send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


"How dare anyone accuse either the Dame, Bach or the Kensington Society of leaking the email. 
The email was sent to the Dame by a councillor....'no names; no pack drill' as the Dame's 4th hubby, the Indian Army Brigadier was wont to quote.
And, to put things into perspective, local government has a role in supplying data to the Valuations Office. 
The point also stands that Mr Holgate should have an idea as to the impact of increased business rates on the local economy.
Westminster has been strident in protesting about business rates: odd that our council has been so quiescent."
'A furious Dame'

Michael Bach is one of the RB's foremost experts on planning and related matters.
He wrote to our £300,000 a year(all in costs) Town Clerk, Mr. Holgate, about the economic impact of excessive business rates on the Royal Borough and impact on trading.
Mr Holgate either totally missed the point....or was just being ironic! Please read his letter....
For the CEO of the Royal Borough not to have understood the implications of the question is a bit of a surprise!

Dear Mr Holgate,

I am aware of how rateable values are set, but I very surprised by the tone of your response that the Council has not worked out what the likely consequences are for this borough and particularly for the main shopping streets, if only to be able to advise members of the local implications of the revaluation.

Should I take from your response that your officers have not made any analysis of the likely impact of businesses in this Borough? 

Michael Bach

From: Nicholas Holgate <>
Date: Monday, 27 February 2017 at 09:26
To: Michael Bach <>
Cc: Daniel Moylan <>, <>, Matthew Palmer <>, <>, Robert Freeman <>, <>, James Husband <>, <>, Amanda Frame <>, Anthony Walker <>, Henry Peterson <>, Sophia Lambert <>, Thomas Blomberg <>
Subject: RE: Before and after revaluation figures for shops in Kensington High Street

Dear Mr Bach,

Thank you for your e-mail below. As you doubtless know, rateable values are set by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency. The rateable value of any business rates property can be found here on the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) website:

The post code search seems to work best. The results will show the draft 2017 rateable value and the current (2010) rateable value.

If there are problems finding a property, the VOA can be contacted using these details:

Wingate House
93-107 Shaftsbury Avenue
London   W1D 5BU
Telephone: 03000 501 501
Fax: 03000 500 692


  1. Michael Bach is a much over rated scribbler and busy body. The Dame should be more economical with her praise.

    1. Anyone who has ever attended a Kensington Society meeting will have heard Bach drone on in his immensely boring way. The man is quite simply a bore.

  2. Michael Bach has huge expertise in all planning matters. For decades his work has been of immense benefit to our local communities. Like the Dame, Michael is a local hero deserving our respect and support.

    Due to the breadth and scale of his interests, it's to be expect that not everything he's ever done will meet everyone's approval. However the fact remains that Michael Bach and Amanda Frame have between them done more for us than a hundred other residents.

    1. Mr Holgate is a very precise public servant who understands clearly what he is mandated to do and what lies outside the scope of his authority. He very properly replied to Mr Bach that the subject of rate valuations is a central Government matter and is not the responsibility of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. This is Bach trying to take a cheap shot at a defenseless Civil Servant.

      Worse still, it is appalling for the Kensington Society to leak a private email from a senior Officer in Hornton Street to the Hornet. Bach has never understood politics and is playing kindergarten games. It is sad that the KS seems to have lost its way and is behaving like an Arab bazaar

    2. Its a political matter. Stop trying to trash Holgate.

    3. Some time ago the Chelsea Society lost its way and is now being rebuilt under the new Leadership of Dr James Thomson. It seems that the Kensington Society may be going the same way.

      They should stick to their knitting of the built environment and do something useful about the Odeon instead of straying into the area of business rates which has absolutely nothing to do with the KS constitution.

  3. Angry Resident1 March 2017 at 13:43

    Guy Oliver from Friends of the Kensington Odeon, has taken the lead trying to defend our heritage. The Kensington Society should stop taking cheap shots at dedicated and hard working Officers and come in behind residents like Guy Oliver to help preserve our way of life

  4. If the Kensington Society wants to make a difference to the rates scandal they should get Leader Paget-Brown on the radar and urge him to start a political protest and give a mandate to our dedicated, hard working and able MP, Victoria Borwick, to represent our case in Westminster. This is what Councillors and MPs are supposed to do. Leave Nicholas Holgate out of it - the bore Bach should stop trying to bully and stop leaking private emails.

    Impossible to understand why piggy is not taking a high profile on this one. There is simply no profile at all.

    Or have I missed something?

    1. Ha! That's a laugh, we've seen Borewick photographed doing everying but work!

  5. Surely nothing RBKC's Chief Exec writes to a resident is private. It's in the name. He may not vote, but he receives a large salary to represent the Council's position on all matters.

    Victoria Borwick's staff is currently seeking information on the likely effects of a rise in business rates. Cllr Paget Brown is oblivious to the issue, as he is to all issues.

    Whether individually or on behalf of the Kensington Society, Michael Bach is perfectly entitled to inform his fellow residents that RBKC's Chief Executive is uninterested in how a huge rise in business rates will affect local businesses and therefore neighbourhoods.

    1. Retired Mandarin1 March 2017 at 14:59

      A word of advice for Blueberry and Michael Bach. When a senior Civil Servant like Mr Holgate receives an email about a controversial matter from an Official of a representative body like the Kensington Society, he will pick up the phone and have a conversation to try and find some middle ground and map out a way forward.

      If the email is also copied to a bunch of well known trouble makers, and people who have no responsibility with the matter in question, then the senior Civil Servant will give a very formal and guarded written reply that outlines the facts. This is exactly what Mr Holgate did.

      Silly Michael Back copied his email to of a group aging Kensington Society sycophants and trouble makers (Moylan, Palmer, Faulks, Husband, Peterson, Lambert, Blomberg). In short, he was grandstanding and addressing his concern to the wrong person. Thoroughly stupid.

    2. Michael Bach is a busy body. Blueberry thinks that Mr Holgate's job is to "represent the Councils position on all matters". What is the Council's position on business rates?????

      There is no Council position on business rates. This has to come from the Leader and the Cabinet. They have been sitting on their hands and instead concentrating on creating non jobs for non people like Cllr Warrick.

      Hands off Holgate and wake up Blueberry. Are you by any chance the Councillor who leaked the Bach email?

  6. Person Familiar With The Situation1 March 2017 at 15:07

    Nicholas Holgate is greatly concerned about the business rates situation in the Royal Borough and has a better grasp and appreciation of the subject than most. He has, and continues to be, engaged in discussions about the matter.

    He also understands that the way to make progress is not to indulge in public shouting with junior Officers of the Kensington Society via the Hornet blog.

  7. Sounds as though it is time for the KS to put Bach out to grass. The usual stuff: "The Society thanks Michael Bach for his hard work and wishes him well in his retirement".

  8. With due respect to Retired Mandarin, Mr Bach may have assumed that the Council has an agreed position and policy on business rates. If he cannot ask the Chief Executive about the matter, who should he ask?

    In a democracy citizens are entitled to copy their correspondence to whoever they wish. The Chief Executive copied his response to a dozen others, largely councillors.

    It is unreasonable to describe any citizen as a troublemaker, well known or not. In a free society, one may question those responsible for local services. Doing so does not imply a loss of the questioner's civil rights. Those elected or employed to run local services must continue to treat all residents with respect. Sometimes elected members are known to ask questions.

    It follows that fellow residents should respect those asking awkward questions on their behalf; particularly in a closed shop like RBKC. It's a place where civil servants and elected members tend to forget they do not own Horton Street.

    1. Retired Mandarin1 March 2017 at 18:11

      The people to ask about policy are the Leader, Cabinet Members and Ward Councillors. They are (or should be) in touch with resident opinion and they should articulate this into policy. Officers help and enable the policy process. They are not the spokesmen or the champions. And when there is an agreed policy, they help to implement it. They are never on the public stage.

      Blueberry, you are truly up the creek. Together, you and Bach are a couple of time wasters and mischief makers

    2. Mandarin sounds like a mildewed satsuma

  9. All of this chatter is avoiding the point that the Kensington Society, assisted by the unfortunate, out of touch and boring Bach, has lost its way. Slowly becoming irrelevant and puffing.

  10. Agreed with Retired Mandarin. The Leader and his elected colleagues should be in touch with resident opinion on a matter such as the effects of the rise in business rates. As a leading local authority RBKC should have an agreed position. It should therefore be a simple matter for the Chief Executive to respond to an enquiry from a local resident.

    1. There are strict rules which forbid Civil Servants from talking to the press or public about policy matters. That is the way it is. Blueberry is up the creek.

      The only response that Civil Servants can make to inquiries is to state the facts. Which is what Mr Holgate did in reply to the the email from inarticulate and naive Bach

  11. Messrs Holgate and P-B are as useful as a pair of eunuchs in a fertility clinic....Holgate responding to anything - you MUST be joking, mate...

  12. Member of the Kensington Society1 March 2017 at 22:50

    It is not acceptable for a Committee Member of the Kensington Society to write an open letter to the Chief Executive of the Council and criticise him. This is not the policy of KS and it brings the Society into disrepute.

    The Chairman needs to insist on the immediate resignation of Michael Bach

    1. The Kensington Society has just paid for a FULL PAGE ADVERTISEMENT in Lucy Elliott's "The Kensington Magazine" to advertise itself. This is hubris and puff by the Committee to make themselves feel important. Members subscriptions should not be wasted in this way.

      The advertisement claims that "we exert a real influence on planning decisions in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea". This of course is balls. The Society is loathed by too many Officers and Councillors and it has lost every case that it has fought in Planning Committee in recent years. For example Lancer Square. Lately the Society has taken to supporting developers, for example Newcombe House, against the interests of residents and Members who support the Society with subscriptions.

      They have lost their way. It has become a hob nob organisation for the committee.

    2. Kensington Tory2 March 2017 at 10:07

      Cheap shot annonymous. "The Society is loathed by too many Offciers etc"

      The Dame and the Hornet are also loathed in equal measure. But the Dame and her hornets have had a massive and positive impact on the climate of opinion in Hornton Street.

  13. Then the Kensington Society would lose a great asset. No one is perfect, nor is any organisation. Just look at the shenanigans in Horton Street.

    Michael Bach is irreplaceable. He's served the residents of Kensington & Chelsea for decades. Planning experts receive hundreds of pounds an hour for their services. Who else will forgo such earnings? This is particularly true in the light of the lack of appreciation by a small minority of members.

    The issue is the enormous damage the forthcoming business rates hikes will cause to Kensington & Chelsea. The Kensington Society wished to ensure that RBKC supports local businesses. Scores of empty shops are very damaging. RBKC's dismissive response was unexpected.

    1. The Kensington Society needs to get off its backside and do something useful like supporting guy Oliver to save the Odeon.

    2. Bach is not irreplaceable. Any committee member who throws his toys around the nursery should be given the boot.

  14. Member of the Kensington Society....declare yourself!
    It's obvious you have a petty. personal vendetta against the KS and Mr Bach.
    Without Amanda Frame and Michael Bach our lives would be intolerable.
    The email to Holgate was by no measure an Open Letter. What's your gripe man?
    Put up, or shut up.

    1. Member of the Kensington Society2 March 2017 at 09:07

      Mr Bach is a Committee Member of the Kensington Society who wrote a critical email to the Chief Executive of the Town Hall, copied the email to the likes of Moylan, Palmer, Husband, Lambert and Blomberg, and then leaked the email to the Hornet. This has brought the Society into disrepute and Mr Bach should be made to resign.

  15. Fly On The Wall2 March 2017 at 10:01

    Michael Bach and Thomas Blomberg have teamed up to pursue a coup in the Kensington Society and oust Chairman Amanda Frame. The email to Mr Holgate was the first stage of the campaign.

  16. Mr Bach has an extremely strange Facebook page and photo. Before voting for him to be Cahairman of the Kensington Society, members should note his email address is bach@madasafish

    1. Leaders require style. And presence. Think about it.

  17. Surely the Kensington Society needs both Amanda Frame and Michael Bach. They have been a brilliant team for many years. It would be most unfortunate for residents if this was no longer the case.


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