10th March 2013 – Grenfell Action Group email addressed to Councillors Blakeman and Coleridge, and copied to ALL councillors at RBKC, including the DEAR LEADER whose address is, of course, firstname.lastname@example.org
“THEY ARE SMASHING DOWN THE GYM AND THEY STARTED THE DEMOLISHING AT 8.20AM. ALONG WITH OUR BUILDING SHAKING AND MOVING I AM NOW EXPERIENCING CONCRETE DUST AND TERRIBLE NOISE. I AM SO ANGRY BECAUSE I WAS INFORMED THAT NEW WINDOWS WOULD BE INSTALLED BEFORE GYM BEING SMASHED APART”
The passage above is the text of a very irate and obviously desperate email I received from one of my neighbours last Friday. I believe it speaks for itself. Unfortunately for this man, his home is immediately adjacent to the Leisure Centre sports hall, which is little more than10 yards from his living room window.
We were initially led to believe that replacing the obsolete windows in Verity Close with new double-glazed and energy efficient windows should be fairly straightforward. However, these assurances proved worthless when Paul Dunkerton at the TMO, later wrote to us on 19th February, saying:
“I contacted the Planning Department for advice on what information is required for the Planning Application. I was informed that each block may require a planning application with elevation drawings and specification on the type of windows accompanied with drawings. This was obviously more than the TMO had anticipated so we engaged the services of an external consultant from IBI Taylor Young to assist in developing Planning Applications on our behalf. Planning Applications….have now been submitted and I am sure will be progressed as expediently as possible by the LPA. The TMO, and our consultants IBI Taylor Young, will continue to work with the LPA for a hasty and satisfactory conclusion.”
He later revealed in conversation that he thought it unlikely that the Verity Close planning applications would need to go to committee for decision.
Unfortunately, all such reassurances and/or statements of intent, whether from Councillors, or from officers of either the Council or the TMO, appear to have little value. We are increasingly exposed in Verity Close, and in other parts of Lancaster West, to extreme levels of noise and vibration from the heavy machinery on the KALC site and suffer frequent seismic shocks that make whole buildings shake. Meanwhile the £6 million improvement works promised for Grenfell Tower (funding approved by Cabinet in May 2012) have been repeatedly delayed and postponed without explanation, and the Verity Close window replacement project seems now to be suffering a similar fate.
The very least that you can do, as public servants with particular responsibility for this community, is to bring pressure to bear on those in power, and on those who will decide these planning applications, to expedite them as matters of urgency, so that those most impacted by noise and airborne pollutants etc can at least have some small measure of protection.
PLEASE WILL YOU DO SO NOW WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY?
Please note also that the construction contractors introduced Saturday working for the first time this weekend. I subsequently received reports of a convoy of at least16 HGV lorries queueing to enter the KALC site between 7am and 8am on Saturday morning. I had already complained earlier to Mr Chiles of Leadbitters that this practice of early HGV arrivals breached the conditions under which planning permission was granted (ie work to start no earlier than 8am daily) but got the brush-off from him. I then complained formally to Mr Wright at the LPA but got no response from him. Since then the problem has clearly worsened significantly, and the incident on Saturday was a gross violation of the conditions under which planning permission was granted.
I strongly suspect that this most recent sudden increase in HGV traffic, notably on Saturday 9th March, has more to do with Cllr Cockell’s pretentious PR stunt, planned for Monday afternoon, than it has to do with essential works on the site in question. Local residents were not informed of the sod-cutting ceremony and have been deliberately and pointedly excluded, for obvious reasons. This is particularly odious.
Indeed, the whole ugly stunt reminds one of the kind of excess normally associated with tinpot dictatorships, and has all the stink of the same cynical and brutal disregard of the rights and quality of life of Lancaster West residents that the Council and its planners have demonstrated throughout the KALC planning process. It is especially galling that we must count our own local Labour councillors among those who have so cynically and so brutally betrayed this community, and we regard their betrayal as especially repugnant.
If Mr Wright is still in post at the LPA then he should acknowledge my HGV complaint without further delay. If he is not in post then please would one of you refer me to his successor so that I can forward my original complaint, and this latest one, to be properly dealt with?
I might well ask in closing, do the residents of this area have no right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and does anyone at RBKC or the TMO even care?
Grenfell Action Group