A new college and ~500 new homes for West Kensington

West London College in West Kensington has been planning a complete rebuild of their facilities for some time now.  They regard the current college buildings as not fit for purpose and want to build a new college on part of the site. This would be funded by new housing on the rest of the site.

At last the consultation is beginning and I strongly urge local residents to attend.  This development will have a major impact on the wider neighbourhood.

The consultation dates are: Wednesday 13 June 2.30 – 8pm and Saturday 16 June 10am – 3pm.  The college is on Gliddon Road, postcode W14 9BL, just north of the Barons Court tube station.

As you can see from the picture the plan is for a very significant “densification” of the site. The proposal includes approximately 470 new homes as well as public space that will be accessible by all residents.  What this will consist of I presume will be made clear at the exhibition – or options will be given.  For me a concern is that the residential blocks will be 10 – 12 storeys high at their highest.  In my view this is too high and represents very significant height creep.

The College plans to go for detailed planning permission in two parts: the college plans first, and then the detailed plans for the housing at a later date.  Our target as local residents should be that this becomes a development that we are all proud of, and are pleased to have seen happen.  I am a great fan of Fitzgeorge and Fitzjames Avenue – as well as the stunning and unusual St Pauls Court.  Our goal should be to make this new development “as good”.  How can we achieve that?  By working together.

I understand that the College’s target is to get the first detailed planning application in over July / August.  Of course many people will be away over part of this time so I suggest that residents – almost from tomorrow – ask the College and the Council to guarantee an extension on the 3 weeks, and to ensure that the response period goes through into September when more people will be around and “refocusing”.

If you are unable to attend the exhibitions “Your Shout” has provided this contact number – 0207 587 3049 – and have said that they will “send you further details on the proposals, including the exhibition banners”.

Have the opponents of CS9 won a quiet victory?

The Hammersmith & Fulham Labour Party election manifesto says: “We are lobbying the Mayor to run the CS9 cycle route down the A4, not King Street or Hammersmith Road.”

Labour election leaflets contained the same statement. The only confusing thing is the phrase “we are lobbying“. This implies that the Mayor of London has the final say over where the cycle superhighway runs and therefore requires lobbying. But he does not. Hammersmith & Fulham transport officers have made clear that the final say over the use of these streets rests with Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Labour councillors have also made this clear to residents. One anti-CS9 group copied me to this from a Labour Councillor “The council’s stated preference is for a cycle superhighway to run along the A4 not Hammersmith Rd. As the ultimate decision lies with LBHF, we can probably assume that CS9 will not go ahead in the form in which it was presented”. Fairly straight-forward, repeating the manifesto commitment, but again clarifying where the decision lies.

Of course the use of the phrase “we are lobbying” is designed to “please all of the people”.  Group A should love us because we tried to stop it and Group B should also love us because we let it go ahead.

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So residents should now be looking for some answers and for some commitments. Residents are entitled to know how the Council Administration reached its decision.  They also need to know what “lobbying the Mayor” actually means in this context.

Since late last year the Council has been receiving submissions from residents on CS9. At a Council Committee meeting earlier this year which discussed CS9, it would have been entirely possible for a summary of the consultation’s results to be presented. But no information was provided. Hammersmith & Fulham residents remain in the dark about the results of the local consultation, and how the responses break down by how close people live to the proposed route or by their preferred transport methods.  They are also in the dark as to why H&F Council has decided to “lobby the Mayor” to change the CS9 route. Those in favour of CS9 will be particularly keen to understand and debate the change of heart and to understand the policy rationale behind it.

Labour’s Manifesto says this: “… we are changing the way the council relates to and works with our residents. From the start, we said we would seek to do things with our residents, not to them, and gave residents greater powers to engage with the council.” The manifesto also says “We decided to make policy in public, too …”

As far as CS9 goes, these commitments are empty words.  The Council has long been able to share the consultation results with residents.  It has declined to do so.  As for making policy in public, I am sure all those in favour of CS9 and all those against CS9, are more than keen to participate in this process.  We need venues, dates, and information.

H&F Council’s Spending on Councillor Allowances set to hit £847,000

Caroline ffiske writes

The H&F Council budget for councillor allowances in 2018/19 is £785,600. Proposals contained in papers for the Council Meeting this week will result in an additional annual cost of £62,137.80.   If the proposals are passed, and all the allowances taken up, the new annual expenditure on Councillor allowances starting next year will be a whopping £847,000.  All data is contained here starting on page 100.

The cost increases arise from the Administration expanding its Cabinet to ten people , and creating additional paid roles for administration councillors including roles for “Assistants to the Cabinet”.

The basic rate allowance for all LBHF Councillors is £8,940.  All 46 Councillors receive this amount.  That is just under £180 a week.  There should be a large dose of public service in being a local councillor.  But to make some sense of the annual payment, if we assume that councillors are being paid somewhere between £10 and £20 an hour, residents could expect their local councillors to be doing 10 to 20 hours of community and ward-based work per week.  As part of the role, councillors are also expected to focus on borough wide issues – policy, or sector, or event, or issue focused.    So the  creation of additional allowances for assumingly additional work should be treated with great care.

Nevertheless here are the additional annual amounts payable to Councillors above and beyond the basic pay of £8940 received by all Councillors, as proposed in this week’s Council papers:

The Leader £32,186.70
Deputy Leader £26,816.40
Other Cabinet members (8) £21,454.20
Chief Whip (where not a member of Cabinet) £21,454.20
Deputy Chief Whip (2) £5,564.70
Chair of Policy & Accountability Committees (6) £5,564.70
Leader of the Opposition £16,086.60
Deputy Leader of the Opposition £5,564.70
Opposition Whip £5,564.70
Chair of Planning and Development Control Committees, Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee, Licensing Committee, and Councillor Member on Adoption and Fostering Panel (3) £5,564.70
The Mayor £10,729.80
Deputy Mayor £5,564.70
Assistant to the Cabinet (5) £2,700.00

If all these allowances are allocated, a whopping 29 out of the 35 administration councillors will receive additional cash under the new proposals.  Interestingly this is in direct contravention of the views of the Independent Panel that looks at Councillor Allowances.  This stated “We reiterate our view that no more than 50% of councillors should receive a special responsibility allowance”.

London Corinthian Sailing Club wins award

Congratulations to the London Corinthian Sailing Club in Upper Mall which was officially recognised as amongst Britain’s best when it received the Increasing Participation Award at the prestigious RYA and Yachts and Yachting Club of the Year Awards 2018.

The club has made significant progress with major initiatives to increase participation in both dinghies and offshore sailing, offering a wide range of activities for all ages, all levels of experience and all aspirations.

Matt Wright from London Corinthian said:

“It’s an award for everyone at the club – we have some amazing members and volunteers doing projects, making new things happen, and the award is really a testament to them, their enthusiasm and their energy – it’s wonderful.”

The awards citation for London Corinthian said:

“Taking part is at the heart of the Corinthian spirit, and the club has recently made significant progress in rebuilding that spirit with major initiatives to increase participation in both dinghies and offshore sailing. Over the past few years the club has really turned itself around, with a diverse membership of nationalities and professions, a strong student group, a family section, and now offers a wide range of activities, for all ages, all levels of experience and all aspirations.”

Richard Pettifer, the club commodore, added:

“This is a fantastic achievement for the club which has seen its membership and sailing activities expand enormously over the last few years, and we hope it will encourage more Londoners to try out sailing. London Corinthian Sailing Club is a vibrant, welcoming and social club which strives to offer all levels of sailing to the diverse and varied community that makes up London and its suburbs. We are thrilled to be recognised for our efforts to increase participation in the sport.”

A car-free day for London? Breathe it in.

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:  

A group of plucky individuals from across London have got together to promote the concept of a car-free day for London on Saturday 22 September.  Don’t worry – they don’t aim or wish to grind London to a halt.  The idea is for some carefully chosen major roads to close – and for local people to join in on their own streets across London where possible and popular.  The idea could then develop and grow organically, based on what works.

They have written to Cllr Wesley Harcourt to see if Hammersmith & Fulham Council will support the concept.

Their top ten target roads are as follows:

1. Tate Modern to Barbican (City of London Culture Mile)

2. London Bridge (Tooley St/ Saint Thomas St/ Bermondsey St)

3. Oxford Street

4. Regent Street/ Portland Place

5. Fleet Street

6. Exhibition Road (South Kensington/ V&A)

7. Kensington High Street

8. Waterloo/Westminster Bridge (Southbank Centre)

9. Vauxhall Bridge

10. Greenwich town centre.

King Street in Hammersmith is in their “other” targets.

The group has also written to Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking for his support.  They hope to develop a web page soon.  Meanwhile you can follow and support them on twitter here.

Here are some amazing images of Paris’s annual car free day.

I tried to find some good images of London car-free but resorted to a lovely old painting.  We should aim for similar tranquility.

Westminster Bridge under Construction 1744 Richard Wilson 1713-1782

 

 

 

 

 

36,000 spring bulbs for Talgarth Road

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

A few years ago I wanted to plant some spring bulbs along the Talgarth Road at the southern end of Avonmore.  I put in a call to TfL – and managed to get through to the right person – that’s right – I managed to speak to the man whose job it is to plant spring bulbs on TfL land.  Nice job.

He came and looked at the area – and 36,000 bulbs were planted.  Thank you TfL.  Now flowering for their third time they look as good as ever.

Beside the roaring traffic, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze:

 

A local museum for Avonmore & Brook Green?

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

Most people living in the Avonmore, Brook Green, and Sinclair Road areas know that Olympia has a new owner, headed up by the Yoo Group.

Yoo Group has extensive plans for Olympia including opening it back out into its separate historic buildings with open space, trees, cafes running between the buildings and accessible by the public.  When I have met with the new owners we have also talked about opportunities for theatres, galleries, museums.  One of the ideas I am keen to push is a museum of the local area.  We have so much history beneath our feet and all around us.  Imagine if school children could visit a local museum and be encouraged to understand and appreciate the wealth of history and beauty right here?  Imagine a space that opened daily that provided a nucleus for all the local artists, archivists, and amateur historians who seek to explore and preserve our area’s past?

One of the obvious opportunities is to show some of the Cecil French Bequest.  I expect most local residents do not know that Hammersmith & Fulham Council owns some of the most important and beautiful pre-Raphaelite paintings that exist.  They were bequested to the Council by Cecil French in 1953.  Edward Burne-Jones lived just off the North End Road for many years and his home “The Grange” was a gathering place for pre-Raphaelite artists.  A local museum would honour Cecil French’s bequest and bring some of the paintings home.

As part of exploring this idea I visited Hammersmith &  Fulham’s archives which are housed nearby.  We have an extensive collection of maps, photographs, paintings, and records in storage.  All longing for a bit of air and appreciation.

Part of the Cecil French collection is currently on display at the Watts Gallery in Surrey – and Hammersmith & Fulham residents can attend for free.  Hire a bus!