Councillor Feilding-Mellen and his quislings at RBKC (the likes of local boy “made bad” Martin Mortimer, the “cultural tourists” from West London Citizens, and ex Lambeth and Hammersmith and Fulham Council “serial regenerator” Saddiqa Islam ) are pressing on relentlessly with their misbegoten and heartless plan to “socially cleanse” the Silchester Estate by demolishing existing residents’ homes, scattering a settled community and enclosing the open green spaces like it was part of the vicious Highland Clearances of the late 18th and early 19th century.
Part of the RBKC Council’s current mantra is that they want to be open and transparent with tenants and leaseholders on the Silchester Estate by allowing them to have a real voice in the future of their community by involving them with the planning process.
Those of us who know better understand that the Council despises the poor, the low waged and other working class people and has absolutely no intention of listening to or taking on board a single concern that local residents might care to highlight. In 2012 the community on Lancaster West learnt this lesson the hard way when our legitimate concerns regarding the imposition of the Kensington Aldridge Academy at Lancaster Green on our Estate, were submitted to the Council on our behalf by ‘Planning Aid for London’, only to be totally ignored and dismissed by the powers that be in Hornton Street.
The fact is that Cllr Feilding-Mellen and RBKC have no real interest in allowing Silchester residents any meaningful involvement in the future of their much loved homes and this is evidenced by the manner in which they have denied the local community access to the Financial Viability Assessment that would help them to be more involved in the planning process. It is the understanding of the Grenfell Action Group that the Council has already decided on the nuclear “Option 5” and that current Silchester residents can now look forward to the total destruction of every square inch of their existing community to be replaced by a horrendous over-development of new properties that will mostly benefit the 1%ers and the “buy to leave” market.
It is only through the work of members of the Grenfell Action Group and a prolonged battle with RBKC that the Financial Viability Assessment has been made public after the formal Decision Notice at the top of this blog was issued against the Council in favour of disclosure by the Information Commissioners Office in November 2016. The Financial Viability Assessment can be viewed via the following link:
It took the Grenfell Action Group a total of nearly nine months to secure the Financial Viability Assessment for public scrutiny and the RBKC made us go through every stage of their internal complaints process until we were finally able to refer our original request for independent arbitration via the ICO. The Grenfell Action Group are sick and tired of having our legitimate requests for information constantly frustrated by the Council’s internal procedures and, in particular, the predictability of “refusals to disclose” from RBKC’s Chief Solicitor and Monitoring Office, Le Verne Parker.
We are currently using Data Protection Act legislation to help us collate enough evidence to send to the Law Society with the intention of showing that Le Verne Parker is prejudiced against the Grenfell Action Group and has never once reversed the Council’s original decision to withhold information from us during the complaints process. This is despite the fact that we have a right under the Freedom of Information Act 2006 to view the documents we have requested from her employer the RBKC and on every occasion, when we have had a Freedom of Information request considered by the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner has invariably found in our favour.
Members of the Silchester community are currently having the Financial Viability Assessment forensically analysed by independent experts with a view of having the findings legally challenged by pro bono lawyers who have volunteered to help the community. One of the aspects of this matter that the legal experts are looking at is the charge against the RBKC that they are engaged in an exercise of “gerrymandering” by using planning law to alter the voting pattern of a Council Ward. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the likes of Cllr Feilding-Mellen and his ilk standing in the dock trying to defend the indefensible?