We posted an item a couple of days ago castigating Cllr Coleridge for his indifference to appeals for better measures to protect vulnerable residents on the frontline from the worst excesses of noise and dust from the KALC works. To our horror the Labour leader on the Council immediately accused us of damaging delicate behind-the-scenes negotiations they had begun with Coleridge.
Frankly it’s hard to see how anything we say could be damaging, as there are few indications of anything positive happening for us to damage or upset. We are grateful to Cllr Tod Foreman for his perspicacity (ooh big word) in identifying the areas (EG Verity, Whitchurch and Blechynden) that would be worst affected, and for his attempts to engage with Cllr Coleridge on the issue.
However we have seen no evidence of any significant progress being made. Coleridge is sticking to his guns, disowning RBKC responsibility for the problem they have created, and passing the buck to the TMO who, as usual are pleading poverty. Indeed Coleridge himself has already told us that additional funds for Grenfell type improvements to other parts of Lancaster West are unlikely to materialise from TMO budgets for at least three years, and maybe longer.
Meanwhile our local MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind, has responded to pleas for his help from both ourselves, and some of the worst affected individuals. Sir Malcolm has at least found a suitably compassionate tone, unlike Cllr Coleridge who until recently, and despite being repeatedly warned of this, seemed oblivious to the fact that there were many vulnerable residents right on the frontline, whose welfare had clearly not even been considered.
Nonetheless, even Sir Malcolm has resorted to the same tired TMO mantra that would seem to be part of the problem rather than of the solution.
Cllr Foreman, to his credit, has challenged Coleridge with the inescapable truth that provision of adequate measures to mitigate the worst effects of the building works should have been factored in to the KALC budget to begin with, but was conspicuously absent from the budget allocation.
However, the Grenfell Action Group has been banging that particular drum since last December, when the budget was approved. To our horror it included no provision of funds to mitigate the significant negative impact of the development on the local community. And it’s not as if they might have inadvertently forgotten this. We have been banging on about it (and I mean BANGING) ever since day one, because we never really trusted this Council, and never expected fair treatment from them.
Of course, one of the problems we’ve had all along, quite apart from the intransigence of the governing Conservatives, is that our local Labour opposition councillors have been ambivalent right from the start, presumably because it was a Labour government which dreamed up this ghastly academies programme to start with. Labour councillors have thus found themselves snookered politicaly, and forced into supporting the KALC project even while increasingly having to recognise the real harm it will do to this working class, Labour heartland, community.
Who’d be a Labour councillor in RBKC?
Labour or Tory, they don’t seem to like this blog too much. Maybe that’s because we finally managed to find a truly independent voice by creating a forum in which they no longer control the agenda. In fact they control nothing here, because this is OUR VOICE. This is at last the authentic voice of our community, beyond their ability to control, censor or spin.