send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


This well-written piece in the Daily Telegraph 


and yet another in the Times! 


Saturday, 22 April 2017


Jonny Sandelson, the man behind bust Guestinvest which left investors up Excreta Creek without a Paddle LINK
Odd his autobiographical Wilki entry omits such important information.
But leaving investors high and dry has not stopped RBK&C dealing with him and his gang.
Sandelson and team have got their hands on the much loved Thamesbrook Home in Dovehouse Street. They plan to demolish it and replace this much-loved community asset with extraordinarily expensive and vulgar retirement homes for super- rich old bags like the awful Dame.
So, the hideous Stella Baillie, purportedly in charge of the welfare of the old, has struck yet another blow against the very people whose welfare she has responsibility for!
A home that could have continued to serve local people has been hijacked for the benefit of the ultra rich....most will have had no connection to the Royal Borough.

Friday, 21 April 2017


Dear Dame
Please help us!
Cllr Coleridge tells us that we have to put up the money-making scheme to sell a street sweepers' depot to a developer "because the council is short of money". 
How can this be when it sits on over £300 million in reserves from over taxing us?
Having cleared £30 million flogging the site the street cleaning facility has been dumped on the Wiltshire Close housing estate - ignoring residents' concerns over noise, pollution and the disruption this will cause.  
Street sweepers currently have been caught on camera urinating in the Close. They congregate - very noisily - at 0600 each morning, using foul language as they shout to each other, and sweep through the area taking no care for elderly residents.  
The scheme is been rushed through by RBKC's Planning Dept. 
The Evening Standard have written this LINK

On Good Friday residents were informed by email only, of a Planning Meeting on April 25th to discuss this development, giving those with email access five working days in which to gather objections.    
Residents' store sheds will be demolished; they will lose cherished green space, and have to put up with noise and pollution in their open space.

With kind regards

A group of residents

Thursday, 20 April 2017


It seems Mr. Stallwood, our planning boss, has had a Damascene conversion. 
He is beginning to understand, being paid more than the PM, plus a gigantic pension pot, he needs to defend the interests of residents. 
The Evening Standard reports this LINK
His past record gave the impression residents were a bit of a nuisance and he preferred dealing with rich and powerful developers....
Maybe he fell for the charms of Miss Trollope?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


The Mail has written a major piece castigating RBK&C over the standard of care for the elderly. See LINK
Predictably, our useless PR department, headed by Mr 'Fizzy' Fitzpatrick, and costing close to £500,000 a year, was impotent in protecting the Council's reputation.
The Dame has for many years recommended closing the PR department down and replacing it with a small, but efficient, external consultancy to handle communications. 

In doing so savings of 80% could be achieved with no liability for pensions or redundancy costs.

But back to the core topic. 

One disgraceful aspect of care for the elderly was the closure of Thamesbrook orchestrated by the dreadful Stella Baillie, the director responsible for care of the elderly.
The Hornet wrote a piece about Thamesbrook some time back. 
It gave the vile Baillie a real roasting over the shabby treatment of the residents of this much loved 'local' home.
You can catch up here LINK

And which Cabinet member is responsible for care of the elderly? Yes, you guessed: the utterly lazy Cllr Weale


The old Dame, perusing comments, will often alight upon one succinctly summing up a situation.
This letter of objection does exactly that: unlike the silly nonsense produced by the Science Museum.....

"I can hardly believe the amount of PUBLIC money which has been spent on preparing this application. 
It is made worse by the sloppy, illiterate and inconsistent reporting of the benefits supposedly of the scheme. 
Is everyone cowed by the involvement of a Royal Palace? 
No one is above the law. 
And the law in RBKC is subject to CL7 and the latest SPD on basements. Only if the planning department and LPA want to drive a coach and horses through their own regulations and guidelines, should this application be allowed to go any further. 
It would be a traumatic development to a Listed Building and a blatant defiance of the 2 storey rule to allow it. 
Please refuse the application at the earliest opportunity and stop this haemorrhage of public funds. 

Sent by: Patrick Hope-Falkner

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Graham Stallwood must be desperately canvassing support for the mega basement proposed under Kensington Palace's Grade 1 listed Orangery.
His mate, Jonathan Newby of the Science Museum, has written this nonsense of a support letter on the spurious gounds that the Palace is a neighbour of the Science Museum!

Newby, deputy director of the Musum, clearly has hopes of an OBE for this grovelling piece of sycophancy
The Dame, ever aware of chicanery, notices the, "I confirm my support". 
Clearly, 'Jonathan' and 'Graham' have been having discussions on how best 'Jonathan' should couch his support.

There are 
reports staff are most unhappy with the idea of the subterranean area being a restroom for the fifteen minutes of R&R they are allowed. 
They have been forbidden to object.
Could the works also have something to do with freeing up space in KP to allow Princess Eugenie a pied de terre?
The building work will about take two years. 
Another reason for this destructive scheme is to intensify the commercialisation of the Orangery - so that more profitable private events can be held. 

Two years ago the Orangery and surrounding grounds was fenced off and closed to the public because a celebrity (sister of Paris Hilton) wanted her marriage celebrations to be held there.

To the north side of the Orangery (the rear) there is a 'wild life' area with mature trees, shrubs and many birds. 

This area would be destroyed.

Friday, 7 April 2017


Following massive resident protest, David Graham's plan to build a mega basement under his Walton Street mansion was refused. It's all here LINK
Another Dame....

However, heads are now beginning to roll....
It seems that one planning officer, centrally involved in the entire sorry debacle, has been dismissed.

The Dame also hears the other formidable Dame, and former head of MI5, has called in Savills for some heavy interrogation.

Baroness Manningham-Buller is chair of Wellcome Trust. 
She is most horribly displeased with slimeball Savills for promoting Graham's horrendous scheme knowing it would damage Wellcome's local property portfolio. 
As she puts it to the Dame, over a cuppa, " Savills advises Wellcome so how on earth do they think they could operate in such a conflicted way?"

The lesson to be learned is needs a long spoon to sup with Mr. Graham.
He brings trouble wherever he goes....


As Mr. Emerson might have said of Cllr. Paget-Brown, "the more our leader talks of listening to residents the faster we count our spoons...."
New school for the Rock kids!

At the last planning committee meeting oleaginous chairman, Quentin Marshall, was overheard observing to a colleague, with an unpleasant smirk, "Well, that went rather well, didn't it".
Is that a Burberry scarf? So common!

What could Quent, whose other job is greasing up to clients at Weatherbys Private Bank, mean?

At theTown Hall planning meeting to discuss Ladbroke Library Quent decided objectors were a real and present danger to his safety. 
So several Town Hall security staff, supported by twelve burly members of the Constabulary, were drafted in to give Quent 'close protection'!  
How much did this show of force cost? 
Experts suggest several thousand pounds in overtime.

And, for what purpose? 
Presumably, to eject objectors objecting to Marshall's crude and boorish attempts to silence them. 
When those rather genteel objectors voiced their concerns the bullying and deeply useless Marshall told them they had just a minute to make their point!
What a cavalier way to treat residents paying his 'allowance' of £40,000 plus!
But how different was his attitude to those supporting the scheme-architects and the Director of Libraries.
They were treated with the greatest sycophancy. 
Each of the five-man team was given three minutes to make their case.

The Dame also demands to know why no documents outlining this application, and other major applications, were available offline as the Council is legally obliged to do. It might have helped Cllr. Rinker as he engaged in a last minute struggle to find out what was being discussed!
It's pointless Nick Paget-Brown running around the Borough asking those who put him in power to 'talk to him' when the likes of Marshall undermine all his good work by insulting residents.

Marshall's bullying and bombastic manner bode badly for those objecting to other upcoming major applications.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


A Chelsea swimmer writes to the Dame....

Dearest Dame,
Over the last couple of years RBKC alienated many different sectors of their electorate with unpopular decisions, such as supporting a CrossRail2, Kings Rd station, Marlborough School, Thamesbrook, Chelsea Manor Court telephone aerials, Sutton estate, Brompton Hospital SPD. They now add to the list a new sector of adult swimmers who seek to keep fit and healthy by swimming in the Town Hall pool. 

The council has decided to spend £1.7 million partly to ‘upgrade’  some functional aspects of the pool such as ventilation, heating, re-tiling etc which is generally supported, but also by tearing down a dividing wall to make the existing separate sex changing rooms into a “unisex village”.
A quick search of the internet reveals strong resident objections in other parts of the country to having this foisted on them, from Cleethorpes to Leamington, Stratford to Warwick and Woodbridge.
This is not welcome either to daily Chelsea users, because it will break the current much-loved locker room talks, which are regarded as a part of the positive social benefit additional to the swimming. They will be lost as everyone will have to change in their own separate cubicle. It will also slow down changing since it will be broken into several queueing points for showers, cubicles etc. and loss of speed and communality of the ‘changing bench.’
There is considerable anger and opposition amongst the vast majority of regular swimmers, who are council tax payers, to the imposition of these plans.  The Consultation Process was not transparent but opaque. Letters concerning this, and to Cabinet members and managers at GLL went unheeded. Objectors were not listened to. No results of consultation has been published to show how many people supported it or what they thought they were voting for. Unisex changing was not mentioned in the 4 questions of the Consultation questionnaire.  
RBKC agreed to the choice of a firm of ‘chartered surveyors’ rather than architects to produce a plan. More sensible alternative plans have been drawn up by swimmers who are architects, showing that it is quite possible to divide the space into 3 divisions - men/ women/ and schools + families, with corridors on either side parallel to the pool. These have been ignored.
Chelsea pool in its present form has unique character: it has soul. The proposed plans may suit a new build large leisure center, but to impose them on the listed Chelsea Pool without regard to the local residents/tax payers and regular swimmers is wrong. It interferes with a tradition and a culture which supports daily swimmers, quite possibly keeping them healthier and thus indirectly saving money which we are now told is needed for adult social care. It is a significant part of the experience of their daily swim. Raised at one of the meetings, swimmers were told they could chat at the side of the pool, or outside in the street.  What a good solution!!
An eloquent 3 minute speech from a daily swimmer at the planning application hearing supported the swimmers’ feelings perfectly. This led to 2 of the 3 conservative planning panel members voting against it, only one in favour. The plan was only passed by the chairman voting and using a casting vote which he had not done for other applications that night. Had a Labour member who was ill that night been present it would probably have been refused.
In the Royal Borough newsletter Spring 2017 we learn the 1.9% increase in council tax will bring in £1.5million which would otherwise have needed to be found from other cuts. Perhaps if they had decided to only spend on the essentials at the pool such as a new boiler they could have avoided much of the tax increase which is a similar sum to what is being spent on the Chelsea pool. 
In the same newspaper the council boasted of helping to get young local people “active” with free sessions on cookery, growing their own food  (growing your own food in London is rather difficult.)
 They also said ‘inactivity is a major cause of obesity’, but failed to mention the wasted money on the “unisex changes” which only extends pool closure time. This is why objectors to this silly scheme want to continue their swimming which is a real and irreplaceable way to keep slim and heathy.

 Unlike Westminster which makes swimming in its council pools free to all residents of their borough RBKC has made no steps in that direction at all. Nor has it attempted to offer alternatives to swimmers at no extra cost from “the Ist April to the end of summer“ that it seems to expect the pool to be out of action.


The WCC Labour Group blame WCC for the break up(see below) and RBK&C blame H&F!

The truth will never be known. 
The only substantive fact is that it was a bloody silly idea in the first place. 
Myers and Pooter got their K's on the back of it: they should be stripped of them.

"Westminster Council’s long-term mismanagement of back-office systems for Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster were at the root of the break-up of tri-borough arrangements.

Councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham had little alternative but to look for other arrangements following grotesque failings in some of the back office tri-borough workings, for which Westminster was the lead borough. From the start of tri-borough, Westminster took charge of an attempt to run all three councils' routine billing and staff hours, pay and pensions administration through one contract.

Westminster Council gave the contract to BT in January 2013 telling everyone that it would save £30m and other councils would be asking to join in. At that point Westminster expected the contract to commence across the three boroughs in November 2013 (for HR) and March 2014 (for finance) and go live soon after.

It didn't. The contract actually went live in April 2015. The reason for the delay, and what happened after the contract did go live, are unfortunately covered by strict rules about commercial confidentiality. It is however in the public domain that Westminster Council's Audit and Performance committee held eight extraordinary meetings over this one contract (all in private sessions)."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


The Dame thinks this pretty well sums it all up.
What possible experience did Derek Myers or Pooter Cockell have to conduct this dangerous and ill-advised experiment.

Retired Chief Executive
In June 2012 I wrote to Cllr Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea as follows:

"Any organisation can only serve one "brain" otherwise it becomes dysfunctional. We are proceeding with three Leaders and three Cabinets. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The Chief Executive selected to run a merged operation has to be recruited from outside the shareholders. If he comes from one of the hosts there will always be suspicion from the others and authority will be undermined and then it breaks down.The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

If costs have to be reduced by re engineering an organisation, then lines of control have to be shortened and power concentrated. But we are building a shared power organisation and distributed organisation. The TRI Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Merger and integration is high risk. There is no point contemplating it unless savings of ca 30% can be demonstrated on paper (and empirically only about 10% will be obtained). The three Boroughs spend about £2 billion. 30% is £800 million. But Tri Borough savings were projected to be ca £20m to £30m at the outset and now £40 million is being trumpeted. Paltry in the scheme of things and they will be swept away by risk. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The personality of the Chief Executive needs to be understood and a performance/reward framework put in place to match his behaviour to the desired outcome. The dual appraisal arrangement by K&C and Hammersmith is a classic "divide and rule" trap. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

The Chief Executive needs to report to a single master. Mr Myers will report to two masters. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner drivers need to be aligned. Westminster and K&C have guaranteed Conservative majorities.The Leaders are on a long leash. Hammersmith is a marginal council (Conservatives in survival mode). The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner constituencies need to be aligned. The demographics of Hammersmith are fundamentally different from K&C/Westminster. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

In my experience any integration programme will fail if any one of the rules above are broken.


Some of the Dame's naughty Hornton Hornets tell her the ludicrous Tri-Borough arrangement is in danger of imminent collapse: it cannot come too soon.
We need to be free of the interference of the dreadful H&F and Westminster.

Another crass idea of Myers and Pooter Cockell hits the buffers.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017



Dear Dame 

No matter how senior you are within Sainsbury's you are expected to get down and dirty for a few weeks a year.
This means toiling in a store shelf stacking, or worse, to get some idea what those at the bottom of the heap have to endure.

Having just received my business and council tax demand I took a look at the career profiles of our senior officers. 
It was no surprise to find that none had ever held down a job outside local or national government: in fact, most had spent their entire working lives depending on the public purse for their bullet proofed lives

Would it not be a good idea to force the likes of Messrs Stallwood and Holgate to work for a month in some hard-pressed local business? 
In that way, they could get a better understanding of the effort and sacrifice required to fund their obscenely high salaries and pensions of our senior council officers.

Yours respectfully,

A Notting Hill Shopkeeper

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Londoners, of all political persuasions, turned out en masse this Saturday to protest about NHS plans to cease all Congenital Heart Diseases operations and research at the Royal Brompton. The closure would especially hit children and young people. 
Let's hope Jeremy Hunt gets a grip on this and stops this madcap and pointless scheme.
Victoria Borwick MP

The Crowds Protesting
Nick Paget-Brown, Betty Boothroyd, Greg Hands MP
Former Leader of the Commons, Betty Boothroyd