Tag Archives: Kensington Labour Party


A shock result in the Tory ward of Brompton, covering Knightsbridge and South Kensington, saw Conservatives lose 9.3% of their vote in one year, as some life-long Conservative supporters voted Labour for the first time. This signifies a 4.8% swing from Conservative to Labour in a single year, since the June 2011 by-election.

Labour candidate Mark Sautter met dozens of residents and business owners who are furious at the complacency of the Council and the inaction of their ward Councillors. As Mark said:

‘It’s all about local issues. We heard again and again that the Council does not listen to residents’ concerns or take them seriously. The Council paved Exhibition Road with £20m of taxpayers’ money, yet they ignore local concerns. We were totally shocked at some of the stories we heard, where residents had been turned away, ignored, or even felt insulted by Councillors.’

Mark and the Labour Action Team quickly identified several issues that were not being addressed in Brompton. These include:
· Road safety at Exhibition Road and at Pelham Street, where a pizza delivery man died
· The battle between café owners and casual seating areas near South Kensington station
· Filthy streets and paving
· Accessibility for those with mobility or visual problems
· Anti-social behaviour from clubbers
· Proposed overdevelopment of the station and its potential effect on Thurloe Square conservation area
· Very high pollution plus road racing around Knightsbridge and South Kensington
· Advice for older people in social housing, and for home owners struggling with bills

Mark added: ‘We worked in Brompton as we work in any ward. We talk, we listen, we publicise concerns and we act. This is evidently not how Brompton Councillors are used to working. It is lazy to assume that because of the area it is full of very rich people with no problems; this is far from the case and Councillors must reach out to those who need them. Complacency must end here.’

Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad, who supported Mark, said: ‘I know the area well and was genuinely shocked at some of the stories we heard. Several life-long Conservatives told us it was refreshing to be able to air their views, and that they would vote for Mark as the ‘listening candidate’. Cllr Barkhordar has a lot of work to do if he wants to impress his new constituents.’

The final result was-
Liberal Democrats Conservative Labour UKIP
101 650 103 71
(up 1.5%) (down 9.3%) (up.2%) –


British Telecom are planning to open new telephone kiosk ATMs on Portobello and Golborne Road Market.

Following the closure of the HSBC Bank and their ATMs in Portobello Road last December that was bitterly opposed by Councillors, market traders, shops and local residents, North Kensington Labour Councillors worked hard to have the lost ATMs replaced. Colville Councillor, Dez O’Neill, has worked with HSBC, the Council and several local property owners to find alternative ATM sites. And Golborne Councillor Pat Mason contacted other banks and providers including British Telecom who operate the public telephone boxes on our streets.

The HSBC ATMs were used every weekend by thousands of visitors to the Portobello and Golborne Market. These visitors often needed cash for small sales it was not financially viable for traders to make by credit card. And Golborne Road visitors and traders have long complained that there is no bank and ATM facility there.

This week, British Telecom made planning applications to RBKC to replace their existing telephone boxes at Talbot Road and Golborne Road with new models that will include an ATM service.

Colville Councillor Dez O’Neill said, “This is welcome news since cash machines assist visitors to spend their money on Portobello and Golborne Market, and are very important for the local economy”.

Golborne Councillor Pat Mason said, “Visitors now have less money to spend because of the recession, and if putting these new ATMs on the market helps them to spend more, then that will be a good thing”.


The Tories’ radical housing policy experiment

Val Shawcross, Stephen Cowan (Leader of the Opposition, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham), Ken Livingstone and Todd Foreman (Labour GLA Candidate for West Central) visit Hammersmith riverfront, where the the Tory Council is planning a luxury housing development (but no affordable housing) as part of a wider effort to change the demographics of the Borough.

As Labour’s candidate for West Central, I am standing in an area which is undergoing a radical experiment that is turning swathes of London into no-go zones for ordinary working people. West Central is made up of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham, which have the 1st, 2nd and 5th highest mean average private rents, respectively, in England. Affordable housing is in desperately short supply, and housing tops the concerns of residents at my advice surgeries.

This week the Conservatives announced their latest housing policy; this will do nothing to help the worsening crisis in West Central. Thousands of residents have recently received letters telling them that due to new caps, their housing benefit will be cut drastically. For some this will mean a rapid spiral into debt; for most, this will mean that they will be forced to leave their homes and move to distant areas where they can find rental properties within the new benefit caps. Children will be uprooted from schools; workers will face impossible and expensive commutes to jobs; and families will be forced to move far away from friends, loved ones and communities. In short, we are about to see a massive social experiment that is part of a deliberate strategy by the Tories to turn West Central into an area that is only affordable for the wealthy.

And it’s not as if the local Tory councils are helping matters, either. Take Hammersmith and Fulham, which suffers under one of the most vicious Councils in the country, and where the Tories are in a race against time to change the character of the Borough before Council elections in 2014. Their strategy is Dame Shirley Porter 2.0. Housing owned by the Council is being sold off and legal loopholes are found to maximise profits at the expense of providing affordable homes. Stable communities such as the Hammersmith’s Queen Caroline Estate are labelled “not decent” by the Council and slated for demolition to make way for unaffordable private housing, without a guarantee to local residents that after ‘temporary’ decanting they will ever be able to return to the area.
Tory policies are increasing homelessness; in Kensington and Chelsea, statutory homelessness is up an eye-watering 41% from 2009-10 to 2010-11.

The consequences for West Central are terrible. Young people have little hope of staying in the area as they reach adulthood, and the socio-economic diversity is being squeezed from our communities.

The free market will never provide a solution to West Central’s lack of affordable housing, especially when government is actively making matters worse. We need a Labour GLA and Mayor who will prioritise affordable housing and use their planning powers to promote truly affordable housing developments and restore the affordable housing targets which Boris Johnson scrapped. And London’s regional government must lobby central government to encourage Councils to build more affordable housing for social rent. The scale of the challenge is immense, and it is critical that we elect a Labour Mayor and Labour GLA in 2012 so that we can begin to tackle London’s housing crisis.

Todd Foreman is Labour’s GLA Candidate for West Central and Councillor for Notting Barns ward in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.


Cllr Atkinson spoke under Standing Order 19:

Firstly, I would like to point to the excellent and first rate OFSTED report that was published recently. I hope that the whole Council will join me in congratulating the school, its staff and community on such an excellent result – a result made more extraordinary because the intake of Holland Park School remains challenging. So this excellent result is something in which the school is entitled to take exceptional pride.

Secondly, I wish to note and regret the decision made last Thursday by the Governing Body to vote to explore the possibilities of becoming an Academy. I hope (but do not expect) that this council will join me in encouraging the school to refuse this totally unnecessary development.

The OFSTED report proves not only that a change in status at Holland Park is entirely unnecessary but that if it goes ahead it will be for entirely political reasons. I regret very much that tonight’s timetable does not allow us a wider debate on this matter but I do want you all to know that if our schools do now vote to become academies it will be only because: a) the Council’s political leadership has told them that they must do so and b) that our excellent and much valued education department is already being dismantled so that the schools have no choice but to go along with the Academy proposals.

If any of our schools now walk the plank to academy status it is only because Cllr Elizabeth Campbell is pushing them over the edge at sword point. And behind her stands her wicked and ambitious ‘Pirate captain’ Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell.
Finally, I want this Council to agree over the summer to assist the school in ensuring that public consultation on this proposal is conducted as widely and as extensively as possible. The lack of consultation with the students of this school is a disgrace and the four days’ notice given to parents is entirely inadequate and I believe leaves the decision open to Judicial Review [and should Judicial Review fail this will only prove that the rules on consultation with parents and the local community have been deliberately rigged so as to make them meaningless].

I often criticise this council for its own poor efforts to consult with and involve our residents. But even the Royal Borough could not make such a poor job of resident and community involvement.

Madam Mayor, I hope therefore that this Council will applaud the excellent OFSTED report and condemn the plot to force Holland Park School to become an Academy.

Labour immoveable in Tory strongholds

Thanks to our two fantastic candidates and their teams who put in a fantastic effort in the two ‘most Tory’ wards in the country! A shocking turnout of just 15% shows just how much value residents of those wards hold for their local Tories. They have no idea what they’re missing! The Labour vote stood firm, and we had great back-up from members and Councillors and friends from all over the borough, showing how our increased membership has given us all a boost.