Wornington Green: Still green for now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we have this to say to them:

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

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

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

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

This isn’t over……

Saga of the Mayor of London and the “Tower of Mordor”

THINK are going on a journey down memory lane – or rather, Cromwell Road in South Kensington and to the Holiday Inn Forum Hotel:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/judgement-day-is-also-here-for-south-kensington-and-the-holiday-inn-forum/

Hardly a soul in this borough supported this development – most of the councillors regardless of which political side they were on – certainly didn’t. From the then Labour MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad and her party colleagues – notably Sina Lari (who is a resident of South Kensington) also Lib Dem Cllr Linda Wade and Conservatives – particularly the local Courtfield councillors Greg Hammond, Janet Evans and Quentin Marshall – and also Cem Kemahli (pre-cabinet when he was on the Planning Committee)

Most agreed and listened to the residents – there were over 800 objections after all – who would be facing years of noise, dirt and disruption to an already severely polluted part of London, their skyline and streetscape ruined and a loss of light that the developer’s supposedly flattering computerised images and salesman patter could not disguise.

We covered RBKC rejecting the proposals back then in this blog post:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/some-good-news-for-south-kensington-residents-holiday-inn-forum-plans-rejected/

After that long and gruelling meeting of the Planning Committee at the end of September 2018 in which the council roundly rejected the plans, we warned people at the end of the post that this would likely not end here.

How right we were; sure enough, they came back as we predicted, using the housing issue – there were 62 “affordable” (we’re getting sick and tired of this misleading term) to put this through to the Mayor of London, who called in the scheme just over a month later.

Queen’s Gate councillor Maxwell Woodger had referred to the scheme in a Full Council meeting as ” replacing the most unpopular tower with the Tower of Mordor” , which might sound dramatic to some, but Cllr Woodger is a local councillor to some of the communities affected and we had previously seen evidence from residents which showed that nearby streets would indeed be shrouded in darkness from the two towers – one 30 storeys high and the other 21 storeys.

But City Hall and the Mayor of London fell for developers Rockwell Properties and Queensgate Investment Ltd and their scheme and had already decided they were going to force this on residents come what may and in June 2019, Sadiq Khan approved the scheme (having called it in the Autumn before after RBKC rejected it) citing the number of “affordable” homes provided in the scheme and the shortage of “affordable” homes in our borough.

This was not the end of the matter however and our council, with Johnny Thalassites, RBKC Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning and its Legal Team at the helm as well as local Residents’ Associations – 30 of them objecting to the scheme – went to the High Court and applied for a judicial review and also for full documents to be disclosed to the RBKC Legal Team

This was granted and during the judicial review earlier this year , it turned out that Sadiq Khan had deliberately not provided relevant documents to our council and had tried to bypass Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Govermment.

The Judge quashed the Mayor’s approval decision and agreed with RBKC that he had acted improperly. Khan conceded to the judgement and admitted that his purpose had been to frustrate the Government. His office was ordered to pay RBKC legal costs of ¬£90,000.

Whatever some may or may not think of Sadiq Khan policywise, there is no debating the fact that he is a highly intelligent and accomplished statesman . So the mystery to some was why the Mayor would behave in such a cavalier, arrogant and dishonest way over this.

Khan’s actions over this have damaged whatever credibility he may have had with voters here and we certainly do not envy Kensington Labour Party campaigners who will be in for a very hard time from residents on the doorsteps next year – that’s if they can find enough local Labour members who will happily defend Khan’s behaviour that is….

So was the Mayor of London just overly keen to engage in a pointless game of party political ping pong with the Government and RBKC ? Or did he just have something against Kensington locals and assume that people who didn’t want this here were just being a bunch of nimbys or snobs?

Possibly neither as THINK might have a possible answer to this, as we can reveal that developer Rockwell Property are not just clients of PR property lobbying firm Cratus , they are also clients of Peter Bingle and Terrapin Communications, who have featured in this blog several times before, notably here and here.

This picture below shows just how close Bingle gets to Khan. We wonder if he treated him to a few nice lunches with a side order of some “helpful” suggestions on-behalf of his Terrapin clients? Nothing mentioned in Sadiq’s entry in the City Hall gifts and hospitality register about this either – the shame of it.

When a council leader forgets what her job is

Perhaps someone can kindly explain to RBKC Council Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy ” Campbell what her position is and what her responsibilities are?

We don’t think she quite gets it.

When the leader of a safe Conservative London council thinks it is a good idea to go on radio about an internal disagreement in the local Labour Party, something is going wrong.

If anyone missed the exciting news about the little fallout in the Labour group of councillors and is on the edge of their seat to hear about this supposed matter of crucial importance to everyone, that our council leader thought it was a priority of hers to go on LBC about it, have a look here

Perhaps we’ll just give a brief and more accurate explanation from a local perspective and as people who know the councillors involved (and here’s a cure for your insomnia coming up) :Labour councillor Ian Henderson appeared in a video at the Venture Centre with Dizzy Lizzy, Felicity Buchan and others regarding the RBKC Covid-19 help (he had been helping with deliveries) – but it hadn’t been cleared by the Labour leadership and whips first – which is often the protocol for most political parties with cross party media appearances, as we understand it – not, as some have portrayed it, as a point blank refusal to work with Tories! But a bit of a disagreement ensued and for some reason (perhaps some people are going bonkers with the lockdown situation?) this “major story” was all over the mediaūüėīūüí§ūüí§ūüí§

Sorry about that readers, but we think that Dizzy Lizzy needs to wake up to her responsibilities as council leader here in this time of Covid-19 pandemic crisis and serve her residents efficiently.. That is not done by making radio appearances which are primarily about opposition councillors.

Anyway, Cllr Campbell was all over this minor story as less of a “Lady who lunches” and more like a “tramp on a bag of chips”

Perhaps this was an ill-judged, to say the least, attempt to distract media attention away from Greg Hands (Cllr Campbell’s Royal Hospital Ward is in his constituency) getting into a spot of bother over his misuse of ¬£4,865 worth of parliametary stationery? (We’ve blogged about that here)

There are only 13 councillors on the RBKC Labour opposition group, compared to 36 Conservative councilors (who Dizzy Lizzy is supposed to be leading). So they are not exactly considered to be a major electoral threat.

As for radio, the last time Dizzy Lizzy went on LBC, it was regarding Grenfell, so she has a VERY questionable sense of priorities if she imagines ANYONE would ever attach a similar degree of importance to this.

So let THINK make this very clear to Dizzy Lizzy (as it is obvious we have to ) :

“Neither diverting media attention away from Greg Hands’ expenses nor internal disagreements between a few opposition Labour councillors, fall anywhere near your remit.

Council policy over Grenfell, housing, finance, the environment, education, planning and other local matters that come under the council and also councillor matters in your Royal Hospital Ward, do. The council should be concentrating its efforts right now on the Covid-19-crisis and protecting our residents; not spending time on an insignificant row between a few Labour councillors.

As for RBKC’s Covid-19 responsibilities, perhaps Dizzy Lizzy and her colleagues might not want to see a few posts of ours coming up soon? Let’s see them bring the cameras and media spin then – but more likely instead, we will just get a wall of silence by way of response. Some of what we have to say will be far from comfortable reading…….

Local Elections РWestway23 Hustings: RBKC Tories a no-show! 

So what happened at the hustings organised by Westway23 back on the 17th of April, some may ask?

Well following the previous hustings by a Migrants Organise at Al Manaar, in which Cllr Eve Allison was the lone Conservative to turn up, this time not one of them even bothered!

Are they afraid of North Kensington residents and the questions we want to put to them, some may wonder?

Or do they just not care one bit about us and the issues we face?

THINK warn the RBKC Tories that appearing to avoid us or not to care about us in North Kensington can and will likely cost them votes.

As for the meeting, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Advance all made an appearance. There were some good speakers there ( particularly Labour’s candidate for Colville, Ian Henderson who is a campaigner for Save Our Sutton Estate in Chelsea, which is under threat).

There was ¬† shouting ¬†fron angry and frustrated residents at some points of the meeting ¬†and the meeting ended in chaos ¬†over a dispute between a few residents and Labour’s Judith Blakeman over an email. We do not publish other people’s emails that are not addressed to us, so we will not go further into this.

We will not be unfair to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Advance to question them over the policies of a council which they are not responsible for if those in charge do not bother to show up.

We believe that the least the RBKC Tories could do is to issue an apology to Westway23 and local residents and then arrange to be there at another meeting.

There is hustings tonight at Earl’s Court and we will be very disappointed if the Tories do not turn up to this. Local Earl’s Court residents deserve to hear ¬†from them too.

It doesn’t look good for them, and as they have previously missed hustings before the general election (when Labour’s Emma Dent Coad won Kensington) ¬†last year in Earl’s Court (only Cllr Malcolm Spalding turned up to that!) ¬†some of us wonder if they have just accepted defeat and thrown in the towel…….

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Local Elections: Hustings РA community ignored by the ruling Conservatives 

Yesterday some ¬†THINkers were present at local election ¬†“Your Voice Your Vote” hustings. The event was held at Al Manaar and was held by Migrants Organise – an organisation which campaigns for, helps and celebrates refugees and migrants ¬†here. Please check out their website here:

https://www.migrantsorganise.org/

There were plenty of Labour councillors and candidates present РEmma Dent Coad (pictured, far left) out local Kensington MP and also councillor for Golborne Ward, Cllr Pat Mason (pictured, fourth from left) , Cllr Monica Press( pictured, second from right)  and Cllr Judith Blakeman were all present. Liberal Democrat Cllr Linda Wade (pictured   second left) was there. So were Annabel Mullin(pictured on the far right) , Valerie John-Baptiste, Melvyn Akins (pictured Рthird left)  and Claire Van Helfteren from Advance.

So what about the Conservatives, you may ask? Well only Cllr Eve Allison bothered to turn up! (She is in our picture, third from right) .We had memories of a certain hustings before the General Election in Earl’s Court back in June when most of the local Tories failed to turn ¬†there up too (giving the lame excuse of a “school meeting”!) See our old post about it here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/hustings-victoria-does-a-theresa-may-and-so-do-most-of-her-colleagues/

Anyway, many subjects were discussed, with residents, local campaigners and politicians giving their opinions on social housing, crime, education and the local area.

Linda Wade was particularly good in mentioning the academisatuon of schools and that many teenagers being expelled from these local schools end up drifting into a life of crime.

This was also mentioned by Pat Mason (who has a background in youth work) and by Emma Dent Coad,and all three  also mentioned the importance of good provision of youth services locally.

THINK strongly agree with Linda, Emma and Pat and we are very concerned about the rates of knife and gun crime among young people in London Рthere is one person stabbed to death in London every three days in fact Рwe believe that it is vital that politicians both locally and nationally, seriously take this on board and have some reconsideration over the policies of some schools and also do not make any cuts to youth and community facilities.  We also strongly feel that there should be no more cuts to policing.

Melvyn Akins, a  well-known local North Kensington resident  and candidate for the newly-formed Advance party, also spoke well and mentioned his own experiences and called for change.

One resident at one point made an impassioned plea for both residents and politicians to get more involved with community and youth work. He lifted up his top at one point to show scars from knife wounds that he had received in the past.
Some at the meeting did not appear to be very familiar with politics and how the system works. Some were so upset and frustrated after suffering years of cuts and neglect by both RBKC and the Government, not to mention also being traumatised after Grenfell.  that they vented their frustration on Emma Dent Coad and Labour opposition councillors.

We at THINK point out to these residents that we have had  a Conservative council in Kensington and Chelsea, that has been in power for 117 years, and that we have a Conservative Government. So Emma , in her role as both an opposition Member of Parliament and councillor, is very limited in her powers as to what she can do and does not have any role in shaping the policies and cuts that have been inflicted by both national and local governments. The same goes for the other opposition councillors at RBKC

We say to all frustrated residents that to change the system, you have to vote for change and then be the change in holding those who ¬†you vote for to account. It is no use to sit on one’s ¬†hands ¬†and blame a system if you do not play ¬†an active part in trying to to bring about change.

The deadline to register to vote is in just four days time. If you are not registered to vote, or have changed address, name or nationality, please do fill in the form on here (it only takes five minutes) :

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

THINK also believe that lifelong provision of education is vital to the wellbeing of all residents and we remind all candidates of all parties that keeping KCC Wornington College in North Kensington open and also extending provision of courses provided there is crucial to this local community.

Grenfell was discussed, with Labour’s Judith Blakeman speaking about our council’s less than adequate response and that they are buying properties ¬†without bothering to find out what survivors actually need first.

Most of the local representatives who spoke were very impressive, particularly Linda Wade from the Lib Dems ¬†and ¬†Labour’s Monica Press.

We also heard some excellent impassioned speeches which were straight from the heart by Labour candidate for Norland Ward , Mona Adam, and by Labour candidate for Colville Ward, Nadia Nail. Both Mona and Nadia come from refugee backgrounds and have real knowledge and insight into the issues that many refugees living here face. Labour candidate for Golborne Ward, Sina Lari, also spoke well about his parents’ background as immigrants.

THINK stand with Mona, Nadia and Sina and as people who have  migrants  in some of our own family  backgrounds, we believe that it is vital that local government in RBKC reflects the make up of the local population and fully takes on board the issues its residents have.

The lone Conservative councillor there, Eve Allison is the only black Conservative councillor and ¬†was the only Tory ¬†present at yesterday’s event.

She spoke strongly about her being alienated from the local Conservatives, talked of her deselection and the fact that she had to go to national government to be reinstated. Cllr Allison also  spoke about her own background and the fact that she lives in social housing. She made the case that her own party needs to be more representative of the local population and to include persons like herself. We agree with Eve,  about the Conservative Party  needing to include more people like herself but know that the policies of this council and Government   have alienated so  many in our community.

As for the other ¬†local Conservatives, who did not even bother to turn up, THINK believe that their non-presence speaks volumes about their attitude towards not only North Kensington and Grenfell, but also young people, community groups, migrants and refugees. It says it all if not even one member of the RBKC Tories’ leadership bothered to attend.

Eve Allison has a majority of only 1 vote in St Helen’s Ward and we are not banking on her to hold on to it, so maybe some senior local Tories may be relieved ¬†to not have her speaking out against them in public as a local councillor after the elections , but we thank Eve for speaking out and we say to the ¬†other RBKC Tories (who come from overwhelmingly white upper and upper middle class backgrounds) – shame on you.

There is also hustings, presented by local campaign group Westway23 at Acklam Village, Acklam Road, W10 on Tuesday the 17th April. THINKers will be there of course and we fully expect local representatives from ALL the parties to be there.

THINK urge our local readers  to do the right thing at the local elections and vote the RBKC Conservatives out of power. 

Shaun Bailey: Not a “man of the people”

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Pictured on the left with former PM David Cameron, is Shaun Bailey. He is Deputy Leader of the Conservative group on the Greater London Assembly. Of course David Cameron, along with several of his pals ¬†were once labelled “the Notting Hill set” round here and they have little to nothing to do with this community except push it further towards “gentrification”.

Recently there has been a media storm over certain right wing bloggers and journalists accusing our Labour MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad of ” racial slurs” regarding this blog post of hers about Shaun Bailey from back in 2010:

http://emmadentcoad.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/this-is-my-posh-voice-local-boy-done.html?m=1

Well THINK will ask all the Tories who have jumped on the bandwagon to criticise Emma, if they have read the blog post in full?

If they had, they might have realised that Shaun Bailey himself described North Kensington (where he grew up) as a “ghetto”. They might, if they do indeed read Emma’s blog post in full, see that it is simply a witty post that mocks things that Mr Bailey himself has actually said or done.

Well as locals, we can in fact confirm that many ¬†in our North Kensington community were indeed highly offended by Mr Bailey’s description ¬†back then of our local area as a ghetto – instead of ¬†the wonderful, inclusive, ¬†vibrant and multicultural community we know North Kensington to be.

Perhaps some of these bandwagon jumpers would like to know that back in 2010,  Shaun Bailey had, in order to gain favour from his fellow Tories, previously given his story of an upbringing in a terraced house and attending a fee paying school, but when he was out campaigning in Shepherds Bush (his unsuccessful bid back then to become Conservative MP for Hammersmith), he made out that he was a working class boy from a council estate!

Mr Bailey was then, when he got into the GLA, advised by the Conservatives to amend his Wikipedia entry as the apparent discrepancies were too glaring.

And just in case some outside Tory sources think they can speak for our community, here are some local campaigners from Notth Kensington having their say:

Judy Bolton: “with his history of stabbing both black and white working class in the back, protesting their causes and then blatantly voting against them (he did this on local closures of public services e.g., the Post Office in Shepherds Bush) . Emma Dent Coad still very much has my respect and support and that is from a proud black woman and mother who lives and loves in this truly beautiful community of Ladbroke Grove and North Kensington”.

And Lesley Dillon, who is former head of Wornington Green Residents’ Association (where Bailey used to live) informs us that he made a big thing about wanted to get involved in the group but then did not bother to turn up to meetings or events. When Lesley confronted him, Shaun Bailey apparently told her that “you have too much power for a woman”

And here is local campaigner Kasim Ali on Twitter in support of Emma Dent Coad:

Maybe some of those who seem overtly keen on ripping into Emma should realise that she does not and never has held racist views, and she is a popular and well liked MP who campaigns for our community. We support Emma and we just wonder just how low the desperate Tories can go.

If anyone is still in doubt with regards to Emma Dent Coad and her views maybe they can see what Lee Jasper has to say in this Skwawkbox article here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/skwawkbox.org/2017/11/15/black-activist-defends-dent-coad-defies-mendacious-bailey-to-debate/amp/

Neither ¬†Shaun Bailey or any of his Conservative colleagues has responded to Lee Jasper. So this ¬†“ghetto”story only reeks of a desperate party in trouble (especially the RBKC Tories) ¬†desperately trying to cling on to power, who don’t have the good grace to accept that ¬†the people of Kensington ¬†voted Labour and elected Emma Dent Coad as our MP fair and square. We say to these malicious Tories and their chums – put up or shut up.

Proposed boundary changes: Daylight robbery of our Kensington votes

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Back earlier this year, Labour took Kensington constituency from the Tories overturning a majority of 7,321 votes. Our celebrations were short-lived however as the fire at Grenfell Tower devastated the lives of so many in North Kensington a few days later.

Before Grenfell, there were significant social issues and many questions over the behaviour of the Conservatives in charge. Now there are many more questions and many here have run out of trust for the Tories (including in more affluent wards in the constituency such as Pembridge, Norland, Holland and Earl’s Court, in which Labour topped the polls in at the last election)

THINK do not feel that it is right to extend a constituency that has exceptional disaster circumstances within it either for the survivors and the bereaved, or for the community as a whole within North Kensington or for others in the constituency who have very real issues with the governance of our borough.

THINK strongly encourage anyone who deeply cares about North Kensington and our issues to strongly voice their objections before December 11th 2017 here:

https://www.bce2018.org.uk/node/6485?postcode=W105UQ

We feel like these actions are nothing more than daylight robbery of our votes, and treat us with the same level of contempt that the Rotten Borough Tories do.

But look: here are just a few of those who have commented in favour of merging Kensington with Chelsea :

Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen (and his wife!) , Cllr Gerard Hargreaves, Cllr Catherine Faulks. Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, the list goes on…. Yes for those not in the know, these are some of the same Rotten Tory councillors who are in our view partly responsible for the mess we are in.

Their responses might have been posted some time ago (before Grenfell and Rock being a man on the run), but THINK do not believe these individuals represent us and speak for our community. In fact some of these individuals, who also include former leader (before Nick ” Piglet Pie” Paget-Brown) , Merrick Cockell, should in our view face investigation over their decisions when in power of the council in our view.

After the fire, this community requores help, assistance and support more now than ever. THINKers urge the boundary commission to look at the exceptional circumstances of this constituency, do not merge us with Chelsea or any other constituency and remember that we are human beings, rather than just a bunch of statistics.

We believe that Emma Dent Coad as our MP represents us far more than any of her predessors do. And who would these proposed boundary changes leave us with as parliamentary representative in North Kensington? Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick or Greg Hands (off our Carnival). Enough said.

Marianne Alapini – the vulture returns – to a new low at Grenfell

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You may have heard of Marianne Alapini, she is an ex-Labour councillor for RBKC in Colville Ward who quit when she was under investigation for allegedly misappropriating public funds. Now out of power and out of the Labour Party, she pretends to work for charity and has recently sunk to a new low.

We were already concerned with Ms Alapini and her dodgy past and when she had started to hold unofficial Grenfell meetings and ask for money, we became more than suspicious.

As said before, we saw her as an egotistical individual with little to no compassion for others – so now she is with “Grenfell Befrienders”  – we couldn’t think of less appealing persons that we would want to “befriend” and she  has also had her photo taken with Adele and survivors.

But just before anyone ever imagines this despicable individual has changed, let THINK direct you to under the Westway, just outside the Maxilla Club in North Kensington.

The outstanding work outside there has been solely down to hard-working volunteers and members of this community who started the Phoenix Project.

But what has Ms Alapini done? Nothing – except put in a dodgy claim form for ¬£35,000 for all the supposed “hard graft” she and her supposed helpers did to make this happen. Unsurprisingly, nobody involved with this made a penny!

As it is we have spoken to many of the volunteers and workers and they have all stated that she has nothing to do with them or the  Phoenix Project. We suggest that anyone who wants to donate gives to these wonderful and dedicated volunteers who have created a beautiful space, Library and garden under the Westway.

By the way, “Vulture” Alapini has also had the nerve to call her  “charity” “Phoenix Rising” which will obviously take money and donations intended for  the Phoenix Project who genuinely help those in need; she has also lied on the form about who her “charity” helpers are and has had the nerve to even include the vicar of St Helen’s Church!

We believe it is about time that Marianne Alapini and her supposed charity work came under the scrutiny of the fraud squad.

Here below is a recent picture of her – we recommend that you phone the Police (guess what, this egotistical poser for some reason won’t let people copy her pictures!)

Kenyan jewels? Nairobbery

THINK special post from Earl’s Court: A new beginning?

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THINK decided to take a break from our North Kensington territory and head south to visit our friends in Earl’s Court. The world-famous Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, pictured above would have been 80 this year. Sadly, developers Capital and Counties (Capco), Boris Johnson (when he was Mayor of London), RBKC and the former Tory regime at Hammersmith and Fulham had other plans and sadly it is no more.

Read about it here:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2015/jun/25/earls-court-how-to-do-regeneration-wrong

and also here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2016/jul/05/earls-court-uncertain-times-for-landmark-london-regeneration-scheme

The exhibition centres together contributed over £1.25 billion to the economy and since their closure,  some local businesses there have reported turnover losses of up to 60%.

Our friends at Save Earl’s Court face a very uncertain future and many residents are living with ongoing noise, dust and mess as a result of the work going on. Also many local businesses are suffering due to the loss of the exhibition centre.

Save Earl’s Court campaigners are down but not out and have kindly shared their “Earl’s Court: Rescue, Recovery and Renaissance Campaign Report” with us.

In the report they set out their campaign and their positive  visions  for the future of the area.

The Save Earl’s Court campaigners have fought against the Earl’s Court masterplan for five years. They ¬†campaigned ¬†to 1. Stop the demolition of Earl’s Court 1 and Earl’s Court 2 exhibition centres, 2. Stop the demolition of West Ken and Gibbs Green estates which provide social housing to more than 2000 residents, and 3. Stop the demolition of Lillie Bridge Depot which provides manufacturing, training and safety services for London Underground.

Of course now the exhibition centres are now gone ¬†and Earl’s Court residents were intially promised a replacement venue, a promise that Capco has not kept. Residents also face being priced out of the planned new “luxury” developments and many in social housing forced out altogether.

Save Earl’s Court’s campaigners report plans a venue from scratch on the former Earl’s Court 1 site. Their tag line is to “Think big, think green” The proposed venue would be flexible in design (to accommodate various types of events) and multi purpose to feature exhibitions as well as cultural (such as music) and sporting events. They also plan for an international architecture campaign for the project and for the venue to be given ACV (asset of community value) status to protect it

The proposed building would have green aspects built in to the design such as solar panels, living walls and urban food growing and an anaerobic digestion plant near the venue.

Other plans in the report are for a creative enterprise zone in the Earl’s Court and West Kensington opportunity area. Earl’s Court has a rich cultural history and the campaigners want to strongly preserve.

Also that the Lillie Bridge Depot is retained and further incorporates a training hub for local residents interested in pursuing a career with London Underground.

Also that creative enterprise zones and music zones are incorporated into the area.

As well as that historic Empress Place is preserved and there is also affordable space for artists provided nearby (local artist Duggie Fields wrote a foreword to the report) and to make the surrounding “Lillie Enclave” ¬†area a conservation area.

We note that Save Earl’s Court have received support for their campaign from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and even UKIP, but Tories? No. Local Labour MPs Emma Dent Coad and Andy Slaughter have also given their support, but not Emma’s Conservative predecessor Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick.

Special mention also has to go to Lib Dem RBKC Earl’s Court Ward councillor Linda Wade, who has worked hard to support local Earl’s Court residents (unlike the two Conservative RBKC ¬†Earl’s Court councillors Malcolm Spalding and Fenella Aouane, who have annoyed and alienated most residents).

THINKers have many fond memories of Earl’s Court exhibition centre and fully support Save Earl’s Court ¬†campaigners in their efforts to make their local area a real “destination” again. We also strongly condemn Crapco (as we call them) for their bullying tactics towards businesses in Lillie Road, (hiking up the rents and offering derisory lump sums in order to get them to leave) and for their dishonesty in not keeping their promises.

We at THINK believe that the Earl’s Court masterplan is a complete disaster plan and urge Sadiq Khan in his role as Mayor of London, to prevent further destruction and ruination of this once vibrant community and to look at Save Earl’s Court’s campaign report and hopefully work alongside residents and businesses towards a more positive solution.

We take off our THINKing caps to these tireless and amazing campaigners who have had to go through so much noise, mess, disturbance, stress and uncertainty and yet still come through with such incredible energy and an inspired and positive report – we thank them. We are not “anti regeneration” if plans are community-led and are not there for social cleansing purposes.

THINK believe this report shows a real shift in favour of community-led developments in which residents and local businesses have a say, to be the future for happy, healthy and successful communities as opposed to the soulless developer- led plans which are usually  for pure short-term financial gain, that our local Tories favour Рthey are living in the past.

We also believe that Boris Johnson and  both the Hammersmith and Fulham and the RBKC Tories should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

 

 

Let’s Clear Some Air – Rap 23 meeting (part 2)

imageNow back to Friday and the Rap 23 meeting. This is a very serious matter for all and THINK won’t let a few Tories distract us.

After Prof Maksmovic’s talk on the serious statistics & possible ways using infrastructure to help combat it, the next speaker was Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London. As well as pointing ¬†out that of course the problem is more serious than we realise. As well as the obvious greenhouse gases, there is local air pollution two main types of ¬†– split between particles and gases – Nitric Oxide is ¬† mainly formed when ¬†fuels are burned , mostly traffic fumes – diesel particularly which produces about 90% of harmful exhaust emissions, ¬†combines with Oxygen in our atmosphere to form Nitrogen Dioxide.

Both types of NO2 are a serious threat to our health and are regularly monitored by scientists. The World Health Organisation legal limit for NO2 levels were in place in 1999 and to be complied with by 2010. Many busy roads in London, including the Westway, are in continuous breach of this (the legal limit of NO2 gases is 18). Also the old road network in London and tall buildings help to trap these harmful gases.

Mr Birkett also pointed out that the existing clean air act is 60 years out of date. So far, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens have all committed to a new clean air act – but the Conservatives haven’t.

Seeing Victoria Borwick and Cllr Robert Freeman in the audience, THINK had hoped that the Conservatives would be making a positive announcement – alas not.

The final speaker was Leonie Cooper, London assembly member and chair of the cross-party environment committee, who pointed out that we have “asks” of our politicians – encourage better road safety for cyclists, higher charges for those from outside our area parking here ¬†and “no idling” zones.

Well, one of our THINKers has seen a few of these “no idling zones”¬†in RBKC and we will take the highly unusual step of thanking our council for this. Ms Cooper also said one “ask” was to ¬†our candidates to commit to a new clean air act.

Well Lady Borwick, THINK asks will you? We wouldn’t like to imagine that yourself and Cllr Freeman just turned up as a PR stunt. Plus many voters in Kensington Constituency are, ¬†thanks to Rap 23 and all the speakers at the meeting, now much more informed as to the severity of the issue – it might just count against you at the election if you don’t…….,