The Grenfell Action Group are acutely aware that we are resented and despised by the un-holy trinity that controls North Kensington, ie the Council and their quislings at the KCTMO and the Westway Trust. What these bodies cannot deny, however, is that they not only read our blog but are often forced to act as a consequence of the issues that we raise.
The most recent example of the Grenfell Action Group’s influence can be evidenced by the fact that the KCTMO have finally responded to our long standing concerns about the lack of fire safety advice provided to their tenants and leaseholders. The Grenfell Action Group has a long history of raising concerns about the almost criminally lax manner in which the KCTMO treats fire safety issues and we are on record as stating that it is our belief that a serious and catastrophic incident will be the undoing of this mini mafia who pose as a bona fide organisation responsible for the smooth running of the RBKC’S social housing.
In a recent blog concerning the aforementioned issues, published on 20th November 2016, the Grenfell Action Group pointed out that:
“In the last twenty years and despite the terrifying power surge incident in 2013 and recent fire at Adair Tower, the residents of Grenfell Tower have received no proper fire safety instructions from the KCTMO. Residents were informed by a temporary notice stuck in the lift and one announcement in a recent regeneration newsletter that they should remain in their flats in the event of fire. There are not and never have been any instructions posted on the Grenfell Tower noticeboard or on individual floors as to how residents should act in the event of a fire”.
Following the Grenfell Action Group’s persistence in raising these concerns the KCTMO at last responded by installing fire safety instruction notices in the entrance hallway to Grenfell Tower and outside the lifts on every floor of the building (see photo above). It was past time that the health and safety concerns of residents were taken seriously by the KCTMO and it is a sad fact that our landlord only seems capable of acting in a responsible manner as a result of continual badgering from our blog.
A subsequent inspection of some of the other local tower blocks under the management of the KCTMO, namely, Whitstable House, Dixon House, Markland House and Frinstead House revealed that there were still no fire safety instructions on display in any of the above mentioned tower blocks and the Grenfell Action Group do not believe that our landlord had notified individual residents of what actions they should take in the event of fire. If the situation in these other tower blocks remains as it was at the time of our inspection a few weeks ago, then this would strongly suggest that the TMO has no real commitment to addressing the fire safety needs of TMO residents throughout the borough, and that their recent remedial action at Grenfell Tower was merely a disingenuous local kneejerk reaction to pressure from us and an attempt to placate Grenfell residents.
There is no excuse for failure to post fire safety instructions in all multi-use blocks. The phrase “an accident waiting to happen” springs readily to mind.
Over the six years that the Grenfell Action Group has been in existence we are proud to be able to claim that we have made a material difference to the community that we serve. We believe that we are a running sore on the face of the amateur politicians who inhabit the corridors of power at the Town Hall in Hornton Street and that the direct and challenging approach of the Grenfell Action Group has put to shame the “scraps from the rich man’s table” type of politics pursued for many years by the RBKC.
We believe that we can quantify the impact of our campaigning (either alone or in partnership with other local stakeholders) by our contributions to the following outcomes:
- Securing a grant of £10,000 from RBKC and producing a coherent and robust opposition to the loss of our residential amenity by working with local residents and Planning Aid for London
- Securing a £10 million investment from RBKC for the Grenfell Tower Improvement Works.
- Securing new double glazed windows for residents in Verity Close.
- Successfully lobbying RBKC to temporarily re-open local “rights of way” after they were illegally closed by the Council.
- Instigating an investigation by the Independent Local Government Ombudsman into RBKC’s conduct regarding the long term closure of Station Walk.
- Securing the provision of 6 construction apprenticeships by the Academy/Sport’s Centre building contractor.
- Lobbying the Westway Trust and RBKC to take action to address poor air quality at the KALC replacement sports pitches at the Westway Sports Centre.
- Securing an assurance from the Aldridge Foundation that they would pay the London Living Wage to all employees at the Kensington Academy and promote local employment opportunities.
- Organising the “Mock the Opera” and “Public not Private” demonstrations in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
- Exposing the RBKC’s private business deal with the Notting Hill Prep School that has seen our much loved North Kensington library pass from public use to private.
- Influencing positive changes to the RBKC “Decant Policy” and obtaining transparency by securing publication of the Silchester Estate “Financial Viability Assessment” through a protracted Freedom of Information application.
In our view the Grenfell Action Group has never criticised the Council, its members or its officers, inappropriately or without justification, and the uncompromising style and content of our blog is simply the result of our ongoing attempts to combat the oppression we face from this powerful and un-holy alliance of Council and TMO. The complicity of these two powerful bodies ensures that we are repeatedly marginalised by claims that we are irrelevant and do not legitimately represent the Lancaster West community.
There is little doubt, however, that these same hypocrites follow our blog closely, ever mindful of our ability to undermine their often clumsy and amatuerish propaganda efforts. The Council has even attempted on occasions to silence us by threatening legal action for defamation. However, they have never followed through with these threats, having quickly realised that we invariably source our content carefully and conscientiously, and frequently from the Council’s or other public records.
For our part, we fully intend to continue our efforts to inform the North Kensington community and to represent their interests, and those of other mismanaged, threatened and besieged communities elsewhere in the borough, and will not be bought off or fobbed off, intimidated or silenced by the Council, the KCTMO or other RBKC collaborators.