Residents shut out of Leadership Meeting again: A meeting with Council inclusivity strategy on the agenda

We’re not making this up, and since yesterday was the 14th, we are not exactly in the mood for a joke. Unfortunately, the RBKC Leadership seem to think that residents are a joke however. They are still excluding residents from participating in Leadership meetings – we are not allowed to ask questions, give feedback or insight or raise points; all RBKC residents can do is watch on YouTube while the Cabinet, tonight at 6:30pm. go though the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, talk about how to be more inclusive to us and how they supposedly recognise the diversity of the borough while excluding us at the same time.

Since they are going to be discussing diversity – let’s have a brief glimpse of how diverse the RBKC Leadership Team is, shall we?

Perhaps hearing from others in our multicultural diverse borough would be helpful? Most sensible people would think so, but this is RBKC we are talking about …

Instead residents will likely get fobbed off with nice little words, tonight’s Dizzy Lizzy PR show, probably more and more surveys (and perhaps they should consider that relying on surveys a lot of time can exclude quite a few residents) and no chance of speaking directly to those in charge.

By the way, RBKC failed to publicise this meeting, so perhaps they don’t want residents to watch either.

A resident from Norland Ward said: : “They keep saying they are moving forward and making progress when their actions are more moving backwards. It’s all talk ” Well quite. One step further back and it will be the RBKC Cabinet meetings behind closed doors just like back in the bad old days of Nick Paget-Brown and “Jailhouse Rock” Feilding-Mellen.

RBKC Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell served as a Cabinet member in those days and she seems to want to go back there by shutting residents out.

This sort of conduct shows contempt for our residents and certainly isn’t equal, diverse or inclusive

Link to the meeting and full agenda and papers here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/committees/Meetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/669/Meeting/8370/Committee/1593/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

The caring community hub shunned and disrespected by our council

This is The SPACE . It is a much- valued and loved community-led hub, based at 214 Freston Road, North Kensington which has provided help, support and activities for residents in North Kensington and beyond for nearly the past four years.

The SPACE, and the local resident volunteers working there and the work they do are valued highly by many residents in and around our community and far beyond but sadly RBKC doesn’t appear to appreciate or value this outstanding community hub very highly.

Because there is no other conclusion we can draw from what is happening. As we mentioned in this blog post, https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/the-long-road-to-grenfell-recovery-and-the-people-left-behind/ The SPACE is running out of actual space. Their wonderful Baby Bank initiative has provided donations to support parents all over the borough – from North Kensington to Chelsea. Generous and kind others in the community have made donations of cots, toys, clothes, supplies etc. and now they are in need of storage space so they can keep this intiative up and running.

RBKC have been fully aware of the situation for some considerable time – and yet they sat on their hands and did nothing to help, despite numerous emails plus some residents posting about the situation on social media.

But when the council finally responded to the SPACE about this in January this year, incredibly, the only temporary space RBKC offered to the volunteers was a kitchen based on the Grenfell Tower site. No we are not making this up – we have seen the emails – and yes, very understandably, the resident volunteers (many of whom live in the immediate Grenfell community) refused.

Nearly three months on, and RBKC also have told the volunteers they they do not have any extra space to provide to them, but we know that’s not true; this council owns several spaces including empty storage units, empty office spaces and empty retail spaces. We cannot understand why the council would not even bother to consider letting The SPACE have use of one of their unused properties for now – the commercial properties RBKC usually lets out – due to Covid-19 and the recession – are not exactly in huge demand right now.

So now the volunteers are still being left in limbo by the council, while their space runs out – what a disgrace.

We’ll just remind RBKC of just a few things that The SPACE have provided to our communities over the time they have been running; help and support for Grenfell-affected residents, benefits, jobs and housing advice, various activities and classes (including yoga, dance, relaxation and art), they have run popular community events, organised food donation deliveries for the vulnerable and those self isolating during the Covid -19 lockdown , and of course, this Baby Bank, which provides donations to many families facing economic hardship including those who are on Universal Credit, those who have lost their jobs or businesses, those who are living in temporary accommodation and those who are living in refuges.

RBKC does like to go on about how much they have supposedly changed, but it’s hard to see this when they snub, disrespect and insult hard working community volunteers who are going out of their way to help so many people here.

Some of us have wondered if RBKC is deliberately shunning community volunteer efforts, so they can run their own “rival’ initatives, do PR exercises and then go amd take the credit for other people’s hard work. This might not be as so far fetched as it sounds because when in the aftermath of Grenfell, RBKC failed to publicise activities provided at The SPACE and instead ran “rival” activities at The Curve and some Council officers even went around wrongly saying The SPACE was closing

So where is the consideration from RBKC? Where is the compassion? Where is the humanity? Where is this supposed culture change that RBKC Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell promised North Kensington residents after Grenfell?

Well, unless by “culture change at the council” Cllr Campbell was referring to a pot of yoghurt past its sell by date sitting in Kensington Town Hall somewhere, we’re still asking these questions and it is beyond frustrating when we’re not getting answers – and dedicated community providers of help and support to residents in North Kensington and all around the borough are being treated like this.

Nahid Ashby, one of the Co-Founders of The SPACE, had this to say to us:”It really makes me wonder if the Council‚Äôs historic culture of contempt, superiority and secrecy has changed, despite the fact that they keep hooting they have learned lessons and made improvements to the way they work with, treat and involve residents.The only improvement I see is a very superficial one at best and a box ticking exercise at worst! Deep down it‚Äôs the same horse, only with a different saddle on! and It‚Äôs not just bureaucracy . it‚Äôs about what I dubbed TRT! (Trust, Respect and Transparency). At the end of the day, in the eyes of the corporate monster, we are still stupid, low income social tenants and the only training they provide to their new recruits is to treat us as such! “

This blog stands with The SPACE and all the kind good community volunteers who put in so much work there – they have a space in our heart and also in the hearts of many local residents from North Kensington to Chelsea.

Not everyone in the RBKC Leadership fold appears to be completely heartless and devoid of compassion however. Here, below, are some Tweets and ours was “liked” by Cem Kemahli, Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and Josh Rendall, Lead Member for Family and Children’s Services and at least there has been at least something of an encouraging response from Josh Rendall :

We’ll see what happens and hope they are truly listening this time. We also call for the RBKC Overview and Scrutiny Committee to look into this plus scrutinise what has the council done – or not done- to support community-led initiatives. As Samia’s Tweet says, other housing providers (such as Peabody and Notting Hill Genesis) seem to get the value of the Baby Bank and support that The SPACE provide, so why can’t our council?

RBKC does talk and talk of community empowerment but it’s hard to believe this when talk is all that this appears to be. Actions do indeed speak louder than words and without actually doing very much to support community-led hubs and groups – the very people who stand for community empowerment – so they can carry on supporting residents in need, it means nothing.

If RBKC really is committed to change, they really ought to now work with The SPACE to find new extra storage premises so the Baby Bank can continue to operate, and to start to make an effort to inprove community relations by at least listening to the volunteers, taking their feedback on board and treating them with decency and respect. It’s about time RBKC stopped working against these dedicated and caring North Kensington residents and started working with them positively and constructively and supported them to carry on supporting our communities instead.

SPACE Founders Nahid Ashby and Samia Badani at the Iftar 4 All event (which they organised) in 2018

Not another survey! (But cagey RBKC REALLY don’t want you to take part in this Scrutiny one)

RBKC often appears to really love surveys – we get them all the time,¬† sometimes until we’re sick to the back teeth of them and get “survey fatigue”, and wonder why we’re bothering. Usually these are surveys in the form of¬† consultations which tend to be structured so people’s answers have to fit into a certain category and that category being one¬† that is more geared towards the council’s preferred option.

This independent survey¬† landed on THINK’s desk recently and despite all the extra council PR, RBKC is very reluctant to¬† publicise and share this survey from the¬† CfGS (Centre for Governance and Scrutiny) with the public¬† for some reason.

There is not long to go,  the deadline is in just over a week, on Wednesday the 31st of March 

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/S9HZ2JG

Let’s have a good look at the likely reasons why RBKC seems to be reluctant for people to take part in this survey shall we?

After Grenfell, RBKC commissioned the CFGS (then known as the Centre for Policy and Scrutiny) and the Democratic Society  to undertake research and make recommendations as to how RBKC could  betrer improve  its governance.

Here were the main recomnendations:

  • Adopting 12 principles of good governance, developed from the conversations we had with residents, councillors, officers and partners;
  • Hold a Borough wide conversation to decide the strategic direction and governance arrangements for the council;
  • Establish a citizens‚Äô assembly;
  • Create a ‚Äėlistening committee‚Äô for councillors to hear directly from residents;
  • Establish a commission to, involving residents and partners, to determine the future direction of council governance;
  • Take practical steps to engage with local government full practice;
  • Use the Annual Government Statement as the basis for an ongoing, wider conversation about how governance can be improved.

The full reports can be found here:

https://www.cfgs.org.uk/royal-borough-of-kensington-chelsea/

As for those residents’ surveys, only¬† a small number of residents took part, but the negative findings are very interesting indeed.

So if¬† the findings of this¬† survey are made public , it won’t look terribly good for our council¬† if the responses¬† are the same or worse, which looks to¬† be a possible reason¬† why they’re keeping quiet about it ….

See  this  brilliant insight from Urban Dandy for more:

https://urbandandylondon.com/2019/09/06/rbkcdemocracy/

Sadly the RBKC Leadership decided to fly in the face of this and¬† abolished the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee in 2019.¬† See our old blog posts about that from back then¬† (and¬† the appalling way in which they went about it¬† – including a¬† “phantom” residents conference¬† of only 15 people and telling outright lies regarding how many RAs they had spoken with) here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/05/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-1-the-build-up-and-the-showdown/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-2-grenfell-committee-gets-the-chop-as-dizzy-lizzy-and-rbkc-lose-their-heads-the-full-council-meeting/

As we feared, all matters related to Grenfell have been scattered¬† among various committees with fewer meetings taking place, or¬† just completely scattered to the wind and forgotten about, so since then, many residents and Grenfell survivors, the bereaved and the North Kensington community have been very badly let down at best, or at worst, are treated as if they don’t exist

In fact, since  the Grenfell Committee was abolished, there has been no proper Scrutiny of Grenfell Recovery in the North Kensington community at all.  

We know that¬† some in charge of RBKC¬† – and PR-mad Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell in particular –¬† see¬† some of¬† us in North Kensington as a nuisance or an¬† inconvenience,. Well,¬† we have to tell Dizzy Lizzy and co¬† that our community would prefer not to have lost 72 innocent people in an entirely preventable disaster on our doorsteps and¬† not be affected for the rest of our lives.

So we’re giving our feedback to tbis survey, and that is that we are deeply unhappy¬† and disillusioned with the current state of council governance – who can blame us?

We are also giving feedback that,¬† to¬† help improve governance at RBKC and¬† improve relations with residents and a way to help our community to recover would be to have more Committee meetings to cover issues in full to ensure we are getting the services we need and deserve,¬† ¬†and especially for the council to reinstate the Grenfell Scutiny Committee. We’ll¬† also add¬† in a¬† collection of our blog posts together¬† with our responses for good measure.

THINK are publicising and sharing this survey and we encourage all our local readers to take part too.

Dizzy Lizzy wants to go back to “business as usual” ASAP and¬† will not like us peeing on her “PR parade” one bit, but the council has been defecating¬† on North Kensington for decades. And just look¬† where that got us…..

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.

THINK Christmas Special: Deck the Town Hall with boughs of holly

As it is Christmas, we decided to compile our own naughty and nice lists of RBKC councillors and suits.

So, who has been naughty and who has been nice this year?

NAUGHTY

Matthew Palmer (Independent, Queen’s Gate Ward)

No surprises here, and now he has been kicked out of the Conservative Party and is not serving on any committees, Cllr Matthew Palmer’s sole purpose at RBKC seems to be to get money for nothing as he is simply being paid to turn up – and just sit there without contributing a single thing. Residents have also informed us that he is paid to sit on the WRWA (West Riverside Waste Authority) at Smuggler’s Way https://wrwa.gov.uk/waste-authority/

And he does nothing there (does only introducing yourself at the start of a meeting and sitting there doing nothing really there count as “work”?)

Well, Cllr Palmer may not have much to say on waste and recycling but he certainly knows how to waste our taxpayers’ money! Unfortunately for him, being out of the Conservative Party will mean that his Queen’s Gate constituents will be binning him in 2022.

Also, Cllr Palmer was ordered back in 2018 to apologise to our friend Eddie Daffarn by the RBKC Audit and Transparency Committee over upsetting remarks made over Grenfell and sprinklers at a Full Council Meeting as we reported here:

¬†Matthew Palmer’s offensive behaviour lands him in trouble

But OVER TWO YEARS LATER, he has still failed to apologise – disgraceful

Marwan Elnaghi (Labour, Notting Dale Ward)

Now we are very disappointed to have to hand our this lump of coal as we know Cllr Elnaghi well and have worked with him on campaigns before, but he is hopelessly out of his depth as Chair of the RBKC Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee, and everyone knows it.

At the special Royal Brompton meeting, Cllr Elnaghi’s “contribution’ was to basically let the NHS bosses talk and talk and he failed to question them , and even far worse, completely failed to allocate time for residents to speak at this meeting. We would not be a fair blog if we simply only pointed the finger at Conservatives for shutting residents out of meetings, and this was really only the last chance that most of them had to raise questions and make points over this.

The most recent meeting of that Committee showed some improvement from him, but too little too late we say because his earlier performances as Chair have been lacklustre at best and it really saddens us that a North Kensington Labour councillor is not accepting that he is not up to the job. He is letting both his community and other communities down by putting his own interests first in staying and taking the money and not properly taking responsibility for running down this, one of the most important council committees, and doing the right and honourable thing and resigning

Barry Quirk – RBKC Chief Executive

We could sit here forever and reel off a list of suits who have failed us – Iago Griffith and the resident engagement failure here:

We say it’s time for Iago to go-go (and for other useless suits to stop hanging round like yo-yos)

is a notable example of this..

But ultimately, who is to blame is the top suit who is responsible for many of these appointments so Barry Quirk, RBKC Chief Executive makes our naughty list this year.

Dr Quirk is also responsible for the appointment of his friend, forner Head of Strategy at Lewisham Robyn Fairman as Deputy chief Executive and Grenfell Executive, whose only real Grenfell legacy has been to ignore most of the community around Grenfell, and cause tension and division between various residents and residents’ groups and also to help cause divisions and friction between residents and survivors, that previously did not exist. Panto horse Dobbin Fairman has exited the RBKC stage now and will certainly not be missed by most of us living in the North of the borough.

Thanks to Bookworm Barry, we have had loads of expensive fly-by-night interim suits who achieved very little but like him, have commanded six figure salaries – these include Rachel Sharpe and Sue Foster – both of whom have since left (not that many of us noticed when they left) .

At such a time of economic hardship, our residents are now faced with increased council tax, increased rent and increased service charges partly to pay for all of this which is hard to justify when there are so many areas showing little to no improvement – not least in North Kensington .

Perhaps some Christmas holiday reading might be in order?

Or perhaps not, because if the Plain English Campaign reads some of Barry’s books or sees his speeches, they might strip our borough of our once prized Crystal Mark when they try to get through his particular style of corporate-managerial-jargon-speak , most of which is unintelligible to most people outside backgrounds like his. No wonder our council still has communication problems despite spending more on PR than ever…

Elizabeth Campbell – Leader of RBKC (Conservative, Royal Hospital Ward)

There is no way we can complete this naughty list without the inclusion of perhaps, the naughtiest councillor of them all. It is Cllr Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell who ultimately has the final say in council policy, who signed off the appointments of most of Dr Quirk’s suits and who keeps failing our residents – as well as having past form serving in RBKC pre- Grenfell cabinets. And Dizzy Lizzy appears to be in the act of taking our council right back there; as we reported in this post:

Grenfell affected residents banned from questioning RBKC Grenfell Recovery policy

She has taken the backwards step of holding Leadership Team meetings without opening the floor to residents and to opposition councillors. Only one step backwards more will be a return of the meetings held behind closed doors , back when Nick Paget-Brown and “Jailhouse” Rock Feilding-Mellen were here .

In not allowing residents and other councillors to ask questions at these meetings, she is showing her contempt for democracy and for North Kensington and also for our most vulnerable residents – the last meeting had Grenfell and Covid-19 on the agenda.

NICE

Linda Wade (Liberal Democrat, Earl’s Court Ward)

Arguably one of RBKC’s hardest working councillors. Cllr Wade has canpaigned relentlessly for years for her local Earl’s Court area and the residents living there. She has steered the Covid-19 voluntary efforts in her community and goes above and beyond to help people in need. Her work has gone beyond Earl’s Court and she has helped many other residents living far and wide elsewhere in the borough. As well as that, she has also been very supportive to North Kensington residents affected by Grenfell, so we say a massive thank you to Linda Wade and we just wish there were more exceptional councillors like her.

Ian Henderson (Labour, Colville Ward)

As well as being an outstanding and inspirational campaigner who has worked hard and helped to save Chelsea’s Sutton Estate, Cllr Henderson has also been outstanding in his volunteering work and not just volunteering for the Covid-19 mutual aid – and not just in and around his ward. He, alongside his fellow Colville councillors Nadia Nail and Monica Press coordinated a lot of the donations for the council’s hubs and we thank them for this too.

Cllr Henderson has also campaigned for years to save the Royal Brompton Hospital and even though the acquisition deal is set to go ahead unless the Government intervenes ,  he is still campaigning on this, is calling for an inquiry into the Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust and he has also highlighted the issue to others in the borough who were unaware of this scandal. A more than well deserved present from us goes to him

Robert Freeman (Conservative, Campden Ward)

If there is a councillor who deserves a prize for years of thoughtful intelligent contributions, questioning and scrutiny, it has to be Cllr Robert Freeman.

He is also another councillor who has highlighted the Royal Brompton hospital issue for years. His work in council committees has been outstanding and he has also contributed in his local Kensington communty – many of his Campden Ward constituents always have good words to say for him. Our blog might not always see eye to eye with many of the Conservative councillors but he is one of the decent and honourable ones – so we say a big thank you to Cllr Freeman whose place on our nice list is truly deserved.

Portia Thaxter (Labour, St Helen’s Ward)

Cllr Thaxter is well known for her outstanding voluntary work in the North Kensington community – especially her efforts with the North Kensington food bank and with residents affected hy Grenfell, plus has impressed many of her St Helen’s Ward constituents with her commitment and sheer hard work.

Portia Thaxter is what we would call a real community councillor who is much more of a North Kensington grassroots politician than a Town Hall based one, and has been an absolute breath of fresh air, as well as also being one of the kindest and most sincere councillors we know, so she more than deserves this present ftom us .

Special mentions have to go to a few others :

It is encouraging that RBKC is going ahead with much-needed works on residents (neglected for years and years by KCTMO) homes. But what is not so encouraging happens to be the scandalously huge bills Рof up to an eyewatering £30,000 that leaseholders are having to pay for this.

If it wasn’t for the progress in measures our council is taking to improve fire safety, Kim Taylor-Smith and Doug Goldring would be getting a lump of coal – but we recognise that they have made some – not many but some – positive changes however so not this time.

We are also not pleased about the lack of information shared with residents over works that will be taking place this coming year. All residents received was a letter informing them of a meeting to discuss these two days ago, and if they missed this meeting – tough, because all the council papers actually say is “major works” Well major works to what exactly what in people’s homes some may ask? That is vague at best. If we knew exactly which suit was responsible for this appallingly poor communication with residents being kept in the dark as to what exactly will be done to their homes, they would be receiving a lump of coal too

As for almost-nice , a special mention has to go to Cllr Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding. No, we haven’t gone bananas but we think he is the most improved councillor- we haven’t exactly been his biggest fans in the past – but this year he has helped out in his Earl’s Court Ward with raising money for the community , as seen here outside St Cuthbert’s Church some months back.

Cllr Spalding has spoken well and put in some research on the issue of holiday and short term lettings – something which affects many residents, especially in Earl’s Court, Kensington and South Kensington . Also his performance at the Royal Brompton meeting and his questioning of the acquisition/merger/sell off was a highlight for us.

So do keep up this good work Cllr Spalding, and you’ll make our “nice” list next time round!

A final special mention has to go to most of our North Kensington councillors, especially those with a lot of challenging casework and whose constituents are affected by Grenfell and are still waiting for justice.

Our thoughts at the time of year especially go out to the Grenfell survivors, the bereaved and members of our community. We are also thinking of people affected by Covid-19 and other residents who will be spending Christmas alone due to the restrictions.

Our best Christmas wishes go out to all our friends, relatives and supporters of our blog (too many to name here but you know who you are!) who have helped get us through these crazy crazy times.

We wish everyone – yes everyone, even those on our naughty list ! – a Merry Christmas and leave you with our version of the 12 Days of Christmas – RBKC style. As we remind our council that over three and a half years on, our residents are still waiting for that much-promised culture change. Perhaps we’ll get it after the New Year? Let’s hope so…

ūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄūüéĄ

Grenfell affected residents banned from questioning RBKC Grenfell Recovery policy

This is North Korea….whoops sorry we mean North Kensington, where the regime bans local residents from making points or asking questions in a meeting which is supposed to partly be about what is happening in their own community.

Grenfell Recovery is on the agenda for tonight’s RBKC public online Leadership Team (Cabinet) meeting and the meeting is happening now, but local residents are not allowed to participate. There is only the video link provided to watch…

The meeting is going on now and here are the details:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/committees/Meetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/669/Meeting/8366/Committee/1593/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

But THINKers are not masochists and we really don’t want to sit through and watch a self- congratulatory back slapping exercise by our council, so we’re giving this a miss.

RBKC have achieved very little in our community with regards to Grenfell Recovery as far as we can see. We could be here forever going through a list of the failures but we’ll just briefly touch on just a couple:

Many people in our local community have been completely forgotten about and are still being forgotten.RBKC’s idea of Grenfell Recovery seems to not even acknowledge the existence of older residents, or residents without dependent children.

They also seem to think that people outside large estates don’t exist too.

Well, since Dizzy Lizzy and most of her .Cabinet barely know and hardly ever visit North Kensington, let us tell them that there are very many of these residents who are affected by Grenfell living here.

Apparently Grenfell legacy funds will be allocated by RBKC according to the size of estates. Well where does that leave others who do not live in estates? . Some residents live in council housing in smaller blocks and street properties and have been through hell with the TMO are still going through hell – and the only thing they will get from the “wonderful council” that partly gave us Grenfell will likely be a slap in the face.

What about affected others in our community? Some live in housing association-owned social housing others live in private accommodation, – presumably they have been forgotten about too . Whatever the case, it appears they are not allowed a say in the matter.

Here’s what the Notting Dale Residents Advisory Board sent us :

When will RBKC listen? When will they learn?

But tonight’s meeting is not just about Grenfell Recovery. It’s about Covid-19 as well. And guess what? Residents have been barred from asking questions on this too So this censorship of our citizens goes much further than North Kensington – others in the borough have also been gagged . What is our council scared of?

As much as Dizzy Lizzy and RBKC like to spend on PR and pretend they are a caring council , their preventing residents from fully participating in a Leadership Meeting with Grenfell and Covid-19 on the agenda says it all; it says they do not care one bit about Grenfell affected residents – as well as the elderly, the poor, the sick and the vulnerable – shame on them.

RBKC Scrutiny review of Housing Safety and Healthy Homes – have your say

The RBKC¬† Housing and Communities¬† Select Committtee has set up a Working Group on Housing Safety and Healthy Homes and they are asking for residents’ views on what the review should focus on.


Have your say here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-councillors-and-democracy/open-data-and-transparency/review-housing-safety-and-healthy-homes

Residents have until 11:59pm on this  Sunday, the 6th December to respond.



Now THINKers will just briefly have our say:

We are concerned that a number of our social housing residents are living in unsuitable accommodation partly because of the shortage of ground floor and accessible flats and partly because housing allocations and points are in serious need of a review.

Residents ages ago were told that the council would  review housing allocation points  but we have yet to see or hear anything of this.

Just in case some housing department suits have a rehearsed answer to this and say¬†it is already council policy and long has been to prioritise ground floor flats for the elderly, sick and disabled, perhaps they could answer then as to why people are still getting unacceptable “final offers”¬† .¬† Here is just one¬† example of that; in¬† one small¬†¬† block¬† , a ground floor flat was given to a single¬† able-bodied resident in their 20’s, but a top floor flat only accessible by several flights of stairs was offered to an elderly man who could barely walk and came to the viewing on a council minibus.

Also it has to be said that there are some  residents  who are living in  unsuitable accommodation  but are putting up with it because they are terrified of being moved away fron their local area and the borough or indeed London altogether.

Some permanent council accommodation   itself is  unhealthy and unsafe to begin with, but  residents who are saddled with it do not receive much in the way of help.    Look at the way that North Kensington mother of two young children,  Chloe Williams was treated by RBKC Housing last year. See our post from back then here:

/https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/stand-with-chloe-and-stop-the-eviction-protest-at-kensington-town-hall-this-evening/


Ms Williams¬† was given the “choice” of living with rats, mice and cockroaches or being moved to the other side of London – completely¬† unacceptable.

RBKC Housing also seem to think it is acceptable to not¬† bother to move one of us away from a neighbour who has been violent¬†and a flat which is in poor condition and¬† has been for a number of years¬† ( the flat¬†was given to her as¬† a final “offer” – take it or be homeless )
See our previous post for more on that  here РLINK

In many cases, calls for help and support have fallen on deaf ears.  Here is an excerpt from a post from us last year in which North Kensington resident spoke at a Full Council Meeting :

(full post here:
:https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-2-grenfell-committee-gets-the-chop-as-dizzy-lizzy-and-rbkc-lose-their-heads-the-full-council-meeting/)

First of all she spoke about Adair Tower, a council block in North Kensington, the tragic double murder of two elderly residents there Back in May, the media frenzy afterwards (which reminded some of the days after Grenfell ) and RBKC failing to provide vulnerable residents there any form of support despite offucers being in full knowledge of the situation.


Thankfully Sue Duggins, chair of the newly formed RA there got in touch with the Grenfell NHS Outreach Team and they were on hand to provide much needed support to residents there who had been in need of it

RBKC did not respond until June and them dismissely said that it was a ‚ÄúPolice matter‚ÄĚ . No referrals to victim support

We‚Äôre sadly not surprised by this as RBKC has form over many years, of neglecting the needs of residents in social housing ‚Äď particularly those in North Kensington (we would be amazed however if Elizabeth ‚Äúnever been in a tower block‚ÄĚ Campbell actually had any clue where Adair Tower was).

Leearna : ‚ÄĚ I would therefore ask do the council have a policy in place regarding serious incidents that affect residents that has a reference to ensuring their mental and physical welfare is safeguarded? And if not, would you please seriously consider putting this in place as you seriously have a duty of care over your residents. And as this example demonstrates, you are dramatically failing in this ‚ÄĚ


But what response did  the Leader of RBKC,  Elizabeth Campbell  have  to the  points and questions Leearna made about Adair Tower then, some might wonder ? Shockingly, Cllr Campbell  did not bother to  respond  on this at all.

So please¬† forgive us –¬†even though while¬† there may be a few on the council who may he¬† approaching this with good intentions – if we are¬† still unconvinced that RBkC will ever really act upon the concerns and needs of our poorest and¬† most vulnerable residents.

And where is the record keeping? We hate¬†to repeat ourselves, but we won’t be changing the record until there are strict rules and guarantees that our housing staff keep full and up to date records on their residents and properties. After all, how can they effectively ensure the wellbeing of both residents and our homes if they are continuously¬† failing to keep these?


It is not healthy or safe for anyone to live¬† in¬† poor conditions and/or in fear of¬† their safety¬† but¬† obviously RBKC expects some of their council residents to…..



As to the new council¬† homes RBKC is building – which our blog welcomes of course, residents will be in for a VERY long wait if they ever hope to get moved to these, so it’s very silly and pointless for some ¬†councillors and suits¬† to keep pointing out¬† that they are building new homes (ready in several¬† years time) to¬†people who¬† need to move¬†ASAP.

It is also not exactly helpful to the mental¬† wellbeing of¬† many¬† residents in North Kensington – where most¬† of our borough’s social housing is –¬† when the council still fails to¬† acknowledge¬†(beyond a couple of estates and blocks) that many more¬† residents here are still very¬†traumatised by Grenfell.

The Committee Working Group will have six months to look into whether homes in the borough   are as safe and healthy as they should be Рand the  simple and obvious answer to that question  is no, they are not. 

While we are pleased that RBKC is now taking fire safety issues seriously, they are still continually  ignoring a whole lot of other problems facing some of our most vulnerable residents.

Some of us feel that¬† even¬† if the Housing Committee were to listen and make some positive recommendations,¬† in the end this all has to be approved by the Leadership – and¬† that non-response¬† from Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell ¬†¬† regarding Adair Tower speaks a thousand words as to how¬† important to some of those in charge, the wellbeing of residents in council housing REALLY is..

We have to say that knowing  from both some of our own experiences and those of others, we are  left with next to no confidence that any of this will ever lead to real change.

We’d¬† really like to be proved wrong, but¬†sadly we think the most likely council¬† response in the end will¬†only be loads more¬†expensive council publications and useless PR stunts with nothing ever really being done to¬†addresss these issues.

What a mess.


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…..

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?

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/05/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-1-the-build-up-and-the-showdown/

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 the Olympic Park area in East London .

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……..

RBKC Question Time : Any answers? Part 1: Elizabeth Campbell

We’re sorry to our readers for the month long delay due to technical and other issues with our blog in bringing you this. But here, as promised, is the first of our transcripts of “RBKC Question Time” regarding the council’s Covid-19 response. (And we also apologise for the questions not always being in the right order – not our fault!)

Here is the Question Time with Leader of our council, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell – alongside some commentary from us (and please forgive us for the very long post, but some things needed to be said)

Please also scroll down for some important and useful links

Question from Sue Duggins on how the council is communicating with residents who aren’t online

Dizzy Lizzy: ” Thank you to Sue for asking how the council is communicating with residents who aren’t online and Sue, if you live in North Kensington, you’ll receive North Ken News, if you live throughout the borough you’ll have received an issue of Our Borough which has a section on the Covid-19 response, but most importantly we sent this to everybody.

It’s a leaflet showing what advice and what support we can give you as a council. And on the back of it, it has all the contact numbers to call if you are not online. So we do hope everyone received it and the numbers are there for you to contact should you have any issues.”

We are glad that the council has put out these Covid-19 leaflets and thank them for this. It is good to see something helpful and useful come through our dooors – unlike the other council publications like the two that Dizzy Lizzy has mentioned – most of the content of which is usually RBKC PR.

Well quite a few residents have some issues with the council phone numbers as we have heard that that nobody is answering at times, or when they do, not always getting back to them. We hope Cllr Campbell and her colleagues can please look into this as soon as possible.

Question from Sue Duggins: Do you really believe that the council did enough, soon enough to help the elderly and vulnerable?

Dizzy Lizzy, “And I’d just like to say I think its been incredible what’s been achieved here in Kensington and Chelsea and not really just by the council, it’s been working together. So to give you an example, this week I was at the Venture Centre helping unload a lorry of food supplies, and the MP was there, Felicity Buchan, Labour councillors were there, Conservative councillors were there, volunteers were there and it’s a whole question of everybody coming together. It’s been the most extraordinary time and I really think that we’ve done our utmost with setting up a hub for the old and the vulnerable so people can call in, theu can tell us if they have vulnerable neighbours so we can help coordinate volunteers, and again, I’d just like to take my hat off to all our volunteers and to thank them very very much indeed”.

While we are grateful that the council has got the Covid-19 hub set up of course, THINK would “just like to say” that many local volunteers; residents , people on Nextdoor, community groups, faith groups, businesses amd charities have been working to help the community before council had the hub set up, have done outstanding work and still are.

Many of them have been a lifeline to many residents and especially those who do not fit rhe criteria for the council’s hub – some of whom are on only ¬£50 pee week benefit, some of whom are low paid workers, some of whom may usually work freelance or self employed and now have little to no means or income, some of whom are not in good health but still fall outside the council help ( the council Covid-19 hub criteria states “people with specific cancers” ) some of whom have mental health conditions but are not considered to be high priority, and all of whom are now facing real hardship.

It’s a shame that Dizzy Lizzy does not appear to want to thank and show some acknowledgement of all the other volunteers who have been helping so many in and around our community from day one so we will say a big THANK YOU to them from us here.

As for councillors helping out with the RBKC hub, we know that Cllr Ian Henderson and his fellow Colville councillors helped to organise that delivery that Dizzy Lizzy is referring to. Also we must say that while councillors on all sides have helped out, we have been disgusted to see Dizzy Lizzy put distasteful party political smears and spin on this as seen in our previous blog post here. For her efforts of going on LBC about the Labour Party (?!) our council “Leader’ really ought to be ashamed of herself.

Also with regards to the council’s Covid-19 hub, perhaps Dizzy Lizzy would care to explain why the council thinks that a former Labour councillor who left RBKC under a cloud (back in 2009) when she was under investigation for misappropriation of council funds, is a suitable person to be put in charge of a distribution hub for vulnerable people in North Kensington?

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/marianne-alapini-the-vulture-returns-to-a-new-low-at-grenfell/

Yes, Marianne “The Vulture” Alapini for some reason has been put in charge of the RBKC distribution hub for Area 1 (St Helens, Dalgarno and Golborne Wards). (She also apparently lied to get the position about her place of residence claiming to live in Oxford Gardens, North Kensington but in fact lives in St Luke’s Street, Chelsea.)

Below is another lie of Ms Alapini’s – an up to date screenshot of her Facebook page on which she still claims to be a councillor and even a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee – which didn’t exist until last year:

That decision just goes to show what a bunch of clueless idiots most of the council’s “community engagement” officers are, though Dizzy Lizzy ought to know better as she was on the council at the same time as Alapini and we also sent this information to a member of her “Leadership Team” – with no response and nothing being done at all.

We will also state that Ms Alapini is not on the other council distributing hubs and also that some residents in Area 1 are also very unhappy about her being there.

Question from Sue Duggins: Why is non-essential work being done in the community such as 5G?

Dizzy Lizzy; ” I’d just like to say the Government thinks that 5G is essential and if you tbink of all our businesses and people trying to work from home, it’s absolutely critical for them that they can get on the internet and they they have quick connections”

Question from Elizabeth Clarke: Do dogs need to be kept on a lead?

Dizzy Lizzy: “And the answer is yes please, we would like them to be kept on a lead because it helps people follow rules about social distancing”.

Question from Elizabeth Clarke: Can we pat other dogs?

Dizzy Lizzy: “And again the answer is please don’t because we’re really trying to enforce these rules on social distancing”

Question from Elizabeth Clarke: If you are in the park, can you sit on the benches?

Dizzy Lizzy : And the answer is of course you can if you’re elderly and you need to have a rest, but on the whole, please keep going because if you sit on the bench, you attract other people around you to chat and sun and again, we really are trying to observe the rules on social distancing. Can I end by saying a big thank you to all the residents who use the parks because we’ve managed to keep them open because everyone is doing their bit to obey the rules so thank you very much and we do intend to keep our parks open for a long as we possibly can.Thank you”

OK we are in agreement here so we’ll give Dizzy Lizzy a virtual pat on the head (for the dogs and parks answers anyway)

Unfortunately we do not know what the next question was as Clr Campbell does not actually say; all she says is “the next question from Burak Dik falls into the business portfolio” (???)

And here is her (sort of) “answer”

Dizzy Lizzy “And if you have any other questions about business support matters, do get in touch, and Catherine Faulks, who’s my Leadership Team member for that will get back to you. Burak, I’d jist like to say that this is an incredibly (sigh) difficult time for businesses Er – you will find details of the Government scheme on the business support web page on the Government website. Er – we can email you these details later, I tells you how to apply and who’s elgible- oh well- etc. and what to do. In addition the council is also putting in measures to support businesses and you’ll find those details on our website, and finally, if you don’t think you’re getting anywhere, you can call the Covid-19 hub with questions or you can email us”

That “answer” sounds rather like “don’t call us we’ll call you” to us. We think that Dizzy Lizzy ought to email this resident, apologise for not reading out their question and make an extra effort to personally answer their question.

Here for our local readers, are the links:

RBKC Covid-19 hub email:

C19Hub@rbkc.gov.uk

And the phone number (if you have plenty of time and patiemce)
020 7361 4326

The website says “lines are open 7 days a week from Monday – Sunday from 9am-5pm”

Government guidance and support for business and self-employed:

https://www.gov.uk/browse/business

RBKC support for businesses and the self-employed:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/council-services-and-disruption-updates/covid-19-support-businesses-and-self

Question from Aktharun Islam: Asking about rent and about council tax payments ( we didn’t get to hear what the exact question was) :

Dizzy Lizzy: “Aktharun, if you get in touch with the following numbers if you’re a council tenant they’ll be able to help you with questions about rent, and with regards to council tax, if you are already on our council tax reduction scheme, you’ll be eligible for an additional ¬£150 worth of support. If you’re not in our council tax reduction scheme, go to the website, have a look at the details there under the council tax reduction scheme and if that’s still not answering your quesions then phone up the Covid-19 hub”

RBKC Council tax reduction scheme:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-reduction

RBKC Covid-19 webpage Information, services and updates:
https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

THINK hope that some residents found the information and answers helpful anyway, and that everyone is staying safe amd keeping sane in this crisis.

We have two other RBKC Question Times coming up next with Kim Taylor-Smith amd Catherine Faulks, both of whom appear to have given questions some thought and put more effort into answering them – these are much better (even though clearly not all of us will be satisfied with the answers given either – but at least it is something).

We edited most of the “ohs” “ers” and sighing out but it was clear that Cllr Campbell found this very difficult at times (even with obvious help!) She would clearly rather talk about dogs in the park all day than fully discuss more important matters such as council tax, businesses and help for vulnerable residents (we’re also beginning to think she only turned up to unload that lorry when the cameras did).

However, we thank Cllr Campbell for at least taking part in this and send our biggest thanks to all the residents who submitted questions. RBKC Question Time should be a regular fixture on the council timetable in our opinion.