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Tuesday, 9 February 2016


Tonight, a bit of history happened. The detail is HERE

The Planning Committee rejected the recommendations of the 'officer class' and stood shoulder to shoulder with residents.
The applicant, a Canadian billionaire, David Graham, was well aware that his plans would have created noise and disruption but didn't seem to give a damn.
Such men are difficult to understand. 

Graham is in his late '70's, lives alone and spends very little time in his massive 9,000 square foot mansion. 

So why would he wish to inflict months of noise, dust and danger on his neighbours digging out a few more thousand square feet? 
God only knows!
Graham will, no doubt, come back again; it's the nature of the type: they just cannot bear to lose.

But well done the Committee. You did the right thing.....


  1. Wow! What is going on? At last the Planning Committee is looking after residents, whilst the planning officers carry on looking after developers with big pockets.
    Well done councillors for kicking sand in the face of the officers. Of course, officers toady to the likes of Savills. They think they might get jobs!

  2. He will be a pariah if he goes ahead.
    The Canadian media will soon pick this up

  3. Kensington Resident10 February 2016 at 09:09

    This is encouraging news. Many years ago Cllr Ahern (when he was Cabinet Member for Planning) campaigned for planning to be more resident friendly. Maybe this is happening.

    Who was Chairman of the Committee last night, Dame?

  4. The Dame's Investigator10 February 2016 at 09:15

    The Chairman last night was Cllr Warrick. Other committee members were Cllr Eve Allison, Cllr Lomas, Cllr Nicholls and Cllr Taylor Smith

    1. It is quite extraordinary that Cllr Warrick, the well known friend of developers, instructed the Committee to vote in this way. Could Paul be "on the turn"? The man needs careful watching

    2. Cllr Eve Allison from N Kensington is a fountain of common sense. A new broom infecting the Tory ranks with fresh air

  5. Well done, the Committee. Congratulations are also due to our dear Dame for carrying this story on her blog. Well done... Let's see what happens next, as this is by NO way the end of the saga....

  6. Graham's days are numbered. Just need to keep the opposition going until he falls off his perch. Not long now

  7. The insensitivity of Canadian trash knows no bounds. Graham has been receiving the message, loud and clear, that he and his plans are not welcome. But he is oblivious to local opinion.

  8. Once again this billionaire owner is using Savills (who charge a hefty fee) to cosy up to Planning Officers to get their way. In the accustomed manner.

    It sucks.

  9. Officers are clearly divorced from reality and the desires of residents who pay their salaries.

    Residents objected on grounds that included disruption of local life from noise and filth (Officers reply that they cannot consider this) and damage to local businesses (Officers reply that they cannot consider this).

    Who do these idiot Officers think they are? Who do they think that they represent?

    1. My Mate The Builder10 February 2016 at 10:35

      They know who they are and what they are for, mate. Brown envelopes.

  10. The Dame is right. What possible need can Mr Graham have of even more space.
    He claims he is being vilified by local people, yet seems not to understand his plan will disrupt the lives of neighbours and adversely impact upon Walton St business.
    Mr Graham should have the good grace to accept his scheme is unwanted and by pressing ahead he will further alienate the community.
    Of course, he may not care too much about relations with neighbours. Maybe, he is just looking to sell, once his ridiculous basement is complete.
    Remember that his original plan was for a underground ballroom so clearly there is a certain detachment from reality.
    Mr Graham, take a lesson from your compatriots, the Weston family. Why are they immensely popular? Maybe because they strive to fit in.......

  11. Disgusting Savills10 February 2016 at 11:40

    Savills are not friends of residents. Don't use them to sell your property. They care only for developers and deep pocketed crooks

    1. It gets worse . Savills are the appointed agent’s of Welcome Trust and as such collect the rent from business premises on behalf of the Welcome Trust . The very people whose business will be devastated if this scheme goes ahead
      Talk about a conflict of interest . Agree I won’t at any point be instructing Savills

  12. I was not at the meeting last night but I do not understand how this first scheme which the applicant made in order to beat the 26th April deadline for permitted development and is a pre cursor to the huge scheme he has been touting did not fail on the grounds that the excavation of the type required to do this work is outside of permitted development . My son goes to the local school more traffic risk with huge haulage vehicles , pollution and environmental damage

  13. Well that's seems encouraging.Could it be a blip of commonsense running through the pc or is this a one off.

  14. Retired Councillor10 February 2016 at 22:45

    Doesn't look like there is much opposition if there are only a few comments.
    Clearly, Mr Graham doesn't have much to worry about!
    Just one or two locals moaning...move on, nothing to see here!

    1. Just read the note from “Retired Councillor”. Rest assured most of the objectors, who are not retired do not have time to blog nor the inclination . The level of the opposition to the initial scheme and worse still “the full scheme” that Mr Graham wishes to implement is enormous . The facts speak for themselves rarely do you see Objectors instructing
      Barristers and planning specialists to defeat a permitted development application . Thanks for the advice we are moving on ....just not in the manner you suggest. I will circulate your comments to others however since speaking personally I found “retired Councillor” comments highly motivating .

    2. Retired Councillor sums up the attitude of too many of our councillors. They want a quiet life, perks, and out of sight and out of mind residents. These guys need a huge kick up the backside.

    3. Muppet is in a bad mood. There are a number of excellent Councillors serving residents of the Royal Borough. Cllr Wade, Cllr Borwick, Cllr Allison, Cllr Dent Coade, to name a few.

    4. I agree not for one minute do i believe "retired Councillor" is representative of Councillors . The 4 at the Planning Committee who refused the permitted development application on 1 Old Court House were clearly dedicated, committed professionals whose stature was such that they would never stoop, retired or otherwise to discribing voters commentating on a catastrophic scheme for the neighbourhood as "as one or two locals moaning"

  15. Retired Councillor10 February 2016 at 22:48

    I have seen over 180 when the Dame writes about TMO so 17 is nothing

  16. Walton Street Employee12 February 2016 at 13:04

    As an employee of a shop in Walton Street this puts at risk my job and many others in the Street we know only too well the downturn in business when the road is closed in part (like last year when there was a drainage issue) . Imagine the impact of 20 movements of haulage lorries a day in and out of the Street. How can the Council allow this ? I pass the property every day from what people say the person who owns it spends hardly any time at the property and this is the second time extensive works have been done at this property.
    Walton Street is a destination street if this goes ahead it will become boarded up shops or pop ups. We know from experience that shoppers will avoid if the roads are blocked. Everyone in the street and our customers from Ovington , Milner Street and Hasker Street are all up in arms. Hopefully they can find a way to prevent this.

  17. The Mad Hatter

    ‘But it must go somewhere,’ said Alice protesting again. ‘I am not a builder. But if all that stuff goes down a drain, it must go somewhere after. It doesn’t just disappear into space.’
    The Mad Hatter was getting increasingly agitated. He took off his glasses so he could fix one of his frightening stares at Alice. “That’s just a technical question and we don’t need to bother with that,” he said dismissively. But in a flash he remembered that there was an expert in the room, and he turned towards the sound of heavy breathing from the far end of the table as the dormouse was once again falling asleep.
    ‘Perhaps you can answer this,’ he glared at the dormouse who was about to nod off. ‘You are the expert aren’t you.’
    ‘I’m afraid I can’t answer such a difficult question,’ yawned the dormouse. ‘And in any case someone much cleverer than me wrote lots of pages to show how all that stuff disappears. I could not possibly understand it.’
    ‘But these pages have been signed by you. See here,’ said Alice stubbornly. ‘See - it says, signed by the dormouse.’
    ‘But I can’t be expected to understand everything that I write,’ concluded the dormouse who promptly went back to sleep.
    Alice was not about to give up.
    ‘The rules state that everything must be inside this line,’ she said, ‘and it’s not. You’re breaking the rules. See.’ She pointed to the illuminated plan shining from the projector. Everyone could see that she was right. Even the March Hare who was perched beside the Hatter began to look worried.
    ‘But the rule does not count here,’ argued the Hatter, ‘because some of the line is below ground. And a line is not a line if some of it is below ground.’
    The March Hare decided it was time for him to speak. He had had enough of all this stuff and nonsense. Even a question of law had been raised. If they started to argue about that, this could go on for a long time – and it was getting late.
    ‘Look, we may not like this.’ He said, even though he already knew that his friend the Hatter did like it, and like it very much. ‘But I am a man of much experience. And I have dealt with many things like this. The fact that this project is enormous, that it will cause massive disruption, that it will make life a daily hell for all the residents and businesses in the area…..none of that matters. What matters is that it has happened before, so that makes it right.’
    ‘Time to vote,’ announced the Hatter triumphantly. ‘Those in favour?’
    He raised one arm in anticipation of the others following suit – but none did.
    What a strange meeting thought Alice. I didn’t think anyone was actually listening to me, but I’m glad they were.

  18. Hurrah for common sense - it was an appalling application and hopefully that is the end of it.


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