The Leader responds to Evening Standard – ‘ghost town of the super-rich’

It’s plainly a ridiculous exaggeration to describe Kensington and Chelsea as a “ghost town of the super-rich.” (Standard 21 March 2014.)

Nevertheless, in certain ‘super prime’ areas there is a real and growing problem with empty homes. We are doing what we can to combat it. For example, in the teeth of fierce opposition, we are trying to tighten the planning rules on two forms of development much loved by overseas investors – mega-basements and super-sized flats.

But in the end this problem cannot be solved at borough level.

London should be an international city that welcomes people from overseas who want to come here to work and contribute. We should not allow it to become a sort of stuccoed safety deposit box for people who do not.

Cllr Nick Paget-Brown
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Urban challenges

Several visitors dropping in to see me have said that they quite like Kensington Town Hall but I’m not sure that I’m really in their camp. Designed by Sir Basil Spence, I suppose that it is a comfortable and efficient building, not too out of scale with its surroundings.  And it has proven itself capable of adapting to changing needs.  But you can see that it has a certain brutal potential and that mellowing with age is not likely to be part of its charm.  Continue reading