The unrelenting and brutal assault by Leadbitters, the KALC building contractors, on the residents of Grenfell Tower and it’s environs continues unabated, bringing much misery and upset to anyone unfortunate enough to live within earshot or dust range of the Academy/Sports Centre construction site. We believe that things are only set to get worse for anyone living on Lancaster West Estate as the deadline for the Aldridge Kensington Academy opening looms.
Leadbitters seem to have given up any pretence of trying to work with the local community and now seem happy to use their overwhelming power and presence on Lancaster West to abuse with impunity. They seem to have chosen to ignore planning regulations with respect to working hours on the site, and residents of Grenfell Tower have reported construction routinely taking place before 8am and after 6pm as well as workers coming on site on Sunday’s.
Last week Leadbitters destroyed two more trees in the vicinity of the children’s playground which we believe should have been protected and local residents were repeatedly woken up in the early hours of the morning and subjected to the incessant wailing of the faulty new fire alarm system at the Kensington Aldridge Academy that kept on malfunctioning. Not happy to torment us during extensive waking hours, now even our night-time sleep is being denied us. Needless to say, we have not received any apology or explanation from Leadbitters for this intolerable disruption!
In fact, residents of Grenfell Tower have long since learnt that it is useless to try and raise concerns or complaints about this shabby and abusive treatment that has attacked our community and turned our homes and residential amenity into a massive, unsightly and uninhabitable building site. We, also, understand very well that our local Labour Ward Councillors are on the side of the Ruling Party and the KALC contractors and will not assist their constituents in Grenfell Tower and it’s environs to obtain the kind of justice that would allow us to enjoy our tenancies in any sort of peace.
When a member of our community recently approached Leadbitters to complain about late night working senior members of the Leadbitters/Studio E management team openly laughed in his face and reportedly told him to “get a life”. This is typical of the responses we have received in the past when local people have tried to complain about Leadbitters disrespect of planning regulations. This thuggish, Mafia-like behaviour and the ongoing humiliation of the Lancaster West community will not be forgotten and bodes ill for the building of good future relations between the Kensington Aldridge Academy and the local community.
On a slightly different note the Grenfell Tower improvement works have finally commenced and the TMO’s latest choice of constructors, the building firm Rydons, have at last arrived in our particular corner of Hell. Rydons could not have got off to a worse start, however, as their first action was the destruction of a beautiful and well established ash tree to the West of Grenfell Tower that we believe was protected by planning law. This heartless act has caused much upset among local residents and members of the Grenfell Action Group who have seen most of our trees, and much of the residential amenity of our community, senselessly destroyed to facilitate the KALC project.
The TMO and Rydons claim that they had permission to cut down the tree, stating that doing so would lessen future anti-social behaviour by improving sight lines around Grenfell Tower. We have written to Edward George (Senior RBKC Planner) at Hornton St seeking clarification of this issue as the planning regulations relating to Grenfell Tower clearly state:
8. The tree(s) existing on the site at the date of this permission shall be protected against damage as per Arboricultural Report of B.J Unwin (02/05/12) throughout the period of building and other operations pursuant to this permission, including site preparation. (C020) Reason – To ensure that the trees are adequately protected and to safeguard the amenities of the area. (R020)
To add insult to injury, Rydons have now completely closed our right-of-way along Station Walk and residents of Grenfell Tower are now forced to negotiate four flights of steps and a sizeable detour just to access the closest tube station and buses at Bramley Road, as well as local shopping and other facilities. No alternative has been provided for the disabled, mothers with pushchairs and children, our community elders, etc., All of this is in addition to the restrictions placed on residents who have earlier suffered the loss of our right-of-way to Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road – this more than a year ago.
We do not believe that the TMO and their latest lackeys, Rydons, have followed proper planning law/disability legislation with regards these more recent closures as we are aware that they have an obligation to provide an appropriate alternative route for the disabled. This they have patently failed to do, as anyone who cannot negotiate the four flights of steps at the base of Grenfell Tower is now forced to hike approximately half a mile to reach the local shops. We also believe that the right-of-way along Station Walk needs to be referred back to the Secretary of State for permission for it’s continued closure, and we are seeking evidence from the RBKC Planning Dept that the contractors have acted within the Law.
THE POWERS THAT BE IN HORNTON STREET, LEADBITTERS, THE TMO AND RYDONS COULD NOT TREAT US WITH LESS RESPECT IF THEY TRIED, AND ALL OF THE ABOVE SHOULD BE DEEPLY ASHAMED OF THEIR ACTIONS.
IT WOULD APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT SHAME IS NOT A CONCEPT, NOR AN EMOTION, THAT ANY ONE OF THEM COULD EVEN BEGIN TO RECOGNISE, LET ALONE EXPERIENCE.