Roving comedy show Stand Up for Labour is coming to North Kensington on Sunday 9 June, details below. Fun for all the family with a supervised creche and drinks included in ticket price. Tickets online (details below) or from Crispin on 07961638683 or Lizzie on 07587 955888.
TICKETS CAN NOW BE BOUGHT ON THE DOOR, £10 TO INCLUDE TWO ALCOHOLIC OR NOT DRINKS AND SNACKS.
The campaign for Colville kicked off yesterday with a fantastic leaflet drop in targetted areas. The Colville Action Team launched what will be a highly organised campaign with eager team members enjoying the rare sunshine; perfect campaigning weather.
Meeting up at the Tabernacle for a drink and relaxation, sitting Councillors were hugely grateful for the support from members. Campaigning can be fun, so do join us next time.
Local Campaign Forum
Labour exonerated as Cockell waves goodbye to choo-choo fantasy
After an agonising waiting game, possibly millions spent on consultants’ reports, Council reports and countless hours of officer time, a long-predicted announcement has been made. There will be no Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks. Council Leader Sir Merrick Cockell stated in a letter to supporters dated 26.4.13 that the station has no support from ‘either the Department of Transport or the Mayor of London’.
The Opposition Labour Group had been informed by inside sources as far back as May 2010 that it had been acknowleged privately that there was no chance whatever for a Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks, a large brownfield site next to Ladbroke Grove Sainsbury’s. But the Conservative Group lambasted them for repeating this unwelcome news, and continued to push at the closed door of TfL and the Mayor’s office. Indeed, the Labour Group had been calling for a Plan B to be worked up by a cross-party working group as far back as March 2012. At the Council Budget meeting this year, labour Leader Councillor Judith Blakeman called for a feasibility study on a ‘21st Century Travel Plan’ including the possibility of a tram link between Kensal and the future transport super-hub at Old Oak Common. But once again the Labour Group was shouted down and the study refused.
Just two months ago, in line with Labour suggestions, a Kensal Working Group was finally established, and on 26 April Sir Merrick Cockell wrote to Crossrail supporters with the sorry news of the end of his Crossrail dream, mooting Labour’s suggestion of a link to Old Oak Common.
Labour Leader Councillor Judith Blakeman said: ‘While it is heartening that the Council has finally accepted the unwelcome truth we were told three years ago, it is a total disgrace that they have continued to pour money into a press campaign and countless consultants’ reports on a no-hope project. Now we have to start work on Plan B, and let’s do this consultation properly.’
Deputy Leader Councillor Emma Dent Coad, whose personal blog on Kensal Crossrail was the subject of a Motion to Council a year ago, said: ‘I estimate the Council has spent cc£1m on pointless reports, while Golborne, the joint poorest ward in London, is having services cut to ribbons. I will now be gathering all the Council and non-Council reports and putting them online for all to see; many of them are from community groups and students, and they include some cracking ideas that would create a fantastic community AND help improve the life prospects of our poorest residents, right here where they live, not in Dagenham or Peterborough.’
Text of Cllr Cockell’s email dated 26.4.13:
You have, in the past, been supportive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s plan for a Crossrail station in Kensal. We have been engaged in campaigning for a station for several years, and we remain convinced of the impressive regeneration such a station would aid. I met with the Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP, along with Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, last week to discuss our proposals.
Unfortunately I have to tell you that at that meeting Stephen indicated our plans did not have the support of either the Department of Transport or the Mayor of London. The reasons for that lack of support remain frustratingly unclear.
On a more positive note, the Minister went on to say that that the Department of Transport would be glad to work with us on “alternatives” that might include some form of Heathrow-style monorail.
Clearly that is an intriguing idea but in the absence of any detail about what precise form the alternative would take, what capacity it would have, and crucially, when it would be built and where it would stop, it is impossible for us to make any sort of judgement about whether such a service would be a genuine alternative to a Crossrail station.
It follows therefore that the fight for our station must go on. I hope that I can count on your continuing support while we give this fight one more round. In particular I would ask that you use all your channels and influence to get our case heard as widely as possible. The economic and regeneration arguments for our station are as you know overwhelming. It there are genuine technical reasons why Londoners have to forgo those benefits, we believe those reasons should be spelt out so they can be scrutinised and solutions found.
If you want to discuss any of this further please do get in touch.
Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell
Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’
18 April 2013
At Wednesday’s council meeting, Labour councillors savaged Conservative Kensington and Chelsea’s refusal to re-instate school uniform grants for needy families. Labour spokesman Cllr Robert Atkinson said “we face a surging tide of poverty, misery and debt, with hard working families forced to take out pay day loans so that their children can have school uniforms “.
Seconding the motion, Cllr Pat Mason added that “more enlightened local authorities, such as Enfield and York, recognise their duty to help poor families clothe their children for school. The richest borough in the land’s refusal to restore uniform grants proves yet again that they do not care about young people in their own borough”
Cllr Atkinson pointed out that local schools are increasingly opting for very expensive designer uniforms and instructing families to purchase them irrespective of their financial circumstances. He said “families with two or more children at school are forced to find hundreds of pounds from tiny budgets. Any failure to comply with the uniform code is treated by some schools as a disciplinary matter rather than one of poverty and children are being humiliated and sent home just for the crime of being poor “.
Rejecting Labour’s proposal, the Conservative councillors said that uniform policy is purely a matter for school governors. As schools in the borough are very generously funded, where they opt for expensive designer uniforms, they must decide for themselves how to assist poorer families.
Cllr Atkinson dismissed this response. He pointed out that the schools do little or nothing to help poorer families and condemned the council for “closing its eyes to a serious problem which a small annual grants fund could sort out once and for all. Tory councillors in the richest borough in the country who annually spend a fortune on streetscape, opera and the arts should be truly ashamed for ignoring local children. Allowing schools to humiliate and suspend their poorest pupils will seriously damage their education and life chances”.