National politics is fixated on Brexit, but I am very conscious from my postbag, that there are so many vital and important issues in our day-to-day lives. At this time of year of renewal, of putting winter behind us, I have concentrated on community events – as that to me is the spirit of our community here in Kensington.There is plenty going on in Kensington, but much of my time is taken up helping residents with casework and making sure that I can put you in touch with the help and assistance that you need.
We have just had the “offer day” for school places, and Kensington and Chelsea did not have enough space in its excellent schools, so this will be one of my campaigns if I am selected to be your candidate for the next General Election.
Whilst the politicians in Westminster have been battling it out over Brexit, it has been a busy few months locally in Kensington, and I would commend the RBKC Councils new plan available here
I was invited to the launch led by the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Elizabeth Campbell, at the wonderful Marlborough School. This Council plan summarises over 2,000 conversations with residents and over 5,000 comments and sets out the priorities for the Council, so I do hope you will find time to read, or else ask your local councillors for a copy of the plan.
You will see that Grenfell recovery is still very much top of the list, but the Council also has a holistic approach to the whole Borough.
All local councillors hold “surgery” sessions so you can go and meet your councillors and discuss any concerns you have about local services.
Crime: With the recent rise in crime across London I have attended several local policing meetings to hear what our teams are doing to keep us safe. Here in a packed hall with Stephen Greenhalgh, the former Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.Local residents have been briefed about the local increase in crime across London and what we can all do to keep ourselves safe.
There was also a great briefing at the RBKC Town Hall about scams and how to try to avoid becoming a victim.
The next Safer Neighbourhood meeting will be on 8th July in the Small Hall at Kensington Town Hall. These are co-ordinated by the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council and you can go onto their website to study past minutes or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team.
We are all campaigning locally to save the South Kensington Post Office – just opposite Janet’s Bar in South Kensington. The local councillors here are keen to hear from locals and work to save the post office – so do contact Cllr Janet Evans, Cllr Greg Hammond or Cllr Quentin Marshall.
The consultation website is here. Although the formal consultation has closed, you can send your comments to: email@example.com.
This was a really exciting day, after months of planning and great work from a fantastic team, including PC Jayne Richardson, the new Police Cadets unit was launched at Al Manaar.
If you know young people who would like to get involved we have several local cadets units across the Borough – Air and Army cadets, police cadets, Boys Brigade and a host of great activities for young people. The Deputy Mayor came to the launch as did the Mayor and Cllr Gerard Hargreaves.
Everyone enjoyed the warm welcome at Al Manaar and a feast – prepared in their newly renovated kitchens. I cheekily call it “Meghan’s kitchen” after all the great work that the Duchess of Sussex has done and the funds from her cookbook that has benefitted the kitchen. The community kitchen has always provided much needed help and comfort to neighbours and friends who had been in need of support. Congratulations to Faiza Hayani Bellili, Leila Hedjem and the rest of the team.
RBKC has several new initiatives to promote Jobs and Training and I was briefed on the new opportunities available locally. There is support for start up and small businesses in RBKC and a greater willingness to promote apprenticeships to give our young people job opportunities.
Campaigning is a regular activity, and we have campaigned to stop the removal of several of the TfL bus routes, local members have campaigned against the closure of Charing Cross Hospital, which the Minister Matt Hancock MP, has now confirmed will not be closing.
As an elected Governor to the Brompton Hospital, I am involved with the campaign to save the Brompton Hospital, working with the Council, Healthwatch and Government.
I questioned Matt Hancock the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as I have many concerns about the NHS – why do they continue to send vulnerable patients home too early and sometimes in the middle of the night with no one to care for them. Why isn’t social care and hospital care better integrated?
Want to have your say on Healthcare? Healthwatch has a local event you can attend see here.
Enjoying a more formal occasion with Amber Rudd MP, Secretary for State for Work and Pensions, which enabled me to ask her questions about benefits for the disabled. I am pleased she has paused some of the implementation of the roll out of Universal Credit for disabled people. I believe it is vital to help those who are vulnerable and need our help.
Tony Devenish, our elected representative to the GLA. Rt Hon Amber Rudd, Greg Hands MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, Leader of RBKC and Cllr Andrew Brown H&F.
Chatting to Greg Hands MP for Chelsea and Fulham and Cllr Janet Evans – RBKC Councillor for Courtfield ward.
I was invited to visit the Chinese School in RBKC – Kensington Wade Academy which enables children to have a dual curriculum – half the lessons are taught in Mandarin and the rest in English. This was a fun evening for parents and locals to visit the school.
Professor Hugh de Burgh, Chairman of Governors and Cllr Gerard Hargreaves.
Meeting and talking to local residents is very important and as I have lived locally all my life it is a great opportunity to appreciate resident’s problems.
I am often invited to Residents’ Association events to ensure that local issues are responded to.
You may have seen the consultation for the changes to the flight paths for Heathrow. I met Tony Devenish our GLA elected representative and Greg Hands MP to listen to Heathrow’s plans. Reactions to Heathrow are mixed – many would prefer the expansion to be at Gatwick, whilst others appreciate how convenient it is to have the airport so near. However, the new flight paths are likely to see more flights over Kensington.
The Mayor had a coffee morning for voluntary organisations including the Princess Royal Volunteers, who have provided over 100 years of support in times of crisis.
Lady Arnold DL, Frances Blois from Westminster, Mayor of RBKC Cllr Marie Therese Rossi, The Commandant Philippa Lorimer MBE.
At the heart of Kensington are our great museums – Natural History Museum, the V&A and the Science Museum and I was invited to a briefing on some of the research work in new innovations for treating cancer and the development of personalised medicines.
With two of the RBKC local Councillors – Catherine Faulks responsible for Skills and Enterprise and Mary Weale who is responsible for Finance and the budget for our Borough Council.
Meeting and talking to residents with Miloud and Samia Bentayeb.
Kensington and Chelsea has a vibrant selection of antique dealers and I was invited to the opening of the BADA Fair in the Kings Road, where many local dealers and those from across the UK were doing good business in these uncertain times!
Holding the NHS to account and making sure they do not continue to reduce local provision here in RBKC is vital. I am a volunteer with Healthwatch we are looking at the consultation on the closure and changes to the NHS Walk-in Centre in Earls Court. I am very worried that the closure of this facility will make it more difficult for vulnerable locals to get the care they need without having to travel.
Currently, there is a walk-in service, GP and Dental practice all in the same modern health centre and it is a great shame that these services will go.
If you need to see a GP urgently – you can pop in to the Earls Court Health and Wellbeing Centre Monday – Saturday. Don’t queue for hours at the hospital, visit the Website at: www.echwc.nhs.uk
Meeting up with Tony Devenish, our GLA elected member, Mark Higton from Hammersmith, Andrew Foster the Chairman of the local Conservatives and local residents.
I am invited to speak at schools regularly as, having previously been a local Councillor, elected member of the Greater London Assembly, The Deputy Mayor of London, the MP for Kensington, and following a career in business, it is a great opportunity to enthuse the next generation to get involved in public service and think about how they can get involved with their communities.
As a lifelong Londoner, I am well aware of the need to constantly invest in our infrastructure across London. I am here with a panel of judges from the Institute of Civil Engineers looking at projects that benefit London.
Have your say and vote too here.
I am a Vice President of the River Thames Society. There is plenty going on with the construction of the Thames Tideway tunnel – to get rid of our sewage, working with the Port of London on their Thames Vision and working with the Environment Agency and others to look at long term water supply.
Earlier this month, the Council had a very interesting event with the Kensington Business Forum, Chaired by Lucy Elliott of the Kensington Magazine to look at bringing together the businesses, the shops, the residents and the resident’s associations to revitalise Kensington High Street.;
Jace Tyrell bought his knowledge of what the New West End Company have done together in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, and how the retail experience has changed over the last 10 years.
The Council are very keen on a Business Improvement District. I know that Cllr Malcolm Spalding is also keen on a “BID” initiative for the Earls Court area which has continued to decline with the closure of the exhibition centre and the slow progress of the re-development.
Representatives from the Party Shop, local entrepreneur Jenny Whitby, Cllr David Lindsey.
Victoria, representatives from Japan House, Barclays Bank, Patrick Sandberg and local residents.
The leader of the Council: Elizabeth Campbell setting out the Council’s vision for High Streets, shopping and business in RBKC.
I questioned Kit Malthouse MP, Minister for Housing, when he came to RBKC about how to tackle the housing crisis in London – Kit is a former deputy leader of Westminster Council, so understands exactly the pressures locally in central London and was a very successful deputy mayor to Boris, tackling crime.
Kit is determined to improve the relationship between residents who are often concerned about what developers are proposing and local Councils to ensure that we actually build houses that people want to live in – beautiful and well thought out housing schemes and not bland towers with no facilities or community participation.
Fun evening at the Japanese Embassy discussing Marmalade Awards with Dalemain. Japan House in Kensington High Street and the Design Museum have both continued to draw in new visitors to the High Street which we all hope will help stem the decline as the Council works with businesses on other ideas.
April 28th, 2019