The Grenfell Action Group was formed in 2010 to oppose the Kensington Academy and Leisure Centre project and defend the rights of the residents of Lancaster West Estate, a sprawling inner-city housing estate of nearly a thousand dwellings, mostly working class, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. The people of Lancaster West stand to lose a great deal to this massive over-development at the heart of our estate, not least the well-loved and well-used open-space of Lancaster Green, for which this blog is named.
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The Grenfell Action Group was initially part of a coalition of four community groups working for the good of the Lancaster West Community, all four of which opposed the KALC development. The other three groups in the coalition were, Lancaster West Estate Management Board (EMB), Lancaster West Residents Association, and the Grenfell Tower Leaseholders Association.
The status of the EMB has recently become unclear, as the Board has not met for several months, and the EMB can no longer be regarded as represnting the interests of Lancaster West residents in any meaningful way. Hence the Grenfell Action Group now regards itself as party to a tripartite coalition with the Lancaster West Residents Association and the Grenfell Tower Leaseholder’s Association.
The original coalition was formed early in 2011 to take advantage of an offer of funding from the Rpyal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to pay for independent planning advice for the Lancaster West Community. We subsequently engaged Planning Aid For London to advise and represent us during the planning period for the KALC development.
The work of the Grenfell Action Group has now moved on to concentrate on fighting the “managed decline” of Lancaster West Estate and the Borough wide threat of “social cleansing”
March 2014 – THE RADICAL HOUSING NETWORK
The Grenfell Action Group is pleased to announce that we have now joined the Radical Housing Network and are looking forward to getting to know and working with other communities/groups who are experiencing similar problems to ours.
Lancaster West has been a deliberate victim of a policy of “managed decline” by the RBKC Council and their quislings at the Tenant Management Organisation (our landlords) who have starved the Estate of vital investment for over forty years. As a result, we are now forced to live in slum like conditions and we experience a 20 year difference in life expectancy with other more affluent parts of Kensington and Chelsea.
The Council has recently introduced a new Decant Policy to ensure that when the inevitable “regeneration” of Lancaster West and other social housing estates occurs the majority of current residents will be prevented from returning to their existing communities and face being forced out of London.
To add insult to injury, and to further accelerate the social cleansing of the Borough, RBKC has just announced 10% rent increases every year for the next 5 years for Council tenants. Like many other communities experiencing a time of austerity, most people on our Estate can barely make ends meet now and this rent increase is a clear message that we are not welcome in Kensington and Chelsea any more.
RBKC currently spends £1.5 millon a year of our Council Tax on funding the Holland Park Opera while refusing to spend any of their £170 million reserves on providing decent housing for residents in North Kensington. This is something that we are determined to challenge, with the help of the Radical Housing Network, through “direct action” in the future.
WE CONFIRM OUR SUPPORT FOR THE RADICAL HOUSING NETWORK’S PRINCIPLES AND LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH OTHER NETWORK MEMBERS