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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Exhibition Rd...a meadow which building contractors can graze for ever."

Simon Jenkins writes in The Standard today about idiocy of ring fencing parking revenues.

Left: Top journalist and conservationist slams Exhibition Road

Below is his rationale. Interestingly, he alights on the 'groundnut scheme' that is Exhibition Rd: an example of  what goes wrong when councils have too much money to squander on ego driven schemes. Cockell came up with some ludicrous justifications for spending the £40 million(Jenkins underestimated the cost) but in reality it was just a chance councillors to 'show off' using taxpayers' hard earned money.
Just think how £40 million could have been used to help residents in a practical way.....

"There is a hitch. Money raised from roads and transport can be spent only on roads and transport. One reason why every street in central London is continually being dug up, to the fury of users and the mystification of foreigners, is that London boroughs have massive sums to squander on redoing pavements. The Exhibition Road project in Kensington, a decade old and three years in the building, has consumed £25 million on repaving and relighting, and is still cluttered with signs and bike racks. It is a meadow which building contractors can graze for ever."


  1. So councils have all this money sitting gaining interest doing nothing accept repeatedly digging holes, paving perfectly good pavements and possibly going towards transport in some way. Why then is the underground such a mess, with people packed into tubes tighter than sardines in a can and paying huge amounts to do so. I am not sure how London underground get round elf and safety but that's for another day. Ultimately we will see councils cutting the support services for most vulnerable in our communities while hatching this money..
    Who allows this to happen....well the councillors and the local people who let them away with it, this is a disgrace. Does anyone know how much the royal borough is holding onto ?

  2. There are ways of moving an abundance of funds in one business group to another where it is sorely needed; simply, the Council will not use them.

    Parking funds have been used for years to pimp certain wards and inflate house prices. Now why would the Council want to do that?

  3. 08.24, the Council is sitting on £180m of reserves, and this is NOT in this day and age earning interest. Parking brings in cc£30m/yr.

    Mosquito has it in a nutshell; pashminas for granny while the children go barefoot. Frankly disgusting.

  4. Thank goodness for writers like Simon Jenkin who shout when fripperies like Exhibition Rd are wasting millions of £s of hard earned tax money.

    This of course is one of Cockell's "vanity" projects. He and his Conservative councillors have not one jot of loyalty or responsibility to the taxpayers and residents who trust them to do an honest job

  5. I have to say that I think Exhibition Road looks rather spectacular. Only the most churlish would argue it's not a massive improvement on how it was before. Was it worth the cost? That's a different argument.

  6. 08.46, Exhibition Road was neglected for years to ripen the appetite for this outrageously expensive project. The Council does this all over the borough; leave something to rot and residents will accept the otherwise unthinkable.

    They are still using this approach at Sloane Square, neglecting basic maintenance to pave the way (excuse the pun) for Moylan's last 'grand projet'.

  7. Mosquito... that may be true. I don't dispute it. But as a resident I can't complain that the council are spending money on the borough. If they were hiving it off for themselves or wasting it with absolutely no visible benefit to our community then I'd be the first outside the council offices complaining.

  8. 09:50

    Two points..through huge allowances they are 'hiving it off for themselves.
    And you think that our hard earned taxes should be spent on any damned silly project that crosses the mind of that failed businessman Pooter Cockell and his little group of sycophants? No wonder we are in such a mess with your style of thought!
    If we will followed it through we would have many more examples of million pound losses a la Chelsea Care

  9. 09.50, you might feel differently about this if you understood just how bad things are in parts of the north of the borough.

    The previous government handed millions of pounds to the Council for 'regeneration'. They are sitting on it while the health, life chances and life expectancy of our poorer residents is worsening quite shockingly.

  10. I agree that salaries are out of control in the council. Some of pay packages I see are eye wateringly high. That I object to... bring them to book. Sheer waste should be tackled too. However, whether the development of Exhibition Road is to your taste or not is essentially a moot point. It's been a large investment in the borough not just for the benefit of residents, but for the vast number of visitors that come through south kensington to visit the museums. I have spent much time on exhibiton road recently and it's a wonderful environment that visitors seem to be really enjoying. Now, you might not think it was good value... That might well be the case, but complaining for complaining's sake seems rather churlish. Make some constructive criticisms. Say what you like about the project and what you don't like. Don't just slam it as a vanity project.

  11. 12.13
    What utter rubbish. It is not being churlish to complain about the profligate waste of money. And visitors like it you say. So what. It is already overtaxed residents who have to pay for it. Think also of the political prisoners in China who have to pay for the granite(already stained with oil and tyre marks)and the lost jobs because RBKC did not buy the granite from our own quarries. And don't too forget the huge cost to the environment transporting the stuff thousands of miles. You talk utter rubbish. The money should nit have been spent on a scheme which will never work. You cannot mix cars at over 1000 an hour and pedestrians.

  12. Surely the point here is that Kensington & Chelsea are using Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) laws to tax farm motorists in order to pay for such grandiose schemes. Not only is tax farming of the motorist for revenue raising purposes unlawful but all too often council Parking Operations are so keen to grab every pound that they can using CPE that they end up acting illegally i.e. criminally. I have mountains of evidence of such behaviour including RBKC two weeks ago instructing their bailiffs to seize my neighbours car for sale by auction over a single PCN (parking ticket)for which they are now demanding more than £800 but about which my neighbour knew nothing about until the bailiffs arrived on his doorstep at 8:00am Tuesday before last. In this instance, the Council know full well that they have acted both unlawfully and illegally (I have been explaining this to them repeatedly for two weeks) yet, they refuse to directly respond to any of the accusations. They are additionally causing great harm to my neighbour who is totally dependent on his car for his new business which he set up following his redundancy. This is but one example of where the money comes from for grandiose schemes such as Exhibition Road. In the example that I have just given, it is actually money and property STOLEN by the Council at the direct expense of a local law abiding resident. Truly, truly shocking! If anyone would like details of some of these cases then I would be delighted to supply overwhelming evidence of the unlawful and illegal behaviour of the Council.

  13. Simple solution. Don't have a car in central London! There is largely no need for most people... it's a complete indulgence, and the policy of successive governments has clearly been to discourage people from having cars in central London. For the betterment of the rest of us I say! (I don't have or need a car).

    12.17... overtaxed...? Go down to Southwark (where I own and rent some property) and you will see proper overtaxing. Council tax bills way higher than RBKC and next to no money being spent in the area. You take for granted the vast sums that are lavished on central London. I would suggest you leave your complainers ivory tower, stop talking out of your hat and see some of the less privileged areas of London... you might start to feel lucky.

  14. What stupidity. Because you live in London are you suggesting that no one should not have a car. On your mad reasoning anybody who lives in a urban area should give up their car-despite the fact they may need it for work or going to a home in the country or whatever. Get a sound like some sad old soul....

  15. In response to 'Anonymous' who posted at 15:30. Since when did it become an offence in England & Wales to own a car? There is obviously no such legislation in place even for residents of London. What we asking of the Council is very, very simple: comply with the law and stop unlawfuly tax farming law abiding motorists.

    As for my neighbour, he requires his car in order to get to clients who in his business live in the country often in very out of the way places. Oh, and because he conducts due diligence as part of what he does, he has to carry both computer equipment and a lot of heavy documentation. So even if there was public transport to every appointment he attends, it is simply not practical for him to use it given what he has to carry to most of his appointments.

  16. By giving the road design to architects with no previous road building experience RBKC have created probably the worlds most expensive road at £1184 per sq metre. A scandalous waste of public money . By comparison the pink roadway around Buck House comes in at £20 per sq metre. Not only is the project grossly expensive it has been designed so that it cannot safely be negotiated by the blind and elderly. There is no light controlled crossing which they need. The section used for the two way road is not properly marked out and pedestrians are encouraged to risk injury by following the non legal council signs which tell drivers to give way to pedestrians.
    Councillor hubris has given us a hugely expensive refubishment not fit for purpose. They intend to waste more money holding events on the road further inconveniencing residents and other road users.
    The scheme has been so badly run that it should be subject should be subject to an investigation by the Audit Office

  17. It does not matter to Cockell whether he is spending $416 of tax payers moeny to buy dinner for disgraced Ian Clements in New York "insignificant in the scheme of things"or £25 million to import pink granite from China to repave Exhibition Raod "a grand 21st Century gesture".

    He just thinks that council tax is his to have fun with and puff up his ego

  18. I completely agree with the two posts by Alasdair Seton-Marsden. Why are motorists treated as endless money pits and used to pay for the waste and prolificacy of our Council? It seems to me that the overwhelming majoroty of parking tickets handed out are purely and simply issued in order to make money for the Council and their contractors.

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