Busy year for planning enforcement

So far 2014 has been very busy for the Planning Department’s enforcement officers.  In fact it’s a record-breaking year for notices issued and we’ve only just passed Bonfire Night!

I was reliably informed that, before this year, we would typically issue about 35 notices in a twelve month period.  Now it has rocketed to an astonishing 94 and counting.  So what’s going on? Continue reading

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Organisations that help make our borough great

One of the things I have been trying to do as Council leader is to go round the borough meeting the organisations that make Kensington and Chelsea the great place that it is.

Every now and then the events that I go to turn out to be particularly memorable. Two stand outs from recent weeks are the Venture Centre Annual General Meeting and the Cardinal Vaughan centenary celebrations. Two great institutions, powering on all cylinders each with plenty of achievements under their belt and each making a tangible difference to local lives. Continue reading

Campaign gathers pace on mansion tax

When announcing his mansion tax proposals, it was quite predictable that Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls would choose to talk about a “billionaire overseas buyer”.

But I suspect Ed Balls knows perfectly well that the people who will end up paying his tax aren’t billionaires, or from overseas, or even buyers; they will actually be members of our long-term community.  Older and often retired, they will have brought their homes decades ago for a fraction of what they are worth today.  They will simply not be able to afford the tax and will face a terrible choice:  move, or allow the tax to rack up as a sort of huge additional death duty.

Since the announcement of the tax, I have been speaking to many Royal Borough residents who are in precisely this position. Continue reading