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Thursday, 28 May 2015


The indomitable Marion Gettleson writes to the Dame about more shenanigans at Westway Trust

      Dear Mrs McConville
Further to this matter, on 27th April your Mr Dibsdale asked Mark Barr, Chair of the Portobello & Golbourne Management Committee to join the Westway Development Committee and he agreed. At 16.26 Mark sent Mr Dibsdale this email - in full: 

"I am happy to take part in any consultation. Also, would you like me to get another PGMC member attend?  Please advise me of any meeting dates that you have and I will endeavour to attend either my self or get another PGMC member to attend."

At  17.01 Mr Dibsdale responded - in full: 

"Yes I think it would be good to have two reps for the street market traders, so feel free to nominate somebody who you think appropriate.  We are hoping to set up a first meeting within the next two or three of weeks, so we'll let you know dates as soon as possible.  Are there any days that suit you better or that we should avoid?"

Due to my 50 years' experience of local retail, Mark decided I'm "appropriate." BTW I spent 10 years on the Fashion & General Merchandise Committee of BSSA - the British Shops & Stores Assc - now BIRA - the British Independent Retailers Assc. However, we heard nothing, so I emailed you on 26th May. 

You replied at 13.48 on 27th May, claiming "crossed wires" but that I'm not "unsuitable." It's merely that you will not permit me to join the Committee. At immense length you explain Westway Trust's new requirements for Committee members: - restricting both RBKC licensed street traders' and local retailers' roles to those of worker ants. Restriction follows restriction - all of it drivel. 

Mark responded to you at 15.53 on 27th, referring you to your original request for him to "feel free to nominate somebody." 

Mr Dibsdale responded to Mark at 17.46 on 27th, again claiming a "misunderstanding," while making it clear that the PGMC and MSAG will in future play no part in any consultations, but will be restricted to learning of the Westway Trust's decisions second hand. There follows yet more tosh along the same lines.  

I engaged with the recent public consultation. Having seen the Westway Trust's original development plans, I concluded that they are designed to fail. The land will ultimately become available to private developers. You and your staff protested that I'm mistaken and I remained open to persuasion that this may be so. 

To point out the obvious: Portobello Market is 150 years old this year. It predates all the shops and houses in the area, attracting millions of visitors a year. Virtually every other local business is ultimately dependent on the licensed street trading. As is usual practice, the Trust asked Mark Barr, Chair of RBKC's licensed street traders' association - the PGMC - to engage in the necessary detailed consultations - and to bring a colleague on board. Mark chose me, a known critic of the development plans. This renders me unacceptable to the Westway Trust. Once Mark declined your request to choose an alternative second representative, the Trust found Mark Barr and the PGMC itself equally unacceptable. 

Conclusion: The Westway Trust is to public consultation what FIFA is to football.
Yours faithfully

Marion Gettleson


  1. some would seem indeed to be more (or in this case less) equal than others

  2. More proof the Westway Trust is not interested in real consultation which might involve opposition to their opaque plans. Merely box-ticking exercises without publicly visible outcomes.

  3. Save West London Stables
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  5. Right on, Marion... Those at the helm of the Westway Trust are very much the same as those leading FIFA..... if not directly on the 'take', well aware of it....

  6. Oh Angela! This is a bridge too far. Now we see the true colours of the friendly neighbourhood Westway Trust.

  7. Kerr M'Udgeon29 May 2015 at 13:42

    Well done Marion for continuing to shine a light on one of the murkier corners of this most rotten of rotten boroughs. The Westway Trust and the RBKC must be closely scrutinised at every turn.

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