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, 30 December 2015


There have been 'aspersions' cast at the quartet financing Crossrail4Chelsea and some horrible things have been written about the 'travelling' Thomas family and their 24-hour casino's.
Now someone has been slandering another of the financiers, Leonard Holdsworth.

The accusation is that he could be the same Leonard Holdsworth who published a rather racy men's magazine called Knave.

The Dame rooted around her vile nephew, Ludo's, grimy bedroom and found a copy of this pornographic publication.

The Dame finds the claim unbelievable; after all, Len boasts in his potted biog of being a church going type.

"He now serves on the Church DCC, the Parish PCC as well as being a School Governor, of course. He is also a long-standing Committee Member of the Chelsea Society and the Christ Church Residents Association and other local groups. He is also a Trustee of the Hall of Remembrance."


In Kensington and Chelsea we have seen what happens when self-important duds are appointed to roles well beyond their capabilities. 
Pooter Cockell was a classic example; silly and vainglorious.

Tragically, the same 'buggin's turn' principle operates at the Environment Agency.
'Lord' Chris Smith, was a third rate politician who needed an income boost so his political friends 'fixed' the Environment Agency job for him.  He failed in that role as he failed in politics.

His overpaid successor, Sir Phillip Dilley is no better. 

Appointed as a mate of Cameron, he has fallen down on the job and should resign.

Over the centuries, Holland has proven it has nothing to learn from anyone about water management.

Harold van Waveren is the water management expert at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. 

What he doesn't know about water management isn't worth knowing.
Without delay, Dilley should be told to stay sunning himself in Barbados and an offer made to Van Waveren to replace him. And no payoff, please.

We never have a problem recruiting capable foreigners to run our industry and should extend the practice to mission critical government agencies.
This is a job too big for dilettantes like Dilley

Saturday, 26 December 2015


The Dame is frequently asked why Cllr Rock Feilding Mellen, the teenage deputy leader of K&C, doesn't go to Trumpers to get his hair cut; as one reader commented, "it looks like an African bird's nest".
Add caption
But what concerns the Dame is Rocky's lack of experience in 'matters housing.'

For some years, he and his two partners have struggled to make a go of pretentiously named development company, Socially Conscious Capital. 
Though it pretends to be something ethical it is, by any other name, a developer.

It has just two failing projects:

Longniddry, East Lothian
Racecourse Plantations

The Socially Conscious Capital website spouts a lot of nonsense about 'working with the community'.
Sadly, it seems not to be working. Read the waffle HERE
Longniddy is owned by Rocky's stepfather, the affable and kind-hearted Earl of Wemyss & March, so you would think getting the yokels to 'engage' with Rocky would be a cinch....not so!
With one voice they told Rocky they needed him like a hole in the head telling him to take himself back south.
Local reports suggest that Rocky flew into a major tantrum.

So what about Racecourse Plantations?
Sadly, Rocky seems again to have evoked the wrath of the local bumpkins. Though not mentioned on the website, it seems his attempt to build 390 socially conscious housing units on ancient woodlands got kicked into touch.
You can  read about it HERE
So not much of a record for persuading local and yokels to take him seriously!

And this leads us on to the PROBLEM. 

Rocky has Borough responsibility for housing and regeneration.
There are two solid reasons why he is ill-equipped for the role.
1. He pisses off those he is supposed to be persuading by constantly losing his temper when thwarted or challenged
2. His private business track record to date is risible.

Oddly, the website says this about Rocky's local government expertise. Frankly, he should not be mixing up his roles in this way: it looks as if he is using his council job to aid his private business.

Political: local planning authorities – who set the planning policies and ultimately make the decisions – are political organisations. It's therefore necessary to understand the local political climate when putting together a proposal. 
Rock Feilding-Mellen, who has over eight years' experience as a local government Councillor, applies his knowledge of local politics to guiding the planning strategy for our sites.

A casual read suggests Rocky's local government housing experience is an advantage...
Based on the record, not for Socially Conscious Capital......

Thursday, 24 December 2015


Blowin' in the wind

Knowing what side your bread's buttered is a sine non qua for any greedy politico.
Lord Willie Hague knows what side his is buttered on. 

For years, Lord Willie has vehemently opposed continued membership of the EU. 
Why has he suddenly decided he's been wrong for so long? 
The Dame has the answer..... it's sordid....

Lord Willie has been looking around for sinecures and managed to pick a hugely remunerated  'adviser' role at Teneo Group; some say £200,000 a year.
Teneo, is a corporate PR  outfit run by a very mysterious New York-based Irishman, Declan Kelly. 
Declan, close to the dreadful Clintons, has a portfolio of multinational clients and all are desperate for us to stay in EU.

So here's the issue...
Lord Willie is supposed to be advising these multinational giants and would have found it difficult persuading them BREXIT was in their interests.
Declan, the consummate Irish 'fixer', must have had a quiet word in Lord Willie's ear suggesting the advocacy of BREXIT might not be good for business and that Lord Willie might wish to change his

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


The Dame is beginning to wind down from the rigours of a year of exposing deceit, wickedness and base corruption.
And what a year it has been with all sorts of shenanigans exposed. So it's pleasant for the Dame to turn her attention to pure literary endeavour in our little community.
Her good friend, and long-time Chelsea resident, Edna O'Brien, has written a masterpiece in the novel form.
One celebrated reviewer wrote below of the Little Red Chairs: it's little wonder the Dame cannot put the book down.

"Ten years on from her last novel, Edna O'Brien reminds us why she is thought to be one of the great Irish writers of this and any generation.
When a wanted war criminal from the Balkans, masquerading as a faith healer, settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community are in thrall.
One woman, Fidelma McBride, falls under his spell and in this astonishing novel, Edna O'Brien charts the consequences of that fatal attraction.

The novel is a story about love, the artifice of evil, and the terrible necessity of accountability in our shattered, damaged world.
A narrative which dares to travel deep into the darkness has produced a book of enormous emotional intelligence and courage.
Written with a fierce lyricism and sensibility, The Little Red Chairs dares to suggest there is a way back to redemption and hope when great evil is done."

The Dame cannot think of a better present for cultivated friends and suggests a trip to John Sandoe Books

Monday, 21 December 2015


Everybody is talking about the TMO's latest cockup.
An irony of modern life is the thirst by nosey organizations to know everything about you, yet do nothing intelligent with the information once harvested.
This is unsurprising. 
The information impertinently asked for never had value or importance.
Anyway, back to the very expensive cock-up.

Mr Black, the TMO CEO was persuaded by a bunch of chancers to commission an expensive piece of research.

The Dame's 20,000 sq.ft. penthouse apartment is managed by the rapacious Strutt & Parker, but would they ever dare ask the Dame about her sexual 'orientation' or, indeed, whether she was a practicing Satanist? Doubtful....
The TMO is no different to any other managing agent, so these questions are an irrelevance at best, and outrageously insolent at worst. 
Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

There has been such an outpouring of fury Mr Black has been forced to scrap the survey.
We now need to know how much money was wasted on this folly.

Time the TMO got on with the job it is paid to do, not waste time and money on nonsense like this.

Sunday, 20 December 2015


The Dame loves a bit of Sunday night mystery so when she heard that Crossrail4Chelsea was up and running she decided she would dig around and find out who, besides Mr Flash, was funding things.
Guess what? It's none other than one Simon Thomas whose family fortune is based upon the entertainment business.

Simon comes from a 'traveller' show business background with a fortune made from something called Bingo!
The show biz gene comes vividly to life in his appallingly self-congratulatory and smug Linked In profile. 
Have the smelling salts to hand as he gives you a tour de force of his many talents!....
So common; so vulgar!
No surprise that he wants to screw up Kings Road. 
Read about the jumped up little chap HERE

Here is a picture of Jimmy and Simon Thomas surrounding Boris Johnson.
Could they all be more than( to use that ghastly expression) 'personal friends'?
Did Boris put the Thomas's up to the financing of Crossrail4Chelsea? 
The Thomas family have many millions so expect a massive pro campaign. 
But why would this mainly Leicestershire based family be interested in little old Kings Road?
Jimmy, Boris and Simon

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Prof Hall
Ready to wack the Dame
The Dame is used to threats and online nastiness, but this correspondent seems to be trying to set the Dame against Colin Hall, the puffed up HM of Holland Park Academy.

It's clear from the below Mr Hall would like to put the old Dame across his knee and give her six of the best.

This little note dropped in through the Dame's Faberge style email box. 
Can anyone throw light on what her correspondent can be getting at?

"Doing more of your dirty work.
Hall despises you and particularly your stance on The Bird Liz.  (who she? The Dame)
If only you knew what the two of them did re: admissions ...
You might also want to do a FOI request to the amount of expenditure Hall incurs painting the school.  Don't be fooled by the maths.  
They use Farrow and Ball paint you know.

Maybe this is too much info for you to handle......maybe your lawyers need to be involved or or maybe not! 
Just so  you know.....he hate you and all you stand for."


A resident writes to the Dame commenting on the 'Call For Sites from the Planning Dept. 
Have Forward Planning not heard of Plain English?

A resident comments...

"Residents cannot possibly get their heads around all of this technical stuff being generated, in huge volumes, by ivory tower teams in Hornton Street.

And the depth of cynicism removes the last chance of any motivation by residents to  try and study the stuff and make a response. 
The perception is that it is a total waste of time or worse - a charade to cover the undeclared intentions of a few planners and councillors."

The whole process needs to be simplified. A few simple words, common sense, and driven by a clear understanding from Ward Councillors of what their residents want. 
This is the failure - a political system that is not connected up, and thus cannot articulate

Local Plan Partial Review (LPPR) Issues and Options Consultation
Regulation 18 of The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012
The Council is starting a Partial Review of the existing Consolidated Local Plan 2015.
There are a number of topics that are being reviewed as part of the LPPR including the vision and strategic objectives, ‘places’, site allocations, infrastructure and planning contributions, shops and centres, business uses and hotels, arts and cultural uses, rail infrastructure, housing, Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, housing standards, flooding, drainage and waste.
As part of the LPPR, the Council is proposing to allocate new sites for development and is undertaking a ‘Call for Sites’ to allow respondents to put forward sites for new development which may have the potential to contribute towards the Borough’s future needs for different land uses up to the end of the Local Plan ‘plan period’ (2028).
This Issues and Options consultation is the first stage in the LPPR and corresponds with Regulation 18 of The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Council very much welcomes your views on the Issues and Options but these are not exhaustive and you can put forward other issues and options for consideration by the Council.
How to respond to this consultation


When Doctor James Thompson issues a warning to councillors they need take serious heed.
Some years ago Danny Boys Moylan was determined on a plan to destroy Sloane Square. 

It was Thompson's threat against sitting councillors that led Pooter Cockell to back off at speed.
Ironically, at that time, it was the redoubtable Victoria Borwick and Tim Coleridge who stood shoulder to shoulder with residents.
It's a shame Cllr Coleridge doesn't repeat his fine gesture today.

Dear Chelsea Councillors,
Council position on Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea
I have read the RBKC Report and Appendix B to be sent to Tfl regarding Crossrail and I think you should reflect on the fact that you have put yourself on the wrong side of Chelsea residents.
The proposals for a Crossrail station have not drawn any strong support. While there are some individual supporters, there has been no public campaign in favour of the station.  The Council has been left to argue the case in favour, whereas the usual pattern would have been for Councillors to listen to the arguments put from both sides.
This has resulted in a “Council versus the Residents” debate, with the Council seen as closely linked to Tfl rather than listening to residents and small businesses. Tfl have admitted that their consultation effectively asks residents to approve a project when many of the important details are not known, because they are championing an entire railway, and the proposed station has not been evaluated individually and subjected to a cost/benefits analysis.
A further problem is that the Council, in taking the lead in arguing against the “No to Crossrail” residents’ group, continues to accuse them of exaggeration, despite them having obtained many details under Freedom of Information requests which were news to residents, and were valid contributions to the debate. Your report, which talks of public support for the station in earlier consultations, makes no mention of the sudden change of plan in 2014, which resulted in many Cremorne residents voting tactically in favour of the Fire Station site while many residents close to that site imagined that the station would not be placed there and did not bother to vote. The last minute change caused much bad feeling.
Report A says at point 36. It is important that no-one prejudge the outcome of the consultation, and also that it not be treated as a referendum. The quality of the arguments made should be paramount. This Council will be reading the results of this consultation very carefully.
In fact, the consultation question is as follows:  Do you have any comments about the proposals for a Crossrail 2 station at King’s Road Chelsea?  Therefore, a comment could be “I am in favour” or “I am against” and there is no need to write an essay about the quality of the arguments.  A simple statement should be accepted as a matter of democratic principle. Such simple statements were accepted in the previous consultations, upon which you rely in your own report, and to ask for more would be to adopt a double standard.
Under representative democracy, elected Councillors can take a stand against the wishes of their constituents, if they believe the issue to be in their constituents’ long term interests. A majority of Chelsea residents think that a Crossrail station, even leaving aside the disruption of construction, will not be in the long term interests of Chelsea.
If you are going to commit yourself to taking a stand against your constituents on the “we know best” principle, rather than reserving judgment until the consultation is completed, that will be tested in subsequent elections.
James Thompson, Chairman, KRACR


The battle over Crossrail 2 in Chelsea is hotting up and it seems that a local Flash'er is busy disturbing the sedate residents of the environs of the splendid Royal Avenue.
If you see this creature please inform the Dame.


Dear Dame
There are stories about which may not yet have reached your sensitive ears It concerns a Flash'er recently spotted around Royal Avenue, only just off the King’s Road.

This shameless person has reportedly been exhibiting quite shamelessly in public, with no thought for its impact on more delicately-nurtured and well-brought up neighbours, something you, Dame, being very grand, would find very offensive. 
His open support for certain members of our Council and the very few other proponents of  Transport for London’s planned Crossrail2  station in Chelsea is disgraceful!
Can it be mere coincidence that the site envisaged for the lavatory block for the workers on one of the proposed station worksites is just across the road from Royal Avenue at the bottom of Jubilee Place?
It seems even more offensive that this same Flash'er is apparently personally responsible for delaying the date of the Annual General Meeting of his Residents’ Association  until after January 8th next year: in other words after TfL’s current public consultation closes, in order to avoid  the members’ inevitable vote against the Crossrail station being made public .
Yours in shock


Another casualty of the Tri-Borough catastrophe....

The Noise Nuisance Team at RBK&C does one of the most essential of jobs. They are the frontline in the fight against anti-social neighbours, and, of course, the ubiquitous builders.

So, it's sad to hear that the already radically depleted team has been forced to shed another team manager.
A resident writes: Dear Dame, I wanted to let you know that one of the managers has been cut from the Nuisance Service in Kensington. This is just not on as I know the staff are stretched enough as it is. What can be done?

The resident asks the Dame what can be done?
The answer is simple, but possibly unpalatable.
Scrap the thoroughly useless in-house PR team.
This hopeless bunch spend their days producing press releases no one reads.
The madness of it is that Wandsworth and H&F share PR facilities so why hasn't RBKC joined in?

Keeping the PR Dept going costs close to half a million pounds a year.
How much better to spend a little of this on bolstering the Noise Nuisance team?

Saturday, 12 December 2015


There was once a time when the Savoy Hotel  represented a certain way of  doing things.
Its name was synonymous with elegance and refinement.
Those days have long since gone. 
It is now a vulgar place frequented by monied international riff-raff.

If you live in Knightsbridge or Chelsea don't be surprised to see these ugly flyers stuck on car windscreens. 
And, staring up at you, will be the name of the Savoy Hotel, blazoned across the scrappy piece of crude paper. 

Thousands of these ugly A4 leaflets have been plastered around the area.
Most end up on the streets adding to the general litter and creating more work for our hard working street cleaning teams. It's a horrible job; especially in winter and the least we can do is support them. 
Cllr Ahern is the member responsible for these teams and it's
time he cracked the whip and put a stop to this blatant littering of our streets. 
But, doubtless whatever he does will be as futile as his attempt to crack down on the supercars...come on Tim, stop being indolent!

The Savoy arrogantly say, “ nothing to do with us” so clearly are happy to take the money from these idiots.

This is the second time the hotel has hosted these French exhibitors and the second time the hotel has refused to cancel the event.

If you have any taste avoid this hotel. 
They care nothing about our community, but much about money.

It is time our Environment Health department got its act together and stopped this crude marketing.

The Dame will be writing to Fairmont boss, Mr Fatt in NY. 

Friday, 11 December 2015


Lord Grantley is co-chair of MISARA and has written this compelling objection to the destruction of the Sutton Estate.
If you have still not objected please do so: it is vital we halt the barbarians at our gates. 
The link to the council objection page is HERE and Flora Neville's brilliant defence of the estate can be found in the link in Richard Grantley's letter.

To: Greg Blaquiere, Case Officer
Planning Department
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Dear Mr Blaquiere,

Affinity Sutton - PP/15/04878

I write to object to the proposed demolition of the Sutton Estate for which permission is sought in the above planning application.

1. The proposed redevelopment of the Estate involves a net loss of 146 social rented homes, a net loss of 72 sheltered housing units and a net loss of 2,566 square metres of social housing floor space, contrary to policy CH4 of RBK&C's Local Plan and to policy 3.14 of the London Plan.

2. The existing buildings comprising the Estate are a fine example of 1913 architecture, with excellent design details and materials and an appropriate scale, all fitting well into the surrounding context. They are a highly valued feature of the local landscape. The proposed replacement buildings are hideous and mediocre and would be a blemish on the neighbourhood. It would be an act of vandalism to allow the Estate to be demolished.

To anyone involved in making the decision on this application, I commend as essential background reading the following article "Is it right to regenerate down" by Flora Neville, written for Create Streets (click on the title of the article just over half way down):

It is clear that the Estate should be refurbished rather than demolished. The Council may not have the power to compel Affinity Sutton to do this, but rejection of the application would give them a strong message as to where their duty lies.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Grantley


Sloane Stanley is an old established landed London estate; Martin's Properties are not.....and, it shows!
MP is based upon the idea of a clever man who ran an electrical goods shop in 1950's Kings Road, building a property portfolio on the back of it.
Maybe, the Martin family were keen this vile 'tree' be 'a nod' to their electrical retailing past?

Vulgar, Vulgar, Vulgar
So, being an old snob, the Dame can forgive Tom Martin for thinking this pretentious construction was in good taste.

But someone at Sloane Stanley must surely have had a 'taste bypass' in agreeing to fund this stupid piece of electrical tat. 

Surrounded by dirty metal railings, this ugly thing says much about the way the vulgarians have taken over our much loved Kings Road.
Imagine how beautiful a fine Norwegian fir tree would have looked on Dovehouse Green? 
Instead, we have this dull and dreary blot on the landscape. 
It really makes one sick.


Today is the FINAL DAY for objecting to Affinity Sutton's greed driven plan to destroy Sutton Dwellings.
Please click HERE and take just a minute to help halt this act of vandalism.

It is vital that you do so....mysteriously, many people have been complaining to the Dame that their objections are not appearing on the website.
This is outrageous and Mr Holgate needs to stop this interference in the democratic process

Here, also, is the link to Save Sutton Estate objection letter.....
It's hard hitting and unequivocal in its reasoning for stopping this development. Please click HERE

Thursday, 10 December 2015


There has been a drought of news from motormouth, Michael 'Foxy' Volpe of Opera Holland Park.
The Dame would like to know what's going on; especially on the sponsorship front.
But, more importantly, how are Volpe and the new chairman, Charles Mackay gelling? 
They are, after all, cut from very different cloth.
Real Hard Man
Faux Hard Man
Volpe never stops telling us how authentically working class he is. 
Could Mackay be thoroughly bored hearing about Foxy's working class hero tales?
But let's cut to the chase.
1. Has Volpe secured sponsorship: there has been a deafening silence
2. Has the Council handed over the £5 million of our dosh to Foxy?
3. Are Investec still sponsoring? It doesn't seem so judging from their website section on sponsorship.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


Dear Dame

I used to work in the social housing sector and did so for around twenty years. 

In 2001, I visited the Sutton Estate in Chelsea regularly; not in connection with my duties in social housing. I find it hard to believe that these magnificent buildings are uneconomic to maintain and that decent homes standards cannot be achieved without massive upheaval or at the cost of an arm and a leg. 

There are a number of similar Sutton estates throughout London. I would be surprised if Affinity Sutton would be comfortable arguing that as the Chelsea estate cannot be brought up to scratch, it logically follows that all of similar Sutton dwellings throughout London are not fit for purpose because decent homes standards cannot be achieved. 

Is Affinity Sutton, by implication, saying that all of its other estates throughout London are not fit for purpose with demolition being the only answer? 

Of course not. 

The truth is that Affinity Sutton is lured by the large sums it will achieve by selling the land to a developer. 

I was particularly struck by the sense of community on the Chelsea estate. It was spotlessly clean: there was no litter flying around any of the external areas on the estate which is in stark contrast to many Council estates in London. There was no household lumber piled up on the communal forecourt, something one sees far too often whenever visiting estates estates owned the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The internal communal areas of each block were well decorated, well lit and kept very clean. The residents took considerable pride in their flats.

I am very upset and disappointed that the Sutton estate in Chelsea is destined for the bulldozer. This bulldozing is nothing more than urban destruction. 

Well done to The Victorian Society.


The Dame despairs of  amiable Cllr Ahern: a nice old cove who was delighted when his ex-wife, Miss Rose, left him in financial clover. 
But, from what the Dame hears, things are not too rosy in the Rose Garden. Miss Rose may soon be coming to Tim for a financial helping hand:tax avoiding film finance schemes can be the fiscal death of people.
(Come on Auntie Dame, get on with it, Ludo)

Anyway, in the face of angry residents, fed up with the noise and danger of foreign-owned supercars, Tim has come up with a fatuous Public Spaces Protection Order.
From today, terrified and impoverished Gulfies and Saudi's, could get a £1000 fine for speeding or over revving.
You have to be seriously stupid to think this will have any impact. 
And who is meant to enforce it? 
The police? They are too busy chasing down jihadists, funded by the Gulf States and Saudi oili-garchs.

  • None of these cars should be allowed on our streets unless they have temporary UK licence plates. 
  • The police should have late night speed traps on their favoured 'drags'.
  • Their vile cars should be subjected to spot DVLA checks to ensure they are road traffic act compliant. These inspections should take a couple of weeks to complete and interfere with their anti-social activities.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


There is a cruel adage....'Somerset born; Somerset bred....Strong in arm thick in head'
Could our dozy friends in the land of scrumpy have made a big mistake?
Obviously, the Dame's witterings don't reach the Levels of Somerset: if they did, our straw sucking friends might have thought twice about their unlikely decision.

The Dame has read some astonishing news and advises her charming readers to tell her whether the Somerset Conservatives have bitten off more than they can chew.
You can read all about HERE

Let's hope Jonathan won't turn up to the fund raising fetes worse than death wearing all his Louis Vuitton gear. 
These things are misunderstood by the Somerset yokels.
Men carrying handbags are a rare sight in the West Country.

Monday, 7 December 2015


Would everybody please note that the Dame needs to be kept directly informed of all events that impact on residents....whoever and wherever they might be in the Borough.

She has only just heard of this petition through an indirect source.

It also seems Dave Hill of the Guardian has been thoroughly taken in by Afro-haired teenager Rock Feilding Mellen.
What on earth is the world coming to when an experienced journalist can be taken in by a mere pup of a lad and his silly socially conscious housing nonsense. 
The boy hasn't a clue!
Come on Dave....what's going on?

7 Dec 2015 — On Friday 27th November Kensington & Chelsea sent out a notification to the tenants of Silchester Estate informing them that architects had been employed and a resident consultation was to take place on Monday 30th November, thereby giving us one day's notice! 37 tenants turned up for the consultation! Under pressure from the tenants, that were able to attend, Ruth Angel from RBK&C agreed that they did not provide adequate notice to the tenants and would hold another consultation in January! There have been some very worrying developments in the proposal to demolish Silchester Estate so I would ask all the supporters for another big push on this petition. Please could I kindly ask that you share this petition on your FB or twitter feeds and email friends and family for support? Once again I want to take this opportunity for all your support so far....



Charity plans to demolish early social housing in Chelsea

The Victorian Society is objecting to Affinity Sutton Homes’ application to demolish Sutton Dwellings - a 1913 social housing scheme in Chelsea. The attractive mansion blocks were the largest social housing estate in London when built. Affinity’s replacement social and private scheme would provide less social housing than currently. The society argues that the existing flats should be refurbished not demolished. The Victorian Society is encouraging the public to comment on the planning application before consultation closes on 11 December.
The Sutton Estate is a handsome well detailed series of mansion blocks in a Queen Anne style by ECP Monson, the architect of the listed Islington Town Hall. Unusually for 1913, each flat was self-contained with their own W.C.’s, sculleries, cooking facilities and heating provision. When the flats were updated the baths were removed from the sculleries and the balconies were converted into shower rooms.  Affinity Sutton have applied to demolish 13 of the 15 blocks arguing that the buildings cannot be upgraded to ‘decent home standards’ without losing more social homes than would be lost under its plans to rebuild. However, it has not, so far as we’re aware, provided any evidence for the assertion that the flats cannot be upgraded to decent homes standards.
The proposed replacement buildings are bland and lack the character of the 1913 buildings. It has been suggested that housing created by philanthropic trusts in Chelsea are — in both architectural and human terms — far more successful that most later council housing. Affinity Sutton should celebrate the success of these buildings by investing in their future. Affinity should perhaps explore the option of redeveloping some flats for private sale to raise funds for work needed elsewhere on the Sutton Estate.
James Hughes, Senior Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, said: ‘Sutton Dwellings is an early example of social housing which makes a positive contribution to the local area and sits well with the 1915 Samuel Lewis Trust Dwellings opposite. With its handsome proportions it is unsurprising that many residents are unhappy at leaving. While the estate has suffered from the installation of UPVC glazing this does not detract from its overall quality. Affinity should spend its money on sensitive restoration rather than demolishing this early attempt to address inequality in London.’
Representatives of the Victorian Society are available for comment.
For more information contact:
Joe O’Donnell
Media Officer
The Victorian Society

Main: 020 8994 1019
Direct line: 020 8747 5897
Mobile: 07974168922