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DAMESATHOME@GMAIL.COM
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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

WHY DOESN'T THE HORNET'S NEST USE SOCIAL MEDIA?

 



Dear Dame,

Old folk like you tend not to embrace social media: that's a pity for democracy in the Royal Borough.

The other day you put up a post concerning the outrageous granting of planning permission for a tower block in Old Brompton Road.

I understand that close to 1300 residents read the piece. 

You could have quadrupled that number had you engaged with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al.

Yours is the most influential and widely read blog in K&C. 

You do democracy no favour by not maximising readership. You are a force for good in the Borough and could be an even greater one if you invested a little in social media.

Thanks for all you do,


Stanley Ward Resident


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

A LORD, A BINGLE AND A FEILDING MELLEN

 MILORDY Moylan claims all that is written by the Dame is false...

Are you sure Milord? 

You and your then fellow councillor, Rocky Feilding Mellen seemed to have a great deal of contact with 'Piggy' Bingle.

You can read all about PIGGY 



Piggy Bingle


Piggy is a well-known procurer of contact with councillors in a position to favour the 'placemaking' plans of certain greedily disgusting developers.

The Dame throws down a challenge to the noble lord of Ballsoff Heath....have you ever been 'entertained' by Piggy?

'LORDLY' MOYLAN INSULTS THE DAME!

Preening, self regarding Lord




click to enlarge

The Dame's dear snobbish mama always used an equine analogy in dealing with jumped up Brummies..."they can't take oats" she would say....disparagingly.

This dodgy fellow from Birmingham has finally got his rather large posterior on the red leather of the Lords and now likes to be referred to as The Lord Moylan of Ballsoff Heath.

His Lordship forgets his friendships and sumptuously scrumptious dinners with the likes of 'Fattie' Bingle, the 30 stone lobbyist....

Come on Danny Boys....you may be a Lordy but for us, you will always be, Danny Boys...mmmmm






Monday, 10 May 2021

AN APPEAL TO CROWN ESTATES

 

Dear Mr Scattergood,


My name is Georges Assi and I am a resident of Kensington W8, and on the board of the Victoria Road Area Residents’ Association. I am writing to you in my personal capacity, as someone who is a massive user of Hyde Park, where I run, cycle, walk my dog, play with my family, commute to work, and recharge my batteries. I am a lifetime member of the Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Hyde Park is my favorite place on Earth, and although I have travelled around the globe, to distant mountains and remote islands, this is my special place. Hyde Park is an oasis of peace, beauty, oxygen, a critically important element of mindfulness in a hectic city.

I am writing to you to ask for the reopening of South Carriage Drive during weekdays.

I understand that there was a public consultation and that the vast majority of respondents decided to support the extension of the closure of this road. It’s hard to disagree that parks should be car-free, that we should protect the environment, promote less pollution, and encourage more cycles, more runners, a more active commute, etc.

But once again a valid and non-controversial objective is being jeopardised because it’s taken one step too far: the roadworks in Knightsbridge, combined with the closure of the South carriage drive, as well as the North carriage drive, combined with the bottlenecks at the top of serpentine, combined with the reopening of the economy, are creating a massive bottleneck, which is harming everyone: buses, drivers, taxis, emergency vehicles, trucks, delivery vans, are all at a standstill trying to cross the Knightsbridge junction. As a result: more pollution for all. And a clogged passage from West to East, without viable alternatives. Journey times extended beyond acceptable levels, damaging the economy.

I played an active role in organising the support that RBKC needed in their decision not to reinstate the temporary Cycle Lane on High St Kensington, by coordinating the action of 25 residents’ associations in the area, representing 3,400 households, and inviting them to co-sponsor the open letter below. This was a historical achievement in the sense that never before had all the main RA’s in the borough come together in such a united way. The reason was that everyone understood that opposing the cycle lane did not mean being anti-cycling, or anti-environment, or anti-progress. It just meant being sensible and respecting the balance of all the users in a city where all forms of transport have to be respected.

The same ingredients are involved here.

I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss this request with you or the relevant person in your team.

Best regards,
Georges Assi

Monday, 3 May 2021

A FRIEND OF THE DAME AND OF RBKC RESIDENTS DEMOLISHES TOWER BLOCK LIES

READ BY 1200-A RECORD!

Unusually, the Dame gives unprecedented space to this in-depth analysis of the decision-making process which caused consent to be given a Ritblat development-one which totally overwhelms a Grade 1 Royal Park and rides a coach and horses through the Council's own strategy.

It is a vitally necessary read for anyone interested in how developers 'get things sorted'

Coming soon to a Royal Park near you - 344-350 Old Brompton Road - A new tower block 

Courtesy of Jamie Ritblat’s Delancey / Earls Court Development Group and his Friends at RBKC

If ever there was an example of toothless councillors kowtowing to the whims of a developer, then last Thursday’s RBKC (virtual) planning meeting was a textbook example. 

Step forward Conservative representatives Tom Bennett (Redcliffe Ward), James Husband (Abingdon Ward), Walaa Idris (Brompton and Hans Town Ward) and Charles O’Connor (Holland Ward). 

Only a single representative, the fifth member of the planning committee, Cllr Mohammed Bakhtiar (Labour, St Helens Ward) grasped the national significance of this site and voted against it.

Add into this mix an architect, Fred Pilbrow (a round spectacled product of the Architectural Association who would struggle to recognise the truth if it was presented to him in an identity parade) spouting utter nonsense and a rather quaint ritual at the beginning of the planning meeting where “members are asked to declare any interests”, to which, of course, they each declared “none” and there, Ladies and Gentleman, is a recipe for the wishes of the community to be trampled on, yet again…  

On a micro level, perhaps there are no individual relationships between Cllrs Bennett; Husband; Idris; O’Connor and the developer Jamie Ritblat (Delancey / Earls Court Development Group) but on a macro level, every single one of them should have declared that the developer is a major donor to the Conservative Party-a point a judge may find relevant in a review) 

See link: https://bit.ly/3b1tLvA

Perhaps, this is not considered enough of an ‘interest’ for individual Councillors to mention and perhaps it is better to skip over such things, but here lies a slippery slope when a small cog in the machine mortgages their soul to the devil, or at least to the party and to Boris Johnson, for a whiff of a gong or perhaps the heady scent of red velvet trimmed with ermine. A well-trodden path for certain RBKC and former GLA members, most recently M’Lords Lister, and Moylan (The third wheel in that particular triumvirate, Lord Lebedev, merely sold his ‘support’ in exchange for disgraced Prime Minister Cameron attending his birthday party and by providing an employment scheme for a former government minister). 

In addition, there have been historical examples of RBKC supporting the sale of public assets to Mr Ritblat’s Alpha Plus Private School business and facilitating the demise of the Kensington Odeon, but I digress… back to our tale…..344 - 350 Old Brompton Road sounds innocuous enough. As, perhaps, does a proposed 9 storey tower which includes an increased number of levels to add “affordable” housing to the borough’s supply, but when you know that the site is opposite a Grade I Royal Park (and the tower is the “gateway” to an up to 40-acre development behind, then alarm bells start to ring…

The council received only 6 letters of support for the proposed scheme and nearly 400 letters of objection (yes that’s right folks they received 50 times as many objections by voters in the borough).) 

The planning report was written by one Joseph Whitworth, who although now back in the UK takes “working from home” 11,500 miles and an 11-hour time difference away in his native New Zealand to an entirely new level. So anxious was he to support this scheme (and I assume please the council who allowed such elasticity in his terms of employment) that amongst the letters of objection:

  • A letter from SAVE Britain’s Heritage which, although sent electronically on 16th March, was not registered / uploaded to the planning portal until the 27thApril (a day and a half before the planning meeting and after the planning officer’s report had been written);

  • A letter from the Royal Parks who are listed as a consultee but not mentioned in the report;

  • The London Parks & Gardens Trust went on the website on 16th April - listed as a consultee - no mention in the report;

 

Readers should note that it is most unusual that the following parties also objected:

 

  • TfL objection which is listed as consultee - Mentioned in objector comments section not; and 

  • LBH&F objection which is listed as consultee - Mentioned in objector comments section.

This is a unique site bordering Brompton Cemetery, a grade I listed park & garden in a designated conservation area, meaning it belongs in the top 2% of the nation’s most important heritage assets.

Brompton Cemetery’s location and setting are integral to its heritage listing and fundamental to its unique nature and the character of the Philbeach conservation area, as noted by the numerous protected views identified in the council’s own adopted Conservation Area appraisal. The proposed tower will negatively impact many of these views and harm the fundamental character of this conservation area.

 

There is a precedent approval for this site in 2015 which, at just 4-storeys is much more appropriate in scale. The council does not explain why the sudden increase in height from 6 to 9 storeys was recommended for approval? This is not justified in the report. 

 

The extended location of this proposal sits between the Warwick Road in the East and the Railway to the West and it is adjacent to Eardley Crescent. There is nothing of this height nor of this character anywhere else in the conservation area. 

 

Adopted Policy CL12 states that tall buildings in this area should be ‘Exceptionally rare in the Borough's townscape of predominantly low to medium rise development”, and will remain “very occasional features”. “Because of their visibility, the location and use of district landmarks must be significant to the Borough as a whole”. Given that the anticipated development of the site behind this tower will doubtless include a large number of other towers and the recent planning precedent of the canyons of widely disliked towers on the nearby old Homebase site, this will not be a rare feature, and certainly not of “significance”.

 

Michael Bach's (Kensington Society) point that this proposal is being considered way too early before sight of the new plan for the main development behind is highly relevant here (are you seriously telling me that the developer and the council cannot meet their housing targets on the 40 acres behind this “gateway” ?). 

 

Furthermore, Section 72 of the Listed Buildings Planning Act 1990 requires local planning authorities “to preserve or enhance the townscapes’ importance and settings of the cemetery’s frontages” and ‘to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the cemetery as a conservation area.”

 

The report talks of a “Gateway Landmark” – does the council really want to define a gateway landmark as a block of flats? Pilbrow justified the height of his tower by saying it was in the “best traditions of mansion blocks” (in anyone’s books Fred this is a tower !  - see image below


     




This is a mansion block Fred (below), A 5 storey one on the old Brompton Road - add four more stories to this and then you have a tower) :


All the neighbouring buildings immediately adjacent to this site are 4 storeys (with basements) and the nearest mansion blocks on the Old Brompton Road are 5 or 6 storeys (with basements). In most cases they have lower ceiling heights than the proposed tower and certainly none are 9 storeys .

So, then we come to the false claims about this building. It Is not “carbon neutral” (the developer is buying offset credits); there is no social housing; the “affordable” housing is controlled by the developer. The rubbish is being collected across a busy pavement and the scheme was not “supported” by Historic England as Fred Pilbrow boasted in both his opening and closing statements. 

The “get out of jail free card” for Cllrs  Bennett, Husband, Idris and O’Connor supporting the scheme was that apparently Historic England had done so. We are yet to get to the bottom of this point but it turns out that Historic England did not in fact comment on the scheme at all, which by Fred’s logic means that if, for example, "I didn’t know about a mass shooting in the US and therefore did not comment on it", would imply that I “supported” mass shootings…..

Cllr Idris stated in one breath that a “tower wasn’t like a pair of shoes you could return because they didn’t fit” and that she was “inclined not to support the proposal”, yet in the next breath bemoaned that she was asked by the Chair to make a decision before “seeing which way the other councillors voted” and then flip-flopping and supporting the proposal (doubtless reminded in the Microsoft Teams Private Chat Room that she was supposed to do so).  

Cllr O’Connor almost apologetically said he “wished that the building was 6 or 7 stories” (then why not do what the people that you supposed to represent asked you to do in the first place and vote against it? ….unless, of course, you were told by the party not to!) 

The result is that all of this nibbles away at our values and at our built heritage …

The system is rotten and RBKC is a rotten borough putting party loyalties ahead of resident’s wishes. The planning system gives only token lip service to democracy. Representatives of the 400 objectors were given a total of 8 minutes to speak (and due to various technical “difficulties” this was cut short) and they couldn’t challenge or question the untruths (mentioned above) that came from the other side..

Objectors registered to speak (with time allowed on the night) from 400  within the Borough 

  • Amanda Frame (3 minutes with interuptions) 

  • Michael Bach (4.5 minutes) 

  • Guy Oliver (0.5 minutes) 

  • The Friends of Brompton Cemetery (0 minutes) 

  • Mr Haluk Karacabey (0 minutes) 

  • Ann Kutek (0 minutes)  

  • Henry Peterson (0 minutes) 

  • David Trodden (0 minutes) 

One final point  (and I thank you reader if you have got this far)  I was interested to see the council’s new email footers: 

Our Values - Putting Communities First | Respect | Integrity | Working Together

These should of course read :

Our Values - Putting Communities Last | Disrespect | Impropriety | Working Treacherously 

Rest assured, despite a clever makeover, employing more expensive PR consultants and a so called “consultation” with the community about past wrongdoings, nothing has changed at RBKC… it is business as usual.

A LIE CAN TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK AGAIN WHILE THE TRUTH IS LACING UP ITS BOOTS: MARK TWAIN

Politicians, whether Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem are generally consummate liars. 

When caught the Dame will come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Tony Devenish and Shaun Bailey claim that they saved Sutton Estate...it is a lie of such magnitude that it beggars belief.

Devenish...a liar


All Chelsea knows the Estate was saved by residents guided by Cllr Ian Henderson and Andrew Barshall so why would Devenish and Bailey spin such an idiotic and untrue story?

In fact, the Dame emailed Bailey as an AM on three occasions demanding his support: the dimwit failed to even reply.

The saving of Sutton was actually quite unpolitical....supporters came from residents as well as affluent neighbours- generally Conservative voters.

By making such fictitious claims Devenish and Bailey alienate the very voters they need...

Oh, and we all know what the Dame thinks about Khan't Do Anything Right





Sunday, 2 May 2021

NEXTDOOR CLOSES DOOR ON DOWNES


Justin Downes wrote this below on Nextdoor. 
In a New York Second Nextdoor management removed an entirely factual statement about its intrusive and probably illegal harvesting of personal data relating to its millions of members. 
Particularly upsetting for Nextdoor's VC owners was Downes's suggestion Nextdoor and its data could be sold to the Chinese government.

Downes has now been banned from Nextdoor proving this organisation likes to live in the shadows and hates free speech.

"I am very worried about this site and so should all of us. 

Why? 

My original perception was that Nexdoor was some sort of quasi philanthropic community asset: it is far from being that. We should all know who is behind it. Here is some stuff on the founder, Nirav Tolia HORNET'S NEST  who was convicted of leaving an accident he caused and who has just sold $100m of shares in Nextdoor to a group of US venture capitalists. This allowed him to sell his $25m Pacific Heights home and upgrade to something more palatial without anybody 'nextdoor'! But we all need to ask why some of the hardest nosed VC's have bought into Nextdoor when there is no obvious income stream. The answer is because of YOU; you are the product and you are very valuable. There are millions of Nextdoor members and the information on each of us is of high value to advertisers and governments. That is what makes Nextdoor worth billions. Having written this I will be kicked off but remember this company and the information it holds can be sold to China or any other country which exploits personal information for nefarious purposes. Just be warned. Nextdoor is not to be trusted...."