’s political leaflet-disguised-as-a-magazine, an interview with Karren Brady:

Still on housing, he talks about building more supposedly “affordable homes” . Well we have a few of what are deemed as these , built by Catalyst Housing on the regenerated former Wornington Green Estate (now Portobello Square) – another part of North Kensington where Bailey used to live – they start at £600k and many are sitting empty, but hey, who cares, let’s just go and build some more! Like that’s going to solve the ptoblem….

Perhaps he could look into building more SOCIAL housing to help with the homelessness issue? Though it’s clear he isn’t even prepared to bother entertaining that thought and social housing is not mentioned ANYWHERE in this leaflet

Bailey does mention Sadiq Khan spending money on building homes to rent and that he will instead divert the cost for that into homes to buy – but who for?

Also, if Bailey doesn’t want to be “moron of the moment” he might just spare a thought for some of the Londoners who did buy into the dream of owning their own home under the shared ownership scheme, only for that dream to turn to dust, because of costs due to the cladding and fire safety scandal leaving them facing bankruptcy and homelessness (the Fire Safety Bill returns to the Commons today); but no, it appears Mr Bailey has absolutely nothing to say on this – he is merely aspiring to be Boris Johnson’s puppet at City Hall and is perfectly content to sit there while his “master” happily pulls the strings and sends hard-working people down the river…..

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/thousands-trapped-decade-london-cladding-scandal-b917899.html

As for crime prevention, for someone who has masses of experience as a youth worker , Bailey has previously made positive encouraging noises elsewhere about providing 62 new youth centres to help , but where is the money to do this actually going to come from? Who knows, he seems to have completely forgotten about that.

He also seems to have forgotten about this

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2020/02/bail-out-of-bailey.html?m=1

What little the magazine does say of his policies on crime is of him supposedly providing 8,000 more Police Officers. How? He just says he will cut bureaucracy such as offfice costs but fails to say anything more about that. He does mention that he will partly fund this with revenue gained from introducing corporate sponsorship of the tube lines and stations, but this also appears to be the only solution he offers to sort out the TfL financial crisis. Again, no costings, no further details.

As well corporate sponsorship of the tube being a much-loathed and vulgar idea in the eyes of many Londoners (“Coca- Cola Hill Gate Station” anyone? ), Bailey, despite the mentions of where he grew up, again forgets his roots and perhaps ought to be aware of the public outcry and upset around here that happened a few years ago when someone made the suggestion of changing the name of Latimer Road Station .

The outside of Latimer Road is currently about to be redecorated as part of a local arts project, but we guess since he hasn’t been here for years, Bailey doesn’t seem to know or care how offensive and upsetting it would be if green hearts and children’s artwork outside the nearest tube station to Grenfell, the site of our comnunity’s loss, were replaced by garish advertisement signs, billboards and disrespectful name changes. As it is, despite this leaflet/magazine being received right around the corner from Grenfell, there is no mention of Grenfell or any present day acknowledgment of his former community in it at all.

“You’re hired”? We wouldn’t hire Shaun Bailey to run a bath!

His wife Ellie Bailey isn’t standing of course, but obviously his party only just realised just how flimsy and daft Bailey’s supposed policies are, have given up and decided to desperately look for votes by going with the “nice guy” “family man” personality angle.

Just how “hugely passionate” about the environment is Shaun Bailey? His wife doesn’t say apart fron the obvious how bad London’s air is and neither does he. Nothing at all on a subject which many Londoners are genuinely ” passionate” about. .

As for Shaun Bailey in the classroom, it has been reported elsewhere that he was apparently described by a teacher as “gobby and dangerous” – make of that what you will….

Finally we get “9 Questions with Shaun Bailey” Disappointed THINKers saw no burning questions get put to Mr Bailey here, just silly small talk. We’re only surprised they didn’t ask him what his favourite biscuits were….

Also Ellie Bailey might want to send the makers of this leaflet/magazine back to school as they managed to get the year of the election wrong; it’s this year – the 6th of May in fact.

And no, we don’t think he will win.

We think that, with his constant gaffes like this recent one –https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/downing-street-refuses-to-say-stand-by-shaun-bailey-sarah-everard-comments-b923546.html which has appeared to alienate some of those on his own side, the absence of genuine policies and his lack of knowledge over most of the serious issues this city faces, that Shaun Bailey might struggle to scrape second place.

That phone sbop beckons……

A catalyst for destruction: Catalyst Housing, leave our trees and parks alone!

This is a picture of a brave protester in one of the trees that Catalyst Housing had planned to cut down yesterday morning.

Yes, despite cutting down most of the trees on the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington, leaving the area around there bare and depriving residents of mature pollution-absorbing trees, green spaces and wildlife (in order to build luxury flats for the next phase of the regeneration of the estate), Catalyst, are still on a further course of destruction, and this time, they are trying to cut down trees in Athlone Gardens.

For the record, Athlone Gardens park was created by what used to be Kensington Housing Trust before they lost the “Trust”, merged with other HAs and morphed into the buge unaccountable corporate behemoth that is known as Catalyst Housing now; back in the 1970s.

It is owned and managed however, by RBKC. It is a public park, that adjoins the Wornington Green Estate and Portobello Road, in a heavily built up part of North Kensington where most locals do not have use of a garden, and the park is not exclusively used by Catalyst residents. Therefore, there was a big public outcry when locals heard that Catalyst would be cutting down the cherry blossom trees in the park .

Catalyst security guards in Athlone Gardens
https://twitter.com/TreesWornington/status/1369533495186448384?s=20

Both locals and environmental campaigners came to the park yesterday to take their morning exercise and to protest against this environmental destruction of our trees and our public land.

Things even ended up at one point with Police trying to get the council close Athlone Gardens so they could charge residents and protesters for trespassing – ridiculous

Here is the letter from Catalyst that had sounded alarm bells for the community as to what was happening the day before . “Essential works” indeed…..

Seeing that the park and trees were under threat, THINKers had emailed RBKC Cabinet Members Cllr Johnny Thalassites (Planning, Place and Environment) and Cllr Emma Will (Culture, Leisure and Community Safety) we alerted them as to what was happening and questioned how.much RBKC knew about this, plus we sent a copy of our previous Wornington Green blog post :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2021/03/08/wornington-greed-as-catastrophic-catalyst-ignores-the-community-and-cuts-down-pollution-absorbing-trees/

Yesterday our Editor received this from Emma Will and we thank her for this response:

Later on, we received this on Twitter from Johnny Thalassites:

So , Catalyst’s ” tree surgeons” Heritage Tree Services (responsible for destroying mature trees) were called off, Police went away, and the trees survived.

Oh, the contradiction

Today, Catalyst’s axemen and women, “Heritage Tree Destroyers” didn’t carry out their work as it was too windy apparently.But locals are holding their breath as to what will happen tomorrow.

No doubt Catalyst will argue that for changes to the Venture Centre as part of their (approved by only one vote in 2010) regeneration scheme, the trees will have to go. But we say this is a local RBKC park , there will be next to no trees left in that part of North Kensington with the way the disgraceful Housing Association is carrying on, the Venture Centre (with its much-loved adventure playground – also likely to be bulldozed) should stay where it is, and as it is, and Catalyst need to rethink their plans.

This is also RBKC’s time to put their foot down, and tell Catalyst and their chainsaws to get out of the council’s park and to leave the trees, the park and the residents be.

Because if they don’t, any noises of disapproval the council may have made, will count for nothing as they will be complicit in the destruction of our trees and local assets too.

By the way, Catalyst Housing have also completely ignored the fact that some of their residents are affected by Grenfell, their plans have taken zero account of this and the Association’s attitudes towards local residents as well as their refusal to make changes to what is an out of date destructive regeneration scheme says they don’t care one bit.

This is all Catalyst really seems to care about (and quite a lot of those “luxury apartments” are still empty too) :

RBKC should not, in our view, be supporting or defending Catalyst here. After all, we wouldn’t want this Photoshop of ours, featuring Emma Will and Johnny Thalassites outside Athlone Gardens, to be more realistic than originally intended….

This is a chance for the council to demonstrate change, to listen to residents and to show they care about North Kensington and our environment. We urge Cllrs Thalassites and Will to please, please, do the right thing, and put a stop to this – not for a day, not for a week, but for good.

“Wornington Greed” as catastrophic Catalyst ignores the community and cuts down pollution-absorbing trees

We’re so sorry to share the sad news that the Catalyst Housing chainsaws came to North Kensington last Monday and cut the majority of the mostly mature Wornington Green trees down.

Here is a video one of us took of locals and environmental campaigners out there:

These trees are irreplacecable and the devastion this has caused to the local environment is irreversible. The Wornington Green Estate (being renamed “Portobello Square” by Catalyst as there will hardly be any “green” left afterwards) community and the campaigners all asked Catalyst Housing to think again, to redraw their regeneration plans (approved by onw vote 10 years ago), all to no avail, as the greedy Housing Assoication’s number one priority is making money out of all the luxury flats they plan to build there and to hell with what the residents and community think or feel and the consequences of cutting down mature London plane trees which obsorb polltuion from the neighbouring Westway.

Here are some further pictures from Monday.

Here are scenes of the devastation later:

Catalyst Housing maintain the position that the trees will need to be cut down in order to build more badly needed homes. Well, let’s see about that shall we? Because with only TWO of the homes in the next phase being for social rent, here, despite their denials that these are luxury flats, are really what type of homes this supposed”social housing provider” will be building:

That’s right, in Catalyst’s own words; “luxury apartments”. As well as the moral issue of many of these supposedly much-needed homes across the road from where the reees were cut down last Monday remaining empty when we have a housing and homelessness crisis in London, particularly in this borough, there is also another moral issue in our view; and that is of that of the Association being in the act of ruining the local environment and public realm as well as the physical and mental health of residents in Golborne – RBKC’s poorest ward – in order to build them.

The video below is of when the first tree came down and so we will warn readers that this may be distressing for some to watch;

(Apologies for our appalling camerawork there but we were taking our morning exercise.)

Our blog has also heard further disturbing news and that is of plans to fell the mature trees in Athlone Gardens; we understand that the Catalyst chainsaws will be there either tomorrow or Wednesday.

This has been news to the residents and campaigners, but RBKC must have been fully aware of this – especially as Athlone Gardens is a public park managed by the council. THINK are emailing this blog post to both Cllr Johnny Thalassites, RBKC Lead Member for Planning, Place and the Environment, as well as to Cllr Emma Will, RBKC Lead Member for Community Safety, Culture and Leisure (parks, comminity gardens and open spaces are part of her brief) , so let’s see if we get any answers…

Here are some further questions that we hope both RBKC and Catalyst Housing will provide answers to:

– What are the total number of trees that have been felled in the first 9 years of regeneration?

– What types of trees were these?

– How many trees have been planted to replace the ones lost in the regeneration?

– What types of trees are the replacement trees?

– What is the calculation for the mitigation to offset any loss, and how long will it take?

– What are the projected impacts in our health and wellbeing in such a polluted area – is this planning impact legal?

Here is a reminder to both Catalyst Housing and RBKC; the community is watching you and we stand with the Wornington Green residents, we demand answers and better communications with locals on this, and our coverage of the effects on the local community and environment there will continue. After all, we are North Kensington residents too and we care deeply about this . While some of the officials don’t care and while others may turn a blind eye to what is happening , they do find it harder to ignore this when they receive further well-deserved bad publicity……

THINK will end this post with some beautiful pictures of the trees and a look back to when Wornington Green residents and the community enjoyed them and the benefits and beauty they brought to North Kensington.

Wornington Green trees to face axe tomorrow

We apologise to our readers for the technical difficulties with our blog, but we have only heard this news today. THINK are sad to be the bearers of bad news for our community, and especially because yet again, North Kensington residents and their needs have been completely disregarded.

It appears that Catalyst Housing are determined to go ahead and fell the much-needed and loved London plane trees at Wornington Gteen Estate, North Kensington.The word is, they will be cutting down the trees tomorrow morning.

Despite numerous objections and protestations from residents, North Kensington Labour councillors, environmental campaigners and even the RBKC Leadership changing their tune on this, heartless and greedy Catalyst have turned a blind eye and will go ahead with their environmentally destructive masterplan (approved hy the RBKC Planning Committee by just one vote 10 years ago), despite it being out of date and in the face of so much local opposition.

The housing association does say that that while the trees are much-needed, so are new homes, so we’ll inform our readers of just how many extra homes for social rent will be provided by this; ONLY TWO – and no, this is not a typographical error. The rest will be unaffordable flats with a starting price upwards of at least £600,000.

The only minor effort at listening to and working with the comnunity that Catalyst did ever make on this was to look at a few of the trees with the council ( but only after this meeting: https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/wornington-green-catalyst-scheme-not-up-to-scratch-as-residents-and-councillors-hiss-about-loss-of-trees/) and see if they could be moved to Athlone Gardens.

Not exactly a solution to the problem, but sadly this won’t work out as a few weeks back, three of the trees had been due to be moved, but the plans were abandoned, and Wornington Green residents later received these letters:

So the trees would not survive the move, plus this now means a total of 40 trees will be chopped down for the next phase of this development, depriving the locals of greenery, wildlife, beauty and a “green lung”, in a polluted and very built up part of Golborne Ward, North Kensington, which is already desperately lacking in green space.

We think Catalyst ought to stop, listen, and work with – not against – the community and make some effort to come up with alternative plans which would work out for the area, the environment and all concerned , rather than go down this unpopular path of destruction, but we don’t imagine they’d ever really listen to us. After all, they have been ignoring their own residents around here for years….

Nevertheless, THINKers will be out taking our morning exercise in support of the residents and for keeping the trees, at Wornington Green Estate tomorrow, Monday the 1st of March, (by Watts House car park, near the Venture Centre W10 5QG) from 8:30am onwards.

We thoroughly recommend that other locals do so too; it might be the last chance to enjoy the trees and wildlife before Catalyst’s bulldozers and chainsaws come.

Yet another RBKC inclusivity fail: This time a consultation on a new Housing Allocations policy

Dear oh dear. On the day right after when RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith mentioned to one of us that our council was going to have a consultation on a new (about time!) Housing Allocations policy, a resident shared this letter with us , which shows that RBKC and consultants Newman Francis never intended to hold a wide, fair and proper consultation on such an important issue. Only a handful of our council housing residents actually received one of these letters:

We don’t think residents were randomly picked out of a hat, but what we do know is this was obviously not meant to be shared widely. THINK are guessing that the role of consultants Newman Francis in this is to use this initial consultation, picking out a “focus group” of some residents, so they can predict which views people will give and formulate a more general survey later this year to direct people towards certain responses that the council may prefer.

Too bad for RBKC that some of the residents who received such a letter believe that EVERYONE should have a fair say on this.

It also explains something about the layouts, formats and questions in a number of previous council consultation surveys.

Well we thoroughly disagree with this highly unfair and narrow approach to policymaking, and in the spirit of inclusivity we are sharing widely so ALL RBKC tenants and leaseholders can submit their views about what they think the changes to the Housing Allocations Scheme should be, if they want to, to Newman Francis at rbkc@newmanfrancis org

(There is also a telephone survey but we’re getting sick and tired of box ticking and we wouldn’t recommend it.)

But some residents may not want to take part, as we can also reveal a bit more about Newman Francis Ltd, marketing consultants specialising in housing and regeneration. Since 2013, supposedly “independent” Newman Francis have been hired by Catalyst Housing to get community support for the regeneration of the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington. Catalyst and Newman Francis attemped to pull wool over people’s eyes, not everyone was fooled and the masterplan is still very controversial today, not least because 37 valued pollution-absorbing mature London plane trees are set to be cut down in order to build luxury flats.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/wornington-green-catalyst-scheme-not-up-to-scratch-as-residents-and-councillors-hiss-about-loss-of-trees/

So this is perhaps a CONsultation exercise; conning people into thinking they are getting something good for them and their community when the opposite is the case.

We have this to say to Kim “Tailored Sloth” and Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell:

All the nice little promises and warm words; about change at RBKC, about wanting greater resident involvement, co-designing, creating stronger communities etc. are about as reliable, accurate and trustworthy as a fake Rolex bought in a used car lot from a dodgy salesman.

You might as well drop the sales patter, because residents who truly care about our borough and communities, are certainly not buying it. Your actions and inactions speak volumes about how you REALLY work.

Wornington Green: Still green for now

This morning, Catalyst Housing were set to chop down 37 trees on the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington.

Catalyst are not exactly the most considerate and thoughtful of housing associations, having completely ignored the calls from Wornington Green residents, other North Kensington locals and some of our local representatives to reconsider their plans and save the trees (most of which are mature pollution absorbing plane trees), and the housing association decided to turn up with their chainsaws this morning.

But Catalyst probably didn’t reckon on a big turnout of residents, locals and groups , including members of the Labour Party, local Golborne councillor and Leader of the RBKC Opposition, Pat Mason, members of the local Green Party and members of the Kensington branch of Extinction Rebellion, to all be taking their peaceful socially distanced morning exercise out there too.

After a stand off and the Police being called for no reason, “Catastrophic Housing” decided to clear off. The trees are still here.

We thank everyone who turned up this morning in support, and all who shared and posted on social media, including Cllr Pat Mason, Cllr Judith Blakeman and Green Party PPC for Cities of London and Westminster and London Assembly candidate, Zack Polanski.

We especially thank the local residents and campaigners who care deeply about the health and wellbeing of this community and conserving our environment, both now and for generations to come.

But callous Catalyst say they will be back to chop down the trees next week.

So we have this to say to them:

” As long as you refuse to listen to and respect the needs and wishes of your residents and the North Kensington community and as long as you pose a threat to our environment, and as long as you refuse to change your plans, this community will stand together against you.

The fact that lots of people turned out early in the cold, the petition to save the trees gained over 1,000 supporters in such a short space of time, and even the present RBKC Leadership do not support your destructive plans, all ought to be strong indicators that you need to think again.

Members of this blog had planned to be there this morning too, but only due to personal circumstances, we unfortunately couldn’t make it, but THINKers will be out there taking our morning exercise next week, when you have said you will return to chop down the trees.

Do not underestimate the power of community and how we feel about our environment, our trees and our green spaces here – they are invaluable to us – and mean far, far, more to the locals of North Kensington than your luxury flats ever will”

This isn’t over……

“Guilt by Association” #2: Catalyst Housing

Part 2 of our “Guilt by Association” series of posts on housing associations

Meet Ian McDermott, the Chief Executive of Catalyst Housing.

Catalyst Housing are one of the founder members of the G15 Group of housing associations and are responsible for over 32,000 homes.

They formed out of Kensington Housing Trust (once based locally, at Portobello Road), who merged with Ealing Family Housing Association and Northcote Housing Association.

In 2019, Hertfordshire-based Aldwyck Housing Group (which has homes in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire ) joined the Catalyst fold and Mr McDermott, from Aldwyck, took the top job.

Ian McDermott might have some 30 years or so in the business but as he may not be familiar with our local area. we’ll just alert him to how environmentally destructive his organisation’s regeneration at the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington is, so here are our previous two posts about it:

Wornington Green: Green no longer? North Ken residents fight to save 42 trees

And

Wornington Green: Not up-to-scratch Catalyst scheme gets hissed at by residents and councillors

Yes, even the RBKC council Leadership disapproves of Catalyst chopping down so many trees

In fact a total of 167 mostly mature plane trees will be lost to the scheme.

We also wonder if Mr McDermott approves of his employees using misleading terms to describe Catalyst projects? Like this, (taken from the RBKC meeting) from Fearghal O’Hara, Regeneration Manager for Wornington Green and who is responsible for overseeing the new builds at Wornington Green
“There will be huge gains for the community aside from more modern homes as a result of this regeneration. There will be new community facilities, new public realm, and we’re creating a new green space in partnership with RBKC – that’s Athlone Gardens”

Oh dear. Replacing an existing green space – Athlone Gardens – with a smaller one isn’t really creating a new one is it ? Nor is replacing existing community facilities at the Venture Centure – “creating new community facilities”.

We’ll also go back to what RBKC Labour Cllr Judith Blakeman said at that RBKC Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting regarding courtyard gardens and the part of thr Silchester Estate that was redeveloped (no, not by Catalyst but it’s relevant): She ponted out that the courtyard at the Silchester does not get enough light, all the trees and plants die and residents there are left with a mud bath. Now we’ll point out that similarly sized courtyards, are what Caralyst plans to provide at Wornington Green and unlike the Silchester, these will be at basement level. Good luck growing anything there….

No doubt Mr O’Hara or another one of his colleagues will probably pop up to tell the Wonrington Green residents that they now have a mud wrestling facility for the community or something. It’s the sort of behaviour residents have come to expect from them – and none of this – is in any way, shape or form, any sort of replacement for the mature London plane trees which help fight pollution and mean so much to both the Wornington Green residents and their neighbours in the North Kensington area.

Today we have heard the news that heartless Catalyst Housing have shamefully disregarded the overwhelming views of residents and the local council and have told residents that they will cbop down 37 trees beginning next Monday, right in the midst of Covid -19 when residents are staying at home trying to get some peace and quiet.

Catalyst have won several awards before (actually we think the ritual back-slapping housing sector awards are a complete joke; our own failed defunct ALMO – the disgraced KCTMO has been the recipient of at least one in the past), so here’s another one to add to Catalyst’s collection that they really well and truly deserve:

For pretending that inferior replacements for a park and a community centre are additions, and for having the nerve to say this to people who live there; for assuming our residents are stupid by trying to placate them with darkened basement courtyards and a few saplings and making out that they are in any way an acceptable replacement for plane trees and a healthy outdoor communal green environment – we can only call what they have done and are still doing in North Kensington ecocide ; and for sticking two fingers up to their residents, our council, North Kensington and the environment in general, THINK proudly present “Callous Housing” with a Piglet-Pie Award – and here’s “Mr Shifty” O’Hara to collect it:

Catalyst Housing are in fact the very first housing association to win one of our not very coveted awards, tbough somehow we don’t think they’ll be boasting about tbis “accolade”….

Further afield, Catalyst have been a partner in the South Kilburn Regeneration. In 2019 , residents in Merle Court there (former lifetime tenants and leaseholders of Brent Council who were transferred to Catalyst under the regeneration) had to be moved because the flats were covered in ACM flammable Grenfell-type cladding.

This is what Inside Housing reported in May 2019 : “Residents are now in the process of being moved out, but the association has said there is no guarantee that they will be able to come back. As part of the outline agreement, Catalyst will have to pay compensation to residents and buy back the properties from shared owners – something Mr McDermott says will cost the business “a lot of money”.

We think it is utterly disgraceful that this giant housing association supposedly worth £3billion are punishing others for their mistakes and wouldn’t guarantee that all their residents would have a right to return back to their home and community after their ordeal.

But recent reports say that the association has been financially downgraded and as the association has homes all over London and the home counties so theoretically residents could end up anywhere – which could all be a very worrying prospect for Catalyst residents living in more expensive parts of our city who may have to be moved “decanted ” away from faulty properties ….

As for more controversy further out, we have heard that cash-strapped TfL are going into partnership with “Callous Housing” and are planning on building blocks of flats on suburban tube station car parks.

One planned scheme in Rayners Lane, Harrow, is for 126 homes on and around the site of the station car park

They haven’t just stopped there either, they are planning to stick 11 storey tower blocks containing 227 homes by Stanmore Station and 118 homes by Canons Park Station.

While more homes in London are needed, the levels of density, the loss of some trees and greenery – plus obvious beauty – in the areas and the effects on the communities there; are highly concerning, as are parking (in areas where many residents still are dependent on car use) along with the obvious vast increases of pollution and congestion these developments will bring .

Understandably most residents in all three of these locations are opposed to the plans and they have our support . Have a look at this :

Our blog has signed and shared the petition from the residents of High Worple Way to Harrow Council to stop the Rayners Lane development and we urge our readers to join us:

https://www.change.org/p/harrow-council-stop-building-140-flats-at-rayners-lane-car-park-which-is-already-an-overdevelopment-area

We think it is inappropriate and wrong to overdevelop green suburbs with tower blocks, packing in high density flats like sardines in such locations, and we warn the residents there, that if Harrow Council gives this and others the green light, there will be no stopping these schemes.

As for the Wornington Green masterplan in our local area , that was approved by RBKC 10 years ago. It wouldn’t be approved now ; but our council’s hands are tied and legally they have no power at all to halt it.

We were wondering if Catalyst have become less of a housing association and more of a property developer? Things are very cosy indeed between Catalyst and developers Taylor Wimpey – they are not only partners in several schemes , but In 2019, Rachael Dennis, Chief Operating Officer at Catalyst Housing , left to become Regional Managing Director at Taylor Wimpey. Richard Smith, Managing Director at Catalyst Housing since last year, was previously Development Director at Taylor Wimpey Central London.
Philip Jenkins, Group Development Director of Catalyst joined from Taylor Wimpey, Central London where he was Managing Director.

Some of our neighbours in Westminster may remember Philip Jenkins; before he was at Taylor Wimpey and Catalyst he was Executive Director, Property and Development at City West Homes between 2014-17.

City West was Wesminster Council’s troubled ALMO responsible for the management (or not) of its 21,000 or so council bomes  and was notorious for poor service, poor repairs and complaints and following concerns over poor performance over a number of years. It was taken back “in house ” in 2018, with Cllr Andrew Smith, Westminster’s Cabinet Member for Housing saying : “I believe there is no option now other than to bring the management of council housing under the council’s direct control. The opposition Labour Group of councillors in Westminster had kept extensive dossiers of residents’ complaints about the ALMO

https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/nightmare-stories-of-westminster-citywest-homes-problems-revealed-3584686

So, how do Catalyst residents rate the services they receive?

Not very bighly it appears. Here’s just a taster of the various negative reviews and postings we found:

Plus this from a former Catalyst employee which just about says it all;

We say Catalyst Housing are “guilty” of being destructive to the environment (not just in our community) , dishonesty, having extremely poor communications,poor repairs,poor standards of maintenance, poor responses to their residents and poor relations with the communities in which they intend to build their developments – shame on them.

Ian McDermott in interviews, seems to want to portray himself as a housing association “Mr Approachable Nice Guy” but the conduct of his association tells a very different story.

We warn other residents and local authorities who may be easily swayed when Catalyst comes promising redevelopments with affordable housing as the “cherry on top” ; their “affordable’ homes here start at £600,000, relations between Catalyst and the community are at an all-time low and their redevelopment scheme in North Kensington has come at a price of environmental devastation , plus noise, nuisance, and misery for residents – which has gone on for the past decade and is only set to get worse .