Ever since the residential amenity space surrounding Grenfell Tower was so cruelly and brazenly stolen from the Lancaster West community we have been repeatedly told by Judith Blakeman and other oppressive Councillors and Officers at RBKC Council that we should just shut up and take our medicine since it was imperative that the Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA) was finished and ready for it’s first cohort of students in time for the Autumn Term in 2014.
The consequences of a failure to complete the Academy build on time were never made clear to our community, although this threat has, subsequently, hung over proceedings like the Sword of Damocles. Now it looks like this nightmare has turned into a reality for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council and the Aldridge Foundation as the Academy campus has not been completed on schedule and appears, along with the vast majority of the supposed new public realm landscaping, to be unfit for purpose. The million dollar question we have to ask is will the KAA still receive it’s £17 million government funding having failed to meet it’s construction deadline?
As the evidence of the above recently taken photograph clearly shows the KAA buildings, notably the main entrance, and the public realm landscaping, are indeed very far from completion and it seems difficult to imagine that the Academy will actually be able to facilitate any form of satisfactory educational function for some considerable time to come. One reason for this is that, at present, the KAA campus is still overrun with construction workers in high visibility clothing and hard hats busily scurrying around looking totally clueless and with much of their work still lying unfinished.
The Grenfell Action Group extend our sincere sympathy and concern to David Benson (Headmaster) and his teaching and support staff at KAA who have been sold such a pup by the RBKC Council and their failed quisling building contractors, Bouygues/Leadbitter. Our concern also goes out to the cohort of first year pupils who will no doubt be very disappointed to find their supposed brand new Academy unfinished, covered in grime and in a state of disrepair!
Anyone who has ever received a detention for being late for school might be wondering what punishment will be meted out to guilty construction company, Bouygues/Leadbitter, who appear to have patently failed to meet their obligations to finish the Kensington Aldridge Academy on time. Hopefully, they will get some very bad Press and have to pay large fines through not meeting their contracted “penalty clauses”.
We are also wondering if the KALC Project Manager for RBKC Council, Ms Laura Johnson, will face consequences for overseeing such a doomed venture and be sacked for gross incompetence? No doubt her failure to deliver this project on time will all be dealt with in the traditional RBKC style and conveniently swept under the carpet with Ms Johnson given a pay rise and the mandate to continue to abuse our community in future!
It is a matter of fact that the completed campus for the KAA was scheduled for handover to the Aldridge Foundation on 8th August 2014. This was until it became obvious that this deadline was never going to be realistically achieved and the constructors managed to negotiate an extension of a few added weeks. But, despite, the consequent abuse suffered by our community due to the regular breaking of planning obligations by Bouygues/Leadbitter, the Academy completion has still not been realised.
This will, of course, come as no surprise to downtrodden local residents who have daily witnessed workmen scratching their heads and wringing their hands as they encounter one snagging problem after another on the much hated KAA construction site. Or, to residents who have had to endure the whine of angle-grinders destroying their right to a peaceful tenancy late into the night and throughout weekends. If residents had the temerity to complain to the constructors about noise or dust pollution we were, more often than not, just either laughed at in the face or simply told to f*** off. Very abusive and humiliating behaviour from a building contractor who should know better and a sure fire-way to sour future community relations!
The official opening of the Academy has now had to be embarrassingly pushed back to Spring 2015 and residents of Lancaster West can only guess when our lives will be able to return to some kind of normality, with an end to noise and dust pollution and the restrictions on our ability to move freely and to access Ladbroke Grove without being forced on a half mile detour.
AMID THIS TURMOIL, WE CAN ONLY PONDER THE IMPACT THAT THE FAILURE OF RBKC COUNCIL AND IT’S QUISLING CONTRACTOR, BOUYGUES /LEADBITTER, TO COMPLETE THE ACADEMY ON TIME WILL HAVE ON THE EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELL-BEING OF THE CHILDREN OF NORTH KENSINGTON, ALTHOUGH WE STRONGLY SUSPECT THAT MS JONHSON AND THE NEO-CON MONSTERS AT HORNTON STREET COULDN’T REALLY CARE LESS!