The Kensington Society blog

Public meeting about police station closure

The Metropolitan Police is inviting all residents to a face-to-face discussion with the borough commander for Kensington and Chelsea, Chief Superintendent Ellie O’Connor, and Chief Inspector Chris Mahaffey, about the proposed closure of Notting Hill police station. The meeting will be held at St John's Notting Hill Church, Landsdowne Crescent, on Tuesday 15 August at 1pm.

The week that was: 24 July - 30 July

During the sixth week after the Grenfell Tower disaster, Sajid Javid created the Grenfell recovery taskforce, which will check the council’s handling of the Grenfell disaster on behalf of the government, and the Metropolitan Police announced that there are reasonable grounds to suspect the council and the KCTMO of corporate manslaughter. It was also revealed that work to shroud the tower in a gigantic protective wrap will begin in the middle of August.

Notting Hill police station to be closed and sold

Notting Hill police station is to be closed and sold, unless an ongoing consultation about proposed cost cutting solutions for the Met results in a different solution. If it happens, Kensington police station will be the only police station in Kensington and Chelsea. A doubling of ward dedicated officers and better online services are to make up for the loss.

The week that was: 17 July - 23 July

The fifth full week after the Grenfell Tower disaster was dominated by the first full council meeting since the fire, where the agenda was pushed aside and residents from North Kensington were given a platform to vent their anger and demand changes to the council’s way of dealing with them. The council agreed to all motions put forward by the opposition and the new council leader promised radical change.

Elizabeth Campbell’s speech

At the first council meeting after the Grenfell disaster, the newly elected council leader Elizabeth Campbell pledged that the council would fundamentally change its culture and work much closer with community groups from now on. She announced that the council had secured 99 homes for the survivors from Grenfell Tower, and that they are trying to buy a further 20 that are for sale in North Kensington. She also promised that the future of the Grenfell Tower site will be decided together with the community.
We have the full speech.

An even more unbalanced cabinet

On Wednesday evening, Elizabeth Campbell, the new council leader, announced her cabinet. It has three fewer members than the previous and it is, unfortunately, even more unbalanced in favour of Chelsea and the southernmost parts of Kensington.
Although 80% of the borough's population lives in Kensington, 70% of the cabinet members represent Chelsea wards, and there is only one cabinet member north of Old Brompton Road.

The week that was: 10 July - 16 July

During the fourth full week after the Grenfell Tower fire, the Met announced that the starting point of their criminal investigation is that the fire was manslaughter; it was revealed that building certificates for the insulation state that it can only be used together with non-combustible panels; the names of those assisting the inquiry‘s chairman were announced; and the consultation period for determining the scope of the inquiry was extended to 28 July.

Council meeting to be webcast live

The council meeting on Wednesday 19 July is expected to draw a record audience. It's the first time all the councillors meet since May, and the dominating subject will be the Grenfell Tower disaster and the equally disastrous way it was handled by the council leadership the days after the fire.
Because of the big public interest, the meeting will be held in the Great Hall, but it will also be broadcast live over the internet, so all those who can't attend can see it.

The unbalanced cabinet

The current RBKC cabinet is heavily unbalanced in favour of Chelsea. Although 80% of the population lives in Kensington, half of the 11 cabinet members represent its little kid sister Chelsea.
If the cabinet was to reflect the spread of both the population and the councillors, 9 of the cabinet members should come from Kensington wards.

The week that was: 3 July - 9 July

The third full week after the Grenfell Tower fire was dominated by two meetings between the survivors and the authorises, which clearly demonstrated the frustration and anger felt.
It was also revealed that the RBKC council more than any other in England place homeless families outside its own borough. More than 900 have been in temporary accommodation outside the borough for over a year.

Our message to the Tory councillors

On Monday 3 July, when the Conservative councillors were about to select the next council leader among themselves, the Kensington Society sent them an email, urging them to select someone who recognises the need for a genuine culture change in the council and can engage with all sections of the community. Later that evening they chose Chelsea councillor Elizabeth Campbell.

The week that was: 26 June - 2 July

The second full week after the Grenfell Tower fire saw the resignation of the KCTMO head, the leader of the council and the deputy leader. The week also saw the appointment of the judge who will lead the public inquiry, and it was revealed that the refurbishment plans originally specified fire-resistant zinc cladding, but this was replaced with a much cheaper aluminum cladding with plastic core.