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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

OUR HOPELESSLY HAPLESS PRIME MINISTER....BRING ON SUNAK NOW!


 
Dear Dame

As you seem to have not much to fill your pages you may like this little joke.

Loyal Reader


Boris Johnson walks into a bank to cash a cheque. As he approaches the cashier he says, "Good morning Miss, could you please cash this cheque for me?"

Cashier: "It would be my pleasure. Could you please show me your ID?"

Johnson: "Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister.

Cashier: "Yes, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers and requirements of the legislation, etc I must insist on seeing ID."

Johnson: “Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

Cashier: "I am sorry, Mr Johnson, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

Johnson, "Come on please, I am begging you, please cash this cheque."

Cashier: "Look sir, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putter and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his cheque."

"Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racket and made a fabulous shot where the tennis ball landed in my cup. With that shot we cashed his cheque. So, Sir, what can you do to prove that it is you and only you?"

Johnson stands there thinking and thinking and finally says, "Honestly, my mind is a total blank...there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can't think of a single thing. I have absolutely no idea what to do. I don't have a clue."

Cashier: "Will that be large or small notes , Mr Johnson. ?....

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

KING FOR MAYOR

 


When one of the duo of London's foremost restaurateurs speaks out about London we would be foolish not to listen. 

King and Corbyn have been associated with this great city for decades. King once said about running quality restaurants, "you have to know a little about everything". 

That same dictum applies to running London so why is that the best London can do is dredge up a couple of no-hopers like Khan and Bailey?

The other day, Jeremy King wrote a damning piece about the inaction on the part of Government and the Mayor in the face of the looming crisis for London. WISE WORDS

A pity it was not published by the Times rather than a freesheet.

Everyone who cares about the future of our city should read King's wise words and then ask why our choice is between a couple of nonentities like Bailey and Khan. 



Sunday, 20 September 2020

NO SMOKE BY YOUR FIRESIDE SAY THE IDIOTS FROM HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM

With not enough to do the H&C councillors have found new ways of interfering in the home lives of staff. 

If the Council is worried about the health of staff perhaps the porcine leader (above) can set an example by losing a few stones of fat.

Cowan? Time to hit the treadmill!

Perhaps the council will demand staff fit out their homes with video cameras so they can be spied on by their voyeuristic council leader.



Friday, 18 September 2020

GOOD STUFF FROM SUPER-COUNCILLOR McVEIGH: WE ALL VERY MUCH APPRECIATE ALL YOUR HARD WORK!

 


Dear residents and friends of Brompton and Hans Town, 

There has been so much going on recently we thought a summary email would be helpful. 


South Kensington Tube station 

Native land and TFL submitted their applications for this development over the summer, one for listed building and one for planning permission PP/20/03216 and LB/20/03217 .
You can still comment, here is the council planning link: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning/searches/details.aspx?adv=0&simple=pp%2f20%2f03216&simpleBatch=20&simSubmit=Search&id=PP/20/03216&cn=257655+DP9+Ltd+100+Pall+Mall+LONDON+020+7004+1700&type=application&tab=tabs-planning-1


Local residents, supported by councillors, our GLA member and the MP have mounted a formidable campaign against the development - SOS : https://www.saveoursouthkensington.com/


 

CARS - despite covid restrictions the so-called supercars were still menacing our streets in late spring and large crowds were turning out to watch. Following a Councillor led meeting with the police team the new sergeant Ganeshwaram Rasaratnam agreed to mount regular weekend patrols.  This has been very successful and residents have really noticed a difference. 

A big thank you to the ward police team for so much weekend and evening work. We have by no means solved the problem but we do at least feel we are making progress.


ACOUSTIC CAMERAS - in order to support the police presence and to provide a deterrent when the police are not there, we’ve been pursuing acoustic cameras. This is front line technology for the UK and we will be the first Council to have these cameras, which is very exciting. And news hot off the press - 2 go live NEXT WEEK! 


SCHOOL STREETS - The Council have been supporting schools to create a School Street -to help keep streets around schools safe, and to discourage parents driving on the school run and instead scoot, walk or cycle. It’s great for local air quality and health.

  • Knightsbridge School, where Pont Street will close between 7.45-9.15am and 3.15-4.45pm
  • Holy Trinity CofE Primary, where Cadogan Gardens will close between 8.45-9.15am and 3-3.40pm
  • Hill House School, where Hans Street will close between 8-9am and 4-6pm

LOCAL TRAFFIC ISSUES 

Following a traffic monitoring survey, we have had meetings with residents to discuss possible solutions to the issues affecting the Ovingtons and the Egertons, and arranged for the police to meet with residents to discuss specific concerns in Egerton Gardens. Before any works take place a full consultation will be undertaken. 


WIDER TRAFFIC CONCERNS

Cadent Gas works have started their final phase of pipework on Knightsbridge, unfortunately, part of Sloane street needs to be be closed and traffic will be displaced. The good news is this is the last stretch in RBKC.

There is gridlock in much of Chelsea - due to TFL closing so many nearby bridges, and all the traffic is pushed onto Albert and Chelsea Bridge. 

In order to mitigate some of this chaos RBKC Council has decided to implement a road works embargo on new works in the Chelsea area.


OUTSIDE DINING - you may have noticed some pay&display bays taken up by local restaurants, and even a cafe on Sloane Square! We're doing all we can to support local businesses after such a challenging year, and we are always seeking to balance this with residents amenity. Some of the parking bay schemes will stop end of October. 

And please do let us know your views on how you think the temporary closure of Bute Street has been?

 

EMAIL UPDATES please sign up for Council information, (see email footer) which has all the latest Covid news and figures affecting us locally. 


And finally a big Thank you to Local RAs and Societies - many of you are already part of a local Residents Association, or either the Chelsea Society, the Kensington Society or the Knightsbridge Association, they do excellent work on lobbying on residents behalf and keeping us all informed of local issues, I have just read the recent newsletters and always learn something new, thank you. And if you are reading this and not part of one, do check them out.


We hope to see you soon, but until then, please do keep in touch. 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

CALM DOWN, DAME!

 


Dear Dame,

May I remind those roaring on about the Government's negotiating position with the EU may I remind readers what President de Gaulle had to say about treaties.


“Les traités sont comme les roses et les jeunes filles:  ça dure que ça dure.”

(“Treaties are like young girls and roses:  they last as long as they last.”)

Throughout history, nations such as France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States have broken or abrogated treaties when their leaders and/or parliaments have judged that it was imperative for their national interest to do so.  

So let’s have no fainting fits, or virtue-signalling hypocrisy, on this important matter.

Yours ever,

'one who knows'




Wednesday, 9 September 2020

GREEDY DEVELOPERS REAR THEIR UGLY HEADS AGAIN

 Dear Resident

 

Just as you thought we had won the argument - the two towers and 9 storey slab block are back on the agenda.

 

Although the Mayor’s approval of the outrageous plans to more than double the volume of the site of the Cromwell Road Holiday Inn was quashed by judicial review, the application has reappeared and will be decided at a new mayoral hearing in City Hall on the 22nd October.

 

This time the hearing will be determined by the deputy mayor Jules Pipe.  Will that make any difference to the result?  We doubt it!

 

Last time round we raised 900 written objections to the proposals.  Once again we are calling for your support.  Please write by 11th September 2020 to:


kensingtonforumhotel@london.gov.uk

 

While you can of course repeat your comments of last time round, we would like to suggest that you consider the following:

·         Oppressive bulk & mass:  the increased height of the slab block on which the two towers will sit, from seven to nine storeys (most surrounding buildings are generally four to five storeys) with a children’s playground sitting at roof level on top of the ninth floor, crushing the surrounding buildings and dominating the site and distant views.

·         Affordable housing: this increase is to accommodate 62 affordable housing units – an increase from the original 46.  RBKC has since approved plans for 600 new homes on council owned land. At least 300 are planned to be at social rent and 97 of which are to start this year.   This site is inappropriate and the playground provision inadequate and wholly unsuitable.

·         Unnecessary additional hotel rooms:  according to the GLA’s own forecast the borough’s total need for extra hotel rooms was to be 150 by 2041.  A recently approved site in Notting Hill Gate is for 175; the Harrington Hall hotel, currently undergoing refurbishment, will have 200 rooms.  There will be more than enough hotel accommodation without the net increase of 183 proposed in this development.

·         London Plan and Local Plan:  This development contravened large key parts of the London Plan and the Local Plan.  Recent revisions to these two plans have not in any way increased this development’s viability.

·         Economic activity: the projections for increased employment, servicing the proposed development are vague and possibly unrealistic given anecdotal evidence.

·         Historic England’s Advice Note 4: Tall Buildings issued in May this year states that the redevelopment of such sites should take the opportunity to produce a less harmful development.  

This proposal is  certainly not that.  

The taller of the two towers, at 102m will be 12 metres taller than the existing tower.  

The second tower at 76m would be 3m less than the current one.

·         Changes in the economic climate in 2020 have had a dramatic effect world wide  - will large event facilities for hundreds of delegates with a luxury spa, gym etc ever be really necessary again?

·         Huge increase in density:  this is one of the most densely populated corners of the capital  -  do we really need over 300 more ‘serviced apartments’ making use of our already overstretched utilities?

 

Objections need to relate primarily to the revisions to the original failed application but that does not preclude you from commenting on the scheme as a whole. The economic environment has dramatically changed in 2020 which renders the rationale for a huge increase in floor space impotent.

 

If you need any further information or help in writing do please contact us.


Thank you if you have already written in response to this new call-in.

 

With very best wishes

 

Friederike Maeda, Chairman ACGRA

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

NINA CAMPBELL....WE HAVE DESIGNS ON YOU!

The Dame's attention was drawn to part of the letter below in red and is mystified....

There have been 137 objections to the Avon House development and just 12 in support. Chintzy designer, Chelsea based designer, Nina Campbell put in 2  of those which mysteriously have been counted 3 x times.




So, what's in it for Miss Campbell? Are the rumours correct that her friendship with Bimbo's raffish father got her the Avon House contract? If that's the case her arrogance in the face of a very clear conflict of interest sums up the general attitude of Bimbo and his supporters. Tell us the truth, Miss Campbell. Is money what's driving your support?


Dear Dame,


You will recall the saga around the planning application for Avon House in Allen Street. Switzerland-based Bimbo Hart, son of Thatcher’s fixer Charlie Hart and property investor extraordinaire. For years, Bimbo, has tried to redevelop the derelict care home by building an overmassed atrocity double the size. 
Despite 137 objections from residents, the local MP and the Kensington Society 'our' RBKC planners continue to be extremely eager to please Bimbo. Why?

We now have a new actor who feels she needs to lend Bimbo a hand. Socialite interior designer Nina Campbell has lodged three statements of support for the proposed development. 
That should not come as a surprise as not only is she set to make a lot of money by providing the interior design but helping the Sloane Square set can be beneficial for other such projects.

RBKC planning officers seem to have been so impressed by her support statements that they uploaded the exact same one twice and count it twice. 
It seems utterly inappropriate that Ms Campbell who does not live anywhere close and is clearly conflicted should take it upon herself to send in her support, and that twice which was actually counted three times! As some residents also picked up there were 12 very similar statements of support all submitted within a 2 hour window. How very interesting that residents decide to support the project all 10 minutes apart from each other one Friday morning. 

In the meantime RBKC’s Director for Planning and Place continues eager to support the project by reversing and ignoring conditions RBKC had stipulated of the developers previously. 
Can the close to £500,000 in contributions from the developers to “local infrastructure” improvements have anything to do with this eagerness? 

Let’s see if Committee Chair Councillor Husband and the other Committee members will finally do the right thing and throw this application out; that should have happened a long time ago as the Kensington Society has already said. Councillors, over to you....

USEFUL IDIOTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH


Left: Baptista




Dear Dame

Last month you mentioned in passing (3rd July, "The Dame Has Erred”) that Sue Harris was “…..the idiot who gave the green light for the Carrabino piano legal fiasco”.

If Sue Harris was “the idiot” she was not the only one, and this was no ordinary legal dispute.

The piano fiasco story goes beyond Ms Harris’s pay grade and includes councillor involvement, officer impropriety, hiding of evidence, cronyism, favours for friends etc. RBKC continues to strenuously hide the truth and to protect the councillors and officers involved. Cllr Elizabeth Campbell’s promises of transparency are hollow.

254 email accounts were involved in the dispute, but only one name on that list has been disclosed - former councillor Tim Ahern. Cllr Ahern wrote (in the one unredacted email disclosed in response to a FOI request) that he had his “fingers crossed” RBKC would triumph in the High Court appeal proceedings, an appeal intended to ensure that the Carrabino children’s right to play the piano at home would be severely curtailed, and that Mr and Mrs Carrabino would be subjected to potentially ruinous legal costs to defend the original court judgment. It seems a strange position to take for a councillor who is elected by residents to serve residents, not the council, and whose duty it is to be impartial in neighbour disputes.

But Cllr Ahern was not alone - other councillors, names redacted, were also involved. Their names and the other names of the remaining 253 email accounts are vigorously being kept secret by RBKC. It seems almost certain that these 253 email accounts extend beyond RBKC and that RBKC is protecting somebody, or several people. The complainant in the dispute, Mr Baptista, was on the Board of Trustees of the V&A Museum at the time of the dispute, with former Cllr Coleridge’s brother, Nicholas Coleridge, holding the Chair. The enthusiasm with which RBKC leadership embraced Mr Baptista’s side in the dispute looks very much like mobilisation of “the old boys’ network”. Even rumours that swirl around the borough of Tory councillors’ membership of the secretive Freemasons don’t seem so far-fetched when looking at the zeal with which RBKC involved itself in this dispute on the well-connected Mr Baptista’s behalf. And just as quickly they dropped it following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Meanwhile, lower down the RBKC totem pole the "piano fiasco" also exposed a stench of something rotten within the environmental health department.

It is a well-known fact that environmental health officers destroyed acoustic recordings they had taken of the piano playing. What has only recently been disclosed is that senior officers also ignored and then hid other evidence that would have undermined their case in the litigation proceedings. This evidence from other RBKC noise nuisance officers was kept secret until March this year. It is now known that these other officers said explicitly the piano playing was not a nuisance. So why did Tim Davis and his team ignore, and then hide, this evidence? Why did they want so badly to prosecute this unwinnable case?

Or were these senior officers under some pressure from above?

And RBKC did not want to stop after they lost in the Magistrates’ Court. The senior noise nuisance officer, Keith Mehaffy, was so devoted to the cause alongside Mr and Mrs Baptista, he paid them a private undocumented visit at the time RBKC appointed a high-priced QC to lead an appeal to the High Court on the Baptistas’ behalf, at taxpayer expense. RBKC has no official record or logs of Mr Mehaffy’s visit, but Mr Mehaffy was witnessed and recorded by a resident and so when he was asked about this visit he acknowledged it took place. His explanation was that he had been collecting acoustic recording evidence for the High Court appeal, although a FOI request disclosed that none of the RBKC acoustic recording devices was logged as being in the Baptistas’ home at the time. (Also, the appeal was by way of case stated, ie. on points of law only so new evidence would not have been relevant).

And it has only recently been disclosed that Cllr Tim Ahern had his fingers crossed for RBKC acting as agent for the Baptistas!

It remains a mystery what lay behind the three-year-long dispute on one resident’s behalf, what mobilised RBKC at its highest levels and possibly beyond and their willingness to squander a reported £250,000 on one unyielding resident’s behalf. Idiocy alone does not explain the full story. Information requests continue to be vigorously fought, none more intriguing at the moment than the request for information about the remaining 253 email accounts involved in the dispute.

Other elected officials were involved in this and RBKC’s refusal to disclose their names is untenable.

Disgusted Resident