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Tuesday, 30 April 2013



My Experience and Achievements

In my earlier letter, I described why I would like to be Leader of the Council and what my priorities and ambitions would be. I would now like to explain why I believe that I have the necessary experience, gained in a variety of challenging roles, to undertake this responsibility.

During my time on the Council I have been able to play a key role in delivering successful, ground-breaking policies, controlling budgets, communicating openly and clearly with colleagues and building trust and rapport with residents and partners. Here are some examples:-

Breaking new ground – delivering successful policies

Community Safety
I was responsible for negotiating with the Metropolitan Police to obtain the first Community Support Officers, for rolling these out across the Borough and for setting up and chairing the first Safer Surer Board in London. This body enabled the Council to develop a close working relationship between the Borough Commander and senior officers in order to address public concern about crime and anti-social behaviour on a ward-by-ward basis.

I was responsible for managing the Single Regeneration Budget in North Kensington. My achievements included the commissioning and letting of Baseline Studios under Lancaster West to create local affordable business space and supporting the development of Westbourne Studios. I was successful in lobbying to ensure that North Kensington, rather than Westminster was the location for the new Job Centre Plus. I oversaw the merging of the two Social Councils into one body.

The Royal Borough Environmental Project (RBEP)
I established this originally to clean up “grot-spots” and to encourage greater community pride in the neighbourhood. It now has several thriving locations and a wide range of award-winning Community Kitchen Gardens. Residents have had new opportunities to make friends and meet neighbours. Their children have also had an opportunity to grow fresh produce and to learn about food and nature.

Market Streets
I set up the Market Streets Action Group to establish a strategic vision for revitalising Portobello and Golborne Roads. It has delivered refurbished toilets, improved bridges and lighting, art on Portobello Wall, the refurbishment of Tavistock Piazza and the closure of the Portobello Road to traffic on Saturdays. I have also sought to improve the promotion of the markets and succeeded in resolving the long-standing dispute over traders’ waste charges.

Taking tough financial decisions

I have not been afraid to take firm action to cut costs and to share plans with colleagues at an early stage. The environment department has seen a number of senior managers depart and I have consulted the group before making major changes to waste collection, street sweeping, parks and arts budgets. I took the decision to end the York-stone paving programme having first discussed it with the group. I believe that these decisions have been largely understood and accepted by residents.

I have supported the tri and bi-borough programmes for reducing back-office costs and duplication rather than front line services. I have set mechanisms in place in environment and transport to ensure that members continue to control policy and overall management - in line with the sovereignty guarantee. Despite a much thinner officer team, we continue to operate very distinctive policies from our neighbours.

I have taken opportunities to increase income, especially from disruptive road works and parking bay suspensions, listening to our group’s recommendations on charging.

Working with residents

Roles in housing, social services and the voluntary sector
In my earliest days on the Council, I chaired the Public-Sector Housing Committee and the Tenants’ Consultative Committee. I was also vice-chairman of the Housing and Social Services Committee. Housing allocation, management and estate refurbishment and regeneration will not succeed without the establishment of good and open relations with tenants and leaseholders. My first Cabinet position gave me responsibility for working with the voluntary sector, with a particular focus on North Kensington, and I believe that I helped to win the Council new friends there.

I believe that our consultation with residents over refurbishment of parks including St Luke’s, Westfield and Little Wormwood Scrubs has set a high standard for involving park-users in the proposed changes. A carefully managed capital investment programme has seen our parks become some of the best in London with top quality play equipment, improved landscaping and planting and the upgrading or replacement of many tired and ugly park buildings. Our innovative and dedicated horticultural programme has ensured repeated success in “London in Bloom” and “Britain in Bloom”. Little Wormwood Scrubs has been transformed from little more than waste ground into one of London’s best parks. I was instrumental in setting up a campaign to lobby the Mayor of London to designate LWS a priority park thereby winning £400,000 of additional funding.

Exhibition Road and Highways upgrades
I oversaw the delivery of this huge improvement to the streetscape on time and on budget and made sure that we had regular meetings with residents’ representatives around South Kensington. Significant changes to original plans ensued.  I have overseen the introduction of other streetscene projects including Holbein Place, Hans Road/Basil Street, Tavistock Square and the refurbishment of Albert Bridge and have, in all cases, taken careful account of the comments of residents and users.

Getting agreement from colleagues

As Chief Whip, I believe that I struck the right balance in a Group with a large majority. I sought to encourage committed colleagues. I have been firm where necessary and our Majority Party Rules and Conventions attempted to strike the right balance between independence and discipline. Induction courses, mentoring and briefings for new members were introduced during my period. Where possible, I have sought to encourage a consensual, collegiate, problem-solving approach to our work.

As Cabinet Member I have been fortunate to be supported by both formal and informal lead members who have been involved in policy discussions and options at an early stage. I would like to see this extended to other members with an interest in decision-making.

Useful experience from beyond the Council

In business I worked for a small start-up company in the City which established the UK’s first online research service for financial institutions. This was acquired by Reuters in 1985 and I was appointed international marketing manager for a range of Reuters’ research products with global responsibility for promoting them. In 1991 I was head-hunted by Knight-Ridder Information of the US to set up their London office. Subsequently I set up a small consultancy business which produced a corporate newsletter on energy and environmental policy and offers training and consultancy on a range of public affairs issues.

I was Parliamentary candidate for Don Valley (a South Yorkshire Mining seat) in 1992 and chaired Kensington & Chelsea Conservative Association between 1999 and 2001, which included the period of Alan Clark’s death, the selection of Michael Portillo and the subsequent by-election.

I do hope that, taken in conjunction with my earlier statement, you will feel that I have the right degree of commitment, vision and experience to prove an effective Leader of the Council.

Yours sincerely


  1. Kensington Resident30 April 2013 at 22:31

    So there has been a finger in many pies. Good. But the new job is about managing and motivating others (the team), making senior appointments, representing the Borough outside its boundaries, governance, and strategy. What is the track record here?

    And some words, please, on the thorny issues of:
    (i) Holland Park Opera
    (ii) tri Borough
    (iii) SRAs
    (iv) Chief Executive Salary
    (v) vanity projects
    (vi) the £170 million reserve
    (vii) limited Term of Office for the Leader

    1. The best of an indifferent bunch. We deserved to get Victoria.

    2. Or Julie

  2. Whenever a resident asks for help Paget-Brown is fast to respond. The idea of Moylan as leader is too horrid to contemplate, I don't even discuss Feilding-Mellen

  3. Keep the stuff rolling, Nick

  4. I am 100% sure Victoria Borwick will be backing Nick P-B

  5. I think that Nick would make an excellent leader. Nick has the necessary experience, he is a good listener, understands the need for improvement in particular communication and relations with residents of the Royal Borough.

  6. Person Familiar With The Situation1 May 2013 at 08:11

    Cllr Coleridge and Cllr Ahern took soundings about possible support for their Leadership bids but came to the conclusion that they might not make it through to the final round in a crowded field. The risk of a run off between Cllr Moylan and Cllr Fielding-Mellen was too great and therefore they decided not to stand. The resulting three horse contest is wide open with three distinct options. Mr Nasty. Mr Kindergarden. And Mr Steady State.

    What a pity that personal circumstances prevented Cllr Borwick and Cllr Mills from running from office. Both of these councillors have a mature approach to work/life balance and they made trade off decisions. There is more to living than naked ambition

  7. What will Nick Paget-Brown do about the Planning Director, Mr Bore? Bore runs a resident unfriendly Planning Department, he is a box ticker, does not walk the talk and according to the Kensington Society increasingly "forgets" to inform affected parties about Planning Applications (which he is required to do). A remote and inappropriate Director of Planning who is not doing enough to develop the Borough in the way that it should be developed. Sir Simon Jenkins (a Campden Ward resident) recently referred to the The Philimores as a "ghost development"

  8. Kensington Resident1 May 2013 at 08:23

    It is good news that there will be an Open Selection Process for the Leader. Each candidate will be asked to make a five minute pitch to Conservative councillors followed by a question and answer session. Does the Dame know who the Moderator will be? This is a most important consideration

    1. It is imperative that the Moderator should NOT be fragrant Howells

  9. The so called Open Selection should be open to all paid up members of the Conservative Party in K&C. It is ridiculous that the selection of Leader will be a closed meeting for Tory councillors. A throw back to the dark ages of the Conservative Party. Closed doors and smoke filled rooms. When will Hornton Street join the 21st Century?

    If Members of Parliament can be selected by Open Meeting (this is the policy of Conservative Central Office) then it should be good enough for Local Government Leaders too

    1. The Tin Pot dictators lack the self confidence to expose themselves to scrutiny. Local Government is still a smutty boys club

  10. Nick P-B is to be commended for being upfront about his policies, his achievements and himself. Where are the statements from the other candidates? Feilding-Mellen would be quite unable to list anything. He has no achievements other than cutting funding to voluntary advice services that are now overwhelmed with desperate residents in desperate situations. He also helped fund the rich pensioners’ club at St. Charles Hospital at the expense of activities for poorer older people. Moylan was responsible for many of the things that NP-B has quietly revisited - not just the York stone pavements but also re-opening some desperately needed public lavatories closed by Moylan and getting rid of many of the unused motorcycle parking bays. As a Labour voter, I would point out that other of NP-B’s achievements were only possible because of targeted funding from the last Labour governments, but to his credit he has tried to keep them going.

  11. Kensington Tory1 May 2013 at 09:25

    What is Nick Paget=Brown's background? The cv stuff. Family? School? University? Interests?

  12. We are are huddled together with the Union. Could be more rocky times ahead

  13. I am sure you will 'CRACK' it with the new leader.....

  14. Referring to NPB's latest statement, no explanation has ever emerged as to why the Council's waste contractor was not made to repay its £5 million of overcharging of K & C's street traders. Instead, the traders had to quietly accept over £700,000 of residents funds.

    Despite this, in view of the spectacularly poor choice of candidates, NPB is the only rational choice.

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