Fishy Business : MIPIM UK Summit in London

Yesterday and today the MIPIM UK Summit came to town and was held at Old Billingsgate (the original site of the fish market from 1875 to 1982). We sense a theme coming on….

What is MIPIM? Some basic background

For those unfamilar with it, MIPIM stands for “Le march√© international des professionels de l’immobillier” (that’s the international market of real estate professionals in English).

This luxury international property fair is not some harmless nice little event with a fortunate few wealthy individuals looking to buy and/or build their dream holiday home abroad and having a glass of wine and canapńós whilst meeting and greeting professionals and touring the stands – this is an event held annually in Cannes centred around large scale planning, development and regeneration matters, populated with many types of architects, house builders, international property developers, real estate corporations, quangos, local government representatives and housing professionals with big plans, big ideas big deals and with big price tags for potential developments and redevelopments in many cities around the world – particularly London.

As these people are having fun in the sun brokering deals that may appear to be investments – some of the arrangements and connections made at these conferences could be the beginning of the end of some communities. For some residents living in social housing this is no beach holiday.

MIPIM turned 30 years old this year, but it has aged rather more like fish than wine, and has gained a rather a sleazy reputation in other ways too. We found this posted on one site:

Before setting off to the conference it is best not to leave your copy of Private Eye lying around the house for a partner to see when it describes MIPIM as a ‚Äėbooze and hooker fest‚Äô.

Also this from the Guardian:

The organisers of MIPIM, the property industry‚Äôs annual ‚Äúchampagne, yachts and fun‚ÄĚ bash in Cannes, have repeatedly warned delegates to ‚Äúrespect all individuals‚ÄĚ and reminded the 25,000 attendees that ‚Äúunder no circumstances does MIPIM register prostitutes‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúWhat other industry on the face of the earth in 2018 needs to remind businessmen that they can‚Äôt bring prostitutes to an industry conference,‚ÄĚ asked Jane, a 29-year-old delegate from Manchester. ‚ÄúThat alone tells you how backward property is.‚ÄĚ

No trawling in our backyards!

MIPIM started hosting summits here in London in 2014. In fact the first one was in Olympia – rather too close to home for us.

MIPIM events have served as networking opportunities for the London Authority, local councils (and housing associations have become a more frequent player in these goings on ) brokering deals and seeking money for their area, but this comes at a price – and the price to pay usually means a vast reduction in the number of homes for social housing included in the replacement development – and sometimes even none at all for social rent as the big fish chase after maximum profit.

Many of the shiny new replacement “affordable” homes on regeneration schemes that have gone ahead that some residents had been initially misled into thinking they would be living in, have instead been unaffordable and in some cases ended up in hands of “buy to leave” investors, while residents end up either being priced out of or displaced away from their communities, which are all too often carved up or completely destroyed as a result of these projects

Man overboard

The above picture is of current Prime Minister (Mayor of London back then) is of Boris Johnson speaking at the opening of the first MIPIM UK summit at Olympia in 2014.

In 2011, the Earl’s Court Masterplan had been showcased at MIPIM by developers Capco (Capital and Counties) in Cannes. The redevelopment (spanning both RBKC and LBHF ) had proposed most ly luxury homes and only including just 11% homes designated as “affordable” and none for social rent at all.

At the time the Government’s District Valuer Service had questioned the viability of the project, but Boris Johnson along with RBKC and the former Conservative administration at LBHF approved it afterwards without question.

Capco (a company experienced mainly in retail- based developments) suffered financially from the downturn in the luxury homes housing market, the world famous Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre was demolished (causing small businesses in the area to suffer), the site is currently worth only half its original value.

Troubled Capco back in 2014 owned Olympia – they sold it in 2017 to a consortium of German investors and this year Gary Yardley has jumped ship citing “health reasons” (seasickness?!)

When Johnson approved the redevelopment he hailed the scheme as a “landmark” . Well, here for him, is a sobering picture of that “landmark” taken by us just the other day:

Maybe Bozo and his pals had been knocking back too much champagne at too many of these shindigs when they imagined all this would be a good idea?

The tide might be turning

We have heard some recent good news regarding the West Ken and Gibbs Green estates, located within the Earl’s Court redevelopment area, many of whose residents have been fighting against the regeneration from the start. LBHF (under Labour control since 2014) has given the go ahead for a compulsory purchase order on their estates.

This could potentially further throw the Masterplan into more doubt.

We do remind people unfamiliar with the area however that this does not necessarily guarantee a future for all 77 acres of the site – which is jointly owned by Capco and TFL. 22 acres of the site are in RBKC and now Capco are now looking for another developer to purchase their share.

But this is more than very encouraging for the outstanding campaigning residents of West Ken and Gibbs Green – and we wish them every success with tbis – plus it gives others facing regeneration a glimmer of hope.

Rotten fish, rotten boroughs and bad memories

We are guessing that Olympia is too near Grenfell for some of these slippery creatures to carry out their networking unnoticed. Yesterday was the 14th of October and exactly 28 months since 72 members of our community lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire. We guess most of the people behind MIPIM do not have consciences let alone memories, so we will remind some that MIPIM is where some at RBKC networked with Rydon. – the firm that carried out a lot of the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

Yet still today, the rotten stench of developers fishing around at these events to make financial capital out of selling up, selling off and ultimately doing urban areas out of social capital (the communities who live there) gets ever worse.

“Who’s going to MIPIM?” (Ft L to R: Sir Merrick Cockell, Peter Bingle , Rock Feilding-Mellen, Daniel Moylan, Adam Jogee, Claire Kober, Nick Paget-Brown, Angela McConville & Alan Strickland

Some familiar big fish

No representatives from RBKC there this year (as far as we know) but they have attended MIPIM in the past . Long before us, our friends at the Grenfell Action Group were on the case back then:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/rbkc-snouts-in-the-mipim-trough/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/rbkc-supping-at-the-property-developers-table/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/rbkc-and-mipim-the-search-for-the-truth/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/paget-brown-and-mipim/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/rocky-mipim-and-the-lobbyist/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/paget-brown-digging-his-own-grave/

Also Angela McConville, former Chief Executive of the Westway Trust had an all expenses paid (our expenses) trip to Cannes:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/mcconville-at-mipim/

And here is a rogues gallery ( by no means complete) list of some other London local authorities that have sent representatives to MIPIM over recent years :

– Southwark

– Ealing

– Newham

Enfield

– Waltham Forest

Greenwich

– Barking and Dagenham

Hounslow

Harrow

Westminster

– Kingston

Croydon

Havering

– Bexley

Lambeth

Haringey

Lewisham

Hillingdon

Housing associations, moving increasingly further away their once commendable and charitable origins have also been a presence at MIPIM. Here are just a few of them:

– L & Q

– Clarion

– Catalyst

– Notting Hill Genesis

– Peabody

A2Dominion

– Swan Housing

– Places For People

– One Housing

Swimming further out (and some further reading)

With regards to regeneration projects elsewhere in London , we recommend excellent South London blog Southwark Notes to our readers. This timeline of the Elephant and Castle/Heygate Estate regeneration is a must-read:

https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com/heygate-estate/heygate-timeline/

Radical Housing Network have plenty of very informative and interesting articles on MIPIM. We highly recommend paying their website a visit

https://radicalhousingnetwork.org/tag/mipim-2/

Hook, line and sinker

The “net” apoears to be cast wider every year, with many more communities outside London in recent times also facing an uncertain future. Still, regardless of Brexit or any other factors, the big boats still go trawling for big business there with no signs of stopping.

The event also brings councils and councillors and others who might be not all come with bad intentions, but could find themselves out of their depth and end up making deals which sell communities down the river. If we were residents in parts of Birmingham or Liverpool for example (big attendees tbis year) that have been earmarked for regeneration we would be sleeping with one eye open. “Opportunity Areas” usually translates to “money making for developers opportunity areas”

All at sea

Boris Johnson was not there, but he has provided MIPIM with a letter of endorsement. Here it is:

Note the lack of reference to social housing anywhere in his letter. And as for communities “having more power” in these huge corporate developer-led regenerations – is he taking the p-?

But two of the “special guest speskers” at this year’s MIPIM UK are Government ministers. One is Esther McVey. Minister of State for Housing for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The other is Graham Stuart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Trade.

A sea of protesters

Since MIPIM summits were held on our shores, the number of people from communities under threat of regeneration has grown vastly and so has the number of protesters.

The unwelcome reception and bad publicity they get can means that not too many elected public figures are not necessarily too keen to be seen turning up to MIPIM these days.

Unsurprisingly most residents and small businesses in communities facing regeneration regardless of whether they happen to live in social housing or not, do not welcome this here.

And while Boris’ successor as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has made little noises here and there – he has actually done nothing to go towards redressing the problem. In fact, a number of senior figures at the GLA are big approvers and collaborators in these schemes, as our “London Trilogy” last year pointed out.

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/who-really-runs-london/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/david-lunch-lunts-the-mr-creosote-of-the-gla/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/more-terrapins-in-the-tank-at-the-city-hall-of-shame/

The many housing campaigners and residents groups protesting have ensured their disapproval of this event and the despicable practices of the big players in this have registered loud and clear by all attendees. Above is a picture from the protest yesterday.

Even when there is a real crisis regarding the lack of social and genuinely affordable housing, it appears that unscrupulous developers and politicians are putting the “price of fish” over the priceless real true value of our communities and the residents and local businesses who really make them work.

The Rotten Borough, rotten regeneration plans on the quiet and a cat out of the bag

Last year, the Grenfell Recovery Task force was set up by then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.

One of its tasks was to “support the council to significantly improve housing management including addressing weaknesses in the tenant management organisation”

Well this might appear to be old news, but one of the four members of the Grenfell Recovery Taskforce is Chris Wood (pictured as a cat above). Mr Wood has previously been Chief Executive at Newham council.

In 2011, David Cameron’s Government introduced the Localism Act which among many things, gave local authorities “Power of Competence” to generally enable them to do anything that an individual can do unless specifically prohibited by law. The Act allowed councils to set up their own housing companies with power to borrow to build homes with caps restricted and power over setting tenure and rents. This has enabled councils to set up their own commercial residential housing companies.

Just as we have seen the ever increasing pattern of some housing associations moving from their once commendable and charitable roots in providing housing to people in need, and instead moving on to develop housing for profit at the real expense of those most in need, this has been happening with some other local authorities too.

Chris Wood is Chair of Red Door Ventures. This is the commercial residential company wholly owned by Newham council. RDV was lauded back in 2014 by controversial then Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales as a way of providing desperately needed homes in the borough. Actually many of the homes that RDV ended up providing were not to those who desperately needed them and was more concentrated on chasing profit (this was around the same time Newham was trying force residents in social housing not only outside the borough, but also outside London.

Red Door Ventures has now been placed on “review” by Wales’ successor (after he was deselected), recently elected Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz.

Mr Wood was also chief executive of London Borough of Ealing’s Ealing Homes for a short time and also a board member at Meridian, the housing company of Greenwich Council which lets out most of its’ properties at 80% of market rent. Not exactly helping those most in need of a home then.

In fact all of these local authority companies that Wood has been involved with in recent times have had or are working on regeneration plans which are moving away from social rent into the misnomer of “affordable” rent and shared ownership schemes.

Chris Wood is also group director of Altair Ltd a management, housing and finance consultancy.

His profile on their website reads:

Expertise

Property, development, regeneration, commercial sectors, project management, leadership, growth and change guidance.

About

Chris has worked in consultancy for 10 years with numerous local authorities and a broad range of public and private sector housing organisations on strategic regeneration planning, asset management and capital programme delivery.

Prior to working in consultancy he held Director of Housing posts in two London boroughs and was the CEO of the London Borough of Newham.

Altair Assignments

Recent projects that Chris has been involved in include:

‚Ė™ Establishing and running a commercial build to rent company for a London Borough

‚Ė™ Devising merger and acquisition strategies for two large RPs operating in the South East

‚Ė™ Lead residential adviser on ‚ÄėProject Riyadh‚Äô for the Saudi Municipality

‚Ė™ New development business opportunities for private sector clients in London and the North West

‚Ė™ Assisting in the registration of an Essex-based for-profit RP

‚Ė™ Providing private rental sector strategies for RPs and property developers”

And for anyone still in doubt as to the motives of Wood and his colleagues can read Altair’s report on ALMOs here :

Click to access Altair_Taking_Stock_Report_Final.pdf

THINK know that RBKC – who aren’t exactly regarded as “competent” in their handling of social housing to say the least – already has its own housing development company and it is fair to assume that some are looking to Chris Wood and his “ventures” for some directions in where to take this council next.

Last year our blog posted about the regeneration in Tower Hamlets and how we though that a similar thing could happen here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/the-rotten-borough-and-their-possible-rotten-plans-for-our-social-housing/

Back when Mr Wood and his Grenfell taskforce colleagues were appointed to their posts last year, some residents were unhappy that they would be based at Kensington Town Hall, rather than near Grenfell, around the Lancaster West Estate, a real concern of some was about the taskforce members being not very well acquainted with the local community and the issues here.

Mr Wood may not be all that familiar with our community but he is not so unfamiliar with some at Kensington Town Hall – his other half is Lesley Seary, who is now Chief Executive at Islington Council. Prior to that she was at Lewisham Council, under our now current RBKC Chief Executive Barry Quirk.

Also, Head of Strategy at Lewisham Council under Barry Quirk and around the same time Ms Seary was there, was Robyn Fairman – who is now at RBKC as Executive Director of the Grenfell Team – how very cosy this all seems…..

THINK believe that Chris Wood’s involvement here points to one thing. With refurbishment on some parts of the Lancaster West Estate being needed and there being some talk of some regeneration plus Mr Wood’s involvement with the taskforce, THINK are highly concerned aa to what possible ideas for regenerating the estate Mr Wood and some at both the Government and RBKC may have in mind…..

Looking at RBKC’s general reluctance to take the management of the housing of former TMO properties in the borough back “in house” in the traditional form of council housing should really give others all across the Rotten Borough real cause for concern that a much bigger role for the commercial company and collaborations with other commercial partners plus housing associations will likely be on the cards.

Former RBKC Leader Nick Paget-Brown and his former Deputy, Rock Feilding-Mellen once had regeneration plans in mind for North Kensington and while Nick and Rock’s political careers may be dead in the water, the same ideas and notions sadly are not. We believe our local community is still very much under threat.

Under the powers of the Localism Act many local authorities and Kensington and Chelsea in particular simply cut their council housing waiting lists simply by removing many people from the list and changing the rules and criteria for eligibility to be housed there . RBKC’s rules now mean that tenants placed out of the borough for more than two years will then come under the responsibility of the council where they are placed and RBKC will not house them.

Not only could fixed term tenants (after the same Cameron Government put an end to lifetime tenancies) be affected, but other residents could lose their lifetime secure tenancies under changes of rules that could come about. This has already happened to many under other regeneration schemes in London. The lack of space on which to build new homes and the lack of temporary homes available in RBKC means that some residents could very likely be moved out for good.

Ironically, if similar regeneration projects to Mr Wood’s previous activities with an emphasis on housing for profit (which would more than likely have got the nod of approval from “Nick Piglet- Pie” and “Jailhouse Rock” ) end up going ahead here, these quite possibly will be made behind closed doors at even around the same time there will be difficult questions over Nick and Rock’s roles in North Kensington, regeneration and Grenfell at the Inquiry in the full glare of the public.

The Rotten Borough behaving like a rotten dictatorship!

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Here is something the Rotten Borough ¬†of ¬†Kensington and Chelsea did not want you to see. This is when a few protesters held some signs behind ¬†former leader Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown when he was making a speech.¬†

The local residents protesting were ¬†holding up some signs that read “Commissioners Now!”, “Do not bill us in North Ken for something you have done”, “Rotten Borough Kills our Community” and ¬†some others were holding up posters of Rock Feilding-Mellen that said “Where?”

Well where indeed? ¬†Rock Feilding-Mellen has been a complete no-show to public council meetings and to his home in North Kensington, also to his surgeries in Holland Ward, but appears to think that it is totally fine to sneak into private council meetings, to pick up his councillors’ allowance and remain as a councillor whilst attending to none of his duties.

At a few different times in the meeting, residents and volunteers  from the Public Gallery heckled the council . THINK believe that some at RBKC should  expect and do fully deserve this kind of treatment after Grenfell, a less than adequate responses to the disaster from RBKC, the nerve of the council to make local residents pay extra council tax for their failures, and their policies and decisions made  long before the fire.

The signs were also held up during speeches from Kim Taylor-Smith and Gerald Hargreaves.

The meeting, of which the main part was to set the council’s budget, lasted over four hours. ¬†But RBKC, at first decided to cut out two hours from the webcast (including the protestors and Piglet-Pie).

There was nothing illegal, violent or obscene in that meeting and THINK believe that ¬†censoring the meeting in the first place ¬†amounted to behaviour worthy of a dictatorship. If they broadcast public meetings online; then then we ¬†believe that ¬†all residents deserve to hear them in full. Was this another of Michael Clarke’s “mistakes”?

Please sign and share this petition for him to resign: 

https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-kensington-and-chelsea-michael-clarke-former-head-of-press-of-grenfell-tower-inquiry-to-resign-immediately?recruiter=731926697&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message.nafta_milestone_share_ask_victory.control&utm_medium=whatsapp&utm_content=whatsapp_share_content_2:control

Fortunately after many complaints from residents, the meeting has now been put on the webcast in full. We thank some ¬†at ¬†the council for (finally) listening, and having some common sense; but the meeting ¬†shouldn’t have been censored in the first place! Do we have to make a fuss on social media every time RBKC gets it wrong?

Perhaps it is time the ruling Conservatives at RBKC were sent packing in May?  Register to vote or check you are registered to vote here:

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

And here, finally, is the link to the webcast of the meeting in full!

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-meeting-webcasts

Here are some pictures of Nick Paget-Brown  from the meeting (He was going  all around the chamber taking pictures on his phone at one point).





Wornington College – a temporary reprieve for now

Here are some members of the Save Wornington College campaign outside the KCC Hortensia Road campus in Chelsea about to hand in the petition against the properties merger of Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC) with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC) to the Governors yesterday.

We at think support the campaign to keep our local community college in North Kensington. We believe that the reason our council has bought the Wornington site at such a know-down price is to sell it off to developers for so-called luxury flats.

Yesterday’s merger vote was called off after intervention from Anne Milton, the Governments’ Skills Minister and Richard Atkins the FE commissioner who was brought in after a continued effort by our local campaigners to save our college. The merger is now subject to review.

Both the interim management of KCC and EHWLC are stating that they they believe a “super college” is best to provide further education to those in our community – we say otherwise as our less than trustworthy local authority RBKC has the freehold, the previous management of the college -no not the staff, students and courses offered, put it into a less than desirable financial state and that we believe this the full matter of governance of this College over some years deserves full and fair investigation.

THINK stand with our community and the Save Wornington College campaign, do not take anything for granted and ask our readers to support our community in the most difficult of times and add your support to the petition (which is still running) here:

https://www.change.org/p/mary-curnock-cook-chair-of-corporation-of-kcc-and-the-board-of-governors-save-wornington-college

We also decided , alongside the campaigners, to present our “Piglet-Pie award” (named after former RBKC leader Nick Paget-Brown, who is nicknamed “Piglet” and lied and showed continual arrogance towards our local community) to the KCC management for their less than honest behaviour towards our community, college staff and students yesterday, but management overreacted to a peaceful gathering outside and insisted that security lock the doors. We left had to choice but to leave it outside for them to collect!

As we have stated previously, our community in North Kensington will take years and decades to recover from the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. The education of many in our community will be severely affected as so many are traumatised.

Today we received a disgraceful comment on our last Wornington College post that we didn’t publish, but in the interests of freedom of speech, here it is:

“It really is a shame. Kensington and Chelsea college are in dire need of help. No idea what the locals expect to happen if this merger doesn‚Äôt go ahead? Do they think they‚Äôve saved the college? The broke college with bad leadership? It‚Äôll fade away. Also, could be me, but is this not shamefully using Grenfell? Shocking.”

Now we have received far worse from trolls in the past and have learnt to grow a thicker skin – but this anonymous email was linked to sites linked with “asset relocations”!

Dirty tricks by some proponents of the merger who stand to cash in big-time on selling off our College? We think so!

We will just point out to whoever this is that THINKers and supporters of both our blog and the Save Wornington Campaign are not only affected by Grenfell, but that we were invited to the Save Wornington College meetings by our friend Edward Daffarn who is a survivor from Grenfell Tower and a former student of Wornington College.

Grenfell is and always has been, part of our community. Many are traumatised and bereaved will need support on various levels and Wornington College provides fantastic educational support for all to many in and around the community – we need a community college in North Kensington now more than ever.

If some people really wish to go into mudslinging and accusations we warn the management at both corporations and our council that some know more about your antics and dubious activities than they may let on- our community will do everything we can to prevent them plundering our life chances for your pure financial gain.

We haven’t even started on some of those involved in the mismanagement of our College and their less than transparent behaviour, but have no fear – we will – as we said before, this isn’t over.

We are grateful to all who have supported, signed and shared. The petition now has over 1,600 signatures – do sign, share and add your support to save our College if you haven’t done so already.

We are thankful to Anne Milton and Richard Atkins for at least putting a hold on things and hope they and others will use this time to listen closely to what our community really needs, not what outsiders running corporations and their desire to make a huge profit and salary want.

THINK stand with the Save Wornington College campaign and thank everyone so far who has supported this campaign – thank you from the heart of our community in North Kensington.

“Jailhouse” Rock Feilding-Mellen: A man on the run…..

 

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This is RBKC former Deputy Leader and cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property, Rock Feilding-Mellen. He is a man on the run, on the run from the very communities he once claimed to represent.

Many in and around this community have  various questions to put to him regarding his role in the regeneration of North Kensington: including  the Westway, Wornington College, North Kensington Library, the Silchester Estate and Lancaster West Estate Рwhich included the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower which as we all know by now, played a part in why so many people needlessly died in the fire.

But what did Feilding-Mellen do? When many in our community ran to assist and help all who were made homeless, bereaved and traumatised, Rock ran the other away and fled his home (located very near to Lancaster West and Silchester estates) , blaming local residents!

So where is Rock now? This is a question that was shouted out from many members of the public in the gallery at the last council meeting Рhe has been a complete no-show,to the Town Hall  along with former leader Nick Paget Brown.

It is also a question asked by several of his Ward constituents as he is not answering letters or doing council surgeries either. Well we can answer that – clearly Rock Feilding-Mellen hasn’t learnt any lessons in humility because this boastful scoundrel has posted his address on business networking sites – he is residing in Chelsea Embankment.

Here is the website for his property development company – Socially Conscious Capital:

http://sociallyconsciouscapital.co.uk/

It has a pittance of a turnover, clearly his “third eye” cannot see ¬†the staring irony of this preposterous name, ¬†and he for some unknown reasons, also ¬†appears to have ¬†interests ¬†in Lithuania:

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06973713

Maybe some with better expertise in tax than ourselves would like to enlighten us with knowledge of tax (or tax avoidance) schemes, or his possible dreadful plans for social cleansing there – someone really needs to tell him (whose parents have drilled holes in their heads to stay permanently “high”)to put the drill down!

As it is, both his fellow Conservatives all try to defend his and Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown’s position by only stating that they are stepping down from the council in May. They have consistently failed to answer residents with regards to how much in taxpayers’ money these (in our view) white collar crooks are continually being paid for not doing councillors’ surgeries, attending meetings or voting. We say they are nothing but a pair of lowlife scroungers.

We have been informed however that “Jailhouse Rock” did attend a private meeting of Tory councillors in Kensington Town Hall on Monday; we hope they told him and Piglet-Pie to resign now. They in our opinion, deserve a lengthy spell behind bars.

If things do not sound bad enough, let us inform everyone that some of the Notting Dale Labour councillors (whose ward Grenfell Tower is in) are not just  traumatised by Grenfell and have an overload of people needing their help, but some are now having to do the councillors surgery work for  the absentee Rock Feilding-Mellen on top of that too. Beyond disgraceful.

 

 

 

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.

Nick Piglet-Pie heads for the exit but keeps a foot in the door……

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This is our former leader of the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown.

We call him this because of his being less than truthful when still leader about sprinklers and residents in a BBC Newsnight interview after Grenfell here:

What else did Piglet-Pie do as leader? Preside over plans to socially cleanse parts of the north of the borough while ignoring concerns and complaints from ordinary residents and also receive one of the highest salaries as a council leader for doing so. ignored fire warnings  about Grenfell Tower before the disaster from the Grenfell Action Group and other residents of the Tower and after the fire, presided over a delayed and inedequate response from RBKC which only further exacerbated the trauma suffered by Grenfell victims, their families and many others in the North Kensington local community.

His career as RBKC  leader soon came to an end after the  sorry debacle of a cabinet meeting which he brought to a halt after a High Court ruling allowed journalists in. See here:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/kensington-council-boss-nicholas-pagetbrown-faces-growing-pressure-to-quit-over-grenfell-a3576841.html

So after he resigned, he set up a consulting firm, NPB Consultants,  for  local authorities to work with organisations.

Well we at ¬†THINK believe that Piglet-Pie is one of the last people that other local authorities should wish to consult. His firm supposedly offers seminars, briefings, policy analysis ¬†and drafting assistance. His firm also did state that they offered “strategic ¬†communications” ¬†– which if we weren’t still so angry and traumatised by the council’s response after Grenfell, would imagine to be some terrible excuse for a joke. This has since been removed from his profile.

Nick Paget-Brown has also now announced that he will not be seeking re-election as a councillor next May.  We guess he will be spending more time with his lawyers, but the thing is, he is still a councillor. As he has not been in attendance at recent council meetings (along with former Deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen) THINK believe that if he really had any  shred of decency left, he would resign as a councillor too.

We are long  used to him ignoring North Kensington residents, but now he is apparently ignoring his ward constituents in Bronpton and Hans Town Ward  in the more affluent south of the borough  by staying on, accepting a salary and not giving them adequate local representation by not turning up at meetings.

THINK believe that Piglet-Pie ¬†and Feilding-Mellen’s constituents (his are in Holland Ward) deserve full and fair representation and that it is a disgrace to them and to all RBKC taxpayers that these two are “invisible councillors” who think that it is perfectly acceptable to hold on to their backbench jobs and still take a councillors’ salary, while doing next to nothing for their electors and not even ¬†bothering to attend the Town Hall for meetings and votes.

The photo of him ¬†with the microphone above comes from one of his “Ask Nick” sessions that were held when he was leader in which members of the public put various local issues to him ¬†though he appears to us to be singing “My Way” on karaoke in it – which is the sort of crazy response we’d ¬†not be entirely surprised to get ¬†from them.

We’ll “Ask Nick” to resign as a councillor and we’ll “Ask Rock” too…….

THINK and many other residents of the Rotten Borough have had  more than enough of this bad joke of a council  and we will ask people to sign our petition to get Government to put the commisioners in to sort out this whole sorry incompetent mess:

https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-put-the-failing-royal-borough-of-kensington-chelsea-into-special-measures

(Maybe Nick Piglet-Pie, now he will have more than enough time on his hands, would like to watch the video below to get some karaoke practice?)

 

 

Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: what were you thinking (or taking!)

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Pictured on the left is Rock Feilding-Mellen, RBKC  former deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property.

Pictured on the right is Nick Paget Brown, former RBKC leader (and liar)

Between them, they wreaked havoc and hell on the poorest and most vulnerable in the community. Not pictured is their cabinet member for finance, Warwick Lightfoot – see our previous post here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/warwick-lightfoot-sorry-we-have-no-money-but-are-sitting-on-300-million-reserves/

This was their plan; generate as much money as you can to stay in power by asset stripping, social cleansing and ¬†capitalising on the high value of land and property in the borough. They could not even begin to understand North Kensington in the words of Rock: “the north¬†is the new south”

Of course the intention was to bribe the property-rich, cash-poor mainly elderly voters with their own taxpayers’ money in the hope of staying in power for a lifetime.

But it didn’t work out like that as they did a cheap shoddy refurbishment of Grenfell Tower which cost countless lives and casts a charred darkened shadow over their misdemeanours. ¬†Most of us in this community will forever have it in their heads as a¬†permanent reminder of what a bunch of crooks ¬†we believe those in charge of RBKC to be.

We gave a rough list of just a few of their “projects” ¬†in this post:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/little-lord-rock-weilding-felon-about-to-pack-his-bags/

As it is, we think for once, Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown has (in his body language in the photo at least) summed up the utter bewilderment of most of the community they were supposed to represent.

Rock’s Mother, Amanda Feilding, the Countess of Wemyss, has called¬†herself her ¬†“own drug laboratory” and both his parents ¬†have practised trepanning (drilling holes in their heads) to stay permanently high.

A journalist who once met Amanda Feilding said that “she is not exactly a good advertisement for legalising drugs, as she is frail and always shaking”.

Now in North Kensington, which like a lot of parts of inner city London, has a large drug problem, and a local authority which continually fails to deal with the distribution of hard drugs and the subsequent community issues that result from that failure, we can only guess that Rock lives up to his name.

Here is a personal quote about his upbringing from his own Mother: ” In our home there were no taboos. The children grew up knowing you could smoke pot and work, ¬†and even enhance your cognitive function if you are clever enough to combine it with other substances”

Well, most families in less privileged circumstances would normally at least receive the attention of social services. Oh wait? Didn’t Rock also remove provision of children’s and families social services from the Westway in North Kensington?

We believe nothing short of a lengthy spell behind bars for messrs Paget-Brown, Feilding-Mellen and Lightfoot would be most appropriate. The only thing is ¬†they might rather enjoy being reminded of boarding school too much……

And today we have a “stalemate” situation, propped up by a Conservative Prime Minister who lines the pockets of the bigoted ¬†DUP – (who wouldn’t know North Kensington if it hit them on the back of the head) ¬†to continually bring our area into further social decline.

We now have “Dizzy Lizzy” Elizabeth Campbell who is absolutely clueless and might as well have had a hole drilled in her head – ¬†and her sloth- like Deputy Kim Taylor-Smith (another property developer, great!) in charge. For goodness sake we wish someone would do something about this but we only live in hope…..

 

 

 

 

 

North Kensington Library: Happily ever after

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Once upon a time  back in 1891, there was a  purpose built  public library in North Kensington, It was enjoyed by many local and nearby residents of all backgrounds for over a century.

Then one day the ruling  Self-Servatives  in charge of the Royal Borough took a look at this much loved library  and decided that a beautiful Grade Two listed building was too special for its ordinary residents and made plans to lease the  existing library building to a Prep School and provide residents with an ugly inferior new library  building instead.

The Royal Borough’s Prince of Darkness, Rock Feilding-Mellen also had booked places at this Prep School for his children.

The citizens of North Kensington were astonished at the very nerve of ¬†the Self- Servatives and the Prince of Darkness to take away a much- loved local library, appalled at how Prince Rock apparently had conflicts of interests in the matter and outraged at the planned layout of the proposed new building which combined the children’s and adults libraries.

Prince Rock ¬†and his Self-Servative cabinet cohorts also had been behind plans to ¬†take away people’s social housing, replace a local much-needed community college with so-called luxury flats and many other controversial redevelopment plans. It appeared their priorities were to carve up and sell off council-owned property in ¬†North Kensington alongside developers for pure financial gain.

The frustrated citizens of North Kensington came together to fight a strong campaign to save the library for public use.

Then disaster struck and a needless and entirely preventable tragedy in the shape of the fire at Grenfell Tower sadly devasted the local community and many lost their lives or their homes.

The good citizens of North Kensington supported each other throughout the constant grief, trauma and stress, and still continued  campaigning to save their library, their College and their social housing.

People from all over the country and the world began to take notice, and soon fingers were pointing at King Nick, leader of the Self-Servatives, Prince Rock  and many others.

Soon public pressure forced many of the Self-Servatives in charge to resign and the Prince of Darkness was banished to the shadows, where he still remains today.

Now the good citizens of North Kensington have heard the good news that (what are left of) the Self-Servatives have now scrapped the plans to take this beautiful building away from the public and the Friends of North Kensington Library were instrumental in their campaign  to save it Рa community will be forever grateful to these dedicated and passionate campaigners.

The End? Well we are not “sitting comfortably” quite yet – there are still many other things going on in North Kensington that give us cause¬†for concern. We are still under Tory rule in RBKC, many in charge appear to be connected with property interests, our community college, Wornington College and the provision of further education is under threat and there is still a big question mark hanging over our social housing.

We did not mean to appear flippant, but this really is one true story that almost sounds make-believe. We thank the Friends of North Kensington Library and this good news has made THINK’s day.

Here is today’s Evening Standard:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/plans-to-lease-north-kensington-library-to-5800aterm-prep-school-scrapped-in-wake-of-grenfell-tower-a3637151.html

Let’s ¬†work at the other campaigns, hope and strive for success in those too. So we are pleased that North Kensington Library ¬† has been saved for public use and ¬†after Grenfell, our community more than deserves to live happily ever after.

Cllr Daniel Moylan: Smoke and mirrors

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The debauched-looking chap pictured above is Cllr Daniel Moylan. Conservative councillor for Queen’s Gate (alongside THINK “favourite” Matthew Palmer)

The always amusing  From The Hornets Nest blog on both here:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/very-odd-peas-in-queens-gate-pod.html?m=1

Cllr Moylan has had a long career at RBKC and is something of a master illusionist , disappearing and reappearing. He was last seen by us throwing knives at then-leader Nick Paget-Brown. Of course there are many things that Daniel Moylan would rather people forget; namely that he has also served in the RBKC cabinet and is a former deputy leader.

Here are a few ¬†more things that some ought to know about Cllr Moylan. He is known as the”king of planning” (you can see his work in Kensington High Street and Exhibition Road) but of particular local interest to us – Portobello Road. Yes anyone here who is fed up with the increased commercialisation of Portobello Road can look back to Moylan and his lack of support for small businesses, even telling antiques dealers to “raise their game” and comparing Portobello Road to Kensington High Street.

His website also lists him as non-executive director of Glanmore Property Fund – gone into liquidation – see here:

http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/seven-year-itch-glanmore-property-investors-locked-up-until-2022/a782349

His website also lists him as non-executive director of Guernsey-based British Real Estate which has gone bust. See here:

https://www.fundstrategy.co.uk/issues/online-november-2011/tilneys-british-real-estate-fund-goes-bust/

THINK are far from impressed with such a portfolio and point out that there are already more than enough shady property dealings in our borough already.

And of course he is very partial to Peter Bingle’s company. See our post here:https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/a-rocky-road-well-travelled-and-a-terrapin-in-the-tank/

In fact he is on record as having enjoyed the hospitality of Peter Bingle and Terrapin Communications on at least 10 occasions – the last being as recent as exactly one week before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Back in 2012, Daniel Moylan was made chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation by former London Mayor Boris Johnson. This was criticised by several London Assembly members as some pointed out that Moylan did not demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience in regeneration.

Here is an excerpt from Moylan being questioned back then by London Assembly members:

John Biggs: ” Can you give an example of a regeneration initiative where you have helped facilitate the employment of low-skilled unemployed, long-term unemployed, unemployed youth for example?”

Daniel Moylan: “No, I cannot, not in that sense”

Unsurprisingly, Cllr  Moylan lasted just three months in his position.

So why are THINK interested in Cllr Moylan and his illustrious career, some might ask? Because with “Dizzy Lizzy” Elizabeth Campbell floundering and struggling to do the job, many are talking about the prospect of him becoming RBKC leader – that’s why! (He has also stood unsuccessfully for the position three times).

As several Tories have labelled him “untrustworthy” and “arrogant” and many of the things we read about him do not make for comfortable reading, THINK believe that such a move by the Tories really would be “out of the frying ¬†pan and into the fire”.

We believe that it is about time that Cllr Daniel Moylan’s leadership ambitions did a disappearing act for good: along with most of the Tories in the Rotten Borough of Kensington ¬†and Chelsea……

A Rocky road well- travelled and a Terrapin in the tank…

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Let THINK take you down a road well-travelled:

Pictured above is Peter Bingle of Terrapin Communications, a property PR firm. Mr Bingle is apparently known for his “generous hospitality” which former RBKC leader Nick “Piglet-Pie” Paget-Brown, RBKC former deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property Rock Feilding-Mellen and RBKC former deputy leader and ¬†former ¬†deputy leader of Transport for London, Daniel Moylan have all enjoyed.

Last year two of our fellow local blogs the Grenfell Action Group and ¬†From The Hornet’s Nest both questioned why these senior councillors at RBKC would be enjoying Mr Bingle’s “free lunches”.

From The Hornet’s Nest questioning the motives behind the meetings between Rock Feilding-Mellen and Peter Bingle and why there wasn’t a senior council officer present to record them ¬†here:

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/still-on-subject-of-rocky.html?m=1

And Grenfell Action Group here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/rocky-mipim-and-the-lobbyist/

And also informing us about Nick Paget-Brown’s associations with MIPIM the luxury property developers’ conference ¬†in Cannes ¬†here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/paget-brown-and-mipim/amp/

Terrapin Communications ¬†and Mr Bingle do not only have associations with RBKC Tories though. Mr Bingle’s “lunch companions” also include Labour-run Haringey Council in North London, who are currently under fire from residents over the sale of Hornsey Town Hall and their HDV (Haringey Development Vehicle) regeneration plan which is transferring around ¬£2billion ¬†worth of publicly provided housing into 50/50 public-private ownership.

Haringey cabinet members who have also been enjoying Mr Bingle’s hospitality include leader Claire Kober – who was also at MIPIM with Rock Feilding-Mellen, cabinet member for housing and regeneration Alan Strickland and cabinet member for finance and health, Jason Arthur. And let us also mention that their ¬†chief whip, Adam Jogee ¬†actually works for Terrapin Communications.

So why might we be still still interested in Mr Bingle’s firm or any other firm connected with property developers, today some may wonder?

We did mention in a previous post that RBKC were “phasing out” the TMO, but did not give any further details, other than the mysterious statement that they were “in talks with housing ¬†associations and other local authorities”.

This leaves all TMO tenants and leaseholders  with a very big question mark hanging over of  their future living in the borough. The fact that RBKC  prefer to have such discussions behind closed doors makes us more than suspicious of their motives.

Over a year ago, we found out that RBKC had some “regeneration” plans for Runcorn Place and Hesketh Place – these are mainly temporary accommodation flats, though a separate block on Hesketh Place consisting of nine flats which are homes for ¬†both permanent and fixed term tenants and leaseholders ¬†and shares its communal back garden with the temporary flats.

The plans were then shelved as RBKC informed us, there was a “shortage of temporary accommodation ¬†within the borough” but then RBKC announced plans to “regenerate” the temporary accommodation flats at 36 Oxford Gardens (just off Portobello Road) – so forgive us if we are having difficulty believing this council and find some real discrepancies between what they say and what they actually do. We also point out that it is easy to get rid of residents in temporary housing on the quiet and that many in small blocks which are not on estates do not have Residents Groups or Associations ¬†to help form a strong opposition to any such plans.

Some living in Notting Dale Ward may wish to see the Notting Barns South Masterplan, obtained by the Grenfell Action Group under the Freedom Of Information act here: https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/notting-barns-south-masterplan.pdf

As it stands, our council announced that the regeneration plans for the Silchester Estate were cancelled and that RBKC contracts for this (we guess he means ¬†Porphyrios Associates who held the “consultation” ) jointly with RBKC .¬†But let us just point out that the plans had already been drawn up (we have a copy of them) earlier this year so the work done by “Porphyria Associates” (as we call them) ¬†had already been done – so their contract had likely come to an end anyway – ¬† and ¬†that most “regeneration” plans are subject to change (usually for the worse as the developers usually get their own way with less social housing provided than initially promised).

But finally we have heard the excellent news from ¬†the Save Our Silchester campaigners – whose words we can actually believe – that the Silchester Estate is safe. We now hope that RBKC will now carry out much-needed work on some of the properties there as residents are calling for – not let them fall into “managed decline”. but there is the cautionary note that it is subject to funding. As it is, we are very happy for them but the same cannot be said for others ¬†in the borough who fear being forced out of their homes.

As far as we know, all RBKC’s other regeneration plans ¬†are “on hold”. Yes – they do never have very much to say about this and their reluctance to share information with the public ¬†just leaves us with more questions then answers.

We question why management of social housing stock has not been brought back “in house” ¬†and why RBKC appears to be hesitant to do ¬†this, but some may not have to spend too long wondering as we point out that former RBKC leader Merrick ¬†Cockell is now in charge of the lobbying firm Cratus Communications, which mainly specialises in property. – so we believe that the alleged vested interests ¬†and connections of some concerned and ¬†the very high value of property and land ¬†in RBKC ¬†may prove far more attractive to those in charge than providing much-needed social housing in the borough.

Here is the website for Mr Bingle’s firm – we note their comment: “Terrapins are the masters of the art of self preservation. They know when to stick their heads out and when to keep them in their shells!” We believe that ¬†the RBKC Tories have been keeping their heads in their shells for far too long with regards to our housing and obviously prefer covert discussions behind closed doors to open discussions with residents:

http://www.terrapincommunications.co.uk/

Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?

We’ll leave you with a video of Save Our Silchester protesting outside Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house: