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Monday, 2 June 2014


The Dame recommends this very well written and elegiac blog by a local resident describing  the end of London villages
In it she describes, with great pathos, the breakdown of the 'village' atmosphere that made London such a pleasant place to live.

A friend of the Dame drew her attention to this prescient piece based upon an interview with the City of London's retiring planning supremo. 
He lands a well aimed punch at the buffoon, Johnson...a man who -prostrates himself before 'big money'.

Locals are being priced out of the London property market by “dirty Russian money” and “Chinese gamblers”, according to the City of London’s retiring head of planning.
Speaking out in an interview with the BBC Peter Wynne Rees said ugly skyscrapers that mayor Boris Johnson had approved were ruining the capital’s famous skyline.
“I think it is homogenised international architecture that is out of scale with its surroundings, damaging the London skyline and giving a very bad impression to people who visit London,” Rees said.
“And for what purpose? Simply to provide piles of safe deposit boxes for international investors.”
He said foreign investors buy flats and leave them empty, depriving the area of a community.
“All that’s missing will be the tumbleweed blowing between the buildings.
“We’re getting dirty Russian money being laundered and Chinese gambling,” he said, as Chinese investors buy London flats based on plans and take out futures contracts based on the value of the property in years to come.
The mayor insisted foreign investors improve London’s economy.
Tweet me your thoughts @robynvinter


  1. Fly On The Wall2 June 2014 at 18:56

    On the button

  2. Fly On The Wall has a good overview of what is going on. This Planning guy that the Dame has rustled up is an insider and knows the story. A good idea for the likes of Cllr Coleridge and Cllr Paget-Brown to take note and start agitating for change. It is a long shot with our Councillors in K&C to find out if they are up to it. Too many are too thick and\or self obsessed to notice that the Titanic is sinking. Cllr Mackover is a case in point. A thoroughly useless individual

    1. Sam is thick as two (very) short planks

  3. For some years now central London's largest industry has been money laundering. While ordinary Londoners are forced to produce their passports in order to open a small savings account, billions arrive here via BVI etc to buy up everything in sight. K & C residents have been collectively sold down the river. The inmates of Hornton Street are up to their necks in this rancid business.

  4. What a pity that our current Cabinet cannot see the political opportunity staring them in the face to return our Borough to the local community. This would require a spirited campaign of determination, imagination and articulation. Skills that are a bit rusty with our current lot.

    1. Andrew Barshall should be invited to serve in the Paget-Brown administration. A resident with ability, bravery and focus who has articulated the importance of saving Chelsea from international crooks, gamblers and speculators. A growing band of trash who do nothing for our community

  5. Boris has a bird brain. How can huge new housing developments that remain empty be a benefit to the economy?? There are no occupants to support the economy by daily spending in the shops and restaurants and service companies. It is trickle down, close down, economics. Very soon there will be no supermarkets and no petrol stations. "No money, no honey" as my dear old grandmother used to say.

    What a clown we have as Mayor for London

  6. Boris is not a fool. He knows exactly what's going on and is delighted to jump on the gravy train. Same goes for many or even most RBKC councillors. Shame on them and shame on those who voted for them - yet again.

  7. Excellent blog. Here is a similar concern from a very different quarter of the borough -

  8. It's all very fine for him to moan about things now. What was he doing about it when he was in post? The country appears to be beset by people who are only willing to express their "radical" and inspirational" views once they're no longer sat at the trough and can no longer do anything about it. This is like a shameless sinner confessing on their death bed hoping St. Peter will take note.

    Ultimately if we don't want a load of foreigners buying up huge swathes of London with their dodgy money then we need to find some way of stopping it. I suspect nothing short of primary legislation to limit foreign participation in the property market will do. Is any political party proposing anything like that? I thought not.

  9. @RobynVinter re Hornets Nest. Mayor/ Tories agreeing LDN's architectural rape by non-dom spivs. Let's hope new LBHF help @saveEarlsCourt

  10. There appear to be two very different issues here: a growing number of skyscrapers being built that spoil the London skyline and foreign investors buying up large amounts of residential property at the expense of locals.

    Most of the buildings spoiling the skyline are not residential but commercial. Most if not all of those tall buildings going up in and around the City are intended to provide office space not flats luxury or otherwise. Is it ugly and spoiling the skyline? Very possibly. Its it depriving Londoners of a home? Not directly. You could argue that the land could, and perhaps should, be put to better use providing residential rather than commercial property but that doesn't appear to be what is being suggested.

    The residential property being bought up by foreigners is not principally located in the City and tends to be low rise. The headline grabbing high rise developments - e.g. St. George's Tower, the Shard - are the exception rather than the rule and represent a mere fraction of the total. Most of the residential property being bought up by foreigners is not located in the City, is not high-rise and is not spoiling the skyline. It's purchase by foreigners may however be depriving the locals of a potential home.

    The capital needs plans to deal with both issues, but they are very different issues and need very different solutions. The abundance of "skycraper office blocks" can probably be dealt with using existing planning legislation were there any political will to do so. The "hoovering up" of residential property, either for buy-to-leave or buy-to-let, by foreigners probably can't. The simplest although arguably also the most radical way to deal with the latter issue is to insist on owner occupation and/or limit foreign acquisition for any new residential developments.

    The real problem that needs to be dealt with is the simple fact that large swathes of London now form part of someone's buy-to-let portfolio. In fact domestic buy-to-let is much more of a threat to the home owning aspirations of the locals that any foreigners could ever be. The political will to even begin to look at that issue however appears to be non-existent.

  11. These are not different issues at all, but two sides of the same well laundered coin.

    1. I fear those wishing to pin the blame for the housing issues in London solely or primarily on the influx of "dodgy capital from abroad" run the risk of ignoring the real causes of the current housing crisis to the detriment of Londoners.

  12. It is true that the tsunami of dirty money in London is unlikely to have found its way to the suburbs, where real Londoners now live.

    1. But there's a housing crisis out in the "suburbs" too.

      In fact I doubt there isn't a single part of London where house prices could not be reasonably described as "bonkers".

      And in truth the influx of dirty money hasn't found itself to most of RBK&C as yet. Some high profile developments may well attract it, and no doubt some less-than-scrupulous developers clearly wish to do so, but prices are being kept high across the board, from the bottom to the top of the market, by a severely constrained supply and a financial and fiscal environment that favours businesses over private individuals; i.e. buy-to-let over home owners.


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