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Thursday, 7 February 2013

THE DEATH OF THE CHELSEA GARDEN


A resident writes.....


I am becoming increasingly concerned about the damage to wildlife and the ecology which basement excavations are causing. A terrible example of this is the self indulgent and incredibly vulgar redevelopment by that rather silly Eccleston woman at Sloane House in Old Church Street. I have seen an email which was sent to RBK&C from I presume, a next door neighbour about disruption to her property caused by the excesses of next door. One day she was minding her own business pottering around her house and having a quiet and relaxed day when suddenly all hell broke loose and everything started ratting and clinking; literally everything which was not secured to the floor! Surely this is totally unacceptable and has led to the Sloane House development being deemed as a Benchmark case and a bad one at that!  The man from the planning department have visited the site on a number of occasions.

Local resident associations and amenity groups are extremely concerned, so much so that they are putting forward detailed recommendations/guidelines about basement developments and suggesting some restrictions such as the size of the proposed development being restricted both in depth and width in relation to the overall garden space, If we are not careful every “garden ” will be minimalist and comprising of some gravel, paving stones and a couple of shrubs.  Clearly, there is nothing here for any wildlife and certainly not earthworms (I remember a song by a band by the name of Stackridge, emphasising the important and essential ecological work that earthworms perform).

The public at large are now far more concerned and aware of the importance of wildlife thanks to some degree by some excellent programmes on BBC such as Spring watch produced by enthusiasts such as Chris Packham and others.

I do not know about you but I am very concerned about the impact on our wildlife, here in Chelsea; it cannot be right for nesting birds to be given no consideration whatsoever to make way for a dipper or a dumping truck.  I have noticed over the past few years the reduction in singing birds especially at spring time, which I think it is fair top say is one of the absolute joys of spring.  

If Chelsea is to continue to be one of the most desirable places to live in London, then restrictions, which will need to be rigorously policed, should be put in place to ensure that everyone gets on with each other, just a little better. Sadly over the past couple of years there have been far too many outsiders spoiling the enjoyment of established residents most of whom are seeking a peaceful time.

As far as I can see the Council is dragging its heels on this issue and I cannot see the Council being prepared to try to put a halt on Hedge Fund Managers, developers and other profiteers without some undue influence.

34 comments:

  1. As usual the Council has been spouting hot air about "solving the basement problem". Last year Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Ahern, assured a main Council Meeting that "the Council is consulting and there will be a solution by Christmas"

    Well every year the basements get bigger and bigger, the disturbance more and more, and the whole ecology system is under threat. Approvals are running at 500 per year and more than 2000 basement extensions have already been implemented in K&C. The facts are that this Monster has been underway for more than 5 years and our useless Council has DONE NOTHING. Hot air is not doing anything.

    Anyone in K&C with a house worth more than £1 million has an economic incentive to dig a basement ie the value added to the house is more than the cost of the excavation. There are approximately 50,000 houses worth more than £1 million in the Borough. 2000 already converted. 48,000 more to be converted. Neighbours BEWARE.

    Wake up, useless Councillors....

    ReplyDelete
  2. There cannot be a clearer example in K&C of just how useless and impotent Hornton Street has become under the Cockell Leadership. This is a talking shop par excellence stuffed with troughers on sky high allowances

    It is what happens when the electorate tolerates a Tory monopoly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its not the Tory majority that is the problem. It is the corruption that sets in when a Leader is allowed to serve more than two terms in office. Cockell has been in office for 14 years. The lessons of history are very clear

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  3. In the most built up and ecologically sensitive area of the UK (water tables, collateral damage, public safety, noise and nuisance) basic common sense says that two, three and four level basements are out of order. Whatever the law currently allows. Frequently things happen that the law did not anticipate and the law needs to be changed.

    The bunch of chumps on the K&C Planning Committee should declare UDI. Just say "no" to one of the monster applications. And let whoever wants to sue do so. The press would rally around and political careers made overnight.

    We need the bravery and common sense of someone like Cllr Borwick to stand up and be counted.

    Why is Cllr Ahern so useless?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why does Cllr Ahern not take a stand? He is an ambitious councillor and has let it be known widely that he wants to replace Cllr Cockell as Leader. Taking a stand on an issue like basements (actually doing something rather than just puffing) would make him stand out and draw ahead of the "Leader in waiting" pack

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    2. My Mate The Builder8 February 2013 at 09:48

      The "Leader in Waiting" pack will all die waiting

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    3. We had the suffragettes and that resulted in a huge change to the law. Cllr Ahern could chain himself to the railings of Muck Flicks house on the morning that the builders arrive and he would be carted off to the cells. In front of reporters and the TV cameras. The start of relief for K&C residents suffering from the basement pox and the start of a grand career for Cllr Ahern as Leader of K&C

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    4. Giving women the vote was a very bad move. This is not to say that outlawing the basement menace would be a bad thing. Does the Irishman have the balls? They are not known for bravery......

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    5. Paddy making a statement? You must be joking!

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  4. The Chairman of the Planning Committee could just say "no". And the other councillors could back him up. Prime the media beforehand. Stuff the Officers.

    Sometimes there is a moment in politics when leaders need to stand up and stand out.

    Who is the Planning Chairman?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the problem. A totally spineless wannabe, Cllr Terence Buxton, brother in law of the inventor of Chelsea Care, Cllr Fiona Buxton. Residents have unfortunately been landed with the puffed up "Terry" as their guardian of the environment.

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    2. What a shame that Cllr Victoria Borwick is not on the Planning Committee

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    3. We do not enjoy recommending that applications for basement excavations should go ahead. We are merely judging the applications against regulations and the law and reporting if they comply. This is our job. It is what we are required to do

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    4. Certain Germans were also required to send Jews to the concentration camps. Some Officers are prats

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    5. Stand Up For Britain8 February 2013 at 20:10

      It is perfectly legal for my Saudi brother in law to crap all over the carpet in my drawing room in High Street Kensington. Many of them do. But he would not dare to. I wonder what Officer thinks of that?

      Delete
  5. Kensington Resident8 February 2013 at 08:21

    I personally saw Cllr Cockell wringing his hands about this subject and say "it is all too difficult. No political benefit for getting involved"

    ReplyDelete
  6. I find it quite exasperating that this council are so wanting. Some of the Council really should look at themselves and decide whether they are able or inclined to carry out the job properly. If not just stand aside and give some body else chance because there are plenty of people who would relish the oppportunity to make a worthwhile contribution to the community and environment. RKK&C is no democracy and it is clear that the council is desperately in need of new blood and by then not a buddy of Sir Merrick but people who really care about Chelsea and Kensington.

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  7. Stand Up For Britain8 February 2013 at 17:59

    2000 basement excavations already approved in K&C! This is horrendous. It is definitely time for a councillor or two to chain themselves to the railings. But this requires bravery, public service, passion and determination. Cllr Dent Coade? Are you up for it?

    ReplyDelete
  8. EDC chained to the railings! What a vote catcher this would be

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cllr Holt, who will soon be a basement victim when his block of flats is excavated, would look very fine chained up alongside Cllr Ahern

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    2. These guys should get on with it. Do something useful for a change

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  9. Interesting that this particular basement is funded by a family one of whom was convicted of war crimes....interesting how 'cosmopolitan' dear old Chelsea has become.
    Fred Flick used slave labour in war time Germany....repulsive family

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is awful how K&C attracts these reptiles. Flick and his ilk are not welcome

      Delete
  10. To describe why a high proportion of RBK&C Councillors get involved with public service reminds me of an album by the Mothers of Invention "We're only in it for the money"! I have long held the view that there should be fixed terms for councillors of no more than two tersm, as it would give more people the opportunity of public service, would encourage new blood, fresh thinking and ultimately it would benefit the Resident of RBK&C. Can anybody see the benefit for Councillors to be allowed to continue as long as they wish? As it is we have a right bunch of deadwood.

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  11. Funny how these foreign chappies like to come and crap all over our Chelsea Gardens. The 85 year old Canadian wants to dig five levels down in his Chelsea house. They don't seem to like crapping in their own back yards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pisspot. He will be dead by the time the digging is finished

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  12. Now many subterranean developments with Crossrail 2 have to tunnel through?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Kensington Resident9 February 2013 at 09:43

    I have recently been involved in opposing a basement excavation proposal. Thirty four objections, The Kensington Society, ESSA et al all involved. Lots of notices, lots of architects, lots of lawyers, lots of engineers. A huge and useless paper chase. Of course it was approved. An adventure for the micro economy that was involved. Another 10k micro economies will get outraged. Same subject, different group of people. Same outcome. It is all a huge waste of effort. A new approach is required. Or we should all save our energy and just grin and bear it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kensington Resident you are misleading readers of the Hornet. The Council has a massive consultation exercise underway including Consultants Reports and new rules will be formulated to regulate the problem of basement excavations

      Delete
    2. Kensington Resident9 February 2013 at 09:51

      Exactly. More reports. More talk. More worthies. Jobs for Officers. The problem is at least five years old. More than 2000 basements already excavated in Kensington and Chelsea. Applications currently running at 500 per year. It is results that are required. Not reports.

      This is a fundamental comment on just how impotent this Council has become under the Cockel Leadership. Slow to respond, slow to act, devoid of results. Just talk, talk, talk. Puff, puff, puff

      Time for change

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    3. 9;46
      The Council's Planners do not consult properly. Residents view's are treated with contempt.
      Massive abuse of power but we guess, of course, that you are just following (Bore's) orders.

      Delete
    4. Kensington Resident (Mrs)9 February 2013 at 11:37

      This is very true. Five of us attended to oppose an application development just off Kensington Church Street and we were each given an impatient 3 minutes. The Committee members almost yawned when each of us came on. All of us agreed after the meeting that it was a "done deal" before the meeting and we were indulged. What a democracy

      Delete
  14. I can certainly sympathise with Kensington Resident and many other good residents of the Royal Borough and understand how they feel about the relentless number of basement excavations and its unnerving effect on wildlife and human beings alike. I really do think this Council should put an entire stop on all applications for the time being; at least until it has clear guidelines about what is permitted and what is not. As it stands at the moment it is wholly wrong for one residient/developer who wishes to develop a property to make life miserable and disenchanting for the surrounding neighbours. Basement developments used to be the domaine of wealthy hedge fund types wishing to build media rooms and swimming pools in their Belgravia Residence and the volumes of applications was a mere trifle compared with what is happening now. Every Tom, Dick or Harry seems to me applying for Basement developments with the only common interest being profit. It really is not on at all and it is about this time this Council (who is supposed to be a custodian of the environment) did something effective (for a change) rather than just talk.

    ReplyDelete

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