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Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Good Chap
The Dame has been twice saddened...
once upon hearing that the honest and likeable Cllr David Cameron has been unwell and then,whilst he was unwell, that a nasty little person had kicked him off the Planning Applications Committee.

Many residents have been in touch with The Dame to express disgust that this supremely well qualified architect had been cast aside in this brutal way.
The culprit? 
None other than Cllr 'Sort of Lawyer' Paul Warrick.

This letter to the Dame sums up resident reaction rather well.

Dear Dame ,

May I draw your attention to yet another dastardly deed recently perpetrated ... by whom exactly ?

Many residents are very concerned that Cllr David Campion has been taken off the planning committee, 
where he had been doing excellent work as "the voice of reason", and  much admired by residents, 
especially where they have attended meetings of the Planning Committees on which he sat.
Somehow someone finagled the removal of the good councillor , while he was recovering from illness .
I think you would agree : that's just not cricket ! And who is behind it ???

Could you possibly consult your many sources , and find out which barsteward was behind this back-stabbing
exercise ? The public would dearly love to know !

Regards ,



There is a rising crescendo of voices pulling apart Ed Ball's property tax proposals which target income poor residents of Central London.

Labour Group leader Emma Dent-Coad adds her voice to those concerned about the impact of the tax on the elderly and those on small incomes. It's in today's Times.

Click to enlarge
There are better ways of ensuring that the very rich pay their fair share......

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Someone please tell Malc Rifkind to step down. 
The man is really quite useless. 

Unlike his neighbour, Greg Hands, Malc refuses to hold surgeries. Instead he demands we all traipse down to the Commons to see him.
Most of Malc's time is spent pontificating, with little impact, on international issues. 
Could this be connected to his need to maintain and develop his portfolio of high earning extra mural business interests? After all, client companies need to feel he still remains a big hitter in foreign affairs.
But what a shame he does not apply the same commitment to local issues and local residents. And there is still no sign of the blog he promised the Dame he was working on!

On the Mansion Tax and basements-issues of extreme importance to constituents Malc has nothing to say.

His most recent foray into Middle Eastern politics met with derision.
He suggested we needed to cosy up to the vile Rouhani, the medieval savage who runs that pariah state, Iran (as an aside, Iran's most proactive supporter is Austria-a country that has never managed to shake off its Nazi heritage)

Since coming to power Rouhani has allowed the execution, by strangulation or stoning, of 967 victims...and he still wants to evaporate Israel......
Considering Rifkind is Jewish it's quite extraordinary he would wish us to buddy up to these mad anti-semites.

And today Malc has a go at the visiting Qatari leader. 
In a bullish tone Malc tells him he must desist from 'running with the hare and hunting with the hounds'. 
As we are now practically owned by this horrid little dictatorship The Dame can't see Dictator Al Thani taking Malc's advice very seriously.

Malc, leave foreign affairs to the very capable Phillip Hammond: follow the advice of Voltaire and 'cultivate your own garden'

Friday, 24 October 2014


An excellent letter from Nick Paget-Brown.
Another reader wondered why the Dame had not give equal prominence to the Cllr Borwick's well received article in Conservative Home.
She accepts the criticism and the link to the Con Home piece is HERE

Dear Mr Balls,

Since your mansion tax speech at the Labour Party Conference last month, a number of Kensington and Chelsea residents have been in touch with me to express a very great deal of fear and worry about your proposals.

Not one of them is remotely like the “billionaire overseas buyer in a £140m penthouse” that you mentioned in your speech.  The people who have been writing  to and emailing me are just ordinary people who have paid rather a lot of tax already.  Many of them are now retired and on fixed incomes.

Let me be plain, your mansion tax will destroy their well-earned retirements.  Some of them will be forced to move.  You promise in your speech that you will “put in place protections for those who are asset rich but cash poor” but it seems fairly plain already what you mean by that: a charge on their property.  So, not content with taking 40 per cent of their estates when they die, it seems you now plan swingeing additional death duties on a small group of elderly people who have been long-time dwellers in central London.  It is these people who will end up paying your mansion tax, , and in Kensington and Chelsea there are thousands of them, indeed records show that we have more than 7,000 high band homes that have been in the same ownership since council tax records began in 1999.

Your mansion tax payers will be people like Thomas, a retired university lecturer.  He and his wife moved into the borough in 1982. They moved home once in 1994 to a slightly larger house on the same street in Chelsea when their daughter was born. Their home is now worth 82 times their pensions. They simply cannot afford to pay your retirement tax, which is what they call it. 

They will be people like John who worked in the charity sector and moved into the borough in 1975 buying a house just off Kensington High Street where he has lived  with his family ever since. Now retired, he and his wife Helen cannot afford the mansion tax either. 

They are people like Dorothy who was born in this borough and moved briefly during the war and again while her children were young is ‘daunted’ at the prospect of having to start again after 33 years as she is concerned that she will not be able to pay a mansion tax. 

They are also people like Anthony, a retired architect who has lived in the same mansion flat since 1985.  He was looking forward to retirement but is now worrying about how he can possibly pay the tax. 

They are people like Robert and Betty, 89 and 87 respectively.  Robert was an engineer in his time.  They moved to the borough in 1971 and shouldn’t have to be worrying about the tax at their age.

Also fearful is David, a retired accountant who has lived here since 1971 and he is aware of many elderly neighbours who are also in a state of constant anxiety.

And finally (for the purposes of this letter only because I have other case studies I could share) is 62-year-old John.  He moved here in the 1980s.  He isn’t rich, in fact he was made redundant a few years back, but he is still just about comfortable.  He won’t be though if your mansion tax is imposed.  John is a public-spirited sort of person and chairs his local residents’ association.  He tells me that many of his neighbours, some of whom have been resident far longer than him, are getting very anxious as well.

In short, you should stop pretending your tax is aimed at oligarchs, international bankers and the like.  You know perfectly well that mansion tax payers will in the main be older people living in homes they may well have bought many years ago out of taxed income.  Many will simply not be able to afford the tax and will be forced to move, making way no doubt for some real billionaires.  Their alternative will be a painful one: to stay put and watch their homes become an additional liability to their children.

There is another way Mr Balls:  you could say that it was never your intention to drive the elderly from their homes and instead rethink this vindictive proposal.  

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Nick Paget-Brown
Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea


Are there fissures developing in the Tri-Borough 'project'?

It seems that the Labour Group at H&F have decided to appoint their own man/woman and dispense with the well liked Nicholas Holgate.

However, it's time Mr Holgate raised his game and started to throw his weight around....the useless Planning Dept would be a start.....


Basement project killed
Mr Bore needs to seek the advice of Camden Council.

This report in the EVENING STANDARD shows that greedy exploiters of planning loopholes can be stopped in their tracks.

Well done Camden councillors.

Thursday, 23 October 2014


Has the tide is turned in favour of residents?

In the last couple of weeks members of the Planning Applications Committee have turned down a number of basement applications-to the joy of residents.

CHelsea Cinema-Doomed!

And a few days ago Cadogan's application to redevelop the Chelsea Cinema and adjoining Trafalgar House pub was kicked into touch.

No wonder residents were in a self congratulatory mood.

Sadly, the The Dame thinks that residents have been counting their chickens. 

None of these decisions are any form of reliable indicator of what the future might hold.

Councillors have made a show of standing up to Mr Bore and team, but the truth is this....'yes, there will be a temporary moratorium on big basements but, in the end, a council aligned to the interests of 'big money' developers will throw a few scraps to residents and carry on as before.'

As one planning expert and senior member of a highly regarded local resident association said, "our victory over Cadogan was Pyrrhic: they will come back and win on appeal"

No wonder Mr Bore could afford to be so patronising and condescending at the meeting!

If residents really want change they need to get some muscle and that means putting up their own candidates.... if unhappy with their politically sponsored councillor.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


From the Kensington Society


Basements on hold until the end of the year

The Council announced today, 17thOctober, that it will not be determining applications for development proposals which include subterranean development, and such proposals will not be reported to the Planning Applications Committee, unless there are site specific material considerations which make this appropriate or they comply with the current Core Strategythe existing SPD and the emerging policy.

This is big news following over a year of consultations on a new basement policy.

Initially the residents were very excited that there would be tighter controls over basement construction. However, the planning department position remained that until approved it would not take into consideration the emerging policy.  Following two consultations the Council revised the policy which was sent to the Planning Inspectorate in April and which went to the Examination in Public held last month. Meanwhile the basement contractors mounted a strong campaign to persuade people to apply for deep basements over the proposed 50% of the garden restriction.  Both the public and the Councillors on the Planning Applications Committee were frustrated to find that the draft policy would not be considered as an reason for refusal and the PAC Councillors were advised that the applications could not be refuse.  The result was the approval of a series of large double basements. 

As the draft policy has now gone through successive stages of the approval process, it should have been given more weight, although the degree of objection and any uncertainty about the likely outcome must also be a consideration. Having nearly reached the end of the process – we are expecting the Inspector’s report on the Examination by late December – the Council has now proposed to hold off making any decisions on basement applications until they are clear what the future policy will be. This should ensure that there is some consistency in the decisions made on cases to be decided in the next few months and that no one would have grounds for complaint.

In other words, if the new policy is accepted basements will be limited to 50% of the garden, to one level and not under listed buildings.  However, if the policy is not accepted all the applications which are held in abeyance will be determined in line with the revised policy whatever that is.

So it could be good news, but watch this space!

17 October 2014