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.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Stepping down at the next election, as Queen's Gate ward councillor, is the redoubtable Fiona Buxton.
That is a real tragedy. 
Buxton is highly regarded...not just for being a first class councillor, but as a good person too. 

Residents will miss her and the Dame(who has only ever said good things about Fiona) wishes her well.
But there is sad irony in the fact she will be replaced by the idiotic Matthew Palmer. 
Evidently the selection of Palmer was decided by the toss of a coin....highly appropriate for such a complete tosser.

Monday, 28 October 2013



The Dame is a great believer in Fair Play...... except when it comes to Pooter Cockell and Danny Boys Moylan. 
In the case of these two, 'any stick is good enough etc.....'

No one is more aware of the horrors of massive basement excavations than Tim Coleridge. 
And let the Dame remind cynics that it was Cllrs Coleridge and Borwick who stood shoulder to shoulder with residents in resisting Moylan's effort to destroy Sloane Square: as a result Coleridge was forced to endure the venom of this bully boy. 

So Coleridge has form for being 'resident friendly'

The Dame rakes over the past because there has been unfair and quite unjustified criticism of Coleridge in his efforts to control basement development. 

Coleridge has two major barriers to overcome:

1. There is no local legal framework to stop the likes of Cranbrook making misery of our lives and more importantly...

2. It is not a foregone conclusion that all residents would back a blanket ban on basements.

This point is worth making....if there were to be a referendum on a blanket basement ban, it might conceivably fail just because house owners would not wish to introduce a law potentially prejudicial to their own ability to maximise value. 

Instead of continually kicking Coleridge residents would be better served giving him ammunition to fight on our behalf.


If Cranbrook have their selfish, greedy way London will become a warren of interconnecting rat runs for ultra rich residents who gives not a stuff for their neighbours.




Sunday, 27 October 2013

Friday, 25 October 2013


The beautiful, purpose built and fully restored '30's police headquarters in Lucan Place has its future in eighteen month's time the lease is up for renewal.

At this point the Metropolitan  Police Authority will have a big decision....whether to take on another ninety nine year lease, at a greatly enhanced £2 million a year rent-or hand the building back to the freeholders, Cadogan.

Clearly, Cadogan, as commercial landlords, will wish to maximise rental/capital value by seeking to convert from commercial to residential, but the Council, having obtained exemptions,may be in the invidious position of not being able to grant consent to convert from office to residential.

For the Borough, it's important this significant police presence is maintained, so pressure will be upon the Mayor to put up the cash to help the Met retain its strategic presence.


Cllr Read, the developer's friend and known for his arrogant obnoxiousness has mysteriously resigned from the Planning Committee. 
This follows that of Cllr Mosley for the noblest of reasons. 
We know of the reason for the going of Mosley, but can't fathom the reason the resignation of Read....

Thursday, 24 October 2013


The Dame wrote recently on meetings held by Cllrs Buckmaster and Campion with Notting Hill property developers. 
She wants to make clear that though these two councillors acted unwisely, their motives were not dishonourable. For commentators to infer otherwise is grossly unfair to these two.
The Dame is a busy lady so cannot always oversee all comments: thus she hopes people will reflect before posting comments. Please ensure that comments are not unfair and unfounded.


Not a week goes by without reading of some horrific accident involving cyclists and our dangerously busy London streets. 
So what on an earth is the Council doing preening itself over the introduction of a scheme to put cyclists at even great risk? 
By allowing them to cycle the wrong way, down one way streets, on poorly lit roads, is plain crazy.
This mad idea was one of Danny Boys Moylan's and should have been immediately consigned to one of his ugly stainless steel rubbish bins.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


THE Sultan of Brunei has secretly spent £500m buying most of Queensway, the scruffy west London thoroughfare, with the ambition of creating an estate in the image of historic landowners such as Grosvenor.
Could the Sultan be considering introducing some of his stern measures against adulterers and thieves? Shoplifters beware!
What a state we are in when the decadent and hypocritical Brunei 'Royal' Family buy chunks of London...
So when we are not flogging off assets to the human rights abusing Chinese we turn to fascistic women and gay hating Islamists..



An Oasis of Charm Threatened

The Kensington Society held a recent meeting to discuss the proposed Lancer Square development. It's worth reading the reactions and comments expressed at the meeting. 
There is just until Friday to email ref PP/13/05341 - and in your own words and with your own observations, object to this wholly unnecessary development funded by Arab and Chinese money

Lancer Square Redevelopment 
1.     Old Court Place Access

A considerable amount of discussion took place concerning the main access route to the scheme which is to be via Old Court Place.   All the local residents who know the street extremely well felt the street was too narrow (to be further narrowed by the introduction of a pavement in front of the affordable residential units) to accommodate the proposed two way additional residential traffic for the 14 affordable houses and the 37 residential units and their attendant service support vehicles, the on-site underground car parking as well as the vehicles servicing the offices and the retail element.    The street is also currently often congested with large delivery lorries servicing the high street retail units.   Additionally the fire engines needed constant and uninterrupted access which it was felt would be jeopardised by the proposed two way system.   Currently there were seldom any cars travelling in the direction of the high street.   The problems of creating additional traffic entering Kensington Church Street (left turn only) and Kensington High Street were pointed out.    Whilst the architect said that ttp (the transport consultants) felt it would work and their report was on the website, the residents did not accept this.     It was pointed out that the traffic movement slide was not accurate eg it did not show there was a left turn only at the Kensington Church Street junction and it did not appear to show that cars leaving the car lift bay were entering the one way section and could not, it seems, in fact turn right.             

2.     Inner Central Road Pedestrian Safety

Residents felt the shared central road (pedestrians/cars/delivery/service vehicles) which runs through the centre of the development was unsafe especially for families with children (which represented a large proportion of users in the area ) particularly  as there was to be no pavement with only a change in surface paving to indicate the road.  They pointed out that currently the public spaces were safe and traffic free and family friendly which would no longer be the case.  

3.     Building on the Southern Piazza/Pedestrian Highway

Building on the southern piazza (the area opposite Café Rouge/Costas), deemed to be part of the highway was opposed as it presented good public sunlit space and the proposal did not provide a comparable alternative route.   The removal of the tree in this area was regretted as it was pointed out the on-site replacement trees would be height constrained given the inadequate soil depth.    
4.     Building on the York House Place Footway

The meeting felt very strongly that extending the building line to the north and as a result narrowing the first approximately 24m of public footway on York House Place was totally unacceptable as it was the main heavily used western pedestrian access route to Kensington Palace/Gardens and on a straight line from the pedestrian crossing.    The building line should not be advanced onto or indeed nearer any section of this pedestrian footway as any encroachment would feel oppressive particularly given the proposed substantial additional height on this elevation.     This was an opportunity to improve the footpath rather than narrow it.   

5.     Health Club and Office Access via York House Place Footway

It was felt that the York House pedestrian footway was inappropriate as the main entry point for the health club and as an access point for the offices which would open directly onto this footway.   
6.     Reduction of Public Space Area and the Inner Garden

The significant reduction of the public realm was strongly opposed. The current plaza is a rare example of a piazza style open space (781 m2) within RBKC and as such is used frequently by both residents and visitors who use the cafes and restaurants that line this space. The proposals will remove this space and replace it with a formal garden (417 m2) which is of different character and use and does not facilitate community interaction as the current space does.  It was noted that the current plans do not contain dedicated amenity space for 0-5 year old play to the compliant m2 as set out by the London Housing Guide. The garden does not also comply with SBD regulations for child play and as such it will have railing or similar at 2.2M high around its perimeter. It was also noted that the current TPO’d trees that are to be removed as part of these proposals are to be located in this space. Due to the small garden being enclosed between two large buildings the trees will not be able to achieve the same size as those being removed. A small garden surrounded by railing is not an adequate replacement for a large and permeable plaza and community space.

8.     Increase in Building Height and Mass

The residents were unhappy with the additional height and the massing effect of the   proposed building line and the oppressive effect on the surroundings.  On the west façade this had been taken to almost the highest point of the pinnacle.  The existing development was lower to the north and the south (and the southern piazza was completely open) which reduced the impact of the height and massing and allowed more sunlight into the centre and rear buildings but this would not be the case with the straight lines of the scheme which was minimally set back at the north and south facades.

9.     Subterranean Developments

The meeting was unhappy that the developers were proposing to create two subterranean levels – at present only the retail element had a basement.   
It was not felt that comparable office space (in terms of square footage) was being provided as such a large proportion was in the basement lit by a series of light-wells (the light pollution effect on the light wells facing 3a Palace Green was pointed out).    

10.  Loss of Retail Space 
The material loss of genuine retail space (particularly the café amenities) was also regretted.   It was not correct to include (as the slide had shown) the gym area within the retail calculations as, unlike a retail shop, it would not be freely open to the public.


Buffy Buckmaster
Certain councillors love to have meetings with big time property developers. 
It gives them a warm glow to think some stone hearted developer actually takes them seriously. 
And... of course, our councillors never give the impression that they can make things happen....just obliquely intimate that they are important personages who should be listened to. 
Chief amongst those who liked to 'engage' in this way was Pooter Cockell. 
How thrilled he was to sail Cityward in the Mayoral Bentley pretending to be a big hitter.
Another was Danny 'Boys'Moylan, also ready to shoot his mouth off about 'what I want for my Borough'.

Now, it seems two of our more mature councillors, Buckmaster and Campion, have decided that they need to flaunt their importance, as seen in this revealing FOI response. 
Doubtless, the purpose of their trip was innocent enough, but by having no senior officer present it is not possible to do more than surmise.

Nicholas Holgate is a former senior civil servant and he no doubt wishes to apply the Civil Service rules. 
These rules do not permit elected members to attend sensitive meetings without a senior officer being present.
It's a good rule and one the leader needs to implement.....without delay.

Dear Mr. xxxxxxxxx
Only Councillors Buckmaster and Campion reported meeting with developers outside the meetings listed in my previous email:
Councillor Buckmaster provided the following information:
Both Cllr Campion and I met the Pears Group on Nov 21 2011 and Development Securities on Nov 30 2011.  In both cases as these two Groups had bought the property portfolio of Land Securities in Notting Hill Gate we, as ward councillors on either side of NHG,  asked them what their plans were as we wanted to know if they wished to change the nature of NHG. Both companies said that they were unable to say anything as they had not yet prepared any plans themselves and were considering their options.
We have subsequently met Development Securities and Brockton Capital, the two partners with  property to the South of NHG, on three occasions 7/9/12, 25/6/13 and 2/8/13.  On each occasion they updated us on their plans and their ongoing discussions with Town Hall officers. At no time did either I or Cllr Campion offer to speak to Officers on their behalf and we made it clear to the developers that their discussions had to be with officers and not us.
We have not met the Pears Group since the original meeting.
Councillor Campion provided the following:
21st November 2011 - The Pears Group
30th November 2011 - Development Securities
7th September 2012 - Development Securities
25th June 2013 - Development Securities
2nd August 2013 - Development Securities
The meeting with the Pears Group was after they had acquired the land holdings of Land Securities and we wished to find out what their intentions were likely to be about refurbishment/redevelopment in Notting Hill Gate. That was the only specific meeting that we have had with the Pears Group. We came away with the understanding that they did not envisage any major redevelopment because of some of the long lease involved but that they would try to get their tenants of commercial properties to improve the appearance of their premises.
In relation the Development Securities,  working with Grantham and Brockton Capital,  they wished to advise us their proposals for the development of the Newcombe House and associated Kensington Church Street sites. I made it very clear at all meetings, and they accepted this, that I could not comment but was happy to listen to what they had to say and view their drawings. At this stage no planning application has yet been submitted and is unlikely to be submitted until later in the year after the SPD has been produced.  In particular they asked which other organisations in the area they ought to consult to seek the views of local residents; as far as I recollect we indicated that they might wish formally to contact The Pembridge Association, The Ladbroke Association, The Norland Conservation Society, the Kensington Society and the Notting Hill Gate Improvements Group.
Yours sincerely




What to do about Cllr Warrick? 
From every direction the Dame hears of the dislike of this boring and graceless little solicitor....not just from his colleagues and residents, but officers too.

The Dame's mentor on the internal workings at Hornton St has these wise words....

WorkedatRBKC22 October 2013 11:36
Mike French and Phelps might have appeared to be as thick as thieves but French was a man of integrity, he was saddled with someone he really didn't like but he was wiser than to show it. I'm sure he rubbed his hands when Phelps was ousted.

As for Warrwick, I think he's second only to Moylan in terms of dislike by officers. 

He's ignorant and thinks the best thing he can do to cover that over is to be confrontational and arrogant. 
He certainly succeeds on both those scores which only serves to demonstrate his ignorance completely. 
When talking to him I always felt I would rather be scaping him off my shoe back in to the gutter than having to speak with him, or rather be talked at. 
This is demonstrated all the more when you have many members who are an absolute pleasure to deal with, they listen, things are discussed and sensible conclusions reached which are often not what either party thought of beforehand. That is how it should be of course but there is the small band of Moylans and Warrwicks and a few more who really don't know the depth of their own ignorance.

Sunday, 20 October 2013



The Dame has been given, to use the frightful Ludo's favourite expression, a 'heads up'.

H&F like to boast of the careful husbanding of taxpayers' money. However, from this anonymous tip off, it seems not to be the case.
The Chairman of the Licensing Committee has some questions to how much is owed!

                                                                "The Dame should look into the money owed to the H&F Licensing Department – Tens of thousand of the Royal Borough the amount is very small but poor Mr Crowley of RBKC (Nationally respected for his Licensing knowledge) has been handed this poison chalice in his new Bi-Borough role. He needs the Dame’s help"

Friday, 18 October 2013


The burning question...who leaked Cllr Mosley's resignation to Labour?


The Dame's revolutionary friend, Monsieur Bob Robespierre passed her Cllr Atkinson's prescient speech. 

The Dame senses a revolution brewing and demands the head of the useless Warrick...a man who treats those he represents with unveiled contempt.....

Cllr Robert Atkinson’s planning speech 16 Oct 2013
Agenda item : 7ii para 1 and appendix A
Mr Mayor ( MM ) If I were as unpopular and had taken as much stick from residents and the media as our Planning Department and its Political Masters have done recently I would hesitate to be spending  precious time tonight remodelling aspects of our Constitution as it applies to the structure of  the Planning Committee.   
I will forebear the obvious cliché of deckchairs and the titanic and I am pleased to see the phrases “perception of the committee”  “and fairness and opportunities to address the committee in person” quoted in the paper. But MM whatever this paragraph may say, the reality is the exact opposite of these words. 

We are in fact in the Orwellian world of Kensington Planning proposing to be more unfair to residents and to reduce their opportunities to speak to us.

MM in sitting on the Planning Committee, such is the growing tide of anger of residents at our smug impotence that there are times when I fear for our safety. And if things continue as they are I fear that next year we will have to amend our procedures again to appoint bouncers to protect councillors and officers alike from the fury of residents

MM there is no one more aware than I of the limited powers that this council has in determining planning applications but MM the very least that we can do is to treat our residents with respect and to hear their objections in full.

Crucially the recent innovation of requiring speakers to confine their remarks to 3 minutes is neither fair, respectful nor workable.

MM we owe it to our residents to allow them time to make their case and if this requires the Council to have more frequent Planning Meetings then I cannot be the only planning member willing to hold more frequent meetings?

MM the point at which my disquiet with our new restrictions has come to a head was to have sight of an e mail to a ward councillor confirming to him that he would be allowed to address the planning meeting but that his contribution would have to come out of the total of three minutes that is to be allocated to objectors. This on a planning application to which more than 700 people have objected!

MM frankly I do not believe that the majority of councillors are aware that their right to speak to the planning committee on behalf of their residents is in future to be limited by an officer with a stop watch.

Of course it goes without saying that representations to committee need to be balanced and proposers and objectors need to have equal time. But when residents feel strongly about a planning matter they and their Councillors have a right to be heard in full. And it is surely a red rag to a bull when residents hear the Chair assuring Committee Members that he has been assured by officers that all will be well and that we should not concern ourselves about the disputed detail of a planning case.

MM this Council needs to think again about how we treat our residents when they exercise their democratic right to make representations in Planning Committee. We may be restrained in our decisions by planning law and by the ever increasing dictates of central government , But the way in which we in RBKC conduct our Planning Meetings is within our gift and , to  borrow a current  phrase from Ed Miliband,  “ Our residents deserve better “

MM at the beginning of our proceedings tonight during prayers some of us heard the call of the prophet Micah “to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God “    
MM it is probably too much to ask for tender love in the proceedings of our Planning committee but we can certainly walk a little more humbly and be seen to act justly when we meet in Council with our residents.