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Thursday, 21 June 2018



Last night a petition organised by Jane Solomon was presented to the Council. The petition demanded Sutton Estate be placed within the Chelsea Conservation Area giving some protection from the rapacity of greedy Clarion Housing where senior directors earn up to £500,000 per year.

For the first time ever the Council sided with residents and agreed unanimously to include Sutton Estate with the Conservation area. 
Well done, Councillors!
This is not the end of the war to protect this vital piece of social housing but it's an important battle won.

The motion was put forward by Cllrs Atkinson and Henderson.
Below are extracts from the speech made by resident, Andrew Barshall.

"The proposed development would create a gated community of luxury flats, with their own private gardens, while the number of social housing units would be significantly reduced. All sheltered housing would be lost, and almost all the parking spaces allocated to the luxury flats. A new public road would cut directly through the estate, splitting it in two, and dangerous for children.

These building works are predicted to take at least 8 years. That’s 8 years of noise pollution, blocked roads and disruption for your constituents.

The loss of usable housing at the estate over the last few years is a disgrace with over 200 housing units deliberately being left empty by Clarion, while RBKC is desperately short of social housing.

The deliberate voiding and withdrawal of services by Clarion of the sheltered housing is an obscenity that has remained unchallenged by the Council.

 And now, Clarion, a housing charity, has threatened to privatise the entire estate unless they get their way. A loss of 461 social housing units. Clarion has already gone ahead and let out 3 flats privately. This is at the same time as leaving empty around 50 flats in perfectly good condition.

When Affinity Sutton, now Clarion, discussed with a former Leader of the Council how they wanted to demolish the estate, not once, did he or any of his Cabinet think it worthwhile to talk to ordinary residents of the estate, or local people. To many of us this looked like at best arrogance, at worst collusion in the social cleansing of Chelsea.

Clarion are now the biggest housing association in the country and it likes to wield its power. They have persuaded the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to grant them £184 million, including a £16.2 million subsidy for the redevelopment of the Sutton Estate if their appeal is successful. It appears that he is more interested in hitting his targets than serving his constituents.

Inclusion of the estate in the Chelsea Conservation Area would be an essential tool for the Council as it negotiates with Clarion, an organisation determined to pull 10s of millions from Chelsea.

The leader of the council has said that you want to change the way you listen and respond to residents. By the inclusion of these historically important buildings in the conservation area, you could demonstrate your commitment to change, and your willingness to hear, and listen, to your constituents."


  1. This is the second time in recent years that an organised, strident, resident group has forced itself to be heard in Hornton Street. Lets see if it makes a difference or if the Councillors and Planners just wear out residents by continuing to talk and talk and talk and listen to petition, after petition, after petition.

    The other example is the skyscraper block (Newcombe House) proposed for Nottinghill Gate. There have been years of opposition and some notable support from Hornton Street. But the matter is still not closed, the campaign not won. My judgement is that the tower will go ahead. Of course.......

    1. Campden Resident21 June 2018 at 10:24

      David White, Chairman of the Campden Hill Residents Association, has been fighting the Council and Holland Park School for six years to honour the commitment that local residents could use the school swimming pool. This was a condition precedent of the Planning Permission to knock down the old school and build a new school.

      Are the Planning Department and the Headmaster prepared to honour a legal and moral commitment? Enshrined in law. Hell, no.

      Residents are the lowest form of life.......

    2. Why does'nt dizzy crack the whip? Some low hanging fruit here. The silly cow could get some brownie points.

    3. 10:26: Why should she? Of no advantage to the cow, as you say

  2. The middle classes are learning. The likes of Jane Solomon are learning (painfully) how to take on the Council. They must store up this valuable experience and learning and deploy it constantly against the public service organisations that provide anything except public service.

    Jane Solomon's learning (and all the other activists) is a hugely valuable community asset.

  3. 200 housing units left empty in Sutton Estate while the developer spivs fight the community.

    200 houses urgently needed to rehouse Grenfell families.

    £200million of Council Tax spent to buy homes (some of them luxury homes) for Grenfell families.

    Where is the common sense? Why are residents paying huge salaries and allowances to Councillors and Officers who could not organise a piss up in a brewery?

    1. Common sense? Wake up, dear.. this attribute is non-existent in local government. In respect of buying 'luxury homes: simple: there is nothing else on the market.

    2. Actually, over £350 million spent on new homes - average price c. £750,000 / home

    3. £750K seems really high for North Ken area.
      I see 1Bed for 500K. 5-floor house for £3M.

  4. The motion was proposed by Councillor Ian Henderson and seconded by councillor Robert Atkinson. (Donaldson left the Council over four years ago)

    1. The Dame is in the senile stage of her journey. Please make allowances

    2. Re anon 14:3 - guess you have already passed that stage...

  5. Would this be the question of the Council feigning TO LISTED because they HAVE to, rather than WANTING to.. A big difference

  6. The new circus of the 21st Century is residents taking a tilt at the Town Hall

  7. The Board of Clarion do not give a stuff for the local community. Why should they? They are paid to make money out of their building stock. That's it.

    The local community therefore needs to get rough and make the lives of Officers and Councillors in Hornton Street uncomfortable - so that these paid servants start to do what the are paid to do.

  8. Marcia Campbell
    Solicitor Admitted as a solicitor 01/10/12

    The Clarion in house legal team as listed on The Law Society website:

    Employee at:
    Clarion Housing Group Limited
    Level 6, 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2DA, England
    Andrea Eloise Williams
    Solicitor Admitted as a solicitor 01/10/03

    In-house Solicitor at:
    Clarion Housing Group Limited
    Level 6, 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2DA, England
    Sally Emma Knowles Wilson
    Solicitor Admitted as a solicitor 15/10/92

    In-house Solicitor at:
    Clarion Housing Group Limited
    Level 6, 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2DA, England


    Chairman of housing association behind 'substandard' development resigns

    Sir Robin Young’s decision to stand down from Clarion Housing Group in April comes after reports into residents’ ‘living hell’ at Orchard Village estate

    Mon 27 Feb 2017

    The Orchard Village housing estate
    Orchard Village. The ‘flagship’ estate, built by Clarion Housing Group, has been beset by problems.
    The chairman of the housing association at the heart of a scandal focused on a newly-built East London residential development has announced that he is standing down.

    Sir Robin Young, a former high-ranking civil servant during Tony Blair’s time as prime minister, was appointed chair of the newly-created Clarion Housing Group when it was formed in December last year but will now depart in April.

    The news that he is leaving his role comes three weeks after the Guardian reported on Orchard Village, a so-called “flagship” estate in the London borough of Havering whose residents describe it as a “living hell”, complaining of an array of problems, from damp and mould to allegedly dangerous levels of toxic gas.

    Orchard Village was built at a cost of around £80m, just over £30m of which was public money. A residents’ campaign has resulted in a pledge from Clarion to buy back houses owned by freeholders. Compensation offered to Clarion’s tenants has so far amounted to £100 per household.

    Leaking sewage and rotten floorboards: life on a ‘flagship’ housing estate
    Young had previously served as the chairman of Circle Housing, the housing association that owned and ran Orchard Village, prior to its merger with the Affinity Sutton housing group to create Clarion, the UK’s biggest housing association.

  10. CONTINUED..../....

    The new organisation is in charge of some 125,000 homes across England. The latest move comes after the departure from Clarion of its deputy chief executive, who was also a former senior figure at Circle.

    In an official statement, Young said: “I have very much enjoyed my time in social housing and after over eight years as chairman, it’s time to stand down.” Clarion refused to comment on whether his departure was linked to recent official criticisms of Circle’s legacy and the issues facing the Clarion group, or the Orchard Village scandal.

    The issues that face the Clarion group also include a range of problems in the borough of Tower Hamlets. In October 2016, the area’s MP, Labour’s Rushanara Ali, said that residents there had experienced leaks, faulty heating and hot water systems and damaged walls and ceilings that had been left unrepaired. She warned of a “trend towards bigger, more remote and less accountable housing associations with multi-million pound turnovers and substantial assets and reserves behaving like companies that are not serving their communities”.

    In response to Young’s departure, Ali told the Guardian: “He was the chair of Circle, and Circle has been shambolic, and treated hundreds of people in my constituency as if their problems don’t matter. Frankly, he should have resigned a long time ago.”

    In December last year, the official housing regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency, announced that Circle had “breached the regulator’s home standard” and “risked serious harm to its tenants”. These findings led the agency to issue the new Clarion group with a warning about the potential of “serious detriment” to its residents.

    In another development, the Guardian has learned that the HCA has considered new complaints about Clarion’s response to problems experienced by vulnerable and disabled tenants at Orchard Village, including mould, leaks and properties inundated with sewage, but decided not to act. In official correspondence, the agency said it acknowledged that issues such would cause “distress, worry and frustration” but that “responsibility for addressing the problems with the Orchard Village development … now rests with Clarion.”

    Clarion previously said that its “dedicated project team has already made significant progress in tacking the build defects at Orchard Village”, and that during that time, it has ensured that “residents receive a swift response and action [sic] to any defect or general repair issues as it was clear that has not always been the case previously”.

    When it comes to allegations of health-threatening levels of toxic gases, Clarion says that it is “taking residents’ concerns extremely seriously”. It says it has now instructed “ground investigation specialists to undertake rigorous scientific tests”.

  11. Where is Dame? Is she ill or bought and silenced?


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