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 March 2017


A Chelsea swimmer writes to the Dame....

Dearest Dame,
Over the last couple of years RBKC alienated many different sectors of their electorate with unpopular decisions, such as supporting a CrossRail2, Kings Rd station, Marlborough School, Thamesbrook, Chelsea Manor Court telephone aerials, Sutton estate, Brompton Hospital SPD. They now add to the list a new sector of adult swimmers who seek to keep fit and healthy by swimming in the Town Hall pool. 

The council has decided to spend £1.7 million partly to ‘upgrade’  some functional aspects of the pool such as ventilation, heating, re-tiling etc which is generally supported, but also by tearing down a dividing wall to make the existing separate sex changing rooms into a “unisex village”.
A quick search of the internet reveals strong resident objections in other parts of the country to having this foisted on them, from Cleethorpes to Leamington, Stratford to Warwick and Woodbridge.
This is not welcome either to daily Chelsea users, because it will break the current much-loved locker room talks, which are regarded as a part of the positive social benefit additional to the swimming. They will be lost as everyone will have to change in their own separate cubicle. It will also slow down changing since it will be broken into several queueing points for showers, cubicles etc. and loss of speed and communality of the ‘changing bench.’
There is considerable anger and opposition amongst the vast majority of regular swimmers, who are council tax payers, to the imposition of these plans.  The Consultation Process was not transparent but opaque. Letters concerning this, and to Cabinet members and managers at GLL went unheeded. Objectors were not listened to. No results of consultation has been published to show how many people supported it or what they thought they were voting for. Unisex changing was not mentioned in the 4 questions of the Consultation questionnaire.  
RBKC agreed to the choice of a firm of ‘chartered surveyors’ rather than architects to produce a plan. More sensible alternative plans have been drawn up by swimmers who are architects, showing that it is quite possible to divide the space into 3 divisions - men/ women/ and schools + families, with corridors on either side parallel to the pool. These have been ignored.
Chelsea pool in its present form has unique character: it has soul. The proposed plans may suit a new build large leisure center, but to impose them on the listed Chelsea Pool without regard to the local residents/tax payers and regular swimmers is wrong. It interferes with a tradition and a culture which supports daily swimmers, quite possibly keeping them healthier and thus indirectly saving money which we are now told is needed for adult social care. It is a significant part of the experience of their daily swim. Raised at one of the meetings, swimmers were told they could chat at the side of the pool, or outside in the street.  What a good solution!!
An eloquent 3 minute speech from a daily swimmer at the planning application hearing supported the swimmers’ feelings perfectly. This led to 2 of the 3 conservative planning panel members voting against it, only one in favour. The plan was only passed by the chairman voting and using a casting vote which he had not done for other applications that night. Had a Labour member who was ill that night been present it would probably have been refused.
In the Royal Borough newsletter Spring 2017 we learn the 1.9% increase in council tax will bring in £1.5million which would otherwise have needed to be found from other cuts. Perhaps if they had decided to only spend on the essentials at the pool such as a new boiler they could have avoided much of the tax increase which is a similar sum to what is being spent on the Chelsea pool. 
In the same newspaper the council boasted of helping to get young local people “active” with free sessions on cookery, growing their own food  (growing your own food in London is rather difficult.)
 They also said ‘inactivity is a major cause of obesity’, but failed to mention the wasted money on the “unisex changes” which only extends pool closure time. This is why objectors to this silly scheme want to continue their swimming which is a real and irreplaceable way to keep slim and heathy.

 Unlike Westminster which makes swimming in its council pools free to all residents of their borough RBKC has made no steps in that direction at all. Nor has it attempted to offer alternatives to swimmers at no extra cost from “the Ist April to the end of summer“ that it seems to expect the pool to be out of action.


The WCC Labour Group blame WCC for the break up(see below) and RBK&C blame H&F!

The truth will never be known. 
The only substantive fact is that it was a bloody silly idea in the first place. 
Myers and Pooter got their K's on the back of it: they should be stripped of them.

"Westminster Council’s long-term mismanagement of back-office systems for Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster were at the root of the break-up of tri-borough arrangements.

Councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham had little alternative but to look for other arrangements following grotesque failings in some of the back office tri-borough workings, for which Westminster was the lead borough. From the start of tri-borough, Westminster took charge of an attempt to run all three councils' routine billing and staff hours, pay and pensions administration through one contract.

Westminster Council gave the contract to BT in January 2013 telling everyone that it would save £30m and other councils would be asking to join in. At that point Westminster expected the contract to commence across the three boroughs in November 2013 (for HR) and March 2014 (for finance) and go live soon after.

It didn't. The contract actually went live in April 2015. The reason for the delay, and what happened after the contract did go live, are unfortunately covered by strict rules about commercial confidentiality. It is however in the public domain that Westminster Council's Audit and Performance committee held eight extraordinary meetings over this one contract (all in private sessions)."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


The Dame thinks this pretty well sums it all up.
What possible experience did Derek Myers or Pooter Cockell have to conduct this dangerous and ill-advised experiment.

Retired Chief Executive
In June 2012 I wrote to Cllr Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea as follows:

"Any organisation can only serve one "brain" otherwise it becomes dysfunctional. We are proceeding with three Leaders and three Cabinets. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The Chief Executive selected to run a merged operation has to be recruited from outside the shareholders. If he comes from one of the hosts there will always be suspicion from the others and authority will be undermined and then it breaks down.The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

If costs have to be reduced by re engineering an organisation, then lines of control have to be shortened and power concentrated. But we are building a shared power organisation and distributed organisation. The TRI Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Merger and integration is high risk. There is no point contemplating it unless savings of ca 30% can be demonstrated on paper (and empirically only about 10% will be obtained). The three Boroughs spend about £2 billion. 30% is £800 million. But Tri Borough savings were projected to be ca £20m to £30m at the outset and now £40 million is being trumpeted. Paltry in the scheme of things and they will be swept away by risk. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The personality of the Chief Executive needs to be understood and a performance/reward framework put in place to match his behaviour to the desired outcome. The dual appraisal arrangement by K&C and Hammersmith is a classic "divide and rule" trap. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

The Chief Executive needs to report to a single master. Mr Myers will report to two masters. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner drivers need to be aligned. Westminster and K&C have guaranteed Conservative majorities.The Leaders are on a long leash. Hammersmith is a marginal council (Conservatives in survival mode). The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner constituencies need to be aligned. The demographics of Hammersmith are fundamentally different from K&C/Westminster. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

In my experience any integration programme will fail if any one of the rules above are broken.


Some of the Dame's naughty Hornton Hornets tell her the ludicrous Tri-Borough arrangement is in danger of imminent collapse: it cannot come too soon.
We need to be free of the interference of the dreadful H&F and Westminster.

Another crass idea of Myers and Pooter Cockell hits the buffers.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017



Dear Dame 

No matter how senior you are within Sainsbury's you are expected to get down and dirty for a few weeks a year.
This means toiling in a store shelf stacking, or worse, to get some idea what those at the bottom of the heap have to endure.

Having just received my business and council tax demand I took a look at the career profiles of our senior officers. 
It was no surprise to find that none had ever held down a job outside local or national government: in fact, most had spent their entire working lives depending on the public purse for their bullet proofed lives

Would it not be a good idea to force the likes of Messrs Stallwood and Holgate to work for a month in some hard-pressed local business? 
In that way, they could get a better understanding of the effort and sacrifice required to fund their obscenely high salaries and pensions of our senior council officers.

Yours respectfully,

A Notting Hill Shopkeeper

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Londoners, of all political persuasions, turned out en masse this Saturday to protest about NHS plans to cease all Congenital Heart Diseases operations and research at the Royal Brompton. The closure would especially hit children and young people. 
Let's hope Jeremy Hunt gets a grip on this and stops this madcap and pointless scheme.
Victoria Borwick MP

The Crowds Protesting
Nick Paget-Brown, Betty Boothroyd, Greg Hands MP
Former Leader of the Commons, Betty Boothroyd

Saturday, 18 March 2017



What is the matter with NHS Management? 
One madcap scheme after another as they flounder around like decapitated chickens. Their latest madness affects us all. Their idiotic and senseless plan is to decommission Congenital Heart Disease Services at Royal Brompton Hospital including linked research and the Children's Unit.
Please join the march on Saturday, 18th March(details above) and tell the NHS bureaucrats what you think by clicking on the LINK

World's Leading Heart Surgeon

Read what Sir Magdi Yacoub has to say LINK

Monday, 13 March 2017


The old Dame has always had a bit of a schoolgirl 'pash' for Cllr Julie Mills....
She really speaks her mind. 
Other Conservative councillors should heed her example. 
This letter to the planning committee is typical of her 'no nonsense; sort it out' approach.

The best leader of the Council we never had.....

This quote, made at the start of her Mayoralty sums her up....
"A common misconception about Kensington and Chelsea is that it is full of rich people, but that is simply not true.  "Of course there are some very well off people, but we also have some of the worst pockets of deprivation in London, particularly in the north of the borough. And people can feel isolated due to poverty, but there are so many other reasons too - maybe due to age or disability."

Dear Planning Committee.

Thank you for calling in several of the mass applications for what are advertising structures rather than phone services and which will further blight the streetscape.  The horror is that they continue to encourage criminality and public nuisance via carding, public order offences, drug taking with drug paraphernalia left behind, prostitution and discarded condoms, filth and vermin since the cos neither clean nor maintain their structures.

The sadness is that the alleged telephones and wifi services are not functional on any consistent basis, leading most citizens to believe that this is a subversion of The Communication and Planning Acts, the real provide advertising revenue to private cos. with no reciprocal public benefit.

May you let us know how many Applications, officers have turned down as well as The Planning Committee so far?

The Public Highway should not & cannot be used in this casual manner. A Boards, for example are not permitted this unlimited exposure. 

Officers should note that Norland Councillors resist all Applications to install telephone advertising on The Highways, posing as phone boxes...... unless a company can show that there is a demonstrable need. The onus is on the Company. If not made out....the Applications MUST fail. 

The Executive and Cabinet should take note of The Motion which was passed at last Council regarding these duplicitous structures. It urges KC to enforce against derelict structures on its Highways and Tfls.... and requires the MPs to seek amendments to the Communications Acts, to deter this practice. 

Mr. Carver is requested to supply The Motion and the voting numbers as I believe it was carried unanimously across all Parties. 

May we suggest that you consider holding off determination till the MPs respond so we do not get into a basement scenario where permissions were granted in huge numbers while we worked out reactive Policy, retrospectively.

May We also ask why enforcement officers do not serve Abandonment Notices and have permanently placed structures removed forthwith where demonstrably they have been shown not to be fit for purpose?

Please log this email and The Motion as a formal OBJECTION to all Applications that have recently come in and any future ones. 

Yours sincerely

Cllrs. Mills and Lindsay. ( Norland Ward )

Sunday, 12 March 2017



The Dame was surprised to read this from one of her grand readers. Surely it is wrong that residents should have to pick up the bill for the incompetence of the planning dept?

Flat 10020, 
Chelsea Cloisters
Sloane Avenue
London SW3 3DW
0207 351 3409

My Dear Dame

Readers might like to know RBK&C will be buying a luxurious motor car for myself and Colonel Bulkeley-Ormerod-Egerton!
The new Marlborough School development has taken our light away so our solicitors, Messrs Edwin Coe of Lincolns Inn, wrote a nasty letter to Mr Stallwood.
The Council, not wishing to have the development held up, or bad publicity, are now quietly negotiating to pay us Chelsea Cloisters owners 'go away' money.
Well, actually, it's taxpayer's money.
The full amount will be disclosed when negotiations are complete, but Messrs Coe tells us it will be 'chunky'.
Looks like another massive cock up on the part of Mr Stallwood's planning team who did not see, looking at the  plans, the development would affect our right to light.

By the way, dear Dame, your fame goes before you. 
Our Chelsea Cloisters Resident Association are honoured to extend to you an invitation to our Summer Cocktail Party. Perhaps your sporting young nephew, Ludo, would come to? 
There will be many young gals from different parts of Eastern Europe who would love to meet him and empty his wallet.

Ever yours,

Mrs  Bulkeley-Ormerod-Egerton


Why did Mr Stallwood, our head of planning, allow Mr Moran, a very generous Tory Party donor, to put up this hideous sign outside Chelsea Cloisters.
Mr Moran has an interesting past LINK

The sign actually misses out a message to one particular type of tenant whose activities are of a nature a family news site like the Dame's dare not dwell upon....


Fresh from trying to turn a buck renting out PERKS FIELD for some ghastly Food Fayre( what is it about this British obsession with eating?) William and wife have been persuaded by an idiot 'adviser' to build an Iceberg Basement below the Kensington Palace Orangery. LINK
The Dame is as obsequious and servile as any other when it comes to the Royal Family.
Her polo playing days are long over she still remembers with misty-eyed pleasure playing a chukka or two with Prince Charles and Cllr 'Polo Boy' Marshall.
Presumably, the applicant will say that there is no pre-existing basement so falls outside CL7: that won't wash as the plan is to build a two storey basement.
But, of greater importance, is where the utterly useless Historic England stands. 
It is strictly forbidden to construct basements under listed buildings. The Orangery is Grade 1 listed so it will be easy for the Planning Committee to kick this one into the long grass and blame Historic England.
What's even more hypocritical is the claim that the building works are necessary for the welfare of visitors LINK

The Dame is increasingly concerned about the vulgarity of the new generation of Royals. 
They really do seem frightfully common....

It reminds the Dame of the advice of a wise Royal councillor. When asked by Queen Caroline how much it would cost to enclose Hyde Park to keep out the hoi polloi was told, " only a crown, ma'am; only a crown".

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


If you are a K&C resident with a temptation to use Savills lie down until the inclination passes: if you are using Savills then consider this.... Savills is no friend of residents. 
The Old Court House saga is just one example of this greedy firm having its cake and gorging on it.

Savills used lies and subterfuge to try to con the planning department into giving consent for a massive basement under The Old Court House. This, despite knowing there was a pre-existing basement.
Had they succeeded a swathe of local property would have been blighted.

Selling your property would have been a nightmare.....thanks to Savills.
There are plenty of local agents who can provide the same, if not better service, so why use Savills, an enemy of our neighbourhood?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


Chelsea residents, fresh from defeating the mega basement ambitions of a 'never here' Canadian cable tycoon, are turning their attention to a multi-billion pound developer. 
This time in the shape of the Imperial Tobacco Pension fund. The fund has applied to knock down the much loved Daunt Bookshop in Fulham Rd and replace it with yet another boring eatery...Cote.
However, despite being recommended by Mr Stallwood's planners, the Planning Committee sensibly turned it down last night.
So, here's a question for Mr Stallwood....
The Planning Committee were so appalled by the design mediocrity of your recommendation that they threw it out without even giving it a moment's discussion. 
Why on earth did you recommend it to the Committee?

What is it about K&C planners? They all seem to have been imported from Birmingham with all the grim bad taste associated with a city wrecked by developers. 
Against the wishes of residents, Mr. Stallwood's team has recommended the destruction of this much-loved enclave set prettily back from the hubbub of Fulham Rd.

But it seems that residents are at last beginning to bare their teeth and are challenging Mr Stallwood and his team. 

Rory Bremner is leading the charge and you can read his wise words here LINK

Of course, nothing gives our planners more of a thrill then cozying up to one of the world's most powerful pension much more fun than dealing with boring little residents.


Never has such venom been directed at a resident.
Hundreds of Chelsea residents vented their fury at shadowy Canadian billionaire, eighty-year-old, David Graham. 
Graham, a rare visitor to our shores planned to dig another massive mega basement under his eight-bedroom Walton Street mansion. Correctly, his plan has been thrown out by the Council LINK....but residents deserve answers....
1. The Council planners admit the Old Court House had a pre-existing basement. Why then did it spend hundreds of hours, finessing Savills's application, on behalf Graham, knowing it would fail?
2.   Wellcome Trust, the landlord to the several affected businesses’ did nothing to support its tenants. Why?
3.   Savills and Wellcome Trust have a longstanding professional relationship, yet never admitted a potential conflict.
4. Why did Savills claim the Construction Traffic Management Plan(CTMP) would not impact residential streets knowing, every day, for two years, lorries would have to travel down densely residential Pont Street.
5. Council officers spent hundreds of hours working on Savills's application on behalf of Graham, at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds in man-hours, yet received just £4000.
A ruinous waste of resident’s taxes when our Council claims poverty.
Scores of residents had to devote time and money fighting an application defying any logic. It has cost them at least £30,000 in professional fees and, beyond money, incalculable stress and hardship.
Cllrs Paget-Brown and Coleridge were trenchant in their opposition to this application.

They now need to have a quiet word with planning chief, Graham Stallwood and find out how on earth this basement application ever saw the light of day.

Sunday, 5 March 2017


What happens if steady Cllr Nick Paget-Brown, our leader, is found, bereft of life, in his bath?
This was the nightmare the old Dame awoke from the other day.
The Dame's luxury sleeping suite
When the last leadership battle took place the Dame was firmly on the side of the angels, pointing out the dangers of a Moylan victory. 

The young clique of councillors, led by Cllr 'Polo Boy' Marshall, told Paget-Brown, " accept Rocky as your deputy or we vote Danny Boys"
Bird's Nest Hairstyle

Fielding Mellen is a divisive, emotional and inexperienced young person. The prospect of him ever taking over from Paget-Brown is one that should set alarms bells ringing.

Cllr Paget-Brown has had a few years to recognise the deficiencies of his deputy. He should have taken steps to 'succession plan' by appointing to the Cabinet mature and capable hands who could take over the reins in the event of a bathtime tragedy.
Residents deserved at least that.

Saturday, 4 March 2017


The Dame and her followers have been consistent in warning of the pitfalls of the Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster Tri-borough arrangement
Chickens coming home to roost
The fact that ex Cllr Pooter Cockell, the then leader of K&C thought it a good idea should have sent a frisson of fear down our spines. 

Cockell, a not very bright, failed cigarette salesman with a wicked record for expense abuse was a catastrophe in every sense. Just an example of his greed LINK
It now seems that the chickens are coming home to roost....

Wants OUT!
The very clever Lord Adonis has strongly criticised the overall management of the arrangement and Cowan, the H&F leader is pondering whether he will continue with it.

The sudden departure of H&F's CEO, Nigel Pallace is purportedly connected with Tri-Borough.

The Royal Borough is now in a quandary. 
Good senior officers have departed and services deployed to H&F and Westminster have been the subject of massive criticism.
It's all been a terrible mistake....just as the Dame warned...

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Just a couple of years in post and £200k plus H&F Chief Executive, Nigel Pallace is off. 
OK, so the Dame is K&C ...entric but as we are burdened with H&F as a Tri Borough collaborator we have a vested interest in digging the dirt.
So, what gone wrong and how much is it going to cost long-suffering H&F residents to speed Pallace on his way? 

Please email the Dame with any salacious, malicious but not mendacious info 


"How dare anyone accuse either the Dame, Bach or the Kensington Society of leaking the email. 
The email was sent to the Dame by a councillor....'no names; no pack drill' as the Dame's 4th hubby, the Indian Army Brigadier was wont to quote.
And, to put things into perspective, local government has a role in supplying data to the Valuations Office. 
The point also stands that Mr Holgate should have an idea as to the impact of increased business rates on the local economy.
Westminster has been strident in protesting about business rates: odd that our council has been so quiescent."
'A furious Dame'

Michael Bach is one of the RB's foremost experts on planning and related matters.
He wrote to our £300,000 a year(all in costs) Town Clerk, Mr. Holgate, about the economic impact of excessive business rates on the Royal Borough and impact on trading.
Mr Holgate either totally missed the point....or was just being ironic! Please read his letter....
For the CEO of the Royal Borough not to have understood the implications of the question is a bit of a surprise!

Dear Mr Holgate,

I am aware of how rateable values are set, but I very surprised by the tone of your response that the Council has not worked out what the likely consequences are for this borough and particularly for the main shopping streets, if only to be able to advise members of the local implications of the revaluation.

Should I take from your response that your officers have not made any analysis of the likely impact of businesses in this Borough? 

Michael Bach

From: Nicholas Holgate <>
Date: Monday, 27 February 2017 at 09:26
To: Michael Bach <>
Cc: Daniel Moylan <>, <>, Matthew Palmer <>, <>, Robert Freeman <>, <>, James Husband <>, <>, Amanda Frame <>, Anthony Walker <>, Henry Peterson <>, Sophia Lambert <>, Thomas Blomberg <>
Subject: RE: Before and after revaluation figures for shops in Kensington High Street

Dear Mr Bach,

Thank you for your e-mail below. As you doubtless know, rateable values are set by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency. The rateable value of any business rates property can be found here on the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) website:

The post code search seems to work best. The results will show the draft 2017 rateable value and the current (2010) rateable value.

If there are problems finding a property, the VOA can be contacted using these details:

Wingate House
93-107 Shaftsbury Avenue
London   W1D 5BU
Telephone: 03000 501 501
Fax: 03000 500 692