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Thursday, 2 February 2017


How can residents protect themselves against mega rich developers?
This is a question asked by residents as they combine to fight unwanted developments.
The Odeon, Kensington High Street was one example of campaigners trying to battle the billionaire Ritblat family to save the cinema: Capco and Earls Court another.
The Ritblat's and others of their ilk, use their millions to bully residents into submission.
They employ top lawyers, PR's and planning consultants to manipulate the Planning Department.....and they usually win.

These developers pay vast fees to the Council for pre-planning 'advice' so it means they can build up a cozy relationship. All too often the planning officer thinks he's employed by the developer!
For the planning officer, there is always the possibility of being offered a job by one of the planning consultancies.

It's not a level playing field and residents fight with their hands tied behind their back.
So, how can the Council level out the playing field?
A simple solution. Allocate 50% of fees generated by pre-planning advice to campaigning's only fair.


  1. Great idea Dame . The whole system is rigged. All documents and conversation between the developer should be freely available on request - or an FOI . All too often residents compile robust and healthy campaigns only to be let down at the planning meetings . 50 per cent of fees generated by planning advice to campaigning groups seems fair.

    1. Cabinet Member Cllr Tim Ahern has stated clearly what all residents believe. "Planning needs to become more resident friendly". This is a task for the Leader, Cllr Paget-Brown. He needs to set the tone and change the behaviour in Hornton Street.

      If he is not up to the job, then he needs to step down and make way for a person who can deliver.

  2. This could degenerate into huge armies of lawyers and consultants fighting each other. The winners? Lawyers and consultants........

    Better to have a simple set of guidelines that everyone can understand. For example, "no development". Just Decoration, maintenance and upgrading. This is not a daft suggestion. It works well for UNESCO World Heritage sites and Heritage Buildings.

  3. As ever, the Dame raises a very pertinent question that needs to be addressed by the woefully inadequate council.

  4. Something really needs to be done. My home faced a serious threat from a relentless and dishonest developer. The planning department sided with the developer on every occasion, bending over backwards to find ways to help get their project through. We spent tens of thousands of pounds on lawyers and planning consultants to protect our home, which was not money we could afford to waste as we are a young family with school expenses. Surely there is some compassion amongst RBKC leadership and Councillors. Innocent people are really suffering. I suspect they don't care but hopefully your site can get across the message.

    1. You could send your kids to one of our many excellent State schools. That would free up some cash.

      Innocent people have been suffering from hellish 'redevelopments' for the last 10 years. You compassionately supported their protests against their homes being demolished by relentless and dishonest developers, of course.

  5. The reality was highlighted about 10 years ago when residents met RBKC's then acting executive director of planning. The residents asked for equal treatment over planning. The officer's shocked response was: "You mean you want a one-size-fits-all planning system?" The residents' response was: "Yes. It's called a level playing field!" and promptly left the room. Nothing has changed.

  6. In some public policy decisions, some countries impose a "social cost" used to make decisions. For example, the burden of a big basement is £-- per resident per year. If the cost is greater than a threshold amount, the developer pays a certain amount or the project is allowed to be terminated at the decision of Councillors. Just a thought.


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