Enjoy our parks

park1When you’re the second smallest borough in the country with a densely packed population you really have to do everything you can to make the very best use of the limited green space you have.

Naturally, I tend to think our parks and open spaces are fantastic places and real community assets. They can be beautiful to the eye while at the same time providing a place to exercise, walk your dog, play with the children or just take time to sit and read a book. As well as this they provide a vital habitat for all sorts of insects, reptiles, small mammals and birds. Continue reading

Make the switch to electric

As regular readers will know, I’m not backward in coming forward about the problems caused by noisy supercars. You know the ones: the exotic-looking speed machines which swish and roar around Knightsbridge. Particularly in the summer.

Here at the Council we’re continuing to crack down on inconsiderate drivers and encourage residents to report any issues to us. But, problems aside, I think it’s only fair to say that some of these bling’d-out cars are simply stunning. Beautiful, even. The other day, however, I must admit my head was turned, not by a Lamborghini but by another stylish road machine: the electric Renault Twizy.

Coming a long way from the Sinclair C5s of the 80s, today’s electric vehicles are better looking, more practical and, more importantly, come with top-notch environmental credentials. And here’s the science bit: driving an electric vehicle means reduced air pollution due to no NOx or particulates, plus no CO2 emissions. Continue reading

Why the Council has taken steps to protect the borough’s launderettes

Back in my university days I’d pop into my local launderette when I was down to my last pair of socks and a visit home to Mum’s washing machine skills wasn’t on the horizon for a few weeks.

I’d often while away a Sunday afternoon people-watching, reading the newspapers and enjoying the chance to switch off for an hour and completely relax.

Back in the day there was a launderette on every high street.  It was a phenomenon reflected in the popular culture of the time, when a TV commercial set in one rescued the ailing sales of Levi 501s.  Even Dot Cotton’s fictional launderette in the soap opera EastEnders has been the backdrop for countless dramas and revelations.

In 1980 there were around 50 launderettes in Kensington and Chelsea but today just 18 remain.  Continue reading

Summer fun for children that won’t break the bank

The summer holidays are now upon us and children across the country will be clamouring for something to do. I know that the six long weeks of summer can be a challenge for parents trying to keep their offspring entertained without breaking the bank. Continue reading

We want EU citizens to Bremain

About 3.3 million EU citizens live in the UK. That’s a big number. But what is clear is that at every level and in every sector of our economy these citizens have been putting in a shift.

In Kensington and Chelsea, their contribution is huge: in our restaurants, our hotels, in our shops, hospitals and GP surgeries, and even here at the Council, we have been benefitting mightily from highly skilled EU workers. Continue reading

My response to a Crossrail 2 petition discussed at Council Meeting, Wednesday 29 June

Petition:

We, the undersigned strongly object to and oppose the proposal to build a Crossrail 2 station at the Kings Road Station site. We already have excellent tube services and bus services serving Chelsea. The building of a main line train station and large retail development would destroy the special character of Chelsea.

Routing the line to avoid the diversion to Chelsea would save both over £1bn and longer journey times on Crossrail 2.  Full petition

Can I start by thanking Chris Lennon for his presentation and thank Councillors for their contributions.

Let me start by saying that I know proposals for a new station are controversial and I recognise the strength of feeling about it in Chelsea. Many residents have told me directly that they oppose a station and feel that it will damage the neighbourhood.

However, some of the information surrounding this project, especially in its early days was deeply misleading. Even the prayer of the petition before us tonight conveys inaccurate information. Let me quote: Continue reading

We’ve taken steps to curtail supercars’ growls

You can’t beat a wonderful BBC nature documentary.  It seems that for years we’ve all been educated and entertained by David Attenborough and the talented cameramen and women who have given us an insight into the animal kingdom.  From the blackbird to the blue whale we have learned about how species survive or, in some cases, how perilous their existence can be.

The role of the seasons in nature has been a mainstay and something I think about when it comes to patterns of life here in Kensington and Chelsea.  And just as migratory birds, like swifts and swallows, return to our shores for the summer, so do beasts of an entirely different order.  But expect no thrilling aerial displays from these visitors because I’m talking about the return of the supercar. Continue reading