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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Saturday, 10 September 2016

OLD ETONIAN ATTACKS CONSERVATIVE COUNCIL

When an Old Etonian racehorse trainer attacks a Conservative council over its duplicitous ways something must be seriously wrong...


A BROADSIDE

In this trenchant letter, Charles Egerton lambasts the Council.


Dear Mr Noble,

Thank you for your email of 19th August and details of the construction programme. I’m extremely disconcerted  that you and your fellow councillors/ council employees  are oblivious to the fragilities of the majority of the businesses in the street and the risk that even minimum disruption  will pose to their survival.  If you weren’t, you would have listened to  and respected their concerns over the past  couple of years.

I got involved in the consultation process in the first place after talking to a few local people who brought to my attention the history of the council’s behaviour and what they believed the council’s intentions were for the area.  A number of them had been involved in preventing previous attempts by the council to change the street and they asked me if I would help them try to protect the future of the community and local businesses.

I was surprised that the first consultation took place in July and August, coinciding first with Ramadan, and then with a large proportion of the community being away on holiday. It seemed to me that this indicated either ignorance on the part of the council as to the number of Moroccans in our community or a desire to involve as few as possible of those who would be detrimentally affected by the council’s plans. My suspicions were fuelled after talking to people in the street and finding that the majority of them were unaware that there was a consultation taking place , as they had not received any consultation papers. 

Because of this , we started the Golborne Association to unite people in order to get their wishes across to the council. We discovered that many who were council tenants were afraid of the potential consequences of speaking out.

The rest is history, and out of this process I have learnt a lot. Coming from a Conservative background, having  run the West Berkshire Benefactors Club and membership / fundraising for a number of years, I was shocked and dismayed to find that  a Conservative council  could behave  so underhandedly and with no regard for genuine localism.

I am aware that the Golborne regeneration scheme was also supported by our Labour councillors, which was certainly bewildering as they were betraying their constituents, like turkeys voting for Christmas.

I found it staggering that at our first meeting Tim Coleridge, the councillor in charge of consultation, did not know what the budget was for the expenditure on the street.  This should have warned us that there was no sincere intention to respect the views of our local group. It was certainly patronising to have come so woefully unprepared.

At the time, I did not think it very democratic that the working party that was set up by Coleridge had a strong pro-council bias – subsequently, I have been shown examples by activists in other boroughs that this is standard practice.

In our naivety, we also were unaware – nor was it ever made clear to us – that the consultation was in no regard a referendum, i.e., we had no power to reject the proposed works.  As Southwark community activists have pointed out, ‘‘Participatory consultation’ without participatory decision-making is not only pointless but harmful to democratic planning processes.’  It is also an abuse of public money to fund a consultation exercise that is nothing but a sham.  It also poses the question as to why the photocopied consultation papers we distributed to those who had not received papers from the council were not counted. They were not ballots; they were simply expressing the views of local people – it seems clear that the council intended to suppress these views to further an appearance of consent. Stupidly, we gave them the opportunity to do so. If the community has no power to do anything but acquiesce, the consultation exercise is a waste of local people’s time and energy.

Due to the policies of the council and successive governments over a period of many years, genuine communities have all but vanished from RBKC.   RBKC should be proud of a diverse community such as Golborne Road and use it as a template to be emulated by local authorities across the country. RBKC have the resources that they have no need to be a corporate property development company, basically feeding a bloated Town Hall and their pensions, and serving private interests  instead of the public they are there to serve. As Peter Oborne has pointed out in the Telegraph, communities are where people learn and practice civic virtue: they are essential to a good society.

I hope that rents and rates will not go up as soon as the Golborne Road is ‘sanitised’. However, having read the report on the consultation from the council, I see that a paragraph has already been slipped in which can only be taken as a warning that they will. Small traders will be unable to survive – which is precisely why we tried quixotically to oppose the council’s plans.

I urge you to be sensitive to these businesses and the community they serve over the coming year, and to listen to the  people you work for.



With love

Charles Egerton

23 comments:

  1. true words spoken by a true gentleman,

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  2. Charlie Egerton should read some of the evidence complied against the RBKC on the Grenfell Action Group website to get a true view of the long term and systematic abuse experienced by North Kensington residents.
    https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

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    1. My Mate The Builder11 September 2016 at 12:42

      Sounds as though Golborne is lucky to have Egerton. But he needs to realise that he is in for a long haul and many hours of fighting. The Council strategy is "wear down protesters until they get tired and go away".

      Good luck mate

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  3. Powerful stuff from Mr Egerton.

    Dear Dame, is there nothing you can do to generate more publicity about the nefarious activities of our venal council? Evening Standard? Private Eye?

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    1. Alas one of the biggest problems is that Evening Standards operates inside the Royal Borough. Have not seen anything about our Rotten borough in PE for months.

      If it wasn't for the Dame nothing would be known of the rums going on.

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    2. The Daily Mail and Evening Standard have thick files on Councillors and Officers, even the MPs of the borough; holding on to them till a rainy day.

      Looks like they will be dusted off soon and will be welcomed by the presses.

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    3. Just write to the Editor at Private Eye email address : strobes@private-eye.co.uk. Don't expect an immediate response but follow up with more info if nothing happens. 'Rotten Boroughs' is pretty full but no reason why our esteemed council should not feature in its turn.

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  4. Alas, I shall say it again (again) - a meeting of 300? people in the Great Hall all of 30 years ago was told "The first thing you must realise is that consultation is not negotiation". It appears this lesson has to be learned afresh by every new generation.

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    1. Another "predatory" consultation by the Royal Borough.

      As ex cabinet Member Cllr Weale used to say "we agreed to listen but not to hear"

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  5. Putin Coleridge is flexing his muscles (again) and feeling important. What a pity that he is not a big enough man to realise that he has a unique opportunity to preserve what is unique in the K&C.

    Instead the rodent has become the lap dog of the developers.

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  6. Hopefully the "Vicar of Bray" Golborne councillor will now change her position on this matter, even if the other two don't.

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  7. It is extremely frustrating living in a Borough that is full of intelligent, creative, caring human beings like Mr Egerton, because none of them has the power to make changes. Its about time a group of independents took over from this bunch of useless idiots. Piggy has led ....what.....the annihilation of what is good about this Borough. And whilst he has been distracted listening, (piggy is not a multi tasker) the Hammersmith coup has taken place. The residents are irrelevant to these Councillors .... we need a revolution.

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  8. Delighted to hear that Mr Egerton is a solid supporter of community consultation, as I was told some other Golborne Road residents were trying to prevent full consultation with those who live on the neighbouring estates and who rely on the market for their daily shopping needs.

    A bit of balance needed here ... Golborne Cllrs have NOT been involved in the design process or 'approved' any specific design. Over ten years ago local residents were complaining about the amount of money being spent elsewhere in the borough, but not Golborne. So a sum of money was set aside to 'improve' Golborne Road. I saw the first proposals: unabashed gentrification. After the community resoundingly refused the proposals we Cllrs had great difficulty persuading the Council to keep this £ for improvements that residents would be happy with. The fact that it's taken ten years is testament to that.

    The Councillors role here was simply to ensure that as many local people as possible had their say, and had an equal say to those who live above the shops. We did achieve that.

    I know the Council has an appalling record on consultation (I've commented on it innumerable times) but this isn't one of them, because we Cllrs fought very hard to ensure that. We also fight all the time to support the community against gentrification.

    It is a little ironic to be pulled up for this by an old Etonian.

    Anonymous 12.54 - what a childish comment.

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  9. Is not Cllr Dent Coad an Hon? I understood she was once married to an aristo like me.

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  10. What's that got to do with the price of eggs on Golborne Road?

    The fact that people think it relevant is the best possible argument against the hereditary system imho.

    The Dame knows I am a card-carrying Republican. No disrespect to her, at least she earned her title.

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    1. Cllr DC is correct. The Dame's adornment was in recognition of her services to a 'statelet' on the Eastern fringes of the continent. The 'President' was a dear friend......

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  11. Old Etonian tells elected Golborne councillors what to do - does this sound familiar?

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  12. We Too Have A Voice12 September 2016 at 16:34

    This is vintage Cllr EDC - working hard to try and make sense of a consultation and to try and make it inclusive. It takes time and patience. People who want change, who want to make things better, and who want to carry the residents with them, need to make the effort. Hats off to EDC and her ilk.

    The same cannot be said for teenage public schoolers like Cllr Mellen who reads an idea in a book and then tries to dictate to N Kensington residents what their Ward should aim to become. Hilarious and dangerous that such a person should be tolerated as Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough.

    If piggy gets cooked for breakfast, did anyone ever consider who would run the show?

    Think about it.

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  13. Egerton is a race horse trainer who lives in Newbury.

    The Golborne Association is run by a mad woman who thinks that Golborne Road is her private fiefdom. Amongst other selfish demands, she is adamant that stallholders be allowed to put up their stalls at any hour in the morning because Golborne exists for the making of money rather than being a street where children also live and like to sleep beyond 6am.

    The Golborne Association set itself up without any legal standing whatsoever as a way for people with an enormous sense of entitlement to hammer through whatever it is they wanted just because, like spoiled brats, they wanted something. It didn't matter what anyone else wanted, all that is important to them is that their selfish desires are fulfilled. They were walked through a very thorough and personalised planning process where council officers visited the Venture Centre over several evenings with detailed questions that developed into options which were accepted by a majority. But because the Association did not get *precisely* what they wanted - never mind what actual full time residents, other business owners and market traders wanted - they simply could not believe that this was possible. They were outraged at not getting every single scintilla of their demands met. And now some bloke with more money than sense continues to whine.

    Golborne is not some romantic venue for the loathsome rich to slum it with da kidz, neither is it their private property that they can preserve in aspic where grubby urchins steal shiny apples from benevolent stallholders on their way to clean a chimney. If these honking oafs had shown the slightest interest in the numbers of elderly and otherwise vulnerable people who keep dropping dead after being forcibly removed from their homes during the miserable 'redevelopment' of Wornington Green they might be less despised. But since the 'redevelopment' will improve the value of their properties (people like this don't have homes, just investments) the unhappiness and death of a few povs is of zero interest to them.

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    1. Anonymity is the refuge of the troll - and we've got one here. Fizzing with the usual knee jerk stuff - 'loathsome rich'; 'mad woman'; 'spoiled brats'; 'honking oafs' you get the picture of the kind of nastiness that the popular resistance to the destruction of the community engenders in people normally used to getting their way without proper consultation or local consent.
      I know the 'mad woman' he refers to - Wendy Mandy. 'Mad' in this case sounds like the usual complaint against women who speak out - a.k.a 'bee in her bonnet' ; 'hippy' ; 'harridan.' She is not mad; none of the stallholders, cafe owners, shopowners,residents who will be badly affected by this development think she's mad. They love her; she's effective; she's making sensible points; she's trying to stop a bulldozing, very bad plan. And she's being attacked by the frightened 'anonymous' because she is so good at what she is doing. I know her well, and think her one of the most remarkable, intelligent and compassionate people I have met. The kind of person who drives trolls mad. They never come out in the open to show themselves. I do.

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  14. The Golborne association was set up by a shop owner, who has had a shop on Golborne Road for many many years. The association represents the actual people who own shops, stalls, cafes and flats - not the council. They asked us (the mad woman you refer to, and other residents who live in the road) to help them, as we are not afraid of the council, can't be bullied (except by words), and know journalists who can help.

    So many times as I walk down the street I am thanked by the locals for representing them. The system of consultations and meetings we had to endure was tedious. It became clear these were just a process and a waste of money to pretend councils listen to the people whose lives they are changing forever. Building work has started now, and in the first weeks our side of the street had to put up with no electricity for most of one day (not easy when you have a cafe), but I doubt they will receive compensation.

    We all are still putting on a brave face as our home is pulled apart. At least we still all talk to each other, but for how long as the council escalates gentrification and destruction of this special community?

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    1. Dear: Wendy Mandy and Mr. Egerton , thanks you for bringing out the True about the council , they don't pay rents ... they thinks about only themselves ,, I think every shop should receive compensation ,,

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  15. Dear Mr.Egerton,
    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of local people and those, like myself, who have been coming to Golborne Road for years to have a coffee and maybe buy a dish from one of the lovely food stalls.
    All I can say is that from my point of view I see the destruction of communities happening all over London, Golborne Road set to be a prime example if these proposals go ahead. It feels as though the whole of central London is being turned into some sort of "Gucci/Prada lined street"; everywhere I go I see more developments being built with one bedroom flats starting at half a million pounds upwards and two bedroomed flats etc into the millions. Communities are being ripped apart in the name of "improvement". We really do not need another housing development with homes costing millions of pounds, look at the site behind Golborne Road where a Housing Association has demolished an entire affordable housing community and built yet more multi million pound houses and flats? They will say they provided affordable housing too, but where? And how many? And at what cost to the people who lived there for years? They are destroying homes and upturning people lives, and quite frankly it appears that they couldn’t care less, it is seemingly all about money and pushing out ordinary working people like myself. And in the process now they are wanting to make Golborne Road an accessory to the wealthy; I don't have a problem with wealthy people but I have a problem with it when the local council appear from what I see and hear to be “ rail roading” local residents and sneakily introducing "improvements" that will ultimately serve the wealthy and push out the ordinary working class people who that have lived and worked in the area all their lives; do we really need another fancy paved street where a coffee cost £3.90? I can buy coffee and a nice lunch for under a fiver on Golborne Road at the moment.
    At the end of the day this seems to be yet another conservative local council destroying yet another local community. Golborne Road is unique and diverse and heart-warming as it currently is and, as I say, from what I am seeing/reading and hearing the local council wants to "disneyfy" Golborne Road and make it into yet another incredibly boring, over-priced and soul-less street for wealthy people with expensive outfitters and posh restaurants.
    PLESASE PLEASE STOP STOP destroying our communities.
    All that is needed in Golborne Road is routine tidying/maintenance /repair of paving stones and drainage when what appears to be happening is that the fragile day to day economy of the street is being compromised - stall holders don't have reserves in the bank to stop trading for a day or two let alone weeks on end, particularly when they are being covertly pushed out like all the council and housing association tenants all over central London have been.
    It’s also strange how the council seems to have increased parking wardens and there is now less parking places in Golborne Road.
    I have lived in London for over thirty years and I am struggling to be able to live and work and make ends meet myself and I am nearly fifty years old, I enjoy coming to the Golborne Road that I cherish – I , for one, don’t want another fancy street, I don’t want to see the stall holders forced out, I don’t want to see more white washed paving stones and I certainly don’t want more pots of Bonsai trees sitting outside some shop with security guys looking like the mafia growling as I walk past.
    Whoever is masterminding this proposed destruction of the Golborne Road I beg of you to listen to the local people and think about how this affecting them instead of your own self-centred power trip to create yet another monstrosity of a street. We do not need more gentrification of London and Golborne Road is one of the few remaining street where real life exist, please don’t destroy that. Please.

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