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, 29 October 2014


Good Chap
The Dame has been twice saddened...
once upon hearing that the honest and likeable Cllr David Cameron has been unwell and then,whilst he was unwell, that a nasty little person had kicked him off the Planning Applications Committee.

Many residents have been in touch with The Dame to express disgust that this supremely well qualified architect had been cast aside in this brutal way.
The culprit? 
None other than Cllr 'Sort of Lawyer' Paul Warrick.

This letter to the Dame sums up resident reaction rather well.

Dear Dame ,

May I draw your attention to yet another dastardly deed recently perpetrated ... by whom exactly ?

Many residents are very concerned that Cllr David Campion has been taken off the planning committee, 
where he had been doing excellent work as "the voice of reason", and  much admired by residents, 
especially where they have attended meetings of the Planning Committees on which he sat.
Somehow someone finagled the removal of the good councillor , while he was recovering from illness .
I think you would agree : that's just not cricket ! And who is behind it ???

Could you possibly consult your many sources , and find out which barsteward was behind this back-stabbing
exercise ? The public would dearly love to know !

Regards ,



There is a rising crescendo of voices pulling apart Ed Ball's property tax proposals which target income poor residents of Central London.
Interestingly, Mayor Johnson has a different TAKE on how the tax could impact upon the Borough.

Labour Group leader Emma Dent-Coad adds her voice to those concerned about the impact of the tax on the elderly and those on small incomes. It's in today's Times.

Click to enlarge
There are better ways of ensuring that the very rich pay their fair share......

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Someone please tell Malc Rifkind to step down. 
The man is really quite useless. 

Unlike his neighbour, Greg Hands, Malc refuses to hold surgeries. Instead he demands we all traipse down to the Commons to see him.
Most of Malc's time is spent pontificating, with little impact, on international issues. 
Could this be connected to his need to maintain and develop his portfolio of high earning extra mural business interests? After all, client companies need to feel he still remains a big hitter in foreign affairs.
But what a shame he does not apply the same commitment to local issues and local residents. And there is still no sign of the blog he promised the Dame he was working on!

On the Mansion Tax and basements-issues of extreme importance to constituents Malc has nothing to say.

His most recent foray into Middle Eastern politics met with derision.
He suggested we needed to cosy up to the vile Rouhani, the medieval savage who runs that pariah state, Iran (as an aside, Iran's most proactive supporter is Austria-a country that has never managed to shake off its Nazi heritage)

Since coming to power Rouhani has allowed the execution, by strangulation or stoning, of 967 victims...and he still wants to evaporate Israel......
Considering Rifkind is Jewish it's quite extraordinary he would wish us to buddy up to these mad anti-semites.

And today Malc has a go at the visiting Qatari leader. 
In a bullish tone Malc tells him he must desist from 'running with the hare and hunting with the hounds'. 
As we are now practically owned by this horrid little dictatorship The Dame can't see Dictator Al Thani taking Malc's advice very seriously.

Malc, leave foreign affairs to the very capable Phillip Hammond: follow the advice of Voltaire and 'cultivate your own garden'

Friday, 24 October 2014


An excellent letter from Nick Paget-Brown.
Another reader wondered why the Dame had not give equal prominence to the Cllr Borwick's well received article in Conservative Home.
She accepts the criticism and the link to the Con Home piece is HERE

Dear Mr Balls,

Since your mansion tax speech at the Labour Party Conference last month, a number of Kensington and Chelsea residents have been in touch with me to express a very great deal of fear and worry about your proposals.

Not one of them is remotely like the “billionaire overseas buyer in a £140m penthouse” that you mentioned in your speech.  The people who have been writing  to and emailing me are just ordinary people who have paid rather a lot of tax already.  Many of them are now retired and on fixed incomes.

Let me be plain, your mansion tax will destroy their well-earned retirements.  Some of them will be forced to move.  You promise in your speech that you will “put in place protections for those who are asset rich but cash poor” but it seems fairly plain already what you mean by that: a charge on their property.  So, not content with taking 40 per cent of their estates when they die, it seems you now plan swingeing additional death duties on a small group of elderly people who have been long-time dwellers in central London.  It is these people who will end up paying your mansion tax, , and in Kensington and Chelsea there are thousands of them, indeed records show that we have more than 7,000 high band homes that have been in the same ownership since council tax records began in 1999.

Your mansion tax payers will be people like Thomas, a retired university lecturer.  He and his wife moved into the borough in 1982. They moved home once in 1994 to a slightly larger house on the same street in Chelsea when their daughter was born. Their home is now worth 82 times their pensions. They simply cannot afford to pay your retirement tax, which is what they call it. 

They will be people like John who worked in the charity sector and moved into the borough in 1975 buying a house just off Kensington High Street where he has lived  with his family ever since. Now retired, he and his wife Helen cannot afford the mansion tax either. 

They are people like Dorothy who was born in this borough and moved briefly during the war and again while her children were young is ‘daunted’ at the prospect of having to start again after 33 years as she is concerned that she will not be able to pay a mansion tax. 

They are also people like Anthony, a retired architect who has lived in the same mansion flat since 1985.  He was looking forward to retirement but is now worrying about how he can possibly pay the tax. 

They are people like Robert and Betty, 89 and 87 respectively.  Robert was an engineer in his time.  They moved to the borough in 1971 and shouldn’t have to be worrying about the tax at their age.

Also fearful is David, a retired accountant who has lived here since 1971 and he is aware of many elderly neighbours who are also in a state of constant anxiety.

And finally (for the purposes of this letter only because I have other case studies I could share) is 62-year-old John.  He moved here in the 1980s.  He isn’t rich, in fact he was made redundant a few years back, but he is still just about comfortable.  He won’t be though if your mansion tax is imposed.  John is a public-spirited sort of person and chairs his local residents’ association.  He tells me that many of his neighbours, some of whom have been resident far longer than him, are getting very anxious as well.

In short, you should stop pretending your tax is aimed at oligarchs, international bankers and the like.  You know perfectly well that mansion tax payers will in the main be older people living in homes they may well have bought many years ago out of taxed income.  Many will simply not be able to afford the tax and will be forced to move, making way no doubt for some real billionaires.  Their alternative will be a painful one: to stay put and watch their homes become an additional liability to their children.

There is another way Mr Balls:  you could say that it was never your intention to drive the elderly from their homes and instead rethink this vindictive proposal.  

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Nick Paget-Brown
Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea


Are there fissures developing in the Tri-Borough 'project'?

It seems that the Labour Group at H&F have decided to appoint their own man/woman and dispense with the well liked Nicholas Holgate.

However, it's time Mr Holgate raised his game and started to throw his weight around....the useless Planning Dept would be a start.....


Basement project killed
Mr Bore needs to seek the advice of Camden Council.

This report in the EVENING STANDARD shows that greedy exploiters of planning loopholes can be stopped in their tracks.

Well done Camden councillors.

Thursday, 23 October 2014


Has the tide is turned in favour of residents?

In the last couple of weeks members of the Planning Applications Committee have turned down a number of basement applications-to the joy of residents.

CHelsea Cinema-Doomed!

And a few days ago Cadogan's application to redevelop the Chelsea Cinema and adjoining Trafalgar House pub was kicked into touch.

No wonder residents were in a self congratulatory mood.

Sadly, the The Dame thinks that residents have been counting their chickens. 

None of these decisions are any form of reliable indicator of what the future might hold.

Councillors have made a show of standing up to Mr Bore and team, but the truth is this....'yes, there will be a temporary moratorium on big basements but, in the end, a council aligned to the interests of 'big money' developers will throw a few scraps to residents and carry on as before.'

As one planning expert and senior member of a highly regarded local resident association said, "our victory over Cadogan was Pyrrhic: they will come back and win on appeal"

No wonder Mr Bore could afford to be so patronising and condescending at the meeting!

If residents really want change they need to get some muscle and that means putting up their own candidates.... if unhappy with their politically sponsored councillor.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


From the Kensington Society


Basements on hold until the end of the year

The Council announced today, 17thOctober, that it will not be determining applications for development proposals which include subterranean development, and such proposals will not be reported to the Planning Applications Committee, unless there are site specific material considerations which make this appropriate or they comply with the current Core Strategythe existing SPD and the emerging policy.

This is big news following over a year of consultations on a new basement policy.

Initially the residents were very excited that there would be tighter controls over basement construction. However, the planning department position remained that until approved it would not take into consideration the emerging policy.  Following two consultations the Council revised the policy which was sent to the Planning Inspectorate in April and which went to the Examination in Public held last month. Meanwhile the basement contractors mounted a strong campaign to persuade people to apply for deep basements over the proposed 50% of the garden restriction.  Both the public and the Councillors on the Planning Applications Committee were frustrated to find that the draft policy would not be considered as an reason for refusal and the PAC Councillors were advised that the applications could not be refuse.  The result was the approval of a series of large double basements. 

As the draft policy has now gone through successive stages of the approval process, it should have been given more weight, although the degree of objection and any uncertainty about the likely outcome must also be a consideration. Having nearly reached the end of the process – we are expecting the Inspector’s report on the Examination by late December – the Council has now proposed to hold off making any decisions on basement applications until they are clear what the future policy will be. This should ensure that there is some consistency in the decisions made on cases to be decided in the next few months and that no one would have grounds for complaint.

In other words, if the new policy is accepted basements will be limited to 50% of the garden, to one level and not under listed buildings.  However, if the policy is not accepted all the applications which are held in abeyance will be determined in line with the revised policy whatever that is.

So it could be good news, but watch this space!

17 October 2014


The Sunday papers will bulge with stories about how Qatar, not just turns a blind eye to its citizens who fund ISIL, but actively encourages them to support this murderous group who torture and hack the heads off our compatriots.

Yet the buffoon Johnson, on his recent trip to Qatar, had this to say about the duplicity of Qatar's ruling class.

"The Qataris are wearing M&S underwear beneath their kanduras. They are eating in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. They are driving Land Rovers and phoning with Vodafone – and last year the UK exported goods worth a record £1.3 billion to Qatar alone; not bad for a place with only 1.8 million people. 
It was a joy to hear the natives speak spontaneously of their affection for Britain. I lost count of the number of times I was told: “London is my second home.”

Johnson, doesn't just have his head up the Qatari bottom: he has an entire Shard up there. 

Friday, 17 October 2014


A resident upbraids the Dame....

Dear Dame

I am fortunate enough to be a resident in Cllr Borwick's ward.
I stress fortunate because Cllr Borwick is tireless in her efforts on our behalf. 
How she combines her various heavy responsibilities so effectively is a mystery to us all.

Anyway, I would have thought the Hornet would have immediately pointed out the fact that Boris's Statutory Deputy Mayor has been named by the Evening Standard as one of London's 1,000 people of influence.

Well done, Cllr Borwick. 
It's well deserved and one hopes that your skills and experience will be used at a more localised level.

Kind regards

Paul W******

Thursday, 16 October 2014


A Memorial service for Fiona Buxton will be held at 2.00pm on Friday, 21st November at Christ Church Kensington, Victoria Road, W8 5RQ

At tonight's Council meeting there was much sadness and emotion. 
For once political opponents came together to praise and remember Fiona Buxton.
Fiona represented all that is good in British public service and it must have been a great comfort for her family to have heard the lavish and heart felt tributes paid to her.

Cllr Moylan, Fiona's fellow ward councillor, opened the evening. 
He spoke of Fiona's courage as she contemplated her early death. 
He spoke of what she had given to the community and how much more she had to give.
He told of how Fiona's children were a testament to her excellence as a mother and how he never wanted to challenge them on their specialised knowledge of dinosaurs-a subject they had great knowledge of!
He talked of how she really cared for all those in the community she was elected to serve:especially, the vulnerable. 
He ended by saying how the passage of time would not diminish people's fond memory of her.

Cllr Joanna Gardner –  spoke of Fiona's belief in the importance of getting women into front line of politics and helping others to succeed. 
She talked about how Fiona cared about the people around her and her big heartedness. 
She was an excellent Cabinet member who took on housing, health care, adult social services. 
She was a familiar sight bicycling around the Borough and always accessible; always a friend. 
Cllr Gardner ended by saying Fiona had such a love of life and so much to give, a bright light dimmed much too early.

Cllr David Lindsay – spoke of Fiona’s friendship, generosity of spirit and skill at getting the best out of everyone and every situation. 
He said she could be irreverent, fun, mischievous, with a great sense of humour.  
A community representative had told him she was the most value driven politician he had ever met; conscientious and doing what was best for each individual.  
He read a moving poem which he felt summed up Fiona's life....
“You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.

Cllr Thompson 

Gave thanks for Fiona's life and how he knew her as her vicar.  
He said he chimed with her....her liveliness and practical approach to life. 

Cllr Mary Weale who succeeded Fiona on Adult Social Care described how she tackled the difficult tasks and challenges and was not afraid to make a difference,  
She had opened Piper House, a home for some of our younger vulnerable people whilst ill, but still found time to talk to all the families and how her life was an example to others.

Cllr Tim Coleridge  spoke about how Fiona would not only be missed as a fellow councillor, but also by the community. 
He  talked of how she had persuaded him to help turn Focus K&C into the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation – she had taken it upon herself to work with people who were not Conservatives but wanted to make a difference in the community. 
Thanks to Fiona she got this all together and building a very successful charity to enable local people to support local charities.  
She bullied him when he was Mayor to start the project off and now, a few years on,  over £2m had been raised.
He ended by saying had it not been for Fiona we would never have got a proper community foundation.

Cllr Robert Freeman -
I first met Fiona shortly after she and Edward moved into my ward, it must have been some 18 years ago.  I remember being struck above all by her sense of humour.  She was genuinely funny and incisive and she had what many people have called a wicked sense of humour.  Wicked possibly but also self-deprecating and never unkind.   She was bright in every sense of the word, intelligent, thoughtful, good company and full of vitality.
When she became a councillor social care was a ‘natural’ for her.  It was not just her considerable ability as a manager, but her energy, vitality and friendliness.  She was kind, truly caring, always happy to listen and determined that people for whom she was responsible should lead full and purposeful lives.      
Colleagues well beyond this borough had been certain a national role lay ahead.  Sadly her illness cruelly prevented this.
I saw Fiona in hospital and also shortly before she died.  Her courage was remarkable.  She was very ill but the wicked sense of humour and the vitality were still there, undimmed by the illness.  She told me that she looked on each day as a bonus and we talked about her career and what might have been both here in Kensington and Chelsea and nationally.  She said you know the only thing is that for me what always came first was my family and Fiona was above all a family person.

Fiona was a true friend and someone whose loss as a friend and as a colleague all of us feel very deeply.

Cllr Pat Mason  I remember Fiona cycling around on her bicycle. 
We have heard the long list of committees she served on, but she was a Councillor who believed in making things better for her residents.  
She was well respected by all sides.  
The tributes brought back memories of his own mother who had died of cancer so he appreciated this was a very difficult time for her family.

Cllr Emma Will  I find this very difficult, as it is impossible to sum up what a wonderful person Fiona was.... warm, clever, kind, funny, generous of her time to me, helpful with her advice,  passionate about her work, and never taking herself seriously.  
Her family’s loss is unbearable to contemplate. This council is diminished by her loss.

Cllr Nick Paget Brown – Leader
This is a very sad blow to her family but also an enormous loss to this Council.  Fiona was an effective, endearing colleague who took on the most difficult field of policy – health, hospital and home care, adult social service ........  
She cut through the complexities, and held the attention of the whole Chamber when she spoke.  
She dealt with the restructuring of the NHS and the new responsibilities it bought to the Council effectively and mastered all the new regulations dealing with them all authoritatively.
She was effective, and had a voice across London, and was respected across London,  Whatever she did she would bring her passion and love of life.  
We celebrated the opening of Piper House with her, and she was wonderful with all the vulnerable residents, so caring, and still had so much more to give.  
She was destined to be a future leader of the Council or an MP. 
Whatever she would have done would have been successful.  
She was a loving wife, mother, and friend to all....not just a successful and respected politician and human being.

After a minutes silence the Mayor took the family out to the Parlour and Cllr Robert Atkinson (Deputy) took the Chair.