The Grenfell Action Group would like to draw the attention of our readers, including and especially those at Hornton Street, that our much loved and cherished rights-of-way from Lancaster West Estate northwards towards Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road have now been denied to residents by RBKC Council for a period of TWO YEARS, causing local people much inconvenience, heartache and distress. We refer, primarily, to the vital right-of-way that formerly ran, and should again run, between the Academy and Verity Close, joining Grenfell Road to Lancaster Road. The KALC construction works were scheduled for completion in September 2014. Clearly they have overrun this schedule by several months (and we suspect by several millions) and so there is still no way out for the many Lancaster West residents besieged behind the despised impassable wall of the KALC security fencing.
THIS BRUTAL AND NEEDLESSLY CALLOUS TREATMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN AND WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT THOSE IN HORNTON ST WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS HEARTLESS POLICY!
The Council closed this vital access route in November 2012 but were forced to reopen it temporarily when the Grenfell Action Group successfully complained that the Council had closed it without obtaining the proper permission from the Secretary of State:
After that time we continued to lobby hard for the provision of a narrow access corridor along this vital right-of-way towards the north of the Borough. The KALC contractors reluctantly costed this at about £150,000, but the Council refused to compromise or co-operate, claiming it would be too expensive. Instead, we now know they opted to spend far more money on providing a quarter of a million pounds for artwork to grace the new Kensington Aldridge Academy rather than honour their word and their duty of care to local residents.
We would like to record for posterity the fact that our local Labour Councillor, Judith Blakeman, props up the KAA Art Steering Group for this frippery and indulgence that is an insult to our community and totally wasteful expenditure of Council Tax payers money.
The long and short of this story is that vital money that could and should have been used by the Council to keep open important rights-of-way was used instead to fund artwork at the Aldridge Academy to the great detriment of our community. We believe that Councillor Blakeman would do better to concentrate her efforts on representing the needs of the people who have elected her and not get sidetracked into puffing up her ego with her support for Holland Park Opera and other arty fripperies by RBKC!
In addition, and to add insult to injury, we do not believe that the current closure of the route between Grenfell Road and Silchester Road is currently legal, and we challenge the Council to produce evidence that they have obtained the necessary periodic extensions for the continued closure of this right-of-way from the Office of the Secretary of State, as they were required by Law to do in July 2014 and at intervals thereafter.
The removal of our right-of-way along Station Walk, and the extinguishment of our alternative routes to the north of the Estate has forced residents on a detour that totals nearly half a mile and reinforces the apartheid experienced by residents on Lancaster West by our separation from the more affluent and upmarket neighbourhoods of RBKC.
Not only do our disabled, community elders and mothers with children and pushchairs have to negotiate four flights of stairs just to enter and leave Grenfell Tower, but they then face a massive detour to reach Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Rd.
When we recently appealed to David Benson, the Headmaster of the Kensington Aldridge Academy, for assistance with this matter he simply referred us back to the likes of Laura Johnson (Housing RBKC) and our local Labour Councillors.
Anyone expecting our Member of Parliament, Council Officers or our local Labour Councillors to help us will be seriously disappointed as our elected representatives seem to have no interest in coming to the aid of beleaguered Lancaster West residents and seem quite happy to leave us to languish in this hellish no-mans-land.
Shame on them and their support for a system that has denied access for Lancaster West residents to the shopping and other amenities at Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road for more than two years and for considering some decorative artwork for the benefit of a privately owned school and a privately run sports centre more important than respecting the vital needs of the resident community!