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Thursday, 9 June 2011


This is a tale of a very divided Borough. Today the Standard reported the row over the way the Tabernacle in Powis Square is becoming a victim of economic apartheid. It's a sad story of how Kensington & Chelsea Council is tearing the heart out of a piece of Borough history turning it into yet another anodyne and antiseptic 'venue' for the dull and affluent. It seems it's not just Portobello under threat- it's now the Tabernacle. RBK&C council bosses, who provide a £95,000 annual subsidy for the Tabernacle have said it has to be more commercial to survive.
Now this is interesting. Let's take another look at what Cllr Cockell does believe worth subsidising. Every year RBKC pumps in nearly  £1 million to support Holland Park Opera.
But, of course, HPO is an opportunity for Dear Leader and colleagues to enjoy free tickets and pose as part of a 'cultural elite'. The question has been asked-yet never answered: why should K&C taxpayers have to fork out a fortune for a minor opera company when down the road are two world class opera houses? Possibly the answer has all do with the respective user demographics of the Tabernacle and Holland Park Opera: one group are useful to Cockell; the other of no use.
Read what the Standard has to say below
'The gentrification of a treasured Notting Hill venue at the heart of the local black community for almost 40 years has triggered a row over "economic apartheid" in the area.
Residents say the Tabernacle in Powis Square, a community centre since the early Seventies when Notting Hill was on the front line of racial tension in London, has become elitist and expensive.
At an angry public meeting, about 150 residents rounded on the management, Carnival Village, and Kensington and Chelsea council for trying to turn the 124-year-old former church into a middle class arts centre and the area into a west London "Bond Street".
Ishmahil Blagrove, 27, a documentary film-maker and resident, said: "Big business has moved in and the community is being moved out. There are youths who have nothing to do now, spaces have gone for commercial ventures."
Locals, including South African actress Janet Suzman, said that the Tabernacle, occupied by squatters in "the siege of Notting Hill" in 1973 and closely linked with the foundation of the Carnival, has become another "trendy bar for bankers".
One, who gave his name as Emmanuel, said: "We've got a lot of disenfranchised youths who play in the park, they've got nothing to do. The pricing here means that if these youths want to come in here, they can't afford a glass of soda.
"We've got kids coming from private schools who can afford to hire the hall in their little straw hats but we can't afford it."
The Grade II venue, associated with the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd in the Sixties and Joe Strummer in the Seventies, is also famous for providing workshops for local musicians.


  1. Events at the Tabernacle reflect the nature of RBKC. This Borough is a one party state; governed by those oblivious of the real world. Our ruling elite is incapable of grasping that a mixed society is a necessity. RBKC has yet to learn that poor people are citizens - like the rich - but with less money! For decades RBKC's motto has been "To those who have; give. From those who have not; take." Such thinking is behind the Tabernacle story. The time has come for drastic change. Dame Hornet is vital to the process.

  2. The tale of a divided Borough:

    Chelsea Academy cost 40 million +

    Holland Park School costing 100 million +

    Proposed North Kensington Academy to be be built on the cheap for 17 million.

    Economic apartheid is alive and well in this most Rotten of Boroughs.


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