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Wednesday, 20 November 2013


An Insider reports.................

Dear Dame
There was chaos @ last night's Major Planning meeting at Hornton St. when it looked like the multi million pound Peter Jones Clearings redevelopment was going to unravel at literally the last hurdle. The entire committee agreed that the plans and designs were of a high quality and once it was established that should the existing school be listed the whole project would fall, enthusiastically  supported the  proposal to create a temporary school building in the Clearings building while Marlborough School is entirely rebuilt.

However when the representatives of Peter Jones then assured the Major Planning Committee that they had secured the support of the Council's legal team for their unusual  £26m escrow arrangement, the Council's legal representative in the form of the extremely able and highly respected Heidi Titcombe flatly contradicted them. 
The Peter Jones representatives then shifted their ground by stating  that they had had assurances from 'senior officers' that the escrow arrangement was satisfactory. 
Peter Jones were then unable or unwilling to name the officer who had misled them. 
Meanwhile  Mr Bore whispered advice into the ear of Chair Paul Warrick like the snake Kar in Jungle book hissing "Trust in me" when clearly the committee most certainly did not ! 

The public disagreement then led to an embarrassing  20 minute adjournment while officers met privately to agree a face saving form of words to obscure the disagreement.  
The proposal was then voted through on a very narrow  4 v 3 vote of Councillors .

One Cllr was then overheard to comment that "Only Jonathan Bore's leadership could have so nearly  snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and  caused such an important application  to which no residents association objected and  with a design which was unanimously praised by the committee to then be put in jeopardy "

This latest fiasco has arisen while the Basement limitations struggle becomes  ever more sour and the Holland Park School public access to facilities row turns into farce . 
Can things in planning get any worse?

Sxx    Pxxxxxxxx


  1. I work in a job that involves planning. I work with planning authorities all over England, Scotland and Wales.

    I had not really been involved with planning here in Kensington & Chelsea until recently when a planning application was submitted that will have disastrous effects on my home.

    I must say that what I have witnesses since looking at how planning works in Kensington & Chelsea is horrifying. It is, by far, the worst I have seen in my work across the UK. It is run like a club, with Bore making several unprofessional acts and dictatorship moves that would never be tolerated in a normal planning authority. That is particularly concerning given that most of the planning authorities I work with operate with but a pittance of a budget compared to Kensington & Chelsea.

    I left my experienced appalled at what is going on. It is almost as if the superiors to Bore either do not care or they do not know what planning departments are supposed to do.

    1. I doubt anyone who has ever had to deal with the planning department walked away impressed ...

  2. I do not believe the person above is real

    1. Don't be a fatuous idiot....of course he is. You make not like the truth, but Bore and the planning dept are a laughing stock....even amongst Conservative cllrs

    2. Even if he/she is not real, there is growing discontent with the high handed behaviour of RBKC planning as led by Mr Bore. Blatant disregard of residents' interests is only trumped by the way policies and regulations are interpreted according to how they meet commercial interests which Bore guards so closely!

    3. Tired Tory Councillor21 November 2013 at 17:23

      I can't help feeling that we are all making Bore the scapegoat for something far more sinister than incompetence - the backstage manipulation of planning decisions.

      This is not just distasteful, this is potentially illegal. Sorry to say the rumour-mill has it that certain senior planning cllrs are involved.

  3. It is clear not just from the planning department that this council is being run by the idiotic officers that are left in the town hall, officers that actually had expertise and experience and cared about his Borough have left either they have been pushed or they jumped they saw the sinking ship that is now the Rough Borough. Councillors have no interest in the residents they are supposed to represent and have lost control. The degradation of services and open process since the Trough Borough has come to pass (it was not on any councillors mandate nor were residents consulted) is appalling. It is a matter of time before one of these councillors will have to stand up and say that usual line when something horrific happens 'lessons will be learnt'. They are disconnected with what is happening in the real world of kensington and chelsea, shame on them.

  4. It's not incompetence and never has been. It's very carefully orchestrated. I'm just about to write an objection to a project in Pembridge. For the third time in 8 years, on the same site, the RBKC planning dept failed to consult council tenants whose quality of life will be damaged by an over-ambitious development. Only the intervention of Pembridge councillors stopped a third application sailing quietly through the system under delegated officer powers. It will now go to committee.

  5. If rumours are to be believed the level of corruption relating to planning is now on par with most Brits believe is confined to southern Europe but clearly isn't - freebie meals, undeclared "gifts", the odd brown envelope (when only cash will do) and swelling bank accounts.

    Sadly planning is now very much a political exercise and "dodgy goings on" appear to be commonplace in all local authorities irrespective of which party is in charge. They all seem to fiddle the system for their own ends, some of which are purely ideological and would be viewed as extremely nasty by the average man on the street.

  6. I am the person that started this comment chain. I do not visit this site frequently but wanted to see if anyone had picked up on the thread of dialogue I started. I'm pleased to see it started some debate.

    To the person who questioned whether I was "real", I can assure you that I am quite real. In fact, the event that prompted me to write my initial note was that I was sitting in a planning hearing in Scotland on something for work and I was reflecting on how well handled and democratic that meeting was relative to what I witnesses in Horton Street when the case that affected me was heard.

    In the Scotland meeting, the decision had not been made before the meeting started. Residents were given sufficient time to be heard. They were given opportunities to dispel untruths developers told after they had given their presentations. Councillors were engaged in trying to find ways to ensure what was approved was handled according to fair conditions and provisions that actually worked. Councillors questioned officers and demanded proof that the laws and regulations they were quoting were actually accurate. And the meeting was recorded to ensure that any untruths or misstatements could be corrected.

    By contrast, the single meeting I attended in Kensington & Chelsea was perhaps the worst planning meeting I had ever witnessed. Residents were barely given time to present their cases. Developers made statements that could never be enforced yet went unchallenged. Jonathan Bore made comments which any true planning professional would know to be misleading yet not a single counsellor questioned or challenged him. I felt like screaming. Sadly, the format of the meeting is set such that any outside input is limited and carefully controlled. It was clear there was no intention of reaching a democratic conclusion. It was simply a meeting to rubber stamp a decision that had been made well before by a handful of people before hand and agreed with Councillors.

    I would strongly encourage anyone who is following planning to visit other councils and see how they work. Do not take my word for it. See it for yourselves. You will come away with a view that Kensington & Chelsea is far from being an example of excellence. As some have stated above, it is quite possibly corrupt and sadly filled with incompetence.

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