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Monday, 9 May 2011

North Ken Academy sparks fresh anger

The recent council meeting saw the assembled public gallery ignored over their pleas for more consideration on the plans for North Ken Academy. The pet project of the political poodles is progressing fast, riding roughshod over the people who stand to lose most, those who live next to the proposed site.

A public meeting has been called for 16th May 2011, at St Clements Church from 6.30pm where the councils partner "The Aldridge Foundation" will hear the voice, at last of the local people of the Lancaster West Estate.

The Aldridge Foundation are the academy sponsors and are expected to cough up some of the costs as the project progresses, the council agreed to put up half of the costs using tax payers money expecting the sponsor to meet the rest. Rumours are abound they have since gone cold on the whole idea, and we wait to see what transpires.

Another element in the whole project is the emergence of Tribal Consulting.

Tribal are a firm that provides consultancy services, and has been the beneficiary of many council contracts over the past enabling them to make a nice little earner. Not only that, the local Conservative Association used the company to go into the community to find candidates that would stand for them in the elections last May, Jonathan Read of Earls Court fame being one of them, allegedly. So much for doing it out of civic responsibility.

But Tribals tentacles dont just end there. They are mixed up with a set up called the British American Project, that lists Merrick Cockell, Daniel Moylan and Warwick Lightfoot all as "fellows". The same trio who are safely ensconced here in the Royal Borough, running the council dishing out contracts and running the Conservative Association dishing out contracts.

So now we have Tribal working on behalf of the Department for Education and Aldridge in helping to deliver a solution to the schools crisis in North Kensington. Caused by a total lack of planning on behalf of the council leadership, whose only proposed solution is a haphazard approach in dumping an academy where it is least wanted, not suitable, and ill conceived. All helped by a company that has connections to the local Tory Party, the leadership, and beneficiary of council contracts.

Good job.

The people of Lancaster West who stand to lose most when this project goes ahead are rightly angry, and have every right to vent their anger at the council.

For those reading this in the south of the borough who are not affected by the positioning of the North Kensington Academy, you will be foolish to think this is something you can ignore.

Today it is the North Ken Academy project, tomorrow it could be something in your street, or the building next to you.

Show some solidarity with the people of the Grenfell Action Group who are fighting to protect their local area and way of life. Its their area and its your money.

How can you help?

  1. Contact your councillor today and tell them you support the Lancaster West campaign
    Get their contact details by clicking here
  2. Instruct your councillor to vote against the current proposals
  3. Attend the meeting yourself on 16th May and listen to the plans 

Please dont leave it up to someone else, they're leaving it up to you!


  1. So they are building in obsolescence, so they can come back in happier economic times and develop the whole site, Lanc West and all.

    Just how stupid do they think we are? No, don't answer that.

    It speaks volumes about their attitude to the estate dwellers of North Kensington. Pathetic.

  2. There is a strong rumour that the Aldridge Foundation are getting cold feet and are about to abandon their involvement with this ill conceived venture. Maybe the prospect of having to work with the likes of Cockle was too much even for a man of such dubious character as Aldridge?

  3. Hornet,
    Thank you for highlighting the Council's appalling treatment of our community. We don't have very much in the way of resources on Lancaster West Estate but, what we do have, we fully intend to keep!


  5. Recently eight delegates from Lancaster West attended a Council Meeting at the Town Hall to make our views known from the Public Gallery. Despite behaving in a peaceful and appropriate manner The Council leadership felt so threatened by our presence that they called the police. One Police Sergeant and three Police Officers were subsequently summoned to Horton Street to deal with the "crime" of local people standing up for their rights and their homes. I thought that England was the land of supposed free speech, however on this evidence, it appears that Myers and our Dear Leader prefer to run their fiefdom in a more totalitarian manner. Gaddafi could learn a lesson or two from these clowns.

  6. Open letter from Ward Councillors (Part 2):

    When they consulted recently, the Council also said that the new Leisure Centre will include at least one and probably two good sized swimming pools. The current proposals include no firm undertaking to provide even one swimming pool.
    We have taken up these issues with the Council and they advise that:
    • no decisions have been made as to the design or scope of the project
    • there are various elements that need consideration; options will then be presented to Cabinet so that decisions can be made based on a properly developed and costed scheme
    • current funding (£17.6 million) will provide a minimal scheme. If the Council want a higher level of specification, they will need to find further funding
    • while the Council intend to include the same number and size of pools (or more and/or better ones) in the new Leisure Centre, it is premature to make a commitment at this stage
    • the SPD permits further community uses on the site - and the library, health facility and commercial units have been suggested and will be subject to consultation.
    Also of importance to Lancaster West residents is the Combined Cooling Heat and Power plant (CCHP). Because of the terrible problems with heating over many years, some new boilers were installed on the Estate last year. Others were only repaired, on the understanding that the new CCHP plant will provide efficient and cheaper heating and hot water across the Estate as part of the Academy development. Again, this seems to be under threat.
    The Council say that, because it is in the SPD, CCHP must be included in the scheme. However, Wornington Green residents thought their interests were protected by promises in a SPD and found they were just ignored when planning permission was granted.
    The Council are working the scheme up over the next 6 months – and Monday’s meeting is the first step. So it is vital that residents participate and give their views. If you do not take part, things may happen later on that you may well find objectionable – when it is far too late to influence developments.
    We hope you will be able to attend on Monday. There will be another meeting on 21 June, but we do not know the time or venue as yet.

    Councillors Robert Atkinson, Judith Blakeman and Todd Foreman
    Notting Barns Ward Councillors

    The whole community have already told the Council that they do not want second or third best for North Kensington.

  7. Anybody with two brain cells together, and not blinded by pound signs can tell that this beloved green space (lancaster Green) is completely and utterly the wrong site for a school!!! Lancaster West Estate residents are well aware that a school is needed in North Kensington BUT this estate is the wrong site!
    Please please please look at all the other options again - it is not a sign of weakness to admit a mistake and then rectify it.

  8. There are clear signs that RBKC is seeking to evade it’s funding obligations for this project and is planning to save on costs by skimping bigtime on quality. The most recent KALC report approved by Cabinet on 5th May includes a menu of economies suggested to soften the blow to the Royal Borough's finances:

    - Limited scope for external works such as sports pitches
    - Simple heating and ventilation strategy relying on traditional radiators and openable windows rather than more elaborate passive systems or mechanical systems
    - Limited external glazing – windows rather than glass curtain walls
    - Design detail oriented more towards value than design – no roof overhangs, slim frame profiles, structure not on display etc.
    - Traditional internal configuration – separate rooms divided by corridors, rather than large open flexible spaces.
    - Specification of finishes and equipment towards the more functional and less durable end of the price range.
    - Plain facades as opposed to aesthetically interesting or articulated surfaces.
    - Simple constrained form making best use of standard modular shapes and some element of prefabricated building.
    - In general, the form of the building will dictate the management of the school rather than the school being arranged to accommodate the management of the curriculum.

    Unless the other sponsor, the Aldridge Foundation, is prepared to pick up the tab, it is hard to imagine where the money will come from, and if the money is not forthcoming it is certain that this will be a shoddy and second rate project which falls a long way short of what was promised, and what the people of North Kensington deserve


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