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Friday, 29 November 2013

"THE MANSION TAX IS A NASTY TAX" SAYS NICK PAGET-BROWN


One of the negative effects of a forced coalition is having a limited pool of talent to draw upon. 
Just look at the LibDem end of the coalition...what a bunch of nonentities!
An ex National Parks PR man, Danny Alexander running our money and the very mediocre, ballroom dancing economist, 'Doctor' Vince Cable as Business Secretary.
The Dame watched Vince, in front of the Commons Committee, trying to justify giving away Royal Mail 'on the cheap'....it was just squirm making... 
A real couple of buffoons in charge of the economy!

No wonder their idea of a Mansion Tax has attracted scorn from civil servants. 
Even Tessa Jowell says it just won't work.
The Dame's attention was drawn to an excellent piece in Conservative Home by Nick Paget-Brown. It's well worth reading...good stuff, Nick.

PAGET-BROWN IS RIGHT ON THIS
On taking power in 2010, the Coalition was faced with an almighty mess. Some very difficult decisions have had to be taken to clear that mess up.  Part of the problem was an addiction to ever higher taxes and borrowing and a lack of willingness to consider value for money, cost-effectiveness and entitlement. Saying “stop” is rarely popular, but that is what responsible Governments have to do.
Now with elections appearing on the horizon, we find Labour and the Lib-Dems both promoting a Mansion Tax. The two versions are pretty much the same: an annual one per cent charge on the value of a home above £2 million.  The only real difference is that Labour promises to hypothecate the extra revenue in order to re-create the 10p tax rate they abolished in 2008.
In publicity promoting his tax, Vince Cable indicates that it is aimed at “some of the world’s wealthiest people who own property in the UK worth millions…”.
According to Ed Balls, once part of a Government that proclaimed itself relaxed about people getting “filthy rich”, the tax will mean “that foreign investors who buy up property in London to make a profit will finally pay a proper tax contribution to our country.”
In the UK some 55,000 homes are said to be worth more than £2m, seven out of ten of those are in London and just shy of 12,000 are in my own borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Who owns those homes?  Is it those popular hate-figures – international bankers, oligarchs and corporate raiders – that Mr Balls would have us believe?
Well, no doubt some of them are owned by such people but that is very far from the full story.  Our council tax database only goes back as far as 1999 but it tells us that of the properties that might be caught by the tax – the ones in Council Tax bands G and H – 7,000 of them have been in the same ownership the entire time. And it’s a safe bet that very many of those homes were bought or inherited many years prior to 1999.
Kensington and Chelsea was still a desirable area back in the eighties and nineties of course, but house prices really were remarkably different.  The average price of a semi these days is an unbelievable £4.7 million.  In 1995 it was £505,000.  An average terrace is today valued at £3.3million.  In 1995, it would have cost £423,000.  Back then the merely well off could buy in Kensington and Chelsea, today you need to be one of the super rich.
But what gets forgotten by the advocates of a mansion tax is that there is a large chunk of home owners in our Borough who are by no means “filthy rich” or part of the  global plutocracy..  Many are retired. Several are elderly. Many are on fixed or relatively modest incomes. Increasing numbers live alone. They  purchased their home long ago from post-tax income. What will be the impact of the Mansion Tax on them?  Well if they are living in that average Royal Borough semi, Ed Balls and Vince Cable will be expecting them to find £27,000 a year in mansion tax.  That’s about £50,000 of pre-tax income and there’s no mansion involved – just a lifetime home.
The inevitable result of that can only be that much of our stable older population will be driven from London and from the homes in which they raised their children thereby exacerbating the already skewed demographics of inner London.
And who will be the long-term beneficiaries of such an exodus? Step forward the very people the Lib Dems and Labour claim to have in their sights: those super-rich overseas investors, for whom the mansion tax will be a mere bagatelle.

IRANIANS TO RENEW ATTEMPTS TO BUILD VILE MONSTROSITY

Now that the mad, long bearded religious medievalists in Tehran have conned the naive Kerry and Hague into allowing them to carry on creating nuclear weaponry expect them very soon to resurrect their plans to build a vile embassy in Kensington.
SCARRING THE ROYAL BOROUGH

An ugly, despotic and backward regime needs a building to reflect its character....and the architect has done a supremely good job.




GAYS ABOUT TO STRANGLED TO DEATH
Were the Dame Israeli she would be terrified knowing these sadistic religious crackpots, who take great pleasure strangling gays to death from large cranes, were back in the nuclear bomb making business. But, not just the Israelis....we should all be terrified.



We now need to do all in our power to prevent this disgusting regime desecrating our beautiful borough with their vile building.

You don't need to be a British Jew to think Kerry and Hague have been royally shafted....just ask any Iranian who has managed to escape the clutches of these barbarians.




Thursday, 28 November 2013

POOLS AND HALL

The Dame 'en famille' in Biarritz
The Dame loves to expose her body to the sea and had been looking forward to taking the plunge in the new Holland Park School swimming pool. 


She was even hoping that other facilities at the school will be(as promised when planning permission was granted) available to her knitting circle. 
But the Dame is privy to 'inside information' that confirms headmaster, Colin Hall, has been negotiating with RBK&C to find ways of blocking residents intent on making the school perform its obligations.

Next week the Dame will be making a few waves and Mr Hall and the planning dept may find themselves in at the 'deep end'.....
It is quite simple: a commitment to the residents, who funded the school was enshrined in a planning condition. There is no reason to break that condition.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A DAME BACKS A LADY

IMPRESSIVE
The whispers are that Cllr Faulks is getting into her stride and becoming a force to be reckoned with. 
Nick Paget-Brown could no worse than replace the liability that is Rock Feilding-Mellen with this intelligent and forceful newcomer....
Clever and personable, Cllr Faulks is a breath of fresh air.

THE DAME THINKS THE WINTER FUEL ALLOWANCE IS FOR WINTER CRUISING!

The Dame  tends to pass the winter months cruising aboard her luxurious, but elegantly understated steam yacht, SS Hornet. 
Even for the Dame cruising comes expensive, so imagine her delight when her dodgy steward and ex mayor, the old reprobate, Mr Phelps, popped his head around the stateroom door to announce the Dame had received a £200 Winter Fuel Allowance from nice Mr Cameron. 
FUELLING SS HORNET
Mr Phelps had to put the poor old Dame right. The silly old thing was labouring under the impression the fuel allowance was to keep SS Hornet steaming. 


Imagine her fury on finding it was to heat her enormous Holland Park mansion. 
But it got the Dame thinking....did she really need the money? Clearly, the answer was NO. But, she was loath to return it to Mr Cameron....after all he would only waste it on some silly scheme or other.... 
Instead she had a better idea....
There were a number of councillors, she mused, who cared about residents having a tough time. 
Why not hand over her allowance to one of them so they could help those in real need?
Off to the top of head she thought of Cllrs Gardner, Dent Coad, Wade, Borwick or Mills.
Of course, there are others: councillors who take seriously helping their residents having a rough time, so the Dame suggests passing over the Fuel Allowance to one of them.
£200 can go a long way....

Monday, 25 November 2013

A READER DISMEMBERS K&C PLANNING

When this reader made his original comment about the dire state of planning in K&C, the idiotic Palmer wrote asking whether this man was 'Real'....
The sad fact about Palmer is that he really is....to the chagrin of us all..... 'Real'.
The below expands upon the reader's original comment: it should be taken very seriously by the Leader.......

CLICK TO ENLARGE

25% OF OUR TAXES GO TO FUNDING COUNCIL OFFICERS' PENSIONS

CLICK TO ENLARGE
PAYING FOR MYERS












The Dame tires of the useless Pooter ringing his hands and suggesting councils are 'running out of money'.
In K&C it might have something to do with the flagrant waste of our taxes on such follies as Exhibitionist Rd: the £90 million school....which could have been built for £30 million, or the millions frittered away on Opera Holland Park and Chelsea Careless.
And, of course, Pooter loved to live the high life.... with wasteful and extravagant overseas trips and a sparkling new £100,000 Bentley.
So yes, providing a quarter of our taxes to fund the pensions for the likes of the £300,000 a year, ex social worker, Mr Myers, is one part of the problem, but the other is that councillors and officers just haven't the foggiest idea of how to run money.
But, with an failed fag salesman like Pooter Cockell running things what can one expect?

Friday, 22 November 2013

TIM C....BACH A GOOD IDEA.....

THE DAME AT LEISURE
The Dame was enjoying a gentle stroll in Hyde Park, with her loyal companion, when a rough, hirsute fellow, dressed all in black and furiously cycling a 'sit up beg bicycle, stopped and pushed a soiled piece of paper into La Dame's  elegant be-gloved hand. It was none other than mysterious, disgraced ex mayor, Mr Phelps.....
She thought the contents worth sharing with her loyal readers....


Dear Tim,

I reported to the Kensington Society Executive Committee last night about the progress on this matter.

A suggestion for you:

To install the telephones BT still need to go through the prior approval procedure. This is usually a formality, but in this case they are not proposing a conventional kiosk, but a large advertising panel – something never anticipated by either the Telecommunications Act or the prior approval procedure. 

The procedure, just like that for the broadband cabinets, requires agreement to the siting and the impact on amenity. Although it sounds like a rerun of the advertisement consent cases, it would be an opportunity to take into consideration the Council’s streetscape policy. You could indicate your agreement to install a telephone, but not the advertisement panel on the back of it. We need to decouple the request to install a telephone from the “real” proposal to install an advertisement panel which is not what the prior approval process was designed to deal with.

Mr Siddiqi’s response indicated that the normal practice for the Highways Act licence is to go along with the prior approval decision so as not to frustrate the Telecommunications Act rights to install telephones. This is not a normal case. The issue of the Highways Act licence in this case should not be regarded as a formality. The Council must face up to the fact that it is being asked formally to licence a large obstruction in the highway which is contrary to its policy for removing the clutter in our streetscape.

Finally, there is the irony that the main complaints about telephone kiosks will not be addressed by this “deal”. Flyposting is primarily if not exclusively a problem for boxes owed by other companies, not BT.  Prostitute cards are a problem in some areas, but almost all of those where this is a problem would be unaffected by the “deal” as these are not due for removal. The “deal” is not a solution to anybody’s problems – it just creates a new, unwanted problem that will be with us for the next 20 years.

What we need is clear idea of where we want to get to and to find a way of getting there. We need to get a solution.

Best wishes

Michael

Michael Bach

W. LONDON RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION CALL FOR COUNCIL BASEMENT INSPECTION TEAMS

This is an excellent, ideas laden letter from Doctor Gordon Taylor, chairman of the West London Residents Association.   




West London Residents Association
Chairman  Gordon Taylor  33 Royal Avenue Chelsea SW3 4QE
Secretary  Gordon Stevens  3 Mulberry Walk  SW3 6DZ
Treasurer  Natalie Cutler   70 Holland Park W11 3SL


Karen Buck MP
House of Commons
Westminster
London  SW1A 0AA

20 11 13

Dear Ms Buck,        Your Bill to regulate the construction and
                                   extension to basements.

Our Association is delighted that you have introduced your Bill regulating Basements and wish you every success in getting it on to the statute book.

I notice that it is some 8 years since we last corresponded.
Then it was with regard to our campaign for the abolition of the Western Extension of the Congestion Charging Zone.

There is a substantial body of evidence from residents living in properties adjoining  these basement developments of the considerable loss of amenity that they have suffered. These include excessive noise, vibration, dust and dirt.
Structural damage to these resident’s  properties has also been frequently reported.

The quality of life of many adjoining residents has been badly affected leading to a stressful existence for them. Perhaps it is not too much to believe that their human right to live peacefully in their homes is being infringed.

Pro-active monitoring of basement site work.

Local councils have, in my view, not been tough enough in using powers under the various Environmental and Health and Safety Acts to ensure that work on site complies with either local authority set standards or appropriate national standards.

Many councils operate a reactive noise and nuisance service which is not adequate to deal with this basement work.

To control basement construction a team of pro-active trained inspectors is needed to constantly monitor each site.

For many years District Surveyors have monitored site compliance with the London Building Regulations.

These Surveyors are, I understand, located in each London borough. It might be possible to expand their training to cover the new proposed role. Some increase in numbers might be required.



Basement Site Plant and Machinery

A major problem with basement construction arises from the noise and vibration caused by site plant and machinery.

To reduce excessive noise and vibration the use of air compressors and their pneumatic tools should be banned as should electrically driven hand tools.

The ban would also reduce the extent of damage to adjacent properties.

Unless the legislation has been altered, Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 makes it clear that the local authority can specify the type of plant and machinery which is, or is not, to be used on site.

Under the same section the local authority can also specify the level of noise which may be emitted from the site.

Digging out basements can be done by hand using hand tools.

Listed Buildings

Due to their more fragile construction we agree with the Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s proposal that no new basement extension work be permitted under such buildings.

Mammoth Basement Developments

These should be restricted to those properties where the impact on adjoining residents and properties can be controlled to an acceptable level.

Bonds against damage to adjoining properties.

To provide funds for the repair of any damage it is suggested that bonds be provided by the basement building’s owner for the  benefit  of the owners of the affected adjacent properties. These bonds  could be held by solicitors agreed between the parties.

Local councils should be given effective powers to control these basement developments many of which have caused real suffering for adjacent residents.

Yours sincerely



Gordon Taylor  PhD  BSc(Hons) MICE  MIMechE  MIET
Chairman West London Residents Association

cc Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Mark Field, Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson, Barry Gardiner,  Gareth Thomas, Clive Efford, Andy Slaughter, Greg Hands.













                        

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

BRING ME THE HEAD OF JONATHAN BORE......

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?

Yours.....
Sxx    Pxxxxxxxx

MAJOR PLANNING COMMITTEE GIVES TWO FINGERS TO ENGLISH HERITAGE

Last night the Major Planning Committee, with three honourable exceptions, agreed to smash to pieces one of the few remaining pieces of exceptional Victorian architecture. 
Marlborough School is now under severe threat.
Despite Mr Roberts, the relevant officer, telling members that English Heritage were considering the preservation of the building not one member thought to ask why a decision should not be delayed until the outcome of EH's deliberations.
Well done...cllrs Atkinson;Caruana and Dent Coad for having the good taste to vote against this act of vandalism.

So our council follows its well trodden path of destroying any vestige of local Victorian architecture.

To add insult to injury the project architects are the creators of the hideous £30 million folly Exhibitionist Rd. 
No....the Dame is not going to go down the other road of asking how Dixon Jones managed to wangle their way into yet more juicy council work. 
The Dame will be fiercely moderating any comments she perceives to be any way defamatory on this one....you have been warned....fly on the wall!


JCB' S AT THE READY

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

RBKC DEPUTY LEADER TELLS BUMPKINS TO 'MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS'

DEPUTY LEADER AS A YOUNGSTER
Peasants living on the Dame's Highland estates know better than to complain to her agent about their roofs falling in ....the old harridan specialises in Christmas Day evictions. 
So she has every sympathy for young Rock Feilding Mellen when he tells Scottish villagers to "mind their own business"....
There is one problem....Lord Wemyss and March, Rocky's stepfather is known to be a benevolent landlord, so annoyed he must be, that his good work- and that of the old earl, has been undone by someone not even a blood relation. 
First, we have Rocky causing fury amongst the Norfolk bumpkins and then he motors up to Scotland, causing havoc amongst the Scottish peasantry.
How on earth does Rocky find time for his job as deputy leader? Or maybe it's a good thing his trouble making keeps him away from Hornton Street.



EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS
18 November 2013
Anger at aristocrat developer homes plan ‘snub’
by IAN SWANSON
VILLAGERS up in arms at plans to build hundreds of homes on their doorstep claim they were delivered an astonishing snub by an aristocratic developer.
Residents in Longniddry say their concerns about proposals for farmland owned by the Earl of Wemyss and March on the edge of the village are being ignored.
And they say that when the plans were criticised at a public meeting attended by about 300 people, the earl’s stepson, Rock Fielding, who is a Tory councillor in Kensington and Chelsea, told them: “The estate will not be dictated to by the village.”
Residents’ group Listen to Longniddry said Mr Fielding’s remark raised the question of whether the estate was ever interested in engaging with the views of local people over its move to develop greenbelt land at substantial profit.
Colin Kemp, spokesman for Listen to Longniddry, said: “As far as the village is concerned, his comment said it all. People feel the whole attitude is arrogant and patronising.”
The development proposal is being put forward by a company called Socially Conscious Capital (SCC), of which Mr Fielding is a director.
The original plan envisaged around 750 new homes on the south side of the east coast rail line, but the proposed development has now been cut to around 400 houses.
An intensive three-day consultation session or “charette” was held on the plans last week – but villagers claim only two or three people attended on two of the days and about a dozen on the third because most people were at work during the day.
The sessions were organised by The Princes Foundation for Building Community, set up by Prince Charles to promote “sustainable urbanism” and employed as consultants on the project.
But Mr Kemp said it was ironic that the foundation was involved in backing plans to build on some of Scotland’s best agricultural land while the prince was guest-editing Country Life magazine and warning about the need to preserve the countryside. “It is as precious as any of our great cathedrals and we erode it at our peril,” Charles wrote.
Mr Kemp said the rail line was a natural boundary to the village and any expansion on the other side seemed a major breach. “People say, if it’s agreed to build some houses there, where does it stop?”
In a statement to the Evening News, Mr Fielding said there were no firm proposals at present. “We could have done this design work behind closed doors, then consulted much later on, but instead we did this first iteration in an open process with resident input,” he said.( Like is done at RBK&C!)
And he added: “My comment in terms of saying that we would not be dictated to by the village has been taken wholly out of context. What I was referring to was that we would not be taking a decision based solely on those assembled in the hall that evening, a fraction of the population of the village as a whole.” The Princes Foundation said it aimed to plan for Longniddry’s sustainable future “while retaining the unique appeal and character its residents cherish”.

Monday, 18 November 2013

SAVING VICTORIANA FOR ALL OUR FUTURES....

Tomorrow night, a hastily convened meeting of the Major Planning Committee will take place.

Top of the agenda will be a decision to take the wrecking ball to that magnificent Victorian edifice, the Marlborough Primary School.
LOCAL BEAUTY



The Dame leaves aside questions of taste:after all, this council, under the ghastly Nicholas Freeman, conspired to knock down that Victorian masterpiece, the Old Town Hall just hours before it could be protected. 

This time the Dame is 'on the case' ready to rally support for the preservation of one of the few remaining pieces of local Victoriana.
The Victorian Society has already made the strongest possible case for its preservation and has noted that English Heritage has preserved Board Schools of similar vintage and architectural appeal.
An insider tells the Dame......
"The Victorian Society has made strong plea to English Heritage to list the school (1879, extended 1882). 
RBK&C has urged EH not to do so; this despite pleas to members of the MPDC. 
It seems  the English Heritage case officer, David Garrard, is minded to recommend listing and a decision will be taken in next few weeks. The final decision whether or not to list will be made by DCMS. 
Whilst the Planning Officers' report does say EH are considering a request to list, they undermine EH by saying "the existing building is not listed, nor is it within a conservation area. Therefore, planning permission is not required for its demolition". 
Officers don't mention the objection from the Victorian Society, which is quite underhand, as the Society is recognised as the leading authority on Victorian architecture.

Insider goes on to say....'that there is one other comparable building in RBK&C, the Sloane Building in Hortensia Road, a former board school now owned by Manhattan Loft. This building is listed and is even later than the Marlborough, being not Victorian Gothic, but Edwardian Baroque so the logic to list Marlborough is impeccable.'

But here's the odd thing.....

Jonathan Bore, our planning supremo, is fully aware that English Heritage are considering the listing of this piece of bygone magnificence, so why on earth should the Planning Committee seek to preempt the decision of English Heritage?

John Lewis Partnership are desperate to build multi million pound flats on the site of the school and their warehouse, but this should not drive tomorrow's decision. 
Tomorrow, the Committee should use common sense and delay any decision until English Heritage have made theirs....it's just common courtesy.