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Monday, 2 May 2016

THE BATTLE TO SAVE THE KENSINGTON ODEON: MAKE IT AN ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE

Some months ago the Hornet wrote about the OWNERS OF THE ODEON, a New York-based company that specialises in distressed property assets.
If you walk past the Odeon today you certainly see a distressing sight.  
Our much-loved Odeon looks battered and bruised as it is readied to be developed into yet another stack of multi-million pound flats for shady owners from countries you would not want your gap year children sending postcards from.
Democracy has gone very wrong in the Royal Borough when nearly 30,000 residents, objecting to the scheme, are ignored.
But can there be hope for this magnificent Art Deco cinema with a long and proud cinematic history?
It was, after all, Hitchcock's favourite cinema.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
This excellent article in yesterday's Sunday Times details an exciting plan and, as the supporters explain, "the creation of a new cutting edge multi-arts centre for the 21st century hosting and curating world-class theatre, film, dance, music and opera. A place where live cinematic performances will be at the heart of our agenda as well as honouring the auspicious past of this incredible building."

It's a big ambition, but the Dame's theatrical friends tell her that there is a huge appetite for theatres that can be adapted and flexibly configured to provide first class rehearsal space.
The Dame agrees. 
Please sign the petition and circulate to friends. Click HERE

We need more buildings, serving not just our Borough, but the wider national and international film and theatre community.
These are areas where the British excel in. 
Interestingly, in November, the Design Museum opens in the old Commonwealth building.
If the ambitions for the Odeon are fulfilled we could see a vibrant 'Creative Quarter' mirroring the 'Museum Quarter'

This is the moment for the Council to play its part by awarding this historic and much loved building the status of an Asset of Community Value







Friday, 29 April 2016

GUINNESS IS SOMETIMES BAD FOR YOU

On Tuesday morning, our Planning Committee struck another blow for residents by ignoring the feeble advice of planning officers. Led by residents' new hero, Cllr Mackover, he and colleagues Cllrs Bakhtiar, Campion, Spalding and Williams voted in support of a long-term local resident, against a far richer, and better connected neighbour from Ireland.
A few years ago the family had purchased a
small office building in Blenheim Crescent.
Despite planning permission being refused to develop it as a residential unit they went ahead anyway. 
And,as a final flourish, they added a party terrace to their handsome new home.
Sadly, a neighbour of more modest means found his bedroom was just a few feet from the terrace; whilst the minimum distance allowed is 60 feet.
Enforcement action commenced and then, mysteriously, ceased. Our very rich family immediately sought retrospective planning permission for the rear terrace on their unauthorised house.
Oddly, the senior planning officer, Derek Taylor, had recommended retrospective planning permission be granted.
Mackover and his committee were having none of it and told Mr Taylor to follow through with enforcement

Another neighbour commented, "This was a spectacle that made one proud to be a K & C resident.”

WATCH OUT, THERE'S A DIGGER ABOUT

Those who care about beautiful Holland Park need read the below with care.
At last, the council admits Opera Holland Park is an unwelcome and unsightly intrusion.




The key question is why are Hammersmith and Fulham involved in the design process...
This should be the moment when interested and adjoining RA's combine their voices in commenting on the proposals.

Dear Resident

Royal Borough looking at options to improve Holland Park

The Council recently appointed architects Robin Snell and Partners and landscape architects Camlin Lonsdale to draft proposals which will enhance the historic aspect of park and reduce the impact of temporary marquees which each year are erected to service the Opera.

I am writing to let you know that users of Holland Park, Friends groups and the local community will be asked to give their views on the proposal options when the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea begins a consultation process in the summer.

The Proposals
·      Refocus on the historic buildings and provide a more appropriate setting for the Grade 1 listed Holland House, including a hard landscape scheme for the Terrace.
·      Move the existing service road which runs adjacent to the café to improve safety.
·      Consider how the temporary accommodation for Opera Holland Park can be re-designed to be more aesthetically in keeping, and more efficient.
·      Improve toilets in the park and the Stable Yard changing rooms.


Currently much of the support services for Opera Holland Park are provided from marquees which take considerable time to erect and dismantle meaning parts of the park area out of bounds to park users for significant periods of time. In addition, the marquees are deemed to be unsightly and not in keeping with the  historic nature of the buildings in the park. The architects have been asked to design a more attractive, efficient and cost-effective solution which will benefit the park and its users as well as the Opera. The cost of the proposals will be met from the grant funding already provided for Opera Holland Park when it became a separate independent trust in 2015.

The service road needs to be realigned in order to minimise the risk to café users from vehicles servicing the Opera or other areas of the park. This will include moving the external café seating area so that it is adjacent to the café, rather than separate as it is currently.

Robin Snell and Partners have a track record of sensitive design in parkland settings, have developed the theatre and support buildings for Garsington Opera on the Wormsley Estate in Oxfordshire.

Camlin Lonsdale has extensive experience of designing landscape schemes to complement listed buildings. Schemes include the recently completed Chichester Festival Theatre (Grade 2*), as well a major landscaping scheme for the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park.

Holland Park is the jewel in the crown of our parks, and we are proud of it, like everything it needs rejuvenating from time to time. I am pleased that, as part of our latest Parks Strategy, we are exploring improvements that can be made while retaining the essential character of the park.

Proposals are likely to be ready for consultation after the beginning of June. I look forward to hearing resident’s and visitor’s views on the proposals.

If you have any queries please contact Edward Sakyiama via email at


Yours sincerely


Ian McNicol

Project Manager

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

WHITHER DANNY BOYS MOYLAN?

On the subject of thousands losing their jobs spare a thought for this taxpayer-funded  'good lifer'.
Over the past fifteen years, Cllr Danny Boys Moylan has never had a proper job.
You, the taxpayer, have been supporting him in various 'jobs' procured for him by the hapless Boris Johnson. One, the Mayor's Aviation adviser proved to be a disaster and the other, chairing some Olympic-related project, quickly folded.
HARD TIMES AHEAD?

But two things have inspired Danny to feel confident of maintaining his 
lifestyle: both might now prove illusory.




Possibility 1 was that 'Frank' Goldsmith would continue to find work for him.  
This seems increasingly unlikely as the unattractive Khan creeps ahead in the polls.
Possibility 2 was that Boris might have continued to be a useful patron: after all, at dinner parties, Danny boasted his patron, Boris, was PM in waiting and thus some potent job awaited him.
Boris's recent bizarre behaviour looks as if he might fall victim to Enoch Powell's wise dictum that all political careers ended in failure. 
Doesn't much look as if Boris will be Prime Minister any time soon....
So Danny could be left out in the cold and end up, like disgraced ex Cllr Phelps, having to work for the Dame in some lowly domestic position.




THE DAME GOES OFF TOPIC

The Dame has been lobbied by her old friends, distraught at the demise of their favourite "shopping experience', British Home Stores.
As one said,  "Dear Dame, where will we find our summer frocks?"

But the Dame has a bigger question and it's this.

Why did David Cameron ever appoint the appalling 'Sir' Philip Green to carry out a review of Government spending and procurement in full knowledge of his past and present insalubrious reputation? 
BIPED PIG
The Dame lost a bomb investing in his first quoted share shipwreck, Amber Day.

Cameron should not have touched this ghastly man with a barge pole.


What awful judgement politicians have. 
You only have to look at Green...a picture worth a thousand words......

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

RBKC OFFICER ALISON 'FLIGHTY' FLIGHT TELLS COMMITTEE TO IGNORE RESIDENTS




DURANT/CAPCO CHAIR

Thousands of residents have complained about  noise, vibration and dust from Earl’s Court; so many, in fact, that Hammersmith & Fulham Council requested a deferral of a vital decision due to lack of consultation with their residents and LBHF. 




Alison 'Flighty' Flight, Strategic Development Team Leader told the  RBKC Planning Committee to ignore residents and pass the conditions allowing Capco to proceed with their 61-90 nights of working unchecked.

'Flighty was the officer famed for 'locking on' to a DP9 contractor at the November 2014 meeting, which passed the original planning application.
This junior officer had the temerity to tell the meeting last night ‘that there was no obligation for the Council (RBKC) to consult residents’. One wonders whether these officers ever ponder upon who pays their wages.

There might not be an obligation, but this site is acknowledged as being complex and estimated to take 20 years before completion. On that basis alone there is a duty of care to residents and this lack of consultation could account for wide-spread ignorance of the proposals from neighbouring residents who are simply fed up with the level of noise, dust, vibration and feel that they have been let down by the Council.

It would appear that there is more scrutiny over a basement excavation than one of the largest construction sites in London. The recommendation that consideration of resident objections could be incorporated into an ‘informative’ attached to the S61 Notice is not robust enough to protect residents. 
It is limited in enforcement power and can only be considered to be pro-developer by placing the concerns of residents aside. This is not only a scandal but a shambles!

One resident said I am not confident of the management of the project. It would appear that the main contractor is operating totally unchecked.’

Is it really acceptable that noise levels at night should be based on residents keeping their windows closed? 
Did the panel understand the noise to be generated by the largest crane in Europe - this is toys for boys without the detail.

Reporting of problems is haphazard, inconsistent and, in some cases, takes a long time for the Contractors to respond. 
Where is the dedicated full-time team of Environmental Health Officers promised in the initial planning consent? Washing cars does not address the levels of dust experienced by residents and there are no details of how they will deal with dust once the white plastic sheeting panels are at ground level.

Residents have still not been given access to the Asbestos Risk Survey. Why is this?

Resident consultation relies on the Neighbourhood Group, which is weighted against residents, and does not include many of the RAs in Earl’s Court so this is consultation by tick box, rather than genuine consultation.

So why did the Council pass Conditions that fail to protect residents, without achieving guarantees that the identified problems had been considered, evaluated and effective improvements put in place? 

The phalanx of Capco employees and their PR rep outnumbered the objectors. 

This is yet another example of a council ignoring residents and obsequiously pandering to the whims and greed of a ruthless South African property combine.

CLLR WARRICK ASSAULTED; POLICE INFORMED; PRIDE INJURED. MUCH APOO ABOUT NOTHING

The Dame was enjoying an early evening perambulation around Hobury Street when she saw Cllr Paul Warrick pursued down the road by an irate looking man dragging a mutt behind him.


HIT BY POO!
Our councillor was no match for the fiery dog owner who, with unerring accuracy, lobbed a plastic bag at Cllr W. 
The bag hit its target with an unpleasant sounding splat.
Being a nosey old thing the Dame asked what had happened.

Spluttering with rage, our eminent barrister told her he reprimanded a Ten Acres neighbour for depositing his dog's bagged excrement by a tree. 
BATTLEGROUND
The neighbour, in a fury, told the councillor to mind his own business and that his action was not illegal. 
A violent argument ensued, resulting in Warrick fleeing down the road before being halted by a well-aimed shot.
Cllr Warrick has now reported the assault to the Met.....

AN INQUEST ON POOTER COCKELL

The Dame is often asked for her judgments on local 'characters', but on this one she has had to decline.
Can anyone out there help Patrice?
You can contact him HERE or you can leave comments for Patrice to see. 
Nothing defamatory please; it's tedious for the old Dame to censor.


A REFERENCE FOR POOTER
Hello, 

My name is Patrice, our company Inquest Invest is based in Belgium, involved in investments and recruiting. We may be interested for working in UK with M. Merrick Cockell and its new employer Cratus Communications Ltd. 

But during our research on internet for information on this guy, we have found your blog, we have read very interesting on this guy and its behaviour, also a funny nickname. :)))

We need if possible, your local feedback on him, his reliability and his reputation. Is there any risk of conflict of interests with his links with the Tory party?   

Have you heard of his company Cratus Communications? 

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Have a nice day.

Best regards

Patrice JACOB
Senior Advisor

INQUEST INVEST