Cabinet changes for the coming year

Madam Mayor

Welcome and congratulations on your new position. We look forward to you presiding over our business for the forthcoming year.

Traditionally, this is the meeting (Council AGM Wed 24 May) where we make new appointments and announce changes. This year is no exception, as you will see from the papers laid around the chamber I am proposing a number of changes tonight. Continue reading

Cherry blossoms – the loveliest of trees


Cherry blossoms

‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now…’ wrote A.E. Housman about cherry blossoms and in the springtime it is hard to disagree.


Strolling up to Notting Hill Gate the other day I decide to go the back way by which I mean I went up Vicarage Gate rather than Kensington Church Street. Continue reading

Supporting Crossrail 2 but only if station development is low key

I was concerned, but not surprised, to read reports in the media that the Crossrail 2 project could be derailed or side-lined because of cost and competing infrastructure demands.

Residents will know that the Council is a staunch supporter of a Crossrail 2 Station on the King’s Road. We believe there is an overwhelming case for a station in an area that many people visit but is poorly served by public transport. Continue reading

Taking enforcement action against noise and eyesore

We all share the view that Kensington and Chelsea is a special place to live. It’s a fantastic borough in the world’s best city. From beautiful squares in sought-after residential areas to our wonderful markets, parks and schools there are many reasons why people want to be Royal Borough residents.

An awful lot of work goes into maintaining the quality of life in the borough and, where necessary, bringing people to book when their actions disturb the peace and quiet of a street or create a veritable eyesore.

This week I learned of two cases where action by enforcement officers, from two different departments, tackled a blight on the landscape and a noisy builder who paid no heed to warnings. Continue reading

Sloane Street – we are exploring options

web-sloane-st-south-view-01-fSloane Street has an international reputation as a high-end retail destination. It is also a thriving residential area.

It’s a fabulous street boasting some fine architecture and it also has the wonderful Cadogan Place Gardens which are much loved by residents and the many visitors attracted to the area each day.

Despite this praise of Sloane Street’s virtues, the Council thinks the street has drawbacks and could, with some alterations, be improved. It competes with some of the finest shopping streets in Europe and needs to present an attractive face to both shoppers and residents. This could be done by reducing the dominance of traffic and improving what some refer to as the public realm but many people might recognise as the pavements and street furniture. 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

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


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

North Ken and our ambitions to restore traditional street patterns

There is a lot to enjoy about The Blue Lamp, the 1950 crime drama made by Ealing Studios.  There’s the cast for one thing.  The excellent Jack Warner plays PC George Dixon, a wise and respected veteran bobby.  Although he is shot dead during the film, his character had such appeal to the British public that he was resurrected for the TV series Dixon of Dock Green Dixon of Dock Green which ran for 21 years.

As indicated, poor old PC Dixon is cruelly gunned down, when he happens upon a robbery at a local cinema.  As you would expect, he tries to convince the villain to ‘come along quietly now lad’ but unfortunately he is up against a twitchy psychopath played by a young Dirk Bogarde.  The Blue Lamp is supposed to be ‘social realism’ but its insights into the 1950s criminal underworld seem to have been provided by RADA’s cockney research department – ‘cor blimey guv’nor, and no mistake.’

What is very real, and the real star of the show, is west London circa 1950.  Paddington Green, Edgware Road, Westbourne Park, Harrow Road, Little Venice, the obligatory shot of Piccadilly Circus at night – all of them feature and are fascinating to see. Continue reading