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.

Sunday, 31 May 2015


The Dame abhors councillors who make free with expenses and those who refuse to pay their debts, causing hardship to small business and charities.
The Dame rarely publishes articles of this type, but K&C residents have a right to be alerted to Mr Sneddon.
If Mr Sneddon comes knocking on your door be aware he leaves a trail of bad debts.

Favourite trick is to promise payment and then disappear over the horizon.
Doing business in the Royal Borough is already made difficult with sky high business rates and rents, so the likes of Mr Sneddon make it even more difficult.

A resident taken in by Mr Sneddon tells the Dame.... 

"Sneddon is a very plausible fellow. He gives the impression of being able to access substantial sums of money, yet when it came to paying me and other suppliers we were left with a trail of debts. To be blunt....he lies through his back teeth” 

Saturday, 30 May 2015


The Planning Committee has, in recent months, stood up to those planning officers siding with greedy developers.
This short and brilliant constructed film shows how the major damage to Chelsea & Kensington has mainly been done. 
Residents need to remind themsleves that this is their Borough:planning officers and planning committee members are answerable to them...and them alone.
The planned destruction of those Victorian gems, Marlborough Primary School and Sutton Dwellings is just the latest in a long list of vandalistic actions.
If you love Chelsea then watch this BRILLIANT FILM

Friday, 29 May 2015



A few weeks ago the Dame wrote of extreme disorder in the Chelsea Society ranks. The rank and file were fed up with the Committee, led by Cadogan lawyer, Damian Greenish, telling them what the CS view of the siting of Crossrail 2 was.
Anyway, the revolt forced Damian into some furious back pedalling.
Damian lives in Surrey and needs to be wary of bad tempered Chelsea dwellers....

Crossrail 2 - Update

Dear Member,

As you may know Crossrail 2 is the proposed new high-frequency, high capacity rail line running beneath London and into Surrey and Hertfordshire. The current proposal from Transport for London (TfL) is that the new line will run through Chelsea, generally following the line of the King’s Road. The site of the Fire Station in the King’s Road has been safeguarded by TfL as a possible future station on this new line. Further details of the proposals, their present thinking and the future timetable can be found on their website here.
At a meeting of the Society’s Council in July 2014, the Council debated Crossrail 2 on the basis of the information then available. The decision of the Council (which was by no means unanimous) was that it supported the principle of the new line passing through Chelsea and accepted that, if it does that, then the preferred location for a station would be on the site of the Fire Station. However, that decision was subject to a number of stringent pre-conditions which the Society would require be met. First, the historic Dovehouse Green should remain undisturbed. Secondly, a fire-fighting capability for the area should be preserved. Thirdly, any new buildings should not exceed the height of the existing Fire Station's main building. Fourthly, the design and use of any new buildings on the site should be in keeping with the traditions and character of Chelsea. The Resolution passed by the Council can be found on our website here.
As you will also be aware the primary aim of the Society is to preserve and improve the amenities of Chelsea. Preservation and improvement can at times be difficult bedfellows but we try at all times to preserve the history, character and traditions of Chelsea whilst at the same time accepting that change is inevitable, albeit that it must always be carefully managed within the Society’s principles. The Society is concerned with Chelsea as a place and it needs to have regard, not only to the valuable opinions of our members and others who live here, but also to the views of the different stakeholders who make up the community of Chelsea; those who run our public services, who work in our businesses, who provide the housing or otherwise choose to invest here or simply visit.
There are significant events facing Chelsea which are likely to have a considerable impact, not only on the current generation of residents, business owners, workers and visitors but also the future generations who we hope will live and / or work in Chelsea. It is for that reason that, as mentioned in our most recent Newsletter, the Society is proposing to host an event in November to consider the “Future of Chelsea”.  It will be an opportunity for the stakeholders of Chelsea to hear what we can expect to happen here over the next few years; not only the impact and effect of Crossrail 2, but also of the redevelopment of the Royal Brompton  and Royal Marsden Hospitals, of the redevelopment of the Affinity Sutton Estate in Cale Street, of the changing face of the King’s Road, of the continuing overseas investment in our houses and flats and of government policy on affordable housing (will it continue to exist at all in Chelsea?). We hope that as many of you as possible will want to come to this event and express a view. We believe that the event will have an important influence over the decisions that will shape the future of Chelsea and on the Chelsea Society's own policies for the future.
In the meantime there is a meeting for those who oppose Crossrail 2 passing through Chelsea and the construction of a station here. The Society accepts that there will be residents (and others) who do not support Crossrail 2 and it is appropriate that their views should be properly heard in this important debate. For those who wish to attend the event, it is being held at Chelsea Town Hall on Tuesday 2nd June at 6.30pm. The Chairman of the Society's Planning Committee will attend the meeting and will report to the Council of the Society on the views expressed there. 
The Society’s own event "The Future of Chelsea” will be held at Chelsea Town Hall in the evening of Monday 2nd November. We ask that you reserve that date in your diary.

Kind regards,

Damian Greenish


Angela McConville, CEO of Westway Trust, is great friends with the weird Maximillion Cooper, owner of Gumball 3000.
In fact, so matey with this weirdo is Angie that she grabbed his donation for apprentice training. And Westway might even be doing biz with these people....great role models for young apprentices.
The Dame wonders what Angie thinks of Maximillion's latest exploits......
This is what the Mail reports...

"Debauchery at 37,000ft: Passengers on Gumball 3000 flight swig vodka, smoke and have drunken pillow fight as one strips naked and straddles another man...."


Dear Members,

We apologise for all the alerts but it seems to be a very active time of year or it might be the developers are trying to “tidy up” before Mr Bore departs.

There are 2 pressing issues:

·       the current revised application and appeal against the refusal for the Odeon and old Post Office site
·       the appeal by the Candy brothers against the refusal for the demolition and replacement of Dukes Lodge, Holland Park.

The following is a summary of the Kensington Society’s objection to the Odeon application (PP/15/02618):

The new application reflecting the refusal in January now includes one cinema facility (no longer the Earl’s Court second cinema) with more than 1000 seats for 7 screens in the basement.  The entrance is through existing Odeon entrance but reduced in size.  There is a gate closing the site off at dusk and opening at dawn.   The Society welcomed the main changes made in response to the refusal of the last scheme in January, especially the cinema screens now being entered exclusively from the original/current entrance in Kensington High Street and the reduction in height of the main residential building.  However:

Points of objection:
·       Loss of active forecourt: We have always expressed our desire for an active use of the forecourt.  We have objected to the loss of the coffee shop which currently services  from 8am to 10pm and, thus, offering continuous activity throughout the day and provides a local amenity at this end of the High Street. This activity animates the forecourt of the cinema. The plans for the current application still shows tables and chairs on the forecourt - do not be deceived - there is no intention for a similar coffee shop/café.   A concession on one side of the cinema lobby shares the function with the tickets counter; this is not acceptable as it will only function during cinema hours; it is not visible from the forecourt; it is not readily open or accessible to the public and has limited means to serve the forecourt. The “wings” or corners of the façade where the cafe shop is now are to be used exclusively for a lift each. The previous versions including the consented scheme had retail units in each corner tower which is far more desirable.

Further loss of active space to luxury housing: We never envisaged the total loss of the Post Office to another entrance for the luxury flats. The entire ground floor of the former Post Office is given over to this grand entrance.  The luxury flats have a grand entrance in their own private forecourt and another entrance at this position results in the loss of the potential retail/commercial use which would help activate the forecourt.  The consented scheme had all the access to the luxury flats via the exclusive court at the rear of the site.  Why cannot all access be as already approved?  The loss of any active use on the High Street is opposed.

An additional issue is the way in which this application has been handled by the planning department.  406 objections were received for the application which was refused by PAC (planning applications committee) on a vote of 11 against to 1.  There is now an appeal against that refusal.  No one, including this Society, has received notification of the application nor the appeal.  This application has over 66 pages of documents with little or no clear description, many of which are over 6 Mb.  Councillors have even called us to help find the plans.  We have asked for a presentation to the public so that the public – you and the other 406 objectors – can assess for the proposal within this application.  We have not had a response.

If you agree with us, please write to the planning department and do not be put off by the date of the public consultation.  The department is required to consider all objections up until the decision.   You can still have your stay.   Send your comments to and cc the ward councillors ( and the cabinet member for planning

Dukes Lodge appeal (PP/14/06419, appeal number 3007991)
We are reviewing and assessing the developers rational for the appeal and will report back to you on our findings.

More to come.  Thank you for your support and please keep opening the alerts.

Yours sincerely
Amanda Frame
Kensington Society


Thursday, 28 May 2015


The indomitable Marion Gettleson writes to the Dame about more shenanigans at Westway Trust

      Dear Mrs McConville
Further to this matter, on 27th April your Mr Dibsdale asked Mark Barr, Chair of the Portobello & Golbourne Management Committee to join the Westway Development Committee and he agreed. At 16.26 Mark sent Mr Dibsdale this email - in full: 

"I am happy to take part in any consultation. Also, would you like me to get another PGMC member attend?  Please advise me of any meeting dates that you have and I will endeavour to attend either my self or get another PGMC member to attend."

At  17.01 Mr Dibsdale responded - in full: 

"Yes I think it would be good to have two reps for the street market traders, so feel free to nominate somebody who you think appropriate.  We are hoping to set up a first meeting within the next two or three of weeks, so we'll let you know dates as soon as possible.  Are there any days that suit you better or that we should avoid?"

Due to my 50 years' experience of local retail, Mark decided I'm "appropriate." BTW I spent 10 years on the Fashion & General Merchandise Committee of BSSA - the British Shops & Stores Assc - now BIRA - the British Independent Retailers Assc. However, we heard nothing, so I emailed you on 26th May. 

You replied at 13.48 on 27th May, claiming "crossed wires" but that I'm not "unsuitable." It's merely that you will not permit me to join the Committee. At immense length you explain Westway Trust's new requirements for Committee members: - restricting both RBKC licensed street traders' and local retailers' roles to those of worker ants. Restriction follows restriction - all of it drivel. 

Mark responded to you at 15.53 on 27th, referring you to your original request for him to "feel free to nominate somebody." 

Mr Dibsdale responded to Mark at 17.46 on 27th, again claiming a "misunderstanding," while making it clear that the PGMC and MSAG will in future play no part in any consultations, but will be restricted to learning of the Westway Trust's decisions second hand. There follows yet more tosh along the same lines.  

I engaged with the recent public consultation. Having seen the Westway Trust's original development plans, I concluded that they are designed to fail. The land will ultimately become available to private developers. You and your staff protested that I'm mistaken and I remained open to persuasion that this may be so. 

To point out the obvious: Portobello Market is 150 years old this year. It predates all the shops and houses in the area, attracting millions of visitors a year. Virtually every other local business is ultimately dependent on the licensed street trading. As is usual practice, the Trust asked Mark Barr, Chair of RBKC's licensed street traders' association - the PGMC - to engage in the necessary detailed consultations - and to bring a colleague on board. Mark chose me, a known critic of the development plans. This renders me unacceptable to the Westway Trust. Once Mark declined your request to choose an alternative second representative, the Trust found Mark Barr and the PGMC itself equally unacceptable. 

Conclusion: The Westway Trust is to public consultation what FIFA is to football.
Yours faithfully

Marion Gettleson

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Improbably, Sir John Ritblat has decided to re-invent himself.
The one time estate agent, known for his epic social climbing, has come a long way from impoverishment in Lithuania.
He now presents himself as a cuddly old English squire. 
He lists his interests as apiculture(bee keeping to you, Palmer) and the collecting of antiquarian books(Trollope-one supposes)
Next he will be claiming to be a church warden and a keen church organist......

Anyway, he and his rough looking boy, Jamie, have decided to have another go at knocking the dear old Odeon cinema in High St Ken around.
Their company, Minerva, have put in amended plans and the deadline for objection is this Friday, 29th May.
This is what they plan and you can object by going to the RBKC planning website HERE

Demolition of former Post Office delivery office, Whitlock House office building and cinema building with retention of cinema facade to Kensington High Street and construction of basement and buildings to provide cinema facilities, 62 residential units (including affordable housing units for elderly people) and associated residential facilities, retail and office accommodation, car parking spaces, cycle parking, plant, hard and soft landscaping public realm improvements and associated works.(MAJOR APPLICATION)

Monday, 25 May 2015


These two Knightsbridge properties totalling 14,000 sq.ft are owned by a member of Saudi Royal(royal, used advisedly) family. 
For the last 20 years they have been left derelict and, according to nearby residents, rat infested.

We have a severe housing shortage in London. 
A lesson needs to be sent to the desert dwellers that London is not a place to park their assets and, unless bought into housing use, will be taxed at multiples of their potential developable value.
It may not deter them but at least the profit stream could be used for benefit of genuine residents-not dodgy desert medievalists looking for bolt holes.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Click to Enlarge
The Dame is often asked whether she has a political bone in her old and decrepit body.
She always replies that what she lacks in political acumen she compensates for in common sense.

This council does many, many good things. It does it no harm to have the old Dame prodding and pushing when she feels it could do better: hence her determination to rid it of the freeloading Cockell.

She has always stridently opposed the millions of pounds wasted on the the amateurish and third rate Opera Holland Park. 

Even opera buffs( of whom we have many in the Borough) say it's pointless with two world class opera companies down the road.
Bite the bullet, Nick....close it down.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


The concours around Exhibition Rd has rapidly degenerated into a over commercialised mess.

When a resident complained Comptoir de Libanais was expanding far beyond the permitted number of table and chairs she received this reply from the Council. 

I have been monitoring the site and the setting out of tables and chairs in this area on an ad hoc basis for a couple of months now and I am satisfied that the system is working satisfactorily.   While there may be occasions when some establishments set out additional tables and chairs, the provision is clearly popular with visitors to the area and nearby tourist attractions.

I have also requested that SKE continue to monitor their responsibilities in the matter and I shall continue to keep an eye on the situation during my other site visits in the area.   While I understand there will be some who do not appreciate what they might see as a creeping commercialisation of the area, the system is working well to the benefit of visitors and businesses and I do not consider it expedient to take any further action in the matter.

In the circumstances, I shall be closing my enforcement case although, as stated, I shall continue to keep an eye on the situation.
John Morrow
Senior Planning Enforcement Officer

So now we know....South Kensington Estates are allowed unprecedented latitude.
Mr Morrow's reply gives the impression the interests of Comptoir de Libanais; South Kensington Estates and tourists far outweigh those of residents.
It seems Mr Morrow has a special rulebook he applies to certain situations.....
Time Mr Stallwood had a word in this chap's ear!

Monday, 18 May 2015


Few world class cities-of which London is one of the pack leaders, would allow greedy developers to bulldoze buildings of historic and architectural merit....except Kensington & Chelsea.
But then, this is a council with a passionate hatred of its Victorian heritage.
Those with long memories will never forget how the hideous Nicholas Freeman tore down the old Town Hall in Kensington High St hours before it was due to be listed.

Now the much loved Marlborough Primary school is set to be sacked by the vulgarian vandals who so hate our heritage. 
When Sutton Dwellings is razed to the ground the heart of Chelsea will finally have been ripped out.

Julian Lloyd Webber said: "This is dreadful news. It will be a crying shame if this beautiful and historic building is demolished because the listing came too late. Once it's gone it's gone. It is a truly desperate situation and indeed a murky one as far as I'm concerned. When you have a company as big as John Lewis involved who already have a phenomenal amount of power in that area, my suspicions are raised. It shouldn't be about big business which prices everybody but the Russian Oligarchs out of South Kensington.

Please sign here  and circulate to those you know equally fed up with these senseless demolitions.

Friday, 15 May 2015


The irony of it all.....
For years the Council stood by watching as the area around Brompton Road degenerated into a clone of Edgware Road, replete with shisha pipe smoking establishments(all breaking health&safety rules) plus swarms of Eastern European beggars and Gulf number plated Lamborghini's racing around residential streets. When residents expressed their fury and banded together to protest the Council sent out an enforcement officer demanding some harmless publicity aimed at activating residents be removed!

One resident wrote to the Dame....

Dear Hornet,

Over 200 local residents crowded into St Joseph’s Hall to express their feelings on supercars and anti-social behaviour at the Community Meeting held at few weeks ago.  Residents were outraged that the police and the Council have been able to achieve very little over the last 5 years.   Now, when residents take direct action by hanging posters, the Council responds immediately.  Hmm…  Does this show that the commercial interests of the landowner are more important than those of residents?
We look forward to working with you on this issue as we are now much more informed about tools that can be used.  Specifically, we need help/inspiration on how to encourage RBKC to issue a Public Space Protection Order.  They are being incredibly wet about the whole thing and are reluctant to use this new power.  Meanwhile, Westminster, Oxford, Kettering etc Councils are all taking advantage of this piece of legislation to help their residents deal with ASB.  What a travesty!


To whom it may concern,

As an Enforcement Officer i have noticed a number of illegal fly posting items recently placed up in the Brompton Ward, notably the following streets;

Markham Square, Thurloe Square, Thurloe Street, Brompton Road, Alexander Place, North Terrace, South Terrace, Pelham Place, Pelham Crescent  and Exhibition Road.

I have attached some images. Could you please contact me in regards to why these items have been placed up on street furniture (i.e. lampposts etc) and also confirm whether you have valid authority to do this from the council.


Neil Bates
Contracts and Enforcement Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Wednesday, 13 May 2015



The old Dame decided to keep her head down during the election but congratulations are now due to Victoria Borwick upon her success.

Victoria has, over the years, worked hard for residents 
Doubtless, in her new capacity, she will maintain that reputation.

Rod Abouharb proved a ferociously hard worker improving share of the vote by 6%. We will doubtless hear more of Rod in the years to come. 

Robin McGhee, for his first attempt, did very well.... considered against the national background.
As for the other candidates? 
Well, none took the trouble to get in touch with the Dame so it would be unfair to comment upon them.
Presumably, they all thought themselves far too grand to have a cuppa with the Dame!

Thursday, 7 May 2015


A late report from one of the Dame's 'stringers' who attended the Kensington Society's recent AGM

Kensington Society AGM

At a packed meeting the Kensington Society celebrated a year of progress and some watershed moments in the planning system. The voice of residents in Kensington and Chelsea is finally being heard. 
  • A proposal cooked up by developers and planning Officers in the pre application process to redevelop the Odeon Cinema was kicked out by the Planning Committee in an 11 to 1 vote. 
  • Another developers stew (Dukes Lodge which was roasted by Officers in the pre application process) was thrown out by Councillors in an 8 to 4 vote. 
  • The Cromwell Casino, recommended by Officers after more pre planning nonsense, was withdrawn after the Kensington Society pointed out that such a development was ruled out by restrictions agreed in a previous development. 
Officers did not even know what they had agreed in the past! And more is cooking. There is currently a 16,000 residents Petition against what developers and Officers are planning in secret for the Westway.

But it need not be like this. 
Chairman Amanda Frame called for better and more effective Community Engagement at an earlier stage in the planning process. Developers and Officers need to understand the aspirations and needs of residents before they agree their plans in secret which they then try to get approved as a fait accompli. An essential step is to make the pre planning process open, inclusive and transparent.

There is a new broom in Hornton Street. The handle is called Paget-Brown (Leader) and the brush is called Stallwood.(Planning Director). 
Is it a resident friendly broom? That is the question.....

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Writes well....
Flora Neville has written a perceptive article for that excellent organisation Create Streets 

She is to be congratulated for so sensitively explaining the background to the impending destruction of one the UK's outstanding examples of social housing.

You can read Flora's EXCELLENT ARTICLE here

The old Dame is very jealous.....


A reader writes about Rock Feilding Mellen's business, Socially Conscious Capital Ltd
The website refers to just two projects: one in Scotland, at Longniddry, on land owned by his stepfather; the other, Racecourse Plantations in Norfolk.
In the case of Longniddry the villagers sent him packing.
In that of Racecourse Plantations the local bumpkins kicked Rock in the bum and the local council turned down his plans to despoil ancient woodland.
So it's not just the people of K&C who object to this arrogant and supercilious young fellow....

Dear Dame,

You may be not aware but the above, in addition to his job as head of regeneration and deputy leader of RBKC is also MD of a private property company - Socially Conscious Capital. 

Have no evidence of any conflict of interest but fascinating for him to be given the job of demolishing estates in the borough.

Loved one of the quotes on SSC website " the more money we make for our landowner, the more money we make for ourselves". 

Does he have that philosophy in the borough?

In his official statement about himself on the rkbc website it says " he has a small private business" - no mention that it is property. Is he just shy?

Yours sincerely

J******    P*******r