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Local News Sources


Thursday, 20 November 2014


The Council has been boasting that Cranbrook Basements have been heavily fined for displaying advertising on the hoardings surrounding their hated mega basement sites.
Clearly, the O' Connor family who own Cranbrook couldn't give a toss and see the fine as part of a cheap advertising budget! They are certainly not quaking in their boots...

Anyway, a reader wrote this to the Dame...

Dear Hornet

I live in Abingdon Road and happened to walk past the dreadful Cranbrook basement excavations  which so disrupt our lives.

I saw a very smartly dressed manager in a hi vis jacket and asked him how he felt about the fine of £1000 his company had received for the ugly advertising signs on the hoardings.

His reply rather took me aback.

Rather than seeming upset he said that he didn’t think it would worry the boss, Mr O’Connor, who had had unpaid advertising on the sites for months and probably thought £1000 cheap for street advertising that would have cost him tens of thousands of pounds!

Well, I was astonished by his response; particularly as the council press release gave the impression that Mr O’Connor was quivering in his big workmens’ boots.

I thought you ought to know that Cranbrook seem very relaxed about their puny fine: after all they are making millions of pounds from their client….

Yours sincerely 

JM B*****l- J******p

PS we all miss mole in a hole's cartoons


For years hard pressed council tax payers have indulged the council's fantasy of being a Medici type organisation. 
Opera Holland Park costs us £500,000 a year, plus a hidden subsidy of another £500,000(the Council uses its staff to do admin as well as storing, erecting and dismantling the tent for free, with no rent charged for facilities etc)
So, in all, we pay £1million per year....and the irony is that the opera goers don't even come from within the Royal Borough!
It has cost us millions read it here at a time when the Council claims it can't afford basic frontline services.

It now seems that wily director of  Opera Holland Park Opera, Michael Volpe, has put a gun to the Council's head(aka our head) and demanded that he be given £5 million to go away.


OHP has been a drain on council tax payers for years. Only once, under the leadership of ex Cllr Ian Donaldson, did it ever make a profit.

Why can't it make a profit? 

Well, it might have something to do with market forces and the fact that down the road there are two world class opera houses whose prices, for substantially higher quality productions, are lower than the amateurish and seasonal Opera Holland Park.

RBK&C taxpayers should be up in arms at this blatant splurging of our reserves,

Michael Volpe the highly paid director of this financial fiasco should be told to take a hike and find his own 'angels'.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


This is the time of year when the Mayor sits in her Parlour constructing the invitation list for her Christmas shindig.
(The Dame will be out of the country so won't attend)

Normally, out of courtesy, the Mayor invites predecessors.

The Dame warns her not to invite disgraced ex councillor Barry Phelps...a one time Mayor of the Royal Borough and ex chairman of the Planning Committee. 
To jog memories....Phelps was exposed by the Hornet's Nest for circulating a series of vile, innuendo laden emails of  very under age boys. 
Pooter was reluctant to fire his buddy but Sir Delboy Myers moved swiftly to do for Phelps.

Shamelessly, the deeply unpleasant Phelps had no compunction in using the Council's email system to circulate his filth to a select list 
of ' demi monde establishment' figures.
No one accuses Phelps of 'acting out' his strange fantasies, but only the naive or blind would fail to see what motivated his disgusting behaviour.
The Dame gives a stern warning to the Mayor...you are NOT to invite Mr Phelps to your party...you do so at your peril. 


The question was asked under an FOI

Since 2006
1. How many councillors have had council tax reminders for non-payment?
2. Who are/were the councillors?
3. Do any Councillors have current outstanding Council Tax Bills, if so how much?

and the response:

We do not hold historic information since 2006 but can advise that no councillors have received a reminder this year, and that one is in arrears for a previous year.

It is an offence for a councillor to vote on the budget if they are in arrears of council tax. 

So at the budget setting meeting of 5th March this year the light shines on those who did not attend the meeting.... namely..... Pooter Cockell, Boy Marshall, Matthew Neal and the Harridan Turner. 
Which one of them is it? 
Who still owes council tax today for a previous year?

Matthew Neal and Frances Turner are no longer councillors.

So that leaves either Pooter or the Boy Marshall who owe council tax!  

Unless, of course, it was one of the others in attendance who failed to declare an interest and so committed an offence!

The public have a right to know who in the Town Hall isn't paying their way!


A certain type of rich American woman inhabiting the plusher parts of London think they know what's best for us all.
A good example is wife of super rich 'hedgie' Lady Jill Shaw Ruddock. 
Her hubby, Sir Paul, gave £500k to the Tory Party and won a K for services to the hedge fund industry(funny sort of 'industry' but there you go)
Normally, residents write to the council to stop some planning travesty: not Her Ladyship.
She writes to the Council telling it what to do. 
But then she is the sort of 'lady' with such an inflated opinion of herself she probably expects to be invited in to vet the plans...or maybe she is friends with developers.
Doubtless, she would like to get the old Dame to go to one of her centres for GRACEFUL AGEING
Well, the Dame has an excellent cosmetic surgeon and thus no need.

The bigger question is this.....when wives of rich hedgies want something there is generally an ulterior motive.

If her taste in redevelopment is anything like her taste in 'upholstery' we should be very wary...

Dear RBKC Councillors
I understand that there has been a planning application for a really exciting redevelopment of one of the gateways sites in Notting Hill, sitting immediately above the tube station at the junction of Pembridge Gardens and Notting Hill Gate.

In my opinion, as a local resident, I think this project will transform what is currently a rundown area full of nondescript shops and buildings. There are several key points I would like to make as to why you should approve the planning of this site.

1.       It will act as a catalyst to further, much needed, investment and improvements to regenerate the area   
2.       After many years of inactivity in improving the Notting Hill Gate environment, this new building will give confidence in the long-term future of the area and will contribute positively towards making Notting Hill Gate a better place to live and visit.  
3.           The relocation of the underground station entrance to provide step-free access, widening the pavement and other public realm improvements, will be welcomed by many local residents, as well as by visitors to the area.   
4.          The new Corbin & King retail/restaurant use will give a retail boost to this part of Notting Hill Gate and provide an entirely new high quality retail/restaurant offer for the benefit of local residents and visitors  
5.          The new residential apartments would replace the current low-quality flats on the upper floors of the existing buildings and contribute towards the regeneration of the area.

It is my hope that the council will approve this application that will give the area a springboard to rejuvenate Notting Hill’s high street. I have submitted my comments on your website, and I hope others will do the same and write to their Councillors and  voice their opinions on this very important planning consent.

With best wishes
Jill Shaw Ruddock

Lady  Jill Shaw Ruddock

Monday, 17 November 2014


Peter Spira is a leading City figure and K&C resident.

His view on the monstrosity planned to replace the magnificent and much loved Odeon is most informative......

Dear Dame 

The Odeon and neighbouring old Post Office have long been landmarks of this part of Kensington with a reasonable height that does not block out the light which is becoming in ever shorter supply in many parts of London, including ours, to the detriment of all of us. 
Furthermore this area is rapidly becoming overcrowded by residents of high tower blocks whilst at the same time projects such as Westway are ever attracting more shoppers to the financial detriment of the High Street.

The idea of a deep subterraneous cinema block will certainly frighten off many potential cinema goers and is a recipe for a horrible exposure to potential fire accidents.

And in this age of ugly concrete blocks the loss of any greenery would be a cause of much sadness.

A more modest reconstruction would be far more acceptable and would be welcomed by numerous residents living in the surrounding areas.

Yours sincerely, 

Peter Spira

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


The Dame(never one to stint herself) hears there is a Barbara Amiel ('she, whose extravagance knows no bounds') competitor in the RBK&C Cabinet....

The lady in question is so profligate with her spending on fine clothes hubby took a pair of scissors to her credit cards!

And, no...the Dame, being the soul of discretion will not be naming names....

Saturday, 8 November 2014



The Ritblats, pere et fils practically run the RBK&C Planning Dept. 

What they want they seem to get.

Ritblat Pere has been responsible for some real London monsters and son Jamie has the same familial bad taste.
John Ritblat, in his attempts to re-engineer himself as a kindly,fusty old English gent describes his hobbies as 'bee keeping and antiquarian books' . Talk about delusion!
He has got to be pulling our legs....

Object and sting him in the tail.....

Dear All
The deadline for objections is the 14th November.    It is better if you can get them in by then but if you cannot do so it is still worth submitting them.  The cut off date is the minimum amount of time which a planning authority must allow before determining an application.  This one is targeted for a decision in January and we fully anticipate some more information may emerge before that.  You can send objections to the planning department at the town hall or by email toplanning@rbkc.gov.uk

This application has attracted more objectors than any other in this area, we now need to turn these into objections.

It is a complex application and the developers stress the benefits of retaining the trees at the front which we welcome but this does not justify an increase in the bulk of the main building, the loss of vitality along the High Street, the two new cinema entrances one in the High Street one in Earls Court Road neither of which have the presence or civic significance of the original Odeon entrance.  One of these entrances will also be a coffee bar but it will only open when the cinema opens so there will be a stretch with the Chelsea building society a narrow cinema entrance and Odeon taken over as the access to forty odd luxury flats which will generate very little footfall since the drop off point and parking will be behind in  the internal courtyard.  This does nothing for the community.

As ESSA we are  planning a double objection with a simple key issue statement followed by a more detailed submission.  The first will focus on the increase in height over the consented scheme and the design of the penthouse which we believe will be detrimental not only to those living nearby but also the garden in Edwardes Square and from high level  in many of the blocks of flats around this site and this will be combined with the loss of vitality which will flow from the dedication of the Odeon entrance to a luxury flat entrance which just does not generate the life and vitality needed at this end of the High Street.  The second objection will deal with more detail matters such as the proposal to move the existing pedestrian crossing outside Postino which links the two parades of shops.

In case you missed it there was a  bit in the Evening Standard which you can find at

You may well be aware that the emerging basement policies are awaiting the Inspectors report as to whether or not he finds them sound.  In the meantime the Council have placed an embargo on any decisions which would not get through the new policies.  This could affect the time scale for decision on the Odeon.

We are also awaiting the release of the further visual studies which the developer produced and promised to give to the planners including the night time views.  These showed clearly how much the penthouse will stand out at night particularly when there is little leaf cover to hide the building.  These show that the new development will be even more evident from Edwardes Square garden than their original studies showed. We suspect the same is true from other locations but they have not been willing to produce these.


Anthony Walker
Edwardes Square Scarsdale and Abingdon Association