It would have taken a shrewd eye to spot an article by the Deputy Leader of RBKC Council, Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen (Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration) hidden away on the back page of the 2013 Autumn Edition of the Royal Borough (aka the Royal Borer) under the headline “A Home for Everyone?“
The Grenfell Action Group believe that the question mark at the end of this headline is the most pertinent part of this article that makes very grim reading indeed for anyone with a social conscience or a wish to preserve the social/ethnic diversity of RBKC.
Of course, providing a home for anyone in genuine need in RBKC is very low down Cllr Feilding-Mellen’s priorities. Perhaps it’s his upper class breeding or maybe it is just sheer arrogance that appears to prevent him from being able to empathise with those not as fortunate in life as himself.
Cllr Feilding Mellen is reported to have described North Kensington as a “dung heap” and parades around giving the impression that he actually despises the very same poor and excluded communities whose interests he has a duty to represent.
In fact, his Royal Borer newspaper article seems to say a lot about how a Far- Right, neo-conservative section of the Ruling Party in Hornton Street view the residents of North Kensington and does not bode well for anyone who happens to live in this Rotten Borough and who also happen to be in receipt of Housing Benefit or any other forms of social security entitlement.
It appears that part of the Deputy Leader’s housing policy is an explicit aim to remove families on benefits from their homes in RBKC and to achieve this the Council is actively “trying to wean people off the expectation of being put up in prime central London locations”. We assume this is so that the Council can socially cleanse North Kensington and move more middle class people to the area.
We wonder what Cllr Feilding Mellen would say to someone who may have lived in their community in RBKC for many generations but has had to give up their job to take on the role as a full time carer and now finds themselves in receipt of benefits and face being rehoused outside of RBKC.
Or, an individual who is prevented from working by ill health and has to rely on benefits and now faces being moved out of their home by the RBKC Councils determination to attack those with benefit entitlement by “wean(ing) people off their expectation to be put up in prime central London locations”. Cllr Feilding Mellen has been in power for two seconds and he is attempting to socially cleanse the Borough of households who may have roots going back to North Kensington for many centuries, Shame on him!
This is a fascist and hateful policy designed to rob RBKC of it’s diversity and heartbeat.
As many of our readers are aware the Grenfell Action Group are extremely concerned about the long term future of Lancaster West and other social housing Estates in the Rotten Borough after years of willful financial neglect at the hands of Kensington and Chelsea Council and their landlords the dreaded Tenant Management Organisation (TMO).
The Council seem very happy to spend £30 million on paving stones in Exhibition Road (rumoured to have been hewn from the ground by Chinese political prisoners) and £1.5 million a year propping up the elitist Holland Park Opera but are far less willing to sort out the chronic housing problems that see many residents in less affluent areas of the Borough living in near slum-like conditions.
We want decent housing and the promise of a secure future and not subsidised Opera for the nobs.
Take a walk around many of the Estate’s in North Kensington (particularly in any of Labour Wards’) and you will see plenty of evidence that the Council are pursuing a policy that celebrates the “managed decline” of social housing and signifies the final death knell for many of RBKC’s remaining working class communities. The RBKC Latimer Masterplan (obtained by the Grenfell Action Group under Freedom of Information legislation) supports the above assertion and goes further by advocating for a “scorched earth” approach to social housing in North Kensington.
So, it is not hard to believe that RBKC Council’s long term plan is to “socially cleanse” North Kensington under the banner of regeneration with a “Decant Policy” that is so brutal in nature that it will not even guarantee that families can return to their existing communities. The Decant Policy simply returns existing tenants back to the “social housing register” where they will be forced to accept a single “Direct Offer” after a period of one year.
This offer of housing could be anywhere in the UK and, if refused, will result in the tenant making themselves intentionally homeless and removed from the housing register.
This is a cruel and fascist policy designed to rob RBKC of it’s diversity and heartbeat and will cause misery to the lives of those forced to move from their existing community’s.
Oh, and if your expecting any help from your local Labour Councillors on this one – forget it. They are all comfortably housed in their own private accommodation whose prices look cosily set to rise as our own tenancies are replaced by newly built properties that will become safe investments for overseas buyers and city apartments for the super rich.
RBKC is changing at the rate of knots and the neo-cons and their quislings in Hornton Street have no intention that the poor and the excluded will have any part to play in it’s future.