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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

BROKENSHIRE STANDS UP FOR RESIDENTS

Mark Wilding reports that Khan't Do Anything Right is very sulky about James Brokenshire stepping in to defend local residents against greedy developers.
.....a more interventionist approach by the housing secretary on planning decisions in the capital has angered London mayor Sadiq Khan. Observers say the government's line could make both developers and councils nervous.
Just a few days before, the housing secretary had issued a holding direction in relation to plans for the 46-home redevelopment of the Newcombe House office block in Kensington and Chelsea – preventing permission being granted until Brokenshire decides whether to call in the application. Khan also alleged that the housing secretary had said he was likely to issue a further holding direction in relation to another scheme in the same west London borough, a redevelopment of the Kensington Forum Hotel to create a new hotel plus 46 homes, which was called in by Khan in November. Khan's criticisms came just days after he praised Brokenshire for refusing an estate regeneration scheme in west London over a lack of social housing. 
 If Khan is correct about the impending  Kensington Forum Hotel holding direction, Brokenshire has even pre-empted the London mayor’s decision.     


Mike Kiely, London chair at the Planning Officers Society, said such disputes could make life similarly difficult for councils. "These decisions should be made locally," he said, adding that the Purley decision will have been particularly hard for officers to stomach. "These are difficult decisions to make and the officers at Croydon have worked hard to make this scheme a success," he said. "To have the rug pulled out at the end of the process is not the way to run a planning system."   

Saturday, 12 January 2019

ANOTHER 'LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNED' PLATITUDE

Sometimes readers need to indulge an old Dame. 
Not always does she write about affairs in our Royal Borough.
At times her beady eyes will alight on other councils-especially when they need a Dame Hornet to keep them in order.
The brutal death of a three-month-old little boy should sicken us all.
STANLEY

Stanley Davis was just three months into his tragedy of a life when ended by his mother and father with a combination of multiple bone fractures, a bleed on the brain and fractured skull.
Death must have been a sweet release from the brutal treatment meted out by his parents now serving wholly inadequate ten-year prison terms.
Hampshire County Council was supposed to be safeguarding the Gosport born baby yet failed disgracefully. 

And nothing has been heard from the baby's ineffectual MP Caroline Dinenage....
Brutalised Stanley died from a fractured skull and a brain bleed with 32 rib fractures and nine more to his arms and legs. 
And this, despite police and social services intervention and hospitalisation.

HCC spends millions of pounds on children’s services so how on earth could this have happened?
Its seriously useless PR department will doubtless come out with the useless platitude, “ lessons will have been learned”!
One lesson it should learn fast is this... 
Do not allow Derek Benson, the chairman of the Hampshire Children’s Safeguard Board, to undertake any investigation into Stanley’s murder.
MULTI JOBBING BENSON
Derek Benson is a retired policeman. He lives in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire.
Benson, in his CV, wrote boastfully and idiotically: 
"I balance chairmanships of three children’s safeguarding boards.... Worcestershire, Isle of Wight and Hampshire"
As if he was engaged in some sort of juggling act.

The three boards are located over 100 miles from Benson's Hertfordshire home so how can he successfully ‘balance’ these incredibly important roles paying him, with allowances and expenses, around £73,000 a year?
Aside from these three jobs, he is a director of Key 6 Group. 
Key 6's apprentice training schemes were described by Ofsted as " NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE"
But the real question for all three council chief executives is this....
Why choose a chairman with no knowledge of your area and who lives hours away?
In Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there are highly qualified candidates able to perform the chairmanship roles.
Even superficial research reveals at least several retired High Court judges far better qualified than Benson for reasons of skill, experience and being local.
Each council chief executive should also ask Mr. Benson why he rapidly edited his CV when he knew that questions were being asked about his background. 
Within the space of just days, the ‘balancing’ of jobs had been removed and the reference to his directorship of Key 6 Group.
Without doubt, Benson's solicitors will attempt to hit out at the Dame. 
They will be wasting their time....like all the others who have come before!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

YOU CAN SAVE THE ROYAL BROMPTON HOSPITAL:SIGN THE PETITION

The Dame says,

"Cllr Ian Henderson has fought like a Highlander to save the Sutton estate and has done an amazing job fighting those rogues trying turn a housing association into a property developer.
The Royal Brompton Hospital must be relieved to see that Ian has taken up the vital cause of saving the Royal Brompton. We should all sign his petition"

The Royal Brompton Hospital is a world-renowned hospital and an integral part of the famed science/health Chelsea hub. 

The NHS Executive has decided to stop commissioning children’s heart services from the Royal Brompton, despite acknowledging its history of providing safe and exceptional care in this area. The hospital has now given up on retaining the Fulham Road site and is planning to transfer all of its services to a site at St Thomas Hospital, funded by selling off its very valuable site. We believe this to be a retrograde step which will seriously damage the excellent services for which the Brompton is well known.
Two trusts - Imperial Healthcare (which runs St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals), and the Chelsea and Westminster - are pursuing an alternative plan. This aims to keep all Brompton services in North West London, but split them over several sites.

Either of the proposed plans would begin to unravel the integrated and highly successful medical facilities now available along the Fulham Road and end any prospect of retaining a world-leading science/health hub in Chelsea. 
Please click here  and make your voice heard SAVE THE ROYAL BROMPTON HOSPITAL

Monday, 17 December 2018

MISARA RESPONDS TO DRAFT HANS TOWN CONSERVATION AREA APPRAISAL





                        MILNER STREET AREA RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
                                                    milnerresidents@pobox.com


Consultation on draft Hans Town Conservation Area Appraisal dated October 2018: response from Milner Street Area Residents’ Association to RBK&C



11 December 2018

The Milner Street Area Residents’ Association (MISARA) hereby submits its response to the above consultation. We have carefully reviewed the draft Appraisal and compared it with the existing Hans Town Conservation Area Proposals Statement adopted in January 2000. On almost all counts the draft Appraisal suffers by comparison with the Proposals Statement, and we call on the Council not to adopt the proposed draft.

Background

By way of background, we note that the Proposals Statement was written with warmth and sensitivity by authors who plainly understood and appreciated the qualities of the area and the importance of protecting it from inappropriate development. By contrast, the draft Appraisal reads as a cold-blooded bureaucratic synopsis lacking in respect and affection for the area and downgrading the importance of its protection.

The defects of the draft Appraisal are summarised below.

1. Failure to follow Guidance from Historic England

Historic England refers to reviews of existing Conservation Area appraisals in its detailed Advice Note Conservation Area Designation, Appraisal and Management (February 2016). In Section 1.10 it states:

“The review might typically result in an addendum to the existing appraisal, recording: what has changed; confirming (or redefining) the special interest that warrants designation; setting out any new recommendations; and revising the management strategy.”

It would indeed be useful for the draft Appraisal to provide an addendum describing what has changed in the Conservation Area over the last 18 years and (more importantly) what new recommendations or policies have been made or are under consideration for its protection. But no such addendum has been provided. Instead, as the Council’s head of Spatial Planning, Mr Wade, has admitted to us (in an email of 23 October 2018): “The Hans Town CAA is a completely new document”. It has been written without reference to the Proposals Statement as if this document had never existed.

The justification given for this by Mr Wade is that the Proposals Statement “looks impressive but for decision making and for those putting applications in it is far too detailed and this rather defeats its purpose”. We believe, on the contrary, that the wealth of detail in the Proposals Statement is extremely useful and provides both (i) clearer guidance to applicants and (ii) a better basis for planning officers to resist applications which fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area. It not only looks impressive but it is impressive, and it fulfills its purpose far better than the draft Appraisal.

2. Removal of Important Objective

The Proposals Statement has three defined objectives, the second of which reads: “To provide guidance in respect of any proposed changes: (a) to owners on appropriate action to preserve or enhance their buildings, including advice on changes for which no planning application is required; and (b) on the Council’s likely response to applications for planning permission”.

Unfortunately, in the draft Appraisal this objective has been removed and replaced with a rather different aim to “assist applicants in making successful planning applications”. This might be considered to replicate (b) in part, though without the benefit of giving guidance on applications which are likely to be unsuccessful; but (a) has simply been dropped without replacement.

We believe that the second objective in the Proposals Statement should be restored in its entirety, and the draft Appraisal redrafted accordingly.

3. Failure to link to Local Plan Policies

Mr. Wade told us in his email of 23 October 2018 that the draft Appraisal “links to policies in the Local Plan”. This is a remarkable claim because the draft Appraisal does no such thing. Apart from a list of policy headings in an appendix on the final page, there is virtually no reference to any of the policies in the Local Plan in the main text of the document.

By contrast, the Proposals Statement has a very useful section 5, “Control of Physical Change”, with 11 pages of valuable detail on how the Council’s policies affect physical change in the Conservation Area. Most regrettably, this section has been removed in its entirety from the draft Appraisal and not replaced with anything.

There have been a number of inappropriate developments in the Conservation Area since the adoption of the Proposals Statement in 2000. These should be commented on in the new Appraisal, but do not necessitate a radical revision. What has changed, however, is the Council’s policies as presented in the Local Plan, together with the impact of ever wider permitted development rights made by successive governments under the General Purpose Development Order.

We, therefore, call for the reinstatement of section 5 of the Proposals Statement, updated accordingly to provide links to current policies.

4. Omission of Important Detail

Section 3 of the Proposals Statement contains 56 pages of detailed description of the Conservation Area, written with obvious affection and sensitivity and reflecting sound aesthetic judgment. A good deal of historical research must have employed, either by the authors of the document or the work of previous generations, and the result is an invaluable contribution to public understanding of the characteristics of the area and what makes it special. It is an extremely important part of the “evidence base” in the context of which decisions are made.

In the equivalent sections of the draft Appraisal, however, this has been slashed by more than half, for no reason given other than that the officers consider the Proposals Statement to be “too detailed”.

We assume that if the draft Appraisal were to be adopted, the Proposals Statement would be removed from the Council’s website – as has happened following the adoption of previous Appraisals - and would no longer be available to assist in public understanding or in the making of planning applications and decisions. Copies of the document would become collector’s items, gathering dust in the archives or on the shelves of disillusioned residents.

We believe that tossing a large part of the evidence base out of the window indicates a disrespectful attitude by Council officers to the authors of the discarded material and to the Conservation Area and its residents, both present and future.

5. Omission of Important Advice

The Proposals Statement contains a wealth of useful advice on a wide range of matters such as the repointing of brickwork, the cleaning of terracotta, the preservation of stonework, the maintenance and repair of windows, the restoration of damaged paving and so forth.

All of this is omitted from the draft Appraisal. Why? In and amongst the discarded advice are some clear and important statements, e.g.:

“The removal of original windows and their replacement with inappropriate ones is often one of the most damaging forms of alterations within a conservation area”.

“Traditionally, York stone slabs were laid in formal, regular linear courses and such a paving layout should always be retained and new work married in to match”.

The failure to replicate explicitly statements such as this in the draft Appraisal suggests a general lowering of standards which we believe should not be accepted.

6. Failure to consider Article 4 Directions to restrict Permitted Development

MISARA and the Chelsea Society have both called on the Council to issue Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights in all our conservation areas, thus enabling the Council to refuse applications which fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. On 14 October 2018 the Chelsea Society wrote to Cllr Pascall to request this, but we understand that no reply has yet been received.

The Advice Note from Historic England mentioned in (1) above states:

“The specific requirement on local authorities under section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to carry out a conservation area appraisal provides a robust evidence base on which to assess the need for and scope of an Article 4 direction. Ideally a conservation area management plan developed from a conservation area appraisal may identify areas where removal of ‘permitted development rights’ is necessary to prevent the loss of characteristic architectural detailing or gradual erosion of the character and appearance of the conservation area through inappropriate development.”

The absence of a management plan puts the onus on the Appraisal to identify “areas where the removal of permitted development rights is necessary”; but the draft Appraisal fails to do this. In fact the draft Appraisal does not even mention permitted development rights or their impact on the area or the possibility of introducing Article 4 Directions to remove them. Since the ever growing extension of permitted development rights constitutes the main threat to the area, this is a remarkable omission. It should be rectified.

7. Improper Tampering with the Evidence Base

The Proposals Statement gives a 7 page description of Sloane Street, the most important street in the Hans Town Conservation Area. On p. 45 it says:

“Sloane Street branches off southwards from Knightsbridge in a long uninterrupted vista line towards Sloane Square. The most characteristic visual element of the street is the long expanse of the mature gardens of Cadogan Place on its east side. In addition, the sense of openness of the street is established by the generous pavement and road widths. Sympathetic tree planting is effective in nullifying the overpowering effect of the imposing buildings which line the thoroughfare and help minimise the disruptive effect of the incessant through traffic.”

And on p. 47 it says:

“With the exception of a handful of buildings… the individual facades express a clear sense of vertical emphasis which contribute to a sense of compact rhythm to the terrace”.

The vertical emphasis of the buildings in the street has been severely disrupted by the Cadogan Estate’s recent construction of George House at 127-135 Sloane Street, a massive and ugly horizontal lump completely out of scale with neighbouring buildings. The Chelsea Society protested at this, but to no avail. In our view this building should never have been granted planning permission, and the above extract from the Proposals Statement could and should have been used to refuse the application.

But in the draft Appraisal we see to our surprise that the section on Sloane Street has been reduced to a handful of paragraphs, that all references to long green vistas and generous pavement widths have been removed, and that the importance of the vertical emphasis of the buildings has also been removed. Instead, we find this extraordinary statement:

“The 21st century block at nos. 127-135 [i.e. George House] has successfully captured the spirit and form of the terracotta and red brick buildings of Hans Town in its sandstone modelled front elevation”.

We have to ask this question: has this tampering with the evidence base been made so as to facilitate approval of the Cadogan Estate’s unwelcome scheme to widen the pavements in the street, based on the ludicrous assertion that the pavements are not of “generous width” but “too narrow”? It is hard to avoid any other conclusion.

Conclusions and Recommendation

The draft Appraisal is a poor quality document which fails adequately to recognise the qualities of the Conservation Area or to provide material consideration for refusing inappropriate development. By contrast the existing Proposals Statement is a high quality document with valuable detail which should be retained. The draft Appraisal should be abandoned and replaced with a new document based on the Proposals Statement, amended as necessary to bring it up to date.

We can imagine that the planning officers may seek to impose the draft by saying that it follows the precedent of other new Appraisals, but this would be not so much a reason as an excuse. It may be too late to rectify the damage which has already been caused, but it is not too late to stand up in defence of the Hans Town Conservation Area.

We request that this response be placed on RBK&C’s planning website without redaction or reformatting.




Lord Grantley 

Chairman, Milner Street Area Residents’ Association

Sunday, 9 December 2018

PRESSURE BY CLLR FREEMAN & HILLGATE VILLAGE RA GETS NEWGATE HOUSE 'CALLED IN'

Unwanted


It seems that Graham Stallwood is claiming credit for getting Newcombe House called in by the Sec of State.

Odd when you think it was he that recommended the committee grant consent and that it was the Hillgate Village Resident's Association, supported by Cllr Robert Freeman, that persuaded the committee to reject the application.

Still, as one influential resident observed, "it's good news if at last Mr. Stallwood is taking the side of residents".


Dear Councillors, (copied relevant officers)

After the Mayor of London resolved to grant planning permission, you might recall I wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Govt asking him to ‘call in’ the case and decide it himself and to make what is called a ’holding direction’ in the meantime to stop the Mayor granting permission.

I have found out this morning that the Sec of State issued a ‘holding direction’ on 29 November which stops the Mayor from granting permission at the moment.  Don’t get your hopes up just yet – it could just be that the department is busy and hasn’t had time to look into it properly.  But I thought it worth letting you know the Sec of State has at least gone so far as to be interested. The holding direction is not time limited, so it will stay in place until either the Sec of State withdraws it, or decides he wants to take over the application himself.

Friday, 7 December 2018

BABY KILLERS & THE HAMPSHIRE CHILDREN'S SAFEGUARDING BOARD

A PAIR OF BABY KILLERS
Stanley Davis was just three months old when he died from
catastrophic injuries inflicted by those supposed to be caring for him.
The little boy had been in and out of hospital suffering from broken bones and a brain bleed. 
Despite this, the parents were allowed to keep him prolonging his agony. 
Death must have been a release.

Derek Benson, chairman of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, has confirmed that a review is being carried out of the handling of the child's care by the authorities. 


A person of interest in this tragedy is Benson himself.
In his LinkedIn entry, this retired policeman boasts that "he balances being independent chair of three Children Safeguarding Boards...Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight."
The dullard also advises Key6 Group recently slammed as being unfit for purpose by Ofsted.LINK
Looking after vulnerable children is the most important role a council can perform but Benson boasts that he's performing a balancing act as if he's some sort of juggler!

He's unfit to chair one board let alone three.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

CHARLIE TANNOCK MEP AND HARD TIMES AHEAD

The Dame was watching her old friend Adam 'Tubby' Boulton on Sky the other day.
To her surprise, up popped Charlie 'the Shrink' Tannock, our noble MEP who represents us for a mere PITTANCE
In dirty raincoat
At one time the entire Tannock family (plus dog) were working for him so the circa £30,000 a month the EU paid will be much missed.

Small wonder he whines to anyone who will listen that Brexit is bad for business-he must be talking about his 'family business.' 

Anyway, Charlie refuses to attend any of the Dame's political gatherings just because she tipped off the Sunday Times about his massive shrinking FRACKING OPTION DEAL

Charlie? 
You seem in such a state maybe it's a case of 'Shrink, heal thyself'.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

JUST 6 MINUTES! IS THIS REALLY A LISTENING COUNCIL?

If you live in or near Kensington Square....beware.
ANOTHER VAST BUILDING SITE FOR YEARS

The developers behind the demolition of Heythrop College are back with a plan supported by an odd little lobbying company, Cratus, run by ex-leader Sir Merrick Pooter-Cockell and his little chum, 'lil Bob Neill, MP. 
Interestingly, the funders of this development come from Jo'burg where the Pooter-Cockell clan hail from!
Pooter, 'lil Bob and Johnny Sandelson(also behind Thamesbrook) have had many hours of pre-planning advice from Mr. Stallwood's team so why do residents get a miserly 6 minutes.
So much for the Council 'listening to residents'. There is no law that states 6 minutes as the optimum. 
A through demolition of this dreadful plan needs, de minimus, 20 minutes.


THE END OF A SYLVAN SETTING