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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Thursday, 20 February 2014

SHOULD RESIDENT ASSOCIATIONS STAND FOR THE COUNCIL?

Dear Dame
Thank you for allowing me space to make a point or two.
Some years ago, the unpleasant Tiny Rowlands was asked the point of non executive directors. 
His dismissive response? "They are decorations on a Christmas Tree: you need them."


COUNCILLORS?


So can we surmise that our councillors are about as useful? 


Not long ago, the chairman of the Kensington Society, Amanda Frame, made a trenchant appeal to prevent the demolition, by Malaysian investors, of much loved Lancer Square.

On Lancer Square, Amanda Frame made an impassioned appeal to the committee to stop this greed based vandalism: she failed....despite her well reasoned arguments....as below...

 the proposal represented a significant loss of public space and 
amenity; 
 the new park would be set well back into the development and 
was not usable public space; 
 despite requests made from last summer, detailed plans for the 
children’s play space had not been submitted and it was unclear 
where play equipment would be located; 
 the north-south vehicle axis took up valuable outdoor public 
space and divided the site in half; 
 the National Planning Policy Framework required any planning 
authority to consider the public benefit and access route for flat 
owner vehicles should be pedestrianised; 
 Mr Cleave challenged the traffic planners’ contention that traffic congestion on Kensington Church Street would not increase and he believed vehicle movements needed for removal of spoil 
would exacerbate traffic congestion; 
 assessment of traffic impacts should take place before approval 
of the application; 
 contrary to the report, residents of the Old Court House would 
experience less privacy, and 
 The decision should be deferred until the scheme had been 
revised. 

The only reason for destroying the Square-like the proposal to knock down the King's Rd Curzon, was to boost square footage and the yield. The only beneficiaries being landlords and developers .
So, Dame, if powerful resident associations can be ignored by councillors does it not make sense for resident associations to put up their own candidates?
They would be of more use than the 'Christmas Decoration' councillors....

Kind regards

xxxxx    xxxxxxxx-xxxxxx

23 comments:

  1. As long as someone - preferably a foreign someone - is making vast sums of money from destroying our environment, RBKC is more than happy to oblige. One has long noted that the planning regulations apply only to private individuals, particularly those on modest incomes.

    The Town Hall has always been scared of associations of residents. Pooter repeatedly sought to bring them under his political control. It's unlikely that the new regime is any different.

    The larger and politically independent residents' associations should certainly discuss the possibility of seeking members willing to stand for election as local councillors.

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  2. An interesting idea.... it would be difficult for the political parties to attack such a candidate, being, after all, a resident facing one.
    It makes huge sense. Come on Amanda Frame!

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    Replies
    1. Amanda has shown no inclination to serve as a Councillor. Should she do so it would be a waste of her time to stand as an Independent or Residents representative. The Tory monopoly in Hornton Street would cut her balls off in exactly the same way as it has done with the hapless Lib Dems and the "Royal" labourites. To stabd a chance of making change (much needed change) she would need to be adopted as a Conservative Councillor. Of course Amanda would make a brilliant Cabinet Member for Planning. Go for it Nick Paget-Brown. Put the feelers out.

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    2. Owl is wide awake today. The bird's suggestion that Cllr Paget-Brown should put feelers out to try and make Ms Frame a Tory councillor is just the way that wise Leaders should operate. Quite different from the approach of the hopeless and disgraced ex LeaderCockell who used to like using Headhunters Tribal to find his council candidates. Thank goodness the Tories got rid of him.

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  3. The Officers bit of Town Hall indeed regard Residents Associations, local or borough-wide, as a nuisance. But not a serious one: ask anyone involved in the Vanguard 'localism' experiment.

    Hearing the Associations is tokenism, but the Officers are highly skilled at ignoring them. Members make more listening noises in the direction of the Associations - but that is just what all politicians do, even minor ones.

    We need to wake up to the fact that the Officers get what they want and, if that doesn't coincide with Residents' interests, too bad. If by chance it does coincide, the Associations' role will be trumpeted.

    I am sure the excellent Amanda Frame isn't the slightest surprised at the outcome on Lancer Square. Follow the money and the outturn is predictable.

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    Replies
    1. At Planning Meting after Planning Meeting the Kensington Society makes well researched, cogent objections to proposals and these are delivered (often by the Chairman Amanda Frame) in measured terms. I cannot think of a single case when the Planning Committee has taken any notice. Officers, emboldened by the routine dismissal of any resident and resident Association input to the democratic process, ignore the evidence. The Councillor Chairman of the Planning Committee (currently the odious Cllr Warwick) "fix" decisions at the Chairman's pre planning meeting so that resident input, and Association input, at the open planning meeting is treated as "noise" to be indulged, privately laughed at and dismissed. It is a disgrace

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  4. Amanda Frame is an enormous asset to the community, but is more than fully occupied with her current commitments. She has an exceptional skill set, but no one as busy as she is should stand for election as councillor.

    Elected councillors must find a good deal of time to properly serve their constituents. There are many other able, but less busy, association members able to stand.

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    Replies
    1. The Hornet has campaigned tirelessly for Cllr Freeman to be rehabilitated and given some responsibility again in the Committee system. The Dame was delighted when he was made a Deputy Chairman of Planning - but it is taking too long for this person of principle and planning expertise to get a grip. He seems reluctant to poke his head above the parapet

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    2. Retired Chief Executive22 February 2014 at 05:47

      The job of Leaders is to choose the right people for the right jobs. Horses for courses. Cllr Freeman has great strengths. Integrity, dedication, attention to detail, knowledge of the subject. But he does not stand back to get the big picture. And there is an inclination to brush things under the carpet to live another day. His skill set needs to be augmented by someone with "helicopter" vision and determination. Cllr Mills is such a person. She has articulated clearly what is wrong with planning and put this in writing. Perceptive, penetrating and embracing. And as Mayor, she demonstrated an ability to carry people with her. Cllr Paget- Brown - this Councillor is the person you need as Chairman of the Planning Committee

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  5. Person Familiar With The Situation21 February 2014 at 17:38

    Informed Councillors believe that the Planning Committee is a chalice of arsenic. Councillors are redundant. It is a waste of time and as democratic as starched pampers. Officers call the tune and residents regard the process with contempt. It is a puppet show. The Chairmen serve in order to collect their SRA. Papers are never read by Conservative Councillors, the issues are not understood, and tired committee members just rubber stamp what is put in front of them. Labour Councillors are the exception. But they are routinely voted off by their Tory compatriots. Cllr Coleridge is too timid to take a grip and the issues are anyway beyond his limited powers of understanding. It is sad that the Leader allows the situation to continue. Even the level headed Chairman of the Kensington Society has called for the Head of Mr Bore. Publicly and privately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hanging Mr Bore will not solve the problem. Anyone who has attended Planning Committee meetings and seen the huge volume of papers produced by the Planning Department realises that Mr Bore runs a "sausage machine" made of regulations, references and precedents. This is part of the process. The weakness is that the Councillors on the Committee, and particularly the Chairman, let the tail wag the dog. The Councillors are too lazy or too stupid (or both) to take a grip, give Leadership, and ensure that system is representative and democratic. As usual in K&C, it is fat cat Councillors who are the problem

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    2. Not all Tory Councillors are a waste of time. Cllr Mosely resigned from the Planning Committee in protest against the way an objection by a Brompton Ward resident to a Planning Application was dismissed out of hand. And Cllr Mills has been vociferous in public and private about the joke that planning has become. Cllr Ahern pledged his time as Cabinet Member for Planning to make the system more resident friendly. But it is just too much trouble for the Leadership to listen to these voices - Cllr Paget-Brown likes the quiet life.

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  6. Follower Of Phelps21 February 2014 at 19:00

    When my hero was in charge of planning, every developer knew which door to bang on.

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  7. 18.53 is myopic to try and defend Mr Bore. The man does not have a shred of common sense when it comes to using resources wisely and efficiently and he is totally insensitive to the meaning of democracy. He is more than happy to use up staff resources (aka council tax) to produce huge workloads of multiple applications for the same project. Exhausted Councillors call this "salami slicing" so that determined applicants keep going until everyone is exhausted and they get their way. The ridiculous Bore says "it is my duty". There are certain people who turned on the gas in the gas ovens because they were told to do so.

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  8. The core of the issue is that Conservative councillors are instructed how to vote. So they don't need to read the paperwork. Officers routinely manipulate the system in favour of selected applicants to the detriment of residents and those less powerful - or do I mean less wealthy?

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    Replies
    1. Follower Of Phelps22 February 2014 at 06:02

      Barry loves the wealthy

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  9. All this happens because of the huge Conservative majority on the Council. Labour councillors are too busy fighting for their disadvantaged residents to concentrate much on planning matters – although that may have to change once the Tories start building buy-to-leave private homes for foreign investors to buy on all the big Council estates. This has already started on Wornington Green, is migrating to Silchester and soon will be in full spate across the Borough. What we need are councils elected by proportional representation. On the basis of the last Council elections, the Tories would have had a majority of only three or four, far too small to carry on wreaking the havoc they are now. The Lib Dems would have had many more councillors and Labour quite a few more. Even UKIP might get a look in if this sensible policy were to be adopted. This of course will only happen if the next national government in 2015 is a Labour/Lib Dem coalition.

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  10. Dear Dame, have you seen this article? Oh my prophetic Aunt!

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/22/chelsea-celebrity-stylist-london-rich-ghetto#start-of-comments

    regards, 'Ludo'.

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    Replies
    1. More details of RBKC plans to "socially cleanse" North Kensington can be found here:

      grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com

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  11. It won't open. Perhaps her Ladyship would be kind enough to post it again.

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  12. It's on the front page of the Observer online today!

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  13. Why did Phelps have so many bank accounts? Well done Dame for getting rid of the filthy pervert

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  14. A lot if people would like to know the answer to that one.

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