Grenfell, RBKC, KCTMO, our housing and a man with some information

Today, Module 3 of the Grenfell Inquiry hasΒ  begun and our thoughts have been with allΒ the survivors , the bereaved and affected residents in our North Kensington community.

. The Inquiry today heard opening statements from legal representatives of BSRs, as well as legal representatives from RBKC and from KCTMO. The video and the papers are at this link

Our blog has uncovered one man  who may have sone information to share with the Inquiry as well as information to share with others at the present RBKC Housing team. Meet John Parsons AKA  the mysterious “John P” as featured in our previous blog post about some RBKC suits here


Most of us – including some senior RBKC councillors – have never heard of John Parsons. He has been here for 20 years, starting at KCTMO as a Landscape Surveyor, working his way up to Property Systems Analyst before becoming Technical Services Manager at the discredited KCTMO, and then at RBKC Housing, where he still remains today.

Just in case anyone is still in the dark as to what Mr Parsons’ responsibilities were and still are, , we found this from the KCTMO Link magazine, back in September 2016 here:

That’s right, Mr Parsons was and is repsonsible for logging, keeping and managing data on all RBKC and former TMO housing stock and has been so for at least the past TEN YEARS.

So we hope that Mr Parsons is called to the Grenfell Inquiry in this module to share what information he may have about the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower and the acrions  and inactions of both RBKC and KCTMO during that time. 

So far, the only mention of  evidence from Mr Parsons at the Grenfell Inquiry  we have found have  been these emails from Phase 1: 

So many questions  go through our minds , especially because it appears from what we have heard so far at the Grenfell Inquiry  that there  wasn’t a particularly “sophisticated ” location mapping system in place  when the KCTMO was responsible for the management of Grenfell Tower. 

We do have to state that our blog is obviously aware that the  responsibility for logging conditions of properties and refurbishments falls on the shoulders of more than just one person.

However we have noticed even inΒ  thatΒ  little KCTMO Link article that a coupleΒ  ofΒ  things Mr Parsons says there aren’tΒ  true . For example there were no regular electrical checks onΒ  most of the KCTMO propertiesΒ  they were managing at that time. In fact, RBKC only started having regular electrical checks on properties a couple of years ago . And residents havingΒ  Β “new kitchens and bathrooms” is a lie too. Maybe someone was feeding Mr Parsons false information?Β  Or maybe there was a whole chain of wrong information?

So with regards to Grenfell, we have so many questions……..

Β Getting to the bottom of everything that happened at GrenfellΒ  of course,Β  is the job of the Inquiry and not us,Β  but we do have sone other questions that we want to put to Kim Taylor-Smith, RBKC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Grenfell and Housing and RBKC Director of Housing Management Doug Goldring.Β 

Back in December 2017,  at the first meeting of the Tenants Consultative Commitee since it was reinstated, Doug Goldring told residents that the council was going to  undertake an assessment of all their housing stock, and that RBKC was “only just finding out ” what conditions properties were in. So we want to know what Mr Parsons, the man whose job it was to record this, knew all this time ? 

The fact that  what Mr Goldring  said to residents was basically an admission by the council that KCTMO did  not do a terribly good job of recording the conditions of our housing stock really begs the question ,why Mr Goldring and Cllr Taylor-Smith kept  a man who by the looks of things had failed to record this properly, in his post?

At a fairly recent meeting of the RBKC Housing and Communities Committee, Cllr Robert Freeman asked Mr Goldring to guarantee that the council would not return to the “bad old days of the TMO” – because not all residents- including us- are convinced that our council has moved forwards; we think their decision to retain the services ofΒ  Mr Parsons is rather questionable – retaining the setivices of a senior KCTMO employee who appears to have serious questions to answer about Grenfell Tower as well as questions to answer with regards to what he did or did not know or report about conditions of neglected housing stock hardly demonstrates a break from the troubled past…

We really hope to get answers on this and  are deeply disturbed by the lack of openness from our council As far as we know Mr Parsons has not been before the Housing Committee once

So we will see what happens and wait for answers, as well as ask Kim Taylor-Smith and Doug Goldring and others at RBKC to give the reassurance that the housing management under  RBKC is different to that of KCTMO , to be more open with us and provide  answers to our questions.

Our community lost 72 innocent people in Grenfell Tower and we deserve to know the truth, as well as to know that RBKC is not managing (or mismanaging) our homes the same way the KCTMO did. Some proposed new changes to RBKC tenancy agreements (coming soon on this blog ) seem to do a lot of  finger pointing at residents and throwing responsibilities on to them , but many of us feel that the council ought  to get its own house in order first

RBKC Housing Residents Summit this evening and tomorrow – but THINKers are in no mood for fun

RBKC “Alternative” Residents Summit

First of all we have the news that – yes some suit has FINALLY seen it fit to get into contact with our blog from RBKC Community/ Resident Investment/Engagement (whatever they call it these days – still same thing) and notify us of an upcoming event which starts this evening. So we will say a big thank you to whichever suit sent this and now THINKers will do our job and publicise, so here goes (plus some extra commentary from us of course):

“The Alternative Residents Summit”

“Despite the restrictions of lockdown we can still enjoy a little light relief. We would like to invite all residents to join us at our Alternative Residents’ Summit, which due to lockdown restrictions, we will hold online this year. Plans are well underway for what promises to be an interesting, interactive and fun event that we are sure you will enjoy”.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20TH 6:30pm – 8pm

“Grab a seat on your sofa for a quiz and virtual tour of the borough. Landmarks, hidden gems and a few stories of life in the borough in bygone days”

Residents can join via Zoom on this link: HERE


“Learn who does what in Housing Management”

“Award winning food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe joins us to discuss the challenges this year poses, and we’ll have a panel discussion and cookery competition.

(For more information on the cookery competition (subject to change) , please contact )

Residents can join via Zoom on this link HERE:

Well we hope other residents do enjoy these events and find them useful, but some of us are certainly in no mood for this.

As to learning who does what in housing management, perhaps RBKC would like to hurry up and answer this long overdue Freedom Of Information request that one of us sent:

This FOI request was sent back in April – the law states they must respond within 20 working days. All our Editor received back was an acknowledgement they received it and they said they would respond by May – liars. She requested an internal review back in July; also ignored by RBKC. We could ask why these very simple questions are being ignored – but we just wish our council would pull their socks up and provide us with an answer, please.

As for our housing services, THINK are not so sure that VIP guest – food writer and social campaigner Jack Monroe will be too impressed when she hears about some of the conditions that some of RBKC’s council housing residents are expected to live in (after all, they’ll be no cooking for one of us when the council refuses to replace to replace old rotting kitchen cupboards which have gaps and holes in them) plus a number of other more serious issues.

We are also concerned about the proposed changes to tenancy agreements; we believe these need a serious overhaul if RBKC really wants to commit to positive change and improved relations and communications with its tenants and leaseholders post Grenfell.

So our blog will go through some of these and also go into part of the ordeal that one of us has had to put up with by way of explanation in some parts; so we hope others can forgive us for not being in the mood to “party”…..

Proposed changes to RBKC Tenancy Agreements: A THINKer’s view

First of all this:

In fact only a SMALL NUMBER of RBKC social housing residents were consulted about these proposed changes. Certainly some of us weren’t. See this post of ours again:

It is certainly not a fair process of consultation if residents belonging to the TCC (Tenants Consultative Committee) Homes group were not thought worthy of inclusion in the process by the council at all and even more unfair and disproportional when a far larger number of residents in council housing have not even been made aware that the TCC exists.

Next, there’s this:

What is this “Tenant’s Handbook” ? Most of us don’t have one and many of us have never even heard of it. Moreover, why does this have to be separate fron the agreement anyway? Putting out various separate documents/booklets etc. all relating to what amounts to the same thing only causes confusion.

As for repairs caused by neglect or damage, we think this more than reeks of blaming tenants for the council’s neglect. Those rotten kitchen cupboards that one of us has were provided by the council!

This resident has been desperately asking to move (more on that later), will not spend money they do not have on a property they are desperate to leave and does not know the first thing about DIY anyhow (if RBKC encourages complete novices to fit kitchen cupboards they really will end up with tenants causing damages to council properties by the way). Nearly six years ago when that tenant was forced to take this property (a final “offer” – in fact it was the only offer of housing and not really an offer – more “accept this or you’ll make yourself homeless and we will never house you”), the council refused to fix most of the problems. RBKC/KCTMO’s work can be shoddy at times to say the least ; just look at these tiles protruding from a kitchen wall and the gap (which again RBKC have refused to fix):

RBKC also gave the same tenant a bathtub with a hole in – which rather than bother to replace, had just been filled in!

We understand that a very small minority of tenants may have caused harm to their properties but that is in many cases difficult if not impossible to measure properly who has damaged what and when because RBKC themselves in conjuction with KCTMO, have poorly maintained and in some cases, severely neglected quite a lot of their housing stock over a number of years – especially properties that were earmarked by the council for regeneration or potential regeneration and also a certain number of street properties.

There is also a monumental failure on the part of this council to keep full up to date records on the conditions of properties as well as on tenants.

It’s not only “Catastrophe Claire” Williams’ records and notes that appear to have ended up in the bin…..

Here’s another page, we don’t disagree with or object to these rules of course, but just have a look:

What we object to is the format and the tone of it – eg. “You have to do this, you cannot do that”. There are only a couple of paragraphs on the agreement relating to the council’s responsibilities – and it doesn’t go far enough in our view. This format of the tenancy agreement and most of the wording of it remains COMPLETELY UNCHANGED since the TMO days.

Look, we are very pleased that the council is really taking fire safety seriously, we also very much highly welcome and applaud the decision made by RBKC some time back to restore lifetime tenancies – these are excellent and positive changes. But we believe that they must break firmly with the KCTMO past and they must start again with the tenancy agreements – and, by consulting ALL tenants and leaseholders.

We strongly suggest they change the format and wording – so in part 1 – with rules and conditions – is “what we expect from you ” and part 2 of same agreement is “what you can expect from us”.

So what should tenants and leaseholders expect from RBKC, some may ask?

Well, we would expect to see a condition on all housing staff and repair staff to keep full records of conditions of properties and needs of tenants – because they don’t – and there appears to be no condition that they do . See this:

What about the vulnerable? The ill, the disabled and the elderly? We believe that these chronic failures of RBKC/KCTMO to keep up to date records and documents puts the wellbeing of these residents at risk. Council housing management should not purely be just about properties and finances after all

We also expect tenants to be protected from violence and threats. RBKC have proposed this:

But this isn’t good enough. It does nothing to fully address needs of safety of residents if it is not properly enforced and if the council will not fully commit to moving tenants who have been subject to violence and/or threats away from problem neighbours.

The same tenant mentioned above, has also been a victim of violence in their block – from their downstairs neighbour (whose flat they have to go past every day) and also once (from druggies using the bin cupboards who punched said tenant’s front tooth out ) when the tenant went out to put their rubbish out in the cupboards late at night and accidentally happened to inadvertently interrupt these trespassers and their illegal activities.

The tenant is terrified and absolutely desperate to move. Kim Taylor-Snith and the housing officer responsible gave permission to move – but that’s it – no action taken to move her. Instead she is just told that she can bid under the system but has ZERO chance of being moved under that system as she is fairly young- ish, in good health and able-bodied and does not have many housing points.

RBKC just punishes this resident further and tells her she needs to go to the doctor in order to stand a chance of having her housing points increased – ridiculous.

This tenant also lives right around the corner from Grenfell and is affected , but is not considered by RBKC to be eligible for the Local Lettings Policy- under which she might stand more chance of being rehoused – because she does not live in Lancaster West Estate, Treadgold House or Bramley House. So RBKC is making an already traumatised resident (who lives nearer to Grenfell Tower than a few parts of Lancaster West) suffer even more by not accepting her case and other similar cases on this scheme.

There needs to be a guarantee that the council will act to move victims of violence immediately, otherwise the bleak prognosis is that the only way herself and others in a similar position will ever leave their living hell of a council home will be in a bodybag.

Lastly, THINK will reply to this below, as this was obviously proposed by council officers reacting to something we said on this blog:

Here is what one breach of data protection by housing officers towards ourselves was: Housing staff used our blog email and passed that email address along with one of our personal details to other departments without our knowledge or consent. Our Editor was contacted by RBKC Electoral Services via our blog email. She did not hand these contact details to them, she is on the electoral register anyway of course, but the point is, neither she or the blog consented to this and that is the email addresss for the blog and NOT for our personal details to be used and shared freely – for electoral registration or not – and certainly not for the council to pass around; completely unacceptable

Anyway, we will end by wishing all at the events a happy weekend .

Grenfell Inquiry: “Catastrophe Claire” Williams, binned diaries, lies and revelations

Last month, Claire Williams, KCTMO’s Project Manager for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, admitted to the Grenfell Inquiry that she had binned evidence – notebooks and diaries despite being in full knowledge of the Inquiry and Police investigation. This binning of vital evidence was done when she left in May 2018 – nearly a year after the fire. We are beyond appalled and hope that necessary action is taken against her.

THINKers had never met Claire Williams, but sonehow her name rang a bell with us from some time before, so we thought to have a good look through our thousands of pictures and screenshots the other day and we found this, taken from the TMO Link Magazine back in 2016:

No, that PR exercise certainly does not fill in the blanks at all, but it does mention Claire Williams saying “I update my notes to ensure that all progress is recorded ” What a pity then, after making such a point about her notes she decided to bin them later on.

Anyone having a look at Catastrophe Claire’s background might note that before she came to KCTMO, she was at Circle Housing. Yes, that is Circle Housing Group the failed former housing association who owned and managed over 60,000 homes and ended up, a few years after Ms Williams left for KCTMO, becoming best known for being put on notice by the HCA for leaving vulnerable tenants and leaseholders in dangerous conditions as a result of their failure to repair and maintain properties. Inside Housing had some insight into this here:

“Circle of Despair”

Even though she left Circle before then (rats and sinking ships do come to mind), many of our North Kensington social housing residents have also been through a ‘circle of despair” as well as death and destruction – partly because of Claire and some of her KCTMO management colleagues.

Back to the Inquiry and this, reported in Construction News , can leave nobody in doubt as to how out of touch and dishonest Williams is:

Richard Millett, counsel for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, highlighted a message sent by client Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation’s (TMO) project manager Claire Williams to colleagues on the morning of 14 June 2017, while the tower was still ablaze. The email had attachments of progress-meeting minutes and building-site inspections on topics relating to the refurbishment work.

Counsel for the inquiry Richard Millett said Williams gave no β€œsuggestion of surprise or shock that the building was burning” in her message. She had previously told the inquiry that she was assured by Rydon contracts manager Simon Lawrence that the cladding was inert and would not burn, something Lawrence denied when he gave evidence. Williams also told the inquiry that Lawrence’s claim about the cladding was minuted, but no such evidence has been found.

Catastrophe Claire the Bin Lady

She also burst into tears at one point.It was obvious that the tears were for herself feeling the pressure under questioning and for her reputation which, like her notes, has ended up in the bin – rather than for the innocent residents of Grenfell Tower . Here is what the brilliant Peter Apps of Inside Housing live Tweeted at the time:

“Catastrophe Claire ” certainly does not deserve an Oscar for that unconvincing performance , but she definitely more than qualifies for one of our awards….

So for her apparent lack of conscience, the outright nerve to fly in the face of an Inquiry into a disaster ( that happened partly under her watch and claimed the lives of 72 residents) by choosing to dispose of crucial evidence, for her lies, incompetence and insincerity , and also for her unconvincing performance under questioning at the Inquiry, THINK proudly present Claire Williams with a very well-deserved Piglet-Pie Award:

As for Claire the Bin Lady’s diaries , if getting rid of evidence isn’t perverting the course of justice, we don’t know what is, but as some of the “boys and girls in blue” do read our blog, and the last individual we pointed the finger at for perverting the course of justice with regards to disposing of Grenfell Inquiry evidence has been arrested on this charge; she might expect a knock at the door sometime soon – the next “afternoon with Claire Williams” could well be spent in a Police interview room .

But KCTMO is only one part of it and this week Module Two has continued and Celotex have been appearing at the Inquiry. Here is the latest horrific revelation from yesterday regarding former Celotex manager Jonathan Roper alleging that his former firm , a subsidiary of Saint Gobain rigged the fire safety tests of the combustible insulation and that his former bosses encouraged him to lie about its safety for commercial gain:—68619


We have more on Celotex, plus others coming up. Our blog may have taken a short break but for obvious reasons, all this has certainly been the furthest thing from a holiday.

Protest this Thursday

This Thursday the 19th of November , there will be a protest outside the Grenfell Inquiry, Bishops Bridge Road (near Paddington Station) from 11:30am to 1pm. Do join us if you can and show your support for the bereaved, the survivors and the North Kensington community.

TMO AGM tomorrow: Watch out for snakes in the grass

Tomorrow, (what is left of) KCTMO, AKA Kensington and Chelsea’s Terrible Mismanagement Organisation, is holding its AGM at 6:30 pm tomorrow, Tuesday 17th of November via Zoom:

Just in case not all resident members have received their details by post for tomorrow’s online meeting, which people have to register to attend beforehand , we thought we would be of some help and pass on the email to our felkow residents for last minute registration . Register for attendance with dodgy Mi-Voice by 2pm tomorrow, Tuesday 17th November at this email here:

www.www.mi-nomination com/kctmoagm

Also likely to attend will be a certain resident who pretends to be a friend to our communities in the borough but actually appears to be pals with equally dodgy KCTMO Company Secretary Kerry Tromanhauser!

Otherwise why would this resident have become very angry and threatening to our Editor last Winter and demand that she remove this blog post of ours from last year?

But THINKers do not stand for anyone bullying us, let alone this snake in the grass, so last October’s blog post stays put and we might just happen to give this community traitor something of a taste of their own medicine…..

Some may wonder why are we bringing this up now, but wonder no more because we can reveal that part of this meeting will be to announce the new members of the KCTMO board and we’re concerned about who might be in these positions. See this brief for candidates, which was sent out to only few residents for some reason but certainly wasn’t sent to us, nor the vast majority of resident members – but somehow “accidentally” fell into our lap:

For obvious Grenfell and Inquiry reasons, this would rule out most resident members from our part of North Kensington but surprise surprise, the KCTMO bosses clearly don’t believe in a fair process and don’t want most resident members to know – why else would only a select few receive this?

As the tagline for our blog indicates, we are normally loathe to name and shame residents unless there is very good reason for doing so, so we won’t for now anyway; unless this resident just happens to get on the KCTMO board, which of course will give our blog more than very good reason for doing so…..

So let’s see if Mr Tromanhauser’s BFF decides to pop their head up at the AGM. Tomorrow evening might get quite heated if they do….

Grenfell and our community: 3 years and 4 months on (and some words from us)

Warning: This blog post contains references to Grenfell, descriptions of trauma and grief and may be distressing for some to read.

Yesterday, the 14th of October was 3 years and 4 months since our community lost 72 residents in the fire at Grenfell Tower. Sometimes silence speaks volumes, but yesterday the Grenfell Silent Walk was cancelled, so this THINKer did their own private Silent Walk around North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove late last night.

Now it is time for us to have a few words:

Last weekend, some of us were party to a very unpleasant social media row with some sections of our community lashing out at each other. This was highly upsetting for us, not least because a few of the accusations were groundless and some were very discriminatory against some others. We were shocked, but we will not further discuss exactly what we saw or heard some say.

Instead, we point out North Kensington has long been a mixed multicultural comnunity and most of us residents, regardless of ethnicity, skin colour, cultural background , have long lived together, mostly in unity.

Residents of North Kensington, have however, bren in the past, ignored, treated badly and yes, at times, discriminated against – and that has been the experience of many people in social housing, by people in community groups – and particularly felt by various black, mixed and other non-white residents.

However, these people making the remarks that we refer to specifically here, had also in the past, experienced some similar discrimination themselves from some of those in charge of us, whose actions in exhibiting deep prejudices resulted in disrepect of and neglect of people of various ethnicities and cultural and community groups locally.

So we will say to the few people who shocked us with some discriminatory comments and the row on WhatsApp at the weekend, we do not think they all meant to offend,- but upset and offend some others they did. If some are still feeling neglected and that the authorities are still not listening, please, please make your volce heard positively and not by lashing out at others whom you may feel have been favoured above you .. We are mostly residents of North Kensington or nearby and it is wrong to blame someone else or other groups (some of whom have faced real levels of discrimination themselves) for being ignored. Please point fingers in the right direction and let’s supoort and encourage others positively. As Joe Delaney says ; “punch upwards and not sideways”.

We can never forget what the neglect of our comnunity resulted in – the worst possible outcome – Grenfell. We cannot allow anyrhing ever like this to happen again, we must support each other; and we have to say thay if people are too busy infighting, they could taking their own and others’ attention (such as ours) from other serious matters, or else from doing postive and meaningful activities in and around the community and prevent efforts from some of us to hold people who were partly responsible for some of the situations those who are suffering find themselves in, to account..

The vast majority of us in North Kensington can firmly agree (even some of those on his own side) that we do not want the likes of another Rock Feilding-Mellen and his ideas, policies and ignorance of our community back ever again.

Next we are going to talk very briefly about the Inquiry – or rather the effects of some of the revelations that have come out of it, and for some, reliving Grenfell, the former administration at RBKC and KCTMO – the effect of this on people’s mental wellbeing

Maybe some of the people who made comments and accusations agaimst others we referred to earlier were not feeling well? So we will not name and shame and say where exactly these came from. But THINKers were left very shaken by seeing and hearing some of the exchanges.

Personally speaking, for some of us, sleep deprivation and night terrors that we had hoped some time back were gone have returned and many others have felt the same. Others with long-term mental health conditioms have seen them return.

This will go on and take a further toll on some. We must be mindful of ourselves, family, friends and others in the community around us. Sometimes its fine to sit things out or take some time off. Some who may not be in their right minds may behave strangely. Support them, see if they need anything and do not hurt or push them away.

Also some people will want to talk about Grenfell and others will not. Sometimes it’s important to stop pushing discussion when some are not in the mind for it.

Some will want to discuss the Inquiry, RBKC and the TMO and others not at all – and some, like us, feel both ways at different times.

Of course, conversations are not always like our blog posts, that people can either take or leave, choose to read or not. But this is a real problem on social media.

Most of our blog social media is still out of order and we have no immediate desire to get it back working again very soon. This THINKer greatly misses all her friends on there, but cannot handle being drawn into discussions that will cause upset or further trauma at times.

Also social media exchanges with strangers who are unfamilar with our community can be very draining; especially when there are a number of trolls who appear to delight in upsetting and causing offence to those of us affected by Grenfell. We do not encourage too much use of Twitter and Facebook and chat groups that do not include friemds and acquaintances for that reason, though obviously Covid-19 and socially isolating and distancing does push people to lean on social media more.

We ask others who are largely unfamilar with North Kensington and Grenfell to be mindful of our community and our suffering and trauma and to please think very carefully about posting and the potential implications of hurtful or ignorant posts and trolling affected people . We recommend that these people follow what has happemed at the Grenfell Inquiry, read related articles and blog posts about Grenfell which come from the community and those who know us, and listen to what the survivors, the bereaved and North Kensington affected residents have to say very carefully before approaching our traumatised residents and their friends and relatives on these forums.

Now in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic, we very likely face further lockdown measures in London . This has already been an extremely stressful time for most; for those who are ill or clinically vulnerable; for those who are anxious about Coronavirus itself and possibility of getting it; for those who helping the vulnerable and ill; for those who are mentally ill; for those who are alone; for those who miss their family and friends and are worried for their wellbeing; for those who are financially struggling; for those in small businesses and the self employed who face unprecedented financial hardship; and of course for all of us in North Kensington and nearby who are already going through a very tough time.

There is lots in media and public discussion about looking out for vulnerable groups, and that is important, but we do have to mention that not everyone who is suffering will show it, will reach out or will readily accept help, and also that offering general prescriptive “one size.fits all” advice and help , is not necessarily the right or appropriate thing for everyone and can be taken badly in some cases. Sometimes all someone might need is a comfortable chat with friends or family and to feel some sense of reassurance.

The other thing we will mention is that while many will be looking out for the old and the young, sadly many of the people who get completely forgotten about are middle aged people – and sadly a number of local residents who have tragically taken their own lives have been in their 40s or 50s.

So we think its important to consider EVERYONE and will also look for the people that we are not seeing or hearing from.

It’s good to remember that while we are all different, in North Kensington, this wonderful diverse and vibrant community, many of us here do still feel that there is more that unites us than divides us.

There are tough times ahead, but hopefully we can get through this together.

Finally, regarding Grenfell and something else that upset us recently and our thoughts on this. Next to some Grenfell graffiti, Malton Road, just off Ladbroke Grove, (by the Westway and near the Sainsbury’s) some insensitive and ignorant person or persons has graffitied “Move on”

Honestly we would like to tell this person or persons to “move on” and out of here if they cannot show some consideration and empathy for the community around them, but instead we will try to explain :

Unfortunately we are familiar with a few people (mostly not from our locality) saying this as well as “get over it” .

For those who are fortunate to not know,: “Losing a family member, spouse, neighbour or friend in such circumstances is not some short-term flimsy relationship break-up that people “get over” or have to let go to “move on” – you do not with grief – you “move through” stages and feelings but never forget and neither should you.

Losing a close relative or spouse to some often feels like a part of you is missing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with holding on to fond and treasured memories and keeping thse memories alive. These memories are part of who some of us are.

Now, imagine losing your home, your family, your friends, your neighbours far too early in this sudden entirely preventable disaster that should never ever have happened. Imagine seeing this happen, the fire and/or the aftermath right in front of you, where you live. Bad memories like this are sadly part of who some of us are; they have shaped how some of us see things, so saying “let go” or “get over it” will not stop people feeling like this – in fact it makes it worse.

For most this would be imagining the unimaginable , but this is what many locals have gone and are going through; this is the reality of our situation.

Time is a healer and people do recover from raw trauma and grief of course but some people take more time to heal than others, some are gradually moving through and are still coming to terms with this. and some feel they cannot move forward with their lives until they get answers and justice for their loved ones . “

So we ask for everyone to reflect on their actions and behaviour and thoughts, as we are doing so ourselves; we ask for the 72 innocent members of our community to be remembered and for those who do not understand to remember that we are in such a situation – as described above – and they are not.

We ask that the survivors, bereaved and the North Kensington community are respected and so too, are the memories of those who are no longer with us.








“Guilt by Association” #1: Network Homes

Part 1 of our “Guilt by Association” series of posts on housing associations

Meet Helen Evans, she is the Chair of the G15 group (the biggest group of housing associations) and is best known as Chair of Network Homes, which is one of London’s biggest housing associations, managing over 20,000 homes and evolved from the Brent People’s Housing Association, that was formed in 1974.

Have a look at this (rather interesting) interview with her from Inside Housing:

But speaking of Grenfell, we spotted a detail from her past that has been missed. Maybe some of our eagle-eyed readers will have noticed….

Let’s have a look at Helen’s LinkedIn profile:

Oh dear, it seems Ms Evans does not want people to know about this piece of info. Here is part of an old article from the Kensington and Chelsea News:

That’s right – she was Chief Executive of KCTMO until 2009 when Robert “Mr Bean” Black took over the top job (and the less said about his “shake up”: the better sometimes – that’s for other blog posts, and we’re waiting for him to stumble at the Grenfell Inquiry again – but people can read the full article here ). Note the description even back then, of the KCTMO as the “troubled housing group ” . (And of course, we all know what happened afterwards – no “improving performances” there …)

While Ms Evans can be rest assured that the timeline puts her away from questions over Grenfell, we’re not so sure that a number of her tenants and leaseholders, notably some of those being housed in the Network homes flats in Walmer Road, North Kensington, right around the corner from Grenfell, will quite feel the same degree of assurance.

But what do other Network Homes tenants and leaseholders think of their housing and services received since Ms Evans has been in charge?

Not very much at all it seems. Have a look at some of these:

There were countless bad reviews – and Network Homes do seem to have some of their officers who are well versed in PR in giving responses.

But these are genuine complaints – with some pictures – on all forns of social media – going back over 6 years. And we really hope for everyone’s sake these issues have been fixed and resolved.

And from 2014, here is an example of some of disgraceful contractor Rydon’s work with Network Homes’ properties :

We could be here all day posting the complaints and bad reviews as there are so many, but we hope that Ms Evans and her colleagues seriously reconsider using Rydon to do their work again After all, we’re living with the much more serious and fatal consequences in North Kensington of some of the work that Rydon was involved in.

In the interview, Helen Evans describes herself as a “glass half empty person” well we do wonder how the residents who have to live under these conditions are feeling?

OK to be fair, also in the interview Ms Evans does seem to acknowledge that there are building issues involved in some cases but that doesn’t make any of this acceptable.

We ‘d also like to know whether Ms Evans jumped from KCTMO eleven years ago (long before our blog was on the scene), or was pushed?

So do we think Network Homes is the worst possible example of a housing association we have come across? No , sadly we have come across far worse – but we do think there are obviously issues to do with not responding adequately to residents and the standards of works done in their properties

.We say they are “guilty” of poor response times, poor standards of work done by their contractors and of neglect of duty to the wellbeing of residents by letting them live in poor conditions – not only from these examples but also from what others have told us in confidence

The trouble is, that while successive Governments (of all parties) have neglected social housing, many residents in either housing association owned or local authority properties can expect less than acceptable conditions and standards in services. The other trouble we find is that housing associations have become like ALMOs with complicated and sometimes out of touch management structures so it is hard to get answers and accountability .. Also housing associations are not legally requited to answer Freedom of Information requests from members the public.

Some residents in RBKC have long opposed a stock transfer of council properties to housing associations and others have favoured this – we say be careful what you wish for to people in the latter category; especially considering there is more of a focus on regeneration projects, “affordable housing” and shared ownership schemes fron the housing associations these days.

Network Homes may not have such a big record in the big regeneration projects as some other HA’s like Notting Hill Genesis or L & Q, but we wouldn’t be surprised if some HA bosses and their colleagues had their eye on parts of our borough. We also know that some other London councils do sell off their smaller blocks and street properties behind closed doors too. If some of our housing stock is deemed not to be up to scratch, or too costly to repair and/or maintain, we think this is likely what could happen here.

We have been told not to “scaremonger” about regeneration by the back door before, but we have reason to believe that certain consultancy firms – such as Campbell Tickell – involved with both the past RBKC administration -and with the present KCTMO management structure are here for the purpose of stock transfers or yet another ALMO to replace the TMO – after all, that is actually the business they are in. We don’t think they just stopped by for a chat and a cup of tea.

Some residents could happen to get to know Helen or some of her G15 HA colleagues a lot better; regardless of whether they want to or not…..

Grenfell Inquiry – and (yet another) someone who really does have some questions to answer

Mark Anderson

This is Mark Anderson. He was Director of Property Services at troubled ALMO East Kent Housing, (management of which is now back in the hands of four Kent councils) .

No we haven’t relocated to Kent, but it appears that Mr Anderson has a very questionable record over housing management to say the least.

He is due to appear at the Grenfell Inquiry today as he was the former Executive Director of Assets and Housing Management at KCTMO and partly responsible for decisions made over the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, including letting the contract to Studio E

Kent campaign group Shepway Vox report on their website that

From Grenfell onwards, wherever Mark Anderson has worked:

  • Circle Housing – Oct 2013 – Apr 2015

  • East Kent Housing – July 2016 – June 2019

There have been significant issues, be they fire safety, gas safety, repairs or tenant health & safety

While at Circle, the Regulator of Social Housing handed down a regulator judgement in Feb 2015 which stated:

  • the regulator’s inquiries demonstrated that there were chronic and long standing difficulties in the delivery of the repairs service to tenants in the London area covering 13,000 homes (Circle 33 and Old Ford Housing Association). In relation to Circle 33’s 8,000 homes over a period of three months, CA report that less than 20% of urgent and emergency repairs were completed on time and elsewhere less than 50%.

The Regulator went onto say in Feb 2015:

  • Taking all these matters into account, the regulator has concluded that there has been a breach of the Home Standard which has or may cause a serious detriment to tenants.

Mark was the man responsible for statutory compliance at Circle. As such, Mark was the man responsible for repairs, fire safety, gas safety, tenant health & safety; and two months later was ushered out of the


As for troubled East Kent Housing, Shepway Vox also reported last year about Anderson’s track record in housing management locally to them :

Issues of overcharging, gas safety certificates, electrical tests and asbestos issues have all contributed to his his downfall, as is clear from his responsibilities as portfolio holder. He was directly responsible for – capital works, cyclical decorations, building engineering services, estate services, planned maintenance, responsive repairs and statutory compliance functions.

According to the 2017/18 accounts his total remuneration including pension costs was Β£103,177. It is not yet known if Mr Anderson will receive any payout for the loss of his job

We now understand that managemnt of their housing – over 17,000 properties- has been transferred back to the four councils in Kent – Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Thanet District Council after this series of health and safety failings.

As for residents here, we will be waiting to see what Mr Anderson has to say for himself today over decisions taken when at KCTMO over Grenfell.

Sometimes the net of responsibility appears to be cast wider every time and it is difficult to see where the buck stops.

But it is beyond appalling that it takes people’s lives’ being put at risk, or worse in our case, the loss of 72 innocent residents for people to sit up, take notice and act, as well as fearless reporting and campaigning from campaign groups and residents groups and blogs- in this case Shepway Vox, and more locally to us, the Grenfell Action Group.

We also can’t help thinking about the wider questions to be asked about housing management and accountability structure, and such questions will be being asked by others elsewhere – mostly by the various people around the country whose housing is still being managed by various ALMOs.

THINK hope that issues and concerns raised by residents and staff are listened to, taken on board and acted upon, as we only know all too well, the unfortunate consequences of what happens if they are not.

Protest outside the Grenfell Inquiry tomorrow

“TM007 Licence to Kill” Poster seen in Bramley Road, North Kensington

Others struggling to cope with all the gloomy news concerning Covid-19, Lockdown, financial hardship etc, may want to spare a thought for some of us in North Kensington and all the recent revelations coming out of the Grenfell lnquiry on top of all this .

Sadly due to Covid-19 measures, most survivors and the bereaved and residents from the immediate community are not getting their chance to see in person at the Inquiry some of those individuals who were partly responsible. This is not likely to change in the present situation.

So we’re going to go and protest outside – keeping social distancing measures of course – while we still can. We want to look these people who contributed to our suffering in the eye, we want to make our voices heard and we want to stand together with others affected to show people we are still waiting for justice for the 72 and for answers and we’re not going anywhere.

Protest tomorrow Tuesday October the 13th

Fed up about all the revelations coming out of the Inquiry into the Grenfell fire?

Did you know that the TMO are on the stand this week?


Then come and join us to protest on Tuesday lunchtime in letting those responsible know that we’re still watching, won’t go away and will be heard!

“Business as usual” for the ex-TMO Kensal Road Mafia

While KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) may only now exist an an organisation for the purpose of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and while the “big bosses” at this discredited organisation which tenants actually had little to no say in managing, may no longer be there, much of the same practices still go on – these practices being, incompetence, officiousness, rudeness, bullying, neglect and showing little to no compassion for residents.

Anyone living in most of RBKC’s council housing north of Holland Park will have noticed NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL in the personnel based at Kensal Road and their particular way of working.

That is because our council kept the same TMO officers in their jobs without question. Some of these people must be absolutely delighted that regardless of whatever happens at the Grenfell Inquiry, they can carry on as normal – this even includes some officers who themselves were also individually responsible for neglecting and/or bullying residents living in Grenfell Tower.

Maybe RBKC do not care what happens to residents under some of these officers, when they are just allowed to carry on with TMO “business as usual” which includes :

– A tenant living without water in their bathroom because officers turned off the supply and won’t either turn it back on or instruct the tenant how to

– A tenant phoning to report a leak and be told that nobody will be there for a week and to put a bucket under an 1 inch space and when told there is no room, to “get a smaller bucket”

– Case notes for various residents including the most vulnerable, lost or never kept in the first place

– Tenants not being moved immediately from homes where they have been subject to violence from another tenant (and no action taken )

– Communal areas in flats constantly being broken into by drug addicts and no help from the council to secure them and no additional measures such as CCTV provided.

– Regular breaches of residents’ data protection by housing officers – email and phone numbers being passed to other council departments without residents’ consent or knowledge

And what about the state of the properties?

Because the trouble is, how does a local authority thoroughly check their properties when most of the officers fail to keep records on ANYTHING other than rent or leasehold charges owed and start and end dates of tenancies?

Some at RBKC may not care about the wellbeing of their social housing residents, but neglecting basic needs and living conditions will not make the problems go away. In fact, neglecting their tenants, leaseholders and properties will only cost more in the long term – and that could be a very expensive mistake indeed.

Does anyone know what happened to RBKC’s supposed stock taking exercise on the condition of all council properties? Because most residents outside large estates and big blocks have seen or heard nothing of this since Doug Goldring promised residents NEARLY THREE YEARS AGO.

We recommend that if Goldring and his colleagues are still undertaking this, they contact the residents directly, as so many housing officers in the north of the borough are still in their old TMO habits of not having proper records and of being unreliable at best.

We would also like to know what Goldring and what Kim Taylor-Smith plan to do to tackle this. This blog believes that they need to have a good clear out of staff based at Kensal Road pronto and an insistence that all officers keep case files and that regular checks are made.on these.

Otherwise promises to residents in our social housing of change since Grenfell are just hollow empty words that mean nothing. But we’re not going to hold our breath… After all, they’re not the people who can only take a “shower” with a kettle and a watering can are they?

More dirty tricks from the TMO

Yes, it’s our “old friends” those “lovely people” at Kensington and Chelsea Terrible Mismanagement Organisation again.

They have recently been in the act of contacting resident members with a letter notifying them that there will soon be another AGM planned (they have said around the second half of November, we’ll see..) and a form to fill in for members to update their details.

Here is a copy of the letter and form:

And here’s why we are suspicious:

1: They have most of the details of their members and also, most members have the TMO contact details and the TMO can be easily looked up online. If people need to update their details, why wouldn’t they do this voluntarily anyway? Why does this need to be some mass exercise by the organisation? Oh yes, because getting rid of lots of resident members would certainly help the management to get their own way and would obviously be of no benefit to anybody except those who have some serious questions to answer at the Inquiry.

2. Many resident members did not receive a form and letter. This does not appear to be just some simple admin mistake on their part because they do not have the updated details; members who have not heard from them just happen to “accidentally” include some very well known residents – including Samia Badani and Colville Labour Cllr Monica Press; both of whom have spoken out against the practices of the TMO before.

So if the organisation gets very few responses, we’re wondering if resident members will just be “accidentally” erased from the list.

3. The form also asks members if they wish to continue being a member of the TMO. So we will refresh our readers’ memories and show this old post from 2018, just to show how this organisation treats its resident members in votes and to show how unreliable their information gathering and voting is:

We also note they are STILL using the – unreliable to say the least – data collection and electoral services of the dubious Mi-Voice. The same conpany who failed to notify residents of meetings and votes before and the same company behind the dodgy surveys supposedly showing high resident satisfaction (when KCTMO was responsible for the management of our homes), which even RBKC now concedes were false.

We can also look back to this open letter from the BWRA just before that shambles of an EGM in 2018 :

No prizes for guessing why some in charge of the TMO didn’t want Monica Press to know about their latest activities then…

THINKers point out that for the sake of fairness, accountability, and truth and for Grenfell, the 72 residents who died in the fire, the North Kensington community and all who live in social housing in this borough, KCTMO needs to remain in place as an organisation as it is; for the purposes of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

These communications and their actions both last year and the year before, only suggest to us that they are reducing the vote and dissolving some resident memberships in yet another bid to try and dodge their way out of facing justice.

In the words of the BWRA from September 2018 “we members need to be sure that the KCTMO remains accountable to us and to the Grenfell Inquiry and the Police

The ongoing antics and actions of KCTMO, both then and now, only leave us smelling a rat…..

Fire safety and Conservative controversy : Playing politics or playing with fire?

Image: “Houses of Parlianent in Grenfell-Style cladding” by Zoom Rockman from Private Eye 2017

Over a week ago, on Monday the 7th of September in the House of Commons, the Fire Safety Bill passsed its first reading. This did not go without controversy as Conservative MPs voted to defeat a Labour amendment to the Bill.

Read the debate in full here:

Our local Kensington MP, Felicity Buchan voted with her party and unsurprisingly this has not gone down too well with some locals and supporters of our community Here are some reactions on social media:

Here are some reactions from Labour

And here is what Felicity Buchan had to say :

Fanning the flames?

What do we think? Well, as sure as dogs bark, and cats meow; most MPs vote with their party , so we cannot say we are exactly too surprised if our Conservative Party MP obeys the whip and toes the party line.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that residents and local community groups who have had postive meetings with Felicity Buchan before and some who held out hope that she might have taken a stand on this, do feel very betrayed and angry.

Kensington MP Felicity Buchan

But is all what it seems?

Here is some of what Gill Kernick in excellent fellow North Kensington blog The Grenfell Enquirer has to say:

This was a vote about certain specific amendments to the Fire Safety Bill as proposed by Labour. It was not a vote about whether or not to bring the Recommendations from the Inquiry into law, which is what seems to be being reported.
It is also unclear whether these amendments are sound… And we don’t seem to be considering that.

Read the blog post in full here:

Grenfell, the Conservative vote & why we are missing the point

And this is what a Conservative source said to us about the Labour amendment: “Labour put down what is known as a ‘wrecking amendment’, designed for the Government to vote down. It’s a typical opposition ploy that all parties do in opposition. An example would be an amendment to the Queen’s Speech (which the Government has to pass), saying that nurses should get a pay rise; the Government duly votes against and the opposition then says the Government doesn’t think nurses deserve a pay rise, even though that might not be the case ”

Fair point – that’s party politics we guess – but a further Conservative source told us they believe that “everything will be done in the end in the right sequence”. Sadly, THINKers do not share their confidence in this.

While not all Conservatives have approached this Bill and issues of fire safety with bad intentions, we have little faith for other reasons that this Conservative Government will ever really act and put the necessary changes into place, and here are a few brief glimpses into why…..

No smoke without fire

Inside Housing also reported from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on Monday the 7th of September and over emails between (Grenfell Tower contractor) Rydon’s Commercial Manager Zak Maynard and sub-contractor Harley Facades, with Maynard’s email saying “and we are quids in!” as a result of savings made by switching to the cheaper (and far deadlier) aluminium composite cladding.

Private equity firm Coller Captial, fron 2009 until 2015, owned a fifth of Rydon, through Jersey-based Cavendish Square Partners, and the boss and founder of Coller Capital, Jeremy Coller also donated money to the Conservative Party in the same year.

Last year, Private Equity News reported that Boris Johnson’s brother, forner Minister Jo Johnson (who will soon be in the House of Lords), was set to be the ghostwriter of Mr Coller’s autobiography.

Also elevated to the House of Lords by Boris Johnson this year along with his brother, is another high profile Conservative, Sir Edward Lister. Forner Leader of Wandsworth Council from 1992-2011 where he was controversially known to have sold off council housing to absentee investors, after that , Lister, known as Eddie to his friends, (who include the notorious Peter Bingle), became Boris’ London Deputy Mayor with responsibility for policy and planning until 2016, when he was appointed as Chair of the Government’s housing regulator the the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which later became part of Homes England in 2018.

Boris Johnson & Sir Edward Lister

At the beginning of this year the Financial Times reported that Lister had last year “joined the board of a Jersey-based holding company for a housing start-up (TopHat) without any public disclosure” and that his “directorship was not announced by the government or the company and it does not have to be disclosed in Jersey, meaning there was no way for the public or bosses of rival housing companies to find out about the role.

One board member of the HCA under Lister, was Anthony Preiskel, who had a background as a property developer and also sat on the board of KCTMO during the Grenfell Tower refurbishment and was there until 2017 just after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Back to some more Twitter responses and here is what fire safety expert Phil Murphy had to say:

This is the British Standards Institution, the national standards body responsible for technical standards and safety.

We thought to have a closer look at some of the membership of the board of the BSI:

One Non-Executive Director of BSI since last year, is Ian Lobley. Mr Lobley’s background was as Managing Partner at 3i Group plc, the FTSE 100 international investor focused on mid-market private equity and infrastructure. The same year that Coller Capital invested in Rydon, they also invested in Mr Lobley’s conpany.

This might seem like a slight deviation on our part from the main subjects of fire safety and homes, but many like us would hope to see some indication of the focus of those on regulatory safety boards to not be purely profit-driven.

Moving back firmly to the main subjects of this blog post, another Non-Executive Director of the BSI is Douglas Hurt, who also happens to be a Non-Executive Director of new homes developer Countryside Properties Plc, where he is also Chair of their Audit Committee .

Safety first? People before profit? We’re not so sure about that…...

An example of how Countryside Properties treats some of their leaseholders can be found here

Claims made by the Government and their supporters that they are fully committed to fire safety in homes and people before may also appear to be extinguished in the minds of some when looking through a list of Conservative Party donors over the past decade and seeing where their interests and priorities lie:

John Bloor of Bloor Homes has donated over Β£1.6million, Residential Land Ltd have donated over Β£200,000, Canary Wharf Group have donated over Β£135,000, regular Tory Conference sponsors Thakeham Homes have donated around. Β£120,000.

Developers of Millbank Tower Reuben Brothers – David and Simon – also have, according to the Financial Times , donated nearly Β£200,000 .

Reuben Brothers are also the developers partly behind Paddington Walk where leaseholders have had to pay out Β£3.5 million to have dangerous cladding removed.

Jamie Ritblat of Delancey reportedly donated Β£50,000 to the Conservative Party shortly before his company purchased the former Olympic Village (which is now “East Village E20”) for redevelopment at a knock down price.

Delancey are now part- owners of the Earl’s Court Site, having bought it from Capco late last year.

Other notable Conservative donors in the property development business have also have included Nick Candy, Tony Gallagher of Countywide Developments Ltd the late Tony Pidgeley of the Berkeley Group and also media magnate and former pornographer Richard “Dirty Des” Desmond of Northern and Shell – his alleged dealings with Tories and the Government over the Westferry Printworks housing scheme and affordable housing do not make for comfortable reading for some. See this:

…Which certainly calls into question the conduct of Boris Johnson and especially that of Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

So any hopeful residents looking to Jenrick for action will likely be in for huge disappointment as he seems to think his top priorities in the job are being the developers’ BFF and advertising Taylor Wimpey – that’s if he lasts much longer in his post that is.

He who pays the piper calls the tune?

To us, all the above just points to self-regulation from this Government, with their friends in certain places bending Ministerial ears towards their own interests. (We could say worse, but as a little North Kensington community blog, we do not have the resources to handle encounters with multi-millionaire property tycoons and their lawyers.)

Burning issues

So THINK will not be flooding Felicity Buchan’s inbox with complaints; we do know she reads our blog and we hope she sees this post and our points and concerns.

It is not purely just the regulations or lack of that we feel fired up about in this case; it is questions of independence of some of those who are supposed to be in charge of regulating, the transparency issues or possible conflicts of interest there may be in some cases, and we agree firmly with the Grenfell Enquirer on the point about lack of accountability structure.

And while it still may be early days, from how we have seen of the primary interests of the Prine Minister and several of his colleagues and how some of them appear to operate (the cronyism, the cosy relationships with property development bigwigs for example) . We have seen enough in the way of indicators as to whom and what Boris and his Government colleagues may or may not take notice of to have more than just a hunch that they will do very little.

After all, some of those who are in charge are and were, part of the problem in the first place.

We‘re sorry to state the obvious , but people voted for Johnson’s Government and this is what we are stuck with; which is far from reassuring to all the residents living in homes with potentially dangerous materials and other possible fire safety hazards..

So we will leave the last word with one such resident whose Tweet says it all really: