Blakeman and Coleridge And The Gulf of Mistrust

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A couple of weeks ago, when we published our blog “Station Walk – Did Senior Councillors Lie?”, we promised to bring you more on this issue. We have known for a long time – you might say that even the dogs in the street have known – that promises made to our community by RBKC Labour and Conservative Councillors should always be treated with the utmost caution, and so, true to our word, today we bring you our second installment on this important story.

Our mistrust of those elected to represent and protect us is absolutely not mis-placed as it is now certain that the promises made to local residents by Councillor Blakeman (Labour) and Councillor Coleridge (Conservative) that Station Walk, our much loved and well used right-of-way, west of Grenfell Tower and parallel to the underground line, would re-open at the completion of the Kensington Aldridge Academy have been shamelessly broken.

These two RBKC Councillors should hang their heads in shame as we have good reason to believe they also played a part in persuading a certain community elder (who shall remain anonymous for now) living in Whitchurch House to withdraw his formal objection to the closure of Station Walk, which he had addressed to the Secretary of State, on the strength of the promise that these Councillors had made guaranteeing that Station Walk would re-open on completion of the Academy works. 

We believe that once “worked over” by these Councillors our civic-minded neighbour was persuaded to drop his objection to the Council’s plans over the loss of Station Walk.  It now appears that this vulnerable resident, and the wider community, were tricked and lied to and we shall be demanding an explanation from Blakeman and Coleridge.  

As the above photo clearly shows the academy sports hall, and facilities for locking up bicycles, are completely blocking the space where this crucial stretch of Station Walk should logically be re-instated and, with the Academy now having been open for a couple of weeks, there is no possibility of our promised right-of-way being returned to our community as promised.

An inspection of the amendments to the Kensington Aldridge Academy planning drawings, submitted to the Council for approval earlier this year, clearly shows that there is no plan to re-open our right-of-way and the plans even state that the existing wall should be simply reinstated. 

We have tried writing to those with power in Hornton Street (namely Councillor Feilding-Mellen) in order to clarify whether the Council plans to re-open Station Walk, as we have been promised, or whether we have been lied to as a community.

We eventually received the below response (from Amanda Johnson) that we believe clearly shows that the Council has no plans to re-open Station Walk in the forseeable future and strongly suggests that our community has been lied to by those with the power to abuse in Hornton Street:

From: Amanda Johnson (RBKC)
To: Grenfell Action Group
CC: Councillor Feilding-Mellen, Laura Johnson (RBKC)
Subject: Station Walk
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2014

Dear ********

 I am responding to your queries dated the 23rd and 29th July on Station Walk.

 Both Councillor Feilding-Mellen and Ms Laura Johnson are currently on leave and I am responding on their behalf.

 Currently we do not have a timescale for the re-opening of Station Walk. We will  be in a better position to  come back to residents when the building work on the school is completed and we have a better idea of potential access options involving the adjacent arches and access through the garage site.

 This has been delayed due to not progressing the matter as far as we would have liked with TFL. We will be continuing the discussion with them as we recognise the commitments we made.

 New access routes through the site will be a significant improvement on the previous ones and access through and around the leisure centre, school and surrounding estate will be transformed when the KALC development is completed.

 We will do everything we can to keep to our commitment we made to the local community.

 Regards

 Amanda Johnson, Head of Housing Commissioning, RBKC

We have now written back to the Council querying the future of the Station Walk right-of-way using Freedom of Information legislation and we will be hoping to discover whether Councillors Blakeman or Coleridge, or any other Council representatives, have taken any personal steps to see that their promises are honoured.

The long and the short of it is that there is no possibility that Station Walk will re-open in the course of the next few weeks, nor indeed in the forseeable future. If, as we believe, this much cherished right-of-way proves to have been closed by Councillors abusing their powers, and using lies and deceit to hoodwink local residents, then we in the Grenfell Action Group will make it our business to do everything in our power to see that those responsible get their come-uppance.

Unlike some, we always try to keep our promises. Unfortunately, and this is a source of great frustration and regret to us, when confronted with the dictatorial power of the Hornton Street mafia, and the culture of impunity over which they preside, we have little power to do so. All we can do, as ever, is blow the whistle on them and hope that someone with power and integrity is listening.

PIGS, AS THEY SAY, MIGHT FLY!

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