Comment from Westway Trust Board member Cllr Pat Mason, following the Tabernacle meeting on 11.11.15 that WT refused to attend:

“I advised the trust Chair and Chief Executive to attend the W23 Tabernacle public meeting saying they should not operate in a vacuum without the input of local people and without giving people the right to ask questions, scrutinise their actions, and to suggest what strategies the trust should follow for the future. Unfortunately, they decided not to attend because they are locked into the belief that local people should be commenting on and suggesting improvements to the trust’s proposals and strategies, rather than accepting that local people do not support what they are doing and have a completely different vision for their area. So any kind of strongly-voiced opposition to what is being proposed is experienced as unpalatable by trust directors who say they shouldn’t have to put up with abuse when they are at work.

This disconnect with the community is a historical problem born from the hijacking of the trust by Kensington & Chelsea Council from its inception and used as a vehicle to advance Council regeneration policies and to prevent real community representatives and groups, who were always branded as trouble-makers, from managing their own assets and making decisions beneficial to their communities.

For several decades, the trust has been run as if it were a castle bordered by a mote and peopled by the Council’s grandees who have ingrained their philosophy of neo liberal top down decision-making on the organisation which is a hard mould to break. The trust now has less Community representatives and elected Councillors, and more professional appointees on its board than it had a year ago. It was set up to go down the corporate route and that process will continue unless the local community backs up its wish for an alternative vision with real actions”.

Pat Mason, Councillor


Westway Trust Board Member


RBKC Labour Group of Councillors position statement at 13.10.15

The RBKC Labour Group of Councillors has been elected to represent residents who live around the Westway, and whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the presence of the road that sliced through their neighbourhood in 1970. The demolition of homes, the dislocating effect of the flyover on travel options, the pollution, and the use of space beneath the flyover – originally never planned for – has had many negative consequences. The Westway Trust was set up to compensate for and to address these consequences.

Regarding early plans for regenerating the 23 acres of land in the Trust’s care, the Labour Group believes the Trust must always remember its aims and responsibilities. We are concerned that the Trust’s aim of generating as much income as possible to pay for charitable works could paradoxically have a very negative effect on the communities the Trust exists to serve; some are already being forced out by rent rises and changes in policy. Some would go so far as to say that unless great care is taken the proposal for high-end independent shops, art galleries, restaurants and private housing would not help to build more solid foundations to support local business, employment and well-being, but instead would annihilate the local community.

We would support a more modest set of proposals that would put local needs first.

We consider that the Westway Trust began this process poorly but welcome signs that it is now beginning to learn from the responses from the community and from Councillors’ comments that there is a better way. We are pleased that the Trust has agreed to reconsider its previous timetable and plans and note that they have improved the consultation period.

We look forward to working with the Trust to ensure that any redevelopment by the Trust of the area that we are elected to represent maximises the interests of residents, traders and visitors and is not dominated disproportionately by the wish to generate revenue.

In summary the Labour Opposition Group of Councillors will campaign to:

  • Ensure that future consultation is open, honest and inclusive, and takes the time it needs
  • Require Westway to continue to engage, talk to, listen to and support the requirements of local people, businesses, traders and groups and insist they are considered first in future consultations and proposals
  • Urge Westway Trust to disseminate their learning from Stage 1
  • Question financial imperatives
  • Reiterate our plans for Greening the Westway to include hanging gardens (green walls) and a full (not tokenistic) programme to tackle air pollution
  • Question the marketing position of ‘Destination Westway’ which is clearly aimed at businesses outside the borough and does not favour local people
  • Ensure that no existing ‘social and community use’ is lost, but is maintained and improved
  • Ensure that Westway Trust has a meaningful consultation with neighbouring boroughs of Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Listen to any alternative visions or ideas, and support groups to find the expertise to bring these forward to viable proposals where possible
  • Carefully watch the Planning timetable to ensure there is time for future stages to be properly scrutinised
  • Update our position in line with the situation as it evolves
  • Prepare a set of guidelines for any future planning application, to include policies from the SPD, Local Plan, The London Plan and national planning regulations.





The Labour Group wrote to the Leader of the Council, Nick Paget-Brown, to find out how many refugees would be offered support in the Royal Borough. This was his response:



If you are a full, registered or affiliated member of the Labour party you will be getting your ballot papers in the post in the next week – or two. The closing date for the vote is 10 September, so no need to panic.


For your vote for Leader, IF you have an order of preference  you can list your preferences  1, 2, 3, 4. Each of your votes will count. It is the same for Deputy Leader. Here is a good explanation of the alternative voting system that will be used to select the Leader and Deputy Leader of the party:


nb, if you only have one choice, you can ‘bullet-vote’, ie, vote for just one person, but you must put the number ‘1’ and not a cross or a tick.

Kensington CLP voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy Corbyn as Leader, and Stella Creasy for Deputy; this was ‘indicative’, the CLP vote doesn’t actually count.

 And you can of course vote for whoever you wish!



In London we will also be voting for your preferred candidate for Mayor of London, for which the election is May 2016:

For our Mayoral candidate we understand that the Labour Party is also using av as above.

Kensington CLP had two, we voted for Tessa Jowell, with Christian Wolmar close behind. Again this vote was ‘indicative’. You can put them in order of preference, and vote for all six or up to six.




And coming up:


On Weds 9 September those who have been full members for at least six months will be selecting our candidates to represent us on the GLA. More info on this on our MEMBERS’ INFORMATION page, click on the link above.

Do visit our Facebook page and ‘Like’ us, comments and (civilised) debate very welcome:


Kensington bucks the trend with 6% swing

2015 Election swing chart9.5.15

After a devastating night for Labour nationally, the political picture in London is very different, as we have seen.

Not least is the encouraging result for Kensington, which saw an increased turnout and an impressive 6% swing to Labour.

Many people imagine that Kensington is all footballers, plutocrats and aristocrats, but Labour Councillors work in some of the poorest wards in London and know the real Kensington is very mixed.

Having selected our ‘dream candidate’??????????????????????????????? Dr Rod Abouharb in October 2013, Kensington Labour’s Action Teams set to work immediately, and including local elections 2014 knocked on 30,000 doors and had 6,000 conversations. Our local manifesto, called ‘One Kensington’, reflecting the main concerns of the electorate, was launched in November 2014. Dr Rod – as he became known – became a recognisable face on the streets, attended surgeries and public meetings, wrote a column in the local paper, and appeared regularly in the press.

K&C Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said:

‘The real Kensington is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the country after five years of Tory rule. Inequalities are frankly shocking, and Tory complacency in the face of food banks, evictions and families and communities torn apart is despicable.

‘Local Councillors dread the next five years of Tory rule, but will fight for our residents and communities. As local resident Tony Benn put it:

“There is no final victory. There is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up!”’

STOP PRESS – Kensington Labour closing the gap!

21.4.Projection, main graph15

(left, our projection based on increased Labour turnout)

This very heartening article by Mary Dejevsky in today’s Independent backs up what we’ve been saying for quite a while – the gap is smaller than you think! In 2010 Kensington under Rifkind was 142nd safest Tory seat, but this slipped to 211st by October 2014, when Electoral Calculus predicted the following for May 2015:

Conservative – 43.10%

Labour – 34.5%

LibDem – 1.1%

UKIP – 16.4%

While this has changed due to the plummeting support for UKIP, no poll can account for the tremendous amount of work carried out by Kensington Labour Action Teams and our wonderful and hard-working candidate Rod Abouharb.

Read the Indie article here:  Kensington Labour closing the gap

If you and every Labour voter uses their vote on 7 May, we could win. It’s that simple.


Kensington Labour General Election Manifesto

One Kensington intro

I have developed a 10 Point Plan to ensure that the local, national and international interests of Kensington are heard in Westminster.  As your voice in Parliament I pledge to:


We must keep our communities together.  Kensington needs housing for residents that is genuinely affordable for a range of income levels.  I support rent control and security for private tenants. Not only does it make economic sense for people to be able to live close to where they work, but there is plenty of evidence that communities from diverse backgrounds, with mixed incomes who are integrated have much greater social cohesion and stability. To keep Kensington affordable for a variety of people, I support a London Living Wage for all workers.


I will work to create cleaner air and safer streets by greening the Westway.  We also need safe cycle-ways and we must implement the Cycle Superhighway.  As your voice in Westminster, I will campaign to end diesel emissions from trains, taxis, vans and lorries and work to improve air quality.  For the safety of Kensington’s residents, especially children, we must implement a 20mph speed limit on borough roads.


I will ensure that development enhances the borough and benefits all its residents.  This means campaigning to continue reductions in the scope and size of basement excavations, their noise, and their disruption to neighbours.  We should protect our built heritage throughout Kensington. We need truly affordable housing in Kensington; all S106 affordable housing must be built on site. We must encourage neighbourhood forums so local voices can be heard in all areas of planning. We need a transparent and locally accountable system for all planning decisions that responds to the concerns of residents.


As your MP I vow to make sure the needs of less affluent and vulnerable residents are represented in Westminster.  I will campaign for affordable energy bills, lower childcare costs, and to save the Independent Living Fund. When governments need to raise more money we must be willing to ask those with the broadest shoulders to contribute more; this is why I support revaluation and re-banding of property for Council Tax instead of a ‘Mansion Tax’. This is a long-standing policy choice of Kensington Labour. I also support the reversal of the Bedroom tax, which is an unfair tax on many of the poorest in society.


We must defend our NHS from the threat of privatisation.  Britain has one of the best and most affordable healthcare systems in the world.  I pledge to consider ways of making it more efficient while maintaining the quality of care that makes our system great. We must improve local NHS and mental health services, and provide affordable social care.

I promise to fight against any attempts at privatisation.  I will listen to the suggestions of doctors and nurses, not lawyers and politicians.


My academic expertise convinces me that we need to think differently from the coalition government about how to grow our economy and generate well-paid, secure employment.  Austerity fails to encourage sustainable economic growth. We need to focus on investing in high quality apprenticeships.  We must ensure an equality of esteem and good pay for those who want to take up vocational training and careers. These decisions will help people realise their potential and encourage a diversified economy. We also need to use the power of government to encourage economic growth in times of recession and then make sure government saves money during periods of growth to protect the public in times of economic difficulty. We must also make sure that the backbone of our economy like mass transit is affordable and run in the public interest. This is why I support the nationalisation of the railway system to ensure  investment and bring ticket prices down.


International trade agreements can generate jobs and encourage economic growth for partner countries. However, how they are negotiated and the protections that are included in them are critical to whether these agreements are beneficial for working families in the U.K. The ongoing TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US need much greater scrutiny and prior agreement that we will not reduce environmental or labour protections as part of the deal.

We need fundamental reform of policies used to encourage development and economic growth throughout the world, including our stance on the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is investment not austerity that guides countries back to growth and productivity.


The EU was originally designed to forge economic and social links between European nations. The EU is important for the UK economy; over 50% of our exports are to the EU. Millions of jobs rely upon our membership. Our economy is also much stronger because of the skilled workers that come to the UK. Though we need to ensure that workers in the UK are not undercut and workers from abroad are not exploited by unscrupulous employers, we must remain in the EU to maintain a vibrant economy in the United Kingdom.


I disagree with the renewal of Trident. These weapons do not make us any safer, in fact most evidence points to increased likelihood of major nuclear accidents and inadvertent nuclear war.

Kensington’s diverse population is especially concerned with international issues. An equitable and just solution for Palestine is a lynchpin of broader peace in the Middle East.  A Palestinian state based on the 1967 ceasefire lines would be an important first step.


Kensington residents need a locally based, visible, responsive and representative Member of Parliament. As your MP I promise not to take any paid directorships. Being a responsive Member of Parliament is a full time job.  Kensington’s residents deserve an MP who will be fully engaged as their representative.

I will publicise and hold regular surgeries in the north, centre and south of Kensington. For those residents who have difficulty travelling; I am your representative and I will come to you.





‘CYNICAL AND HYPOCRITICAL COUNCIL’ refuses to pay LLW for fifth time

Cllr Robert Thompson26.1.15

(left, Cllr Robert Thompson)

Self-professed ‘richest borough in the universe’ Kensington and Chelsea has refused Labour’s demands to implement the London Living Wage for the fifth time of asking.

Despite massive reserves of £283m, accumulated in part from revenue ‘savings’ across the Council, a meeting of Full Council on 21 January refused once again to adopt what the Mayor of London calls ‘what you need to live on and feed your family’.

Angry scenes between Labour and Conservative Cabinet members included an arrogant statement from Cabinet Members that the Council paid all its direct staff the LLW – ignoring the fact that all low-paid Council staff have now been ‘outsourced’ to private providers in a penny-pinching exercise that has seen some employees barely scratch a living at £6.13/hr minimum wage, while some work long shifts to make up their wages. One worker told us he couldn’t afford the fares to and from work, so walked an hour at the beginning and end of a gruelling eight-hour shift of manual work so he could put food on the family table.

In bizarre scenes reminiscent of feudal times, one senior Conservative stated: ‘Well I haven’t looked this up but I bet some get paid time off to go back to their countries’ – a statement both ignorant of statutory holiday pay, and bordering on racism.

A previous demand in 2012 for a decent wage for a decent day’s work prompted the following tortured statement from the Cabinet Member for Finance: ‘It is the role of the national government, through the social security system, to top up earnings in relation to family circumstances.’

Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad, seconding the Motion, said: ‘So the Council expects the government to subsidise their contractors offering low pay, while stigmatising those who apply for welfare. A responsible Council would not allow their contractors to reap billions paying poverty wages to our people. The Council’s hypocrisy is breath-taking.’

Cllr Robert Thompson, proposing the Motion, said: ‘More than being good for business, good for families and good for society, the payment of a living wage is fundamentally a moral issue.’