send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Local News Sources


Friday, 29 May 2015



A few weeks ago the Dame wrote of extrerme disorder amongst the Chelsea Society ranks. They were fed up with the Committee, led by Cadogan lawyer, Damian Greenish, telling them what the CS view of the siting of Crossrail 2 was.
Anyway, the revolt forced Damian into some furious back pedalling.
Damian lives in Surrey and needs to be wary of bad tempered Chelsea dwellers....

Crossrail 2 - Update

Dear Member,

As you may know Crossrail 2 is the proposed new high-frequency, high capacity rail line running beneath London and into Surrey and Hertfordshire. The current proposal from Transport for London (TfL) is that the new line will run through Chelsea, generally following the line of the King’s Road. The site of the Fire Station in the King’s Road has been safeguarded by TfL as a possible future station on this new line. Further details of the proposals, their present thinking and the future timetable can be found on their website here.
At a meeting of the Society’s Council in July 2014, the Council debated Crossrail 2 on the basis of the information then available. The decision of the Council (which was by no means unanimous) was that it supported the principle of the new line passing through Chelsea and accepted that, if it does that, then the preferred location for a station would be on the site of the Fire Station. However, that decision was subject to a number of stringent pre-conditions which the Society would require be met. First, the historic Dovehouse Green should remain undisturbed. Secondly, a fire-fighting capability for the area should be preserved. Thirdly, any new buildings should not exceed the height of the existing Fire Station's main building. Fourthly, the design and use of any new buildings on the site should be in keeping with the traditions and character of Chelsea. The Resolution passed by the Council can be found on our website here.
As you will also be aware the primary aim of the Society is to preserve and improve the amenities of Chelsea. Preservation and improvement can at times be difficult bedfellows but we try at all times to preserve the history, character and traditions of Chelsea whilst at the same time accepting that change is inevitable, albeit that it must always be carefully managed within the Society’s principles. The Society is concerned with Chelsea as a place and it needs to have regard, not only to the valuable opinions of our members and others who live here, but also to the views of the different stakeholders who make up the community of Chelsea; those who run our public services, who work in our businesses, who provide the housing or otherwise choose to invest here or simply visit.
There are significant events facing Chelsea which are likely to have a considerable impact, not only on the current generation of residents, business owners, workers and visitors but also the future generations who we hope will live and / or work in Chelsea. It is for that reason that, as mentioned in our most recent Newsletter, the Society is proposing to host an event in November to consider the “Future of Chelsea”.  It will be an opportunity for the stakeholders of Chelsea to hear what we can expect to happen here over the next few years; not only the impact and effect of Crossrail 2, but also of the redevelopment of the Royal Brompton  and Royal Marsden Hospitals, of the redevelopment of the Affinity Sutton Estate in Cale Street, of the changing face of the King’s Road, of the continuing overseas investment in our houses and flats and of government policy on affordable housing (will it continue to exist at all in Chelsea?). We hope that as many of you as possible will want to come to this event and express a view. We believe that the event will have an important influence over the decisions that will shape the future of Chelsea and on the Chelsea Society's own policies for the future.
In the meantime there is a meeting for those who oppose Crossrail 2 passing through Chelsea and the construction of a station here. The Society accepts that there will be residents (and others) who do not support Crossrail 2 and it is appropriate that their views should be properly heard in this important debate. For those who wish to attend the event, it is being held at Chelsea Town Hall on Tuesday 2nd June at 6.30pm. The Chairman of the Society's Planning Committee will attend the meeting and will report to the Council of the Society on the views expressed there. 
The Society’s own event "The Future of Chelsea” will be held at Chelsea Town Hall in the evening of Monday 2nd November. We ask that you reserve that date in your diary.

Kind regards,

Damian Greenish


Angela McConville, CEO of Westway Trust, is great friends with the weird Maximillion Cooper, owner of Gumball 3000.
In fact, so matey with this weirdo is Angie that she grabbed his donation for apprentice training. And Westway might even be doing biz with these people....great role models for young apprentices.
The Dame wonders what Angie thinks of Maximillion's latest exploits......
This is what the Mail reports...

"Debauchery at 37,000ft: Passengers on Gumball 3000 flight swig vodka, smoke and have drunken pillow fight as one strips naked and straddles another man...."


Dear Members,

We apologise for all the alerts but it seems to be a very active time of year or it might be the developers are trying to “tidy up” before Mr Bore departs.

There are 2 pressing issues:

·       the current revised application and appeal against the refusal for the Odeon and old Post Office site
·       the appeal by the Candy brothers against the refusal for the demolition and replacement of Dukes Lodge, Holland Park.

The following is a summary of the Kensington Society’s objection to the Odeon application (PP/15/02618):

The new application reflecting the refusal in January now includes one cinema facility (no longer the Earl’s Court second cinema) with more than 1000 seats for 7 screens in the basement.  The entrance is through existing Odeon entrance but reduced in size.  There is a gate closing the site off at dusk and opening at dawn.   The Society welcomed the main changes made in response to the refusal of the last scheme in January, especially the cinema screens now being entered exclusively from the original/current entrance in Kensington High Street and the reduction in height of the main residential building.  However:

Points of objection:
·       Loss of active forecourt: We have always expressed our desire for an active use of the forecourt.  We have objected to the loss of the coffee shop which currently services  from 8am to 10pm and, thus, offering continuous activity throughout the day and provides a local amenity at this end of the High Street. This activity animates the forecourt of the cinema. The plans for the current application still shows tables and chairs on the forecourt - do not be deceived - there is no intention for a similar coffee shop/café.   A concession on one side of the cinema lobby shares the function with the tickets counter; this is not acceptable as it will only function during cinema hours; it is not visible from the forecourt; it is not readily open or accessible to the public and has limited means to serve the forecourt. The “wings” or corners of the façade where the cafe shop is now are to be used exclusively for a lift each. The previous versions including the consented scheme had retail units in each corner tower which is far more desirable.

Further loss of active space to luxury housing: We never envisaged the total loss of the Post Office to another entrance for the luxury flats. The entire ground floor of the former Post Office is given over to this grand entrance.  The luxury flats have a grand entrance in their own private forecourt and another entrance at this position results in the loss of the potential retail/commercial use which would help activate the forecourt.  The consented scheme had all the access to the luxury flats via the exclusive court at the rear of the site.  Why cannot all access be as already approved?  The loss of any active use on the High Street is opposed.

An additional issue is the way in which this application has been handled by the planning department.  406 objections were received for the application which was refused by PAC (planning applications committee) on a vote of 11 against to 1.  There is now an appeal against that refusal.  No one, including this Society, has received notification of the application nor the appeal.  This application has over 66 pages of documents with little or no clear description, many of which are over 6 Mb.  Councillors have even called us to help find the plans.  We have asked for a presentation to the public so that the public – you and the other 406 objectors – can assess for the proposal within this application.  We have not had a response.

If you agree with us, please write to the planning department and do not be put off by the date of the public consultation.  The department is required to consider all objections up until the decision.   You can still have your stay.   Send your comments to and cc the ward councillors ( and the cabinet member for planning

Dukes Lodge appeal (PP/14/06419, appeal number 3007991)
We are reviewing and assessing the developers rational for the appeal and will report back to you on our findings.

More to come.  Thank you for your support and please keep opening the alerts.

Yours sincerely
Amanda Frame
Kensington Society


Thursday, 28 May 2015


The indomitable Marion Gettleson writes to the Dame about more shenanigans at Westway Trust

      Dear Mrs McConville
Further to this matter, on 27th April your Mr Dibsdale asked Mark Barr, Chair of the Portobello & Golbourne Management Committee to join the Westway Development Committee and he agreed. At 16.26 Mark sent Mr Dibsdale this email - in full: 

"I am happy to take part in any consultation. Also, would you like me to get another PGMC member attend?  Please advise me of any meeting dates that you have and I will endeavour to attend either my self or get another PGMC member to attend."

At  17.01 Mr Dibsdale responded - in full: 

"Yes I think it would be good to have two reps for the street market traders, so feel free to nominate somebody who you think appropriate.  We are hoping to set up a first meeting within the next two or three of weeks, so we'll let you know dates as soon as possible.  Are there any days that suit you better or that we should avoid?"

Due to my 50 years' experience of local retail, Mark decided I'm "appropriate." BTW I spent 10 years on the Fashion & General Merchandise Committee of BSSA - the British Shops & Stores Assc - now BIRA - the British Independent Retailers Assc. However, we heard nothing, so I emailed you on 26th May. 

You replied at 13.48 on 27th May, claiming "crossed wires" but that I'm not "unsuitable." It's merely that you will not permit me to join the Committee. At immense length you explain Westway Trust's new requirements for Committee members: - restricting both RBKC licensed street traders' and local retailers' roles to those of worker ants. Restriction follows restriction - all of it drivel. 

Mark responded to you at 15.53 on 27th, referring you to your original request for him to "feel free to nominate somebody." 

Mr Dibsdale responded to Mark at 17.46 on 27th, again claiming a "misunderstanding," while making it clear that the PGMC and MSAG will in future play no part in any consultations, but will be restricted to learning of the Westway Trust's decisions second hand. There follows yet more tosh along the same lines.  

I engaged with the recent public consultation. Having seen the Westway Trust's original development plans, I concluded that they are designed to fail. The land will ultimately become available to private developers. You and your staff protested that I'm mistaken and I remained open to persuasion that this may be so. 

To point out the obvious: Portobello Market is 150 years old this year. It predates all the shops and houses in the area, attracting millions of visitors a year. Virtually every other local business is ultimately dependent on the licensed street trading. As is usual practice, the Trust asked Mark Barr, Chair of RBKC's licensed street traders' association - the PGMC - to engage in the necessary detailed consultations - and to bring a colleague on board. Mark chose me, a known critic of the development plans. This renders me unacceptable to the Westway Trust. Once Mark declined your request to choose an alternative second representative, the Trust found Mark Barr and the PGMC itself equally unacceptable. 

Conclusion: The Westway Trust is to public consultation what FIFA is to football.
Yours faithfully

Marion Gettleson

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Improbably, Sir John Ritblat has decided to re-invent himself.
The one time estate agent, known for his epic social climbing, has come a long way from impoverishment in Lithuania.
He now presents himself as a cuddly old English squire. 
He lists his interests as apiculture(bee keeping to you, Palmer) and the collecting of antiquarian books(Trollope-one supposes)
Next he will be claiming to be a church warden and a keen church organist......

Anyway, he and his rough looking boy, Jamie, have decided to have another go at knocking the dear old Odeon cinema in High St Ken around.
Their company, Minerva, have put in amended plans and the deadline for objection is this Friday, 29th May.
This is what they plan and you can object by going to the RBKC planning website HERE

Demolition of former Post Office delivery office, Whitlock House office building and cinema building with retention of cinema facade to Kensington High Street and construction of basement and buildings to provide cinema facilities, 62 residential units (including affordable housing units for elderly people) and associated residential facilities, retail and office accommodation, car parking spaces, cycle parking, plant, hard and soft landscaping public realm improvements and associated works.(MAJOR APPLICATION)

Monday, 25 May 2015


These two Knightsbridge properties totalling 14,000 sq.ft are owned by a member of Saudi Royal(royal, used advisedly) family. 
For the last 20 years they have been left derelict and, according to nearby residents, rat infested.

We have a severe housing shortage in London. 
A lesson needs to be sent to the desert dwellers that London is not a place to park their assets and, unless bought into housing use, will be taxed at multiples of their potential developable value.
It may not deter them but at least the profit stream could be used for benefit of genuine residents-not dodgy desert medievalists looking for bolt holes.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Click to Enlarge
The Dame is often asked whether she has a political bone in her old and decrepit body.
She always replies that what she lacks in political acumen she compensates for in common sense.

This council does many, many good things. It does it no harm to have the old Dame prodding and pushing when she feels it could do better: hence her determination to rid it of the freeloading Cockell.

She has always stridently opposed the millions of pounds wasted on the the amateurish and third rate Opera Holland Park. 

Even opera buffs( of whom we have many in the Borough) say it's pointless with two world class opera companies down the road.
Bite the bullet, Nick....close it down.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


The concours around Exhibition Rd has rapidly degenerated into a over commercialised mess.

When a resident complained Comptoir de Libanais was expanding far beyond the permitted number of table and chairs she received this reply from the Council. 

I have been monitoring the site and the setting out of tables and chairs in this area on an ad hoc basis for a couple of months now and I am satisfied that the system is working satisfactorily.   While there may be occasions when some establishments set out additional tables and chairs, the provision is clearly popular with visitors to the area and nearby tourist attractions.

I have also requested that SKE continue to monitor their responsibilities in the matter and I shall continue to keep an eye on the situation during my other site visits in the area.   While I understand there will be some who do not appreciate what they might see as a creeping commercialisation of the area, the system is working well to the benefit of visitors and businesses and I do not consider it expedient to take any further action in the matter.

In the circumstances, I shall be closing my enforcement case although, as stated, I shall continue to keep an eye on the situation.
John Morrow
Senior Planning Enforcement Officer

So now we know....South Kensington Estates are allowed unprecedented latitude.
Mr Morrow's reply gives the impression the interests of Comptoir de Libanais; South Kensington Estates and tourists far outweigh those of residents.
It seems Mr Morrow has a special rulebook he applies to certain situations.....
Time Mr Stallwood had a word in this chap's ear!