Further to the Grenfell Action Group’s blogs on the lies and deceit that we believe have been perpetrated on our community by Councillors Blakeman and Coleridge we wrote to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea using Freedom of Information legislation.
When we had previously questioned the Council on the removal of our right-of-way along Station Walk, on the fact that our community had been promised that this much loved pathway would reopen once the construction of the academy was no longer an obstacle, and would then remain open “in perpetuity”, we were told by Amanda Johnson (Head of Housing Commissioning at RBKC) that the Council was aware of the promises it had made and was working with Transport for London to resolve the problem.
However, as the FoI response from Robin Yu at RBKC clearly shows the Rotten Borough appears to have made no effort to engage with TfL over the issue of our right-of-way along Station Walk. We believe that Ms Johnson’s statement clearly shows that she intended to mislead our community by intimating that the Council were working towards resolving this situation when the facts paint a very different picture:
In his response Mr Yu said:
“There are no minutes or forms of written correspondence regarding discussions that have taken place between the Council and TfL and the proposals for Station Walk”.
True to our word that the Grenfell Action Group would not let this matter rest we wrote subsequently to the RBKC Town Clerk Nicholas Holgate who referred the matter for investigation to Leverne Parker, RBKC’s Chief Solicitor and Monitoring Officer. We have now decided to publish in full our subsequent correspondence with Ms Parker:
Dear Ms Parker,
Thank you for your email and confirmation that you will investigate the deception carried out by Councillors Blakeman and Coleridge on an elderly resident of Whitstable House who was persuaded to drop his objection to the Secretary of State regarding the RBKC Council’s plans to extinguish our “right of way” along Station Walk.
I shall be forwarding this matter to the Secretary of State so that he is also made aware of the underhand tactics that were used to trick our community out of our legitimate right to oppose the extinguishment of a much loved and used “right of way”.
This particular resident in Whitstable House, and the wider community, were promised that our “right of way” would only be closed for a short period of time and would be then be reopened “in perpetuity”.
The reality is that Station Walk has never re-opened and the evidence shows that these Councillors and the wider Council have made absolutely no effort to honour their promises and return us our “right of way”.
The Grenfell Action Group will be publishing additional blogs on this subject to further highlight the fact that we feel our community has been lied to by these two Councillors and that it is not acceptable for those we elect to treat our rights with such disdain.
I was informed in a letter from Amanda Johnson dated 4/08/14 that the RBKC Council has been involved in “continuing the discussion” with Tfl about securing the re-opening of Station Walk sometime in the undefined future. She said:
“Currently we do not have a timescale for the re-opening of Station Walk….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.”
A subsequent Freedom of Information request has shown that there has actually been no recorded discussion on the feasibility of using Tfl land to resurrect our right of way along Station Walk either now or in the past.
So, please can you explain to me why an employee of the RBKC Council (Ms Johnson) has informed me that the Council are involved in discussion with Tfl about our “right of Way” along Station Walk when the evidence from my FoI request clearly shows this is not the case?
Or maybe, it’s just simply more lies that the Council feel they can tell with impunity???
I look forward to you investigating this abuse of Councillor power and answering my query regarding the behaviour of Ms Johnson.
Grenfell Action Group.
The outcome of Ms Parker’s so-called investigation was provided in a letter of reply from her, dated 1st October, which can be read in full via the following link:
When Blakeman and Coleridge signed their names to the letter that promised the reopening of Station Walk there can be little doubt that they knew that any reprovision of our right-of-way would depend entirely on the surrender by TfL of land beneath the railway arches which was already leased by them to a number of businesses, mostly auto repair shops. This was always going to be problematic and probably undeliverable, and both of these Councillors knew it full well. Being a Tory RBKC Cabinet Member, Coleridge could not be trusted on this, and he proved himself true to type.
But Blakeman, as a local ward councillor and Leader (at that time) of the Opposition Labour Group, should never have signed such a promise on behalf of a Tory Council which she knew to be deceitful, untrustworthy, machiavelian and utterly contemptuous of the Rotten Borough’s working class communities. Because of this she deserves the special ire and venom of the local community, which it was her duty to serve and protect. This was a fundamental betrayal, on her part, of her duty of care to this community, and of the principles upon which the Labour Party had originally been founded, and which we all now know it has completely abandoned. The offending letter is reproduced in full via the following link:
Needless to say the Lancaster West community has absolutely no faith that the Council can be trusted to properly investigate any such matters, but we can promise our readers that we will not let this matter drop until we have done our utmost to ensure that Councillors Blakeman and Coleridge are held to account for their actions and we are informed why Amanda Johnson felt free to misinform us, with impunity, that the Council were in discussion with TfL when the evidence clearly shows otherwise.