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.

Saturday, 24 March 2018


The Dame's dear hope is that come May electors consign the lazy and useless Cllr Pascall to the dustbin of local history.

He and his wife take over £1100 a week in allowances: RBKC is a real little family business. 
Even Conservative councillor colleagues roll their eyes in despair when reflecting on his ineptitude.

Anyway, his boss, Dizzy Lizzie, took him to one side telling him he needed to up his game and come up with a dynamic initiative.
" but I have one, Dizzy". I have launched a Nespresso capsule recyling scheme which will not only save the Royal Borough but the planet too"

It's all just too about fiddling while Rome burns....

Friday, 23 March 2018


Dear Dame

Could you kindly publish the following excerpts and scan of page six of a six page letter dated 15th March 2018, received from Ex KCTMO operative, Assistant Director of Homeownership Daniel Wood, now operative of RBKC.  (please forgive any copy typo's).

Please kindly invite your readers to help us challenge this outrageous increase in Leaseholders Building Insurance which RBKC inform us they will send to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) under Section 27A Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, to determine whether these leasehold building insurance premiums have been reasonably incurred by the Council and accordingly, whether the individual premiums are properly payable by individual leaseholders.

Thank you for your continued support of all things good in RBKC and your tireless work to highlight the injustice and erosion of our environment and community.  
We are indebted to you.

With kind regards,

Your avid followers and admirers

Letter from Daniel Wood

15th March 2018

Dear Leaseholder

Your buildings insurance renewal for 2018/2019

I am writing to let you know, as early as possible, that your leasehold building insurance premium will be going up from 1 April 2018.  You pay for this in your service charge.

I understand this is frustrating news and I'd like to reassure you we're working harder than ever both internally and with our insurers to try to minimise the costs you pay but there are a number of unavoidable factors what have resulted in the increase.

Why is my Insurance cost rising?

The building insurance premium is going up by 85.56% (before Insurance Premium Tax - "IPT"), for the following three key reasons:

1.  The insurers, Ocaso, will see a significant and unprecedented loss in the 2017/18 policy year due to the Grenfell Tower fire and the leasehold units that were part of the tower.  This has therefore caused a major deterioration in the claims history for the policy and inevitably results in an increase to the 2018/19 premium being charged by the insurers.  The Grenfell Tower fire accounts for approximately 40.41% of your premium increase.

2.  The property sums insured: - on advice from the insurers, given the experience of the Grenfell Tower fire and the unanticipated potential costs that would apply to a future major fire in terms of a sustained need for alternative accommodation, complex demolition and site clearance costs, the current level of sums insured have been reviewed.  The sum insured is now going up to a maximum of £400,000 per property, other than for the very small number (24) whose sums insured is already above this. Your loss of rent or costs of alternative accommodation cover is also going up, to a maximum of £80,000 per property (currently £40,000 per property), or 33% of the property sum insured, whichever is greater.  This is to ensure you have adequate cover.  These charges are responsible for approximately 31.99% of the premium increase.

3.  The general cost of leaseholder building insurance is going up, particularly in central London, due to a number of factors.  For example, adverse weather conditions, a higher volume of "escape of water" claims, the cost of home repairs and like-for-like alternative accommodation continues to increase.  These factors have contributed to approximately 13.60% of the premium increase.  On page 6 of this letter is a summary of claims experience to date.  For comparison, the premium received by the insurers last year was £796,517.80 including IPT.  This demonstrates their losses.

Finally, IPT (which is tax set by the government) has doubled from 6 per dent to 12 per cent since 1 April 2016.

Can't you get a better price?

We last tendered the insurance contract in 2015, producing significant savings over the last two years.  Before IPT, the 2016/17 premium was a 34% saving on the 2015/16 premium and the 2017/18 was a 28% saving in comparison to 2015/16.

We've taken advice from our insurance brokers about getting a better price than Ocaso are offering.  Their advice is that re-tendering now is likely to result in even higher costs to leaseholders because of the Grenfell Tower fire a general increase in the overall value of claims made by the Council's leaseholders in recent years and current market conditions.

That said, and subject to advice from our insurance brokers, we would like to be in a position to re-tender the contract later this year, to ensure we are getting the best price reasonably obtainable.  We will write to your in the next few months with an update about the brokers' view of the current and, if appropriate, the approach we are considering for any tender exercise.

Is it reasonable to pass on increased leasehold building insurance costs arising from  theGrenfell Tower Tragedy?

In addition to the terrible loss of life and the ongoing suffering of all those affected by this tragedy, a number of leasehold flats were damaged by fire and the anticipated costs of this unprecedented event are reflected in the claims experience the appendix below (No included here).

Anticipating that variations of the question above will rightly be asked and reflecting the Council's commitment to openness and transparency, the council has decided to make a formal application to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) under section 27a Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  We will be asking the Tribunal to determine whether these leasehold building insurance premiums have been reasonably incurred by the Council and - accordingly - whether the individual premiums (as set out in the table on the next page) are properly payable by individual leaseholders. (Table not added here)

To ensure that you have your say, we are proposing to make all leaseholders parties to this application.  This will enable you to take part in the Application if you so choose, with the result binding everyone (including the Council).  We will write to you again when the Application has been issued, with further information, and what you will need to do, to get involved.  We also confirm that the legal costs that the council will incur in making this Application will not be passed on to leaseholders.

How much will I be billed for?
Paragraph not included 

When will I receive my bill?
Paragraph not included 

How is the insurance purchased?
Paragraph not included 

How are the premiums calculated?
Paragraph not included 

Who can I speak to about this?
Paragraph not included 

Yours sincerely 

Daniel Wood 
Assistant Director of Homeownership

Thursday, 22 March 2018


The Dame has just returned from her annual three-week tour of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina

At no point did the old thing feel fearful for her life and limbs.

On her return to our great city all the Dame read of nothing but shootings, stabbings and muggings: London is a truly dangerous place.

There are three people responsible for this mess....little selfie loving Mr. Khan; Miss Dick from the Met and the vacuous Miss Rudd.
They have all failed us. They are a disgrace.

Miss Dick likes to be photographed with her bosom heaving with gongs. 
Hopeless woman

It reminds the Dame of her dear, departed friend, FE Smith. FE, after a rather heavy club lunch, noticed an old admiral festooned with gongs. " Admiral, what a lot of medals you have"  observed Smith. "yes, Mr. Attorney-General, if I get any more I won't know where to put them"

"Put them on your backside where you earned them" was the succinct advice.

Saturday, 17 March 2018


What a clever idea of Wellcome Trust to use one of the City's most expensive law firms to squash an insolent leaseholder like a fly.

That should stop any other leaseholder getting uppity with the Trust.

It's always interesting how judges go hard on litigants in persons: after all, why not? 
They have a vested interest in protecting their professional colleagues!

For those residents thinking of using Knight Frank to flog their home, they can relax knowing KF will drive a hard bargain!

The Wellcome Trust spent £114,000 to defeat a leaseholder in Onslow Square in Kensington over a £6,000 dispute – which came down from £8,247 originally demanded.
The gargantuan bill includes VAT.
The case means that the woman leaseholder will have to sell her home, it is claimed, but the Wellcome Trust has not to date pressed for forfeiture.
The Wellcome Trust – the world’s second largest charity ($27 billion) after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – tells LKP that it is “working to resolve this matter”, adding: “We are not in a position to make any further comment as we are bound by a non-disclosure agreement.”
The Wellcome Trusts legal bills were racked up at a property tribunal that ruled in September 2016, although the dispute is still smouldering on, with LKP copied into correspondence over this matter.
These are also directed at the Wellcome Trust chair Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former director general of the internal intelligence service MI5.
The case was yet another leaseholder car crash in the property tribunal.LKP repeatedly urges leaseholders: Pay first. Fight second, to avoid precisely these bills if you do not win.

The leaseholder was a litigant in person, while the Wellcome Trust Limited deployed a barrister with a case prepared by leading solicitors CMS Cameron McKenna LLP. 
Knight Frank managed the building, and there were other professional witnesses.

Monday, 12 March 2018



Our river houseboats in Chelsea have been threatened with eviction and we want to protect them.

People have made their homes here since the 1930s and some of our current residents have lived here for over 50 years. We think that every community in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea deserves to be protected and cherished. Our Chelsea houseboats are not only loved locally but internationally for their vibrancy and quirkiness.

We want the council to make the houseboat moorings an Asset of Community Value, as they are an important part of our local community. Help us to save what matters in our Royal Borough; people’s homes matter.  
Please sign our petition to let RBKC know how you feel. LINK


Saturday, 10 March 2018


Dear Dame,

I have just read the Centre for Public Scrutiny report:
Change at the Council/ Independent Review of Governance for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea”.
Whilst there are some welcome suggestions I, and a number of others were appalled to read the paragraphs below from page 18 of the report LINK

We observed a Planning Applications Committee and thought this showed the Council at its best when it comes to involving residents in meetings.
While we have heard people question the length of time allowed for residents to make presentations, the small size of the meeting, the opportunity
for residents to sit at the table and clarity in understanding the process, all suggest good practice that could be used in other council meetings.

Guy Oliver

“We also heard that, before the Grenfell disaster, some of the best moments at council meetings had been the result of public petitions, and some of
the better scrutiny meetings had been those that heard directly from the public – although we know that part of a positive experience for the public
rests on getting a response to those contributions at the meeting ………….We also observed the public being invited to sit at the table and discuss planning
applications with councillors, and we felt this worked effectively. The challenge for the Council, therefore, is to embed this good practice”

This may be an accurate account based on the observation of a single meeting, presumably one at which the Councillors were aware that they were being “scrutinised “but, as a resident, and from my own observation of planning meetings at RBKC, this is most certainly not the norm.

I have witnessed members of the public being barked at, bullied and shouted down during planning meetings ( Cllr Warwick )
There were furtive and secretive non “consultations” with the community over the cinema site.

Cllr Moylan thought it was ok to accept regular hospitality from his friend, Peter Bingle, of Terrapin Communications , who act for the developer of the cinema site and then, on 28th May 2016 , while one of the ACV cases was being heard,  he goes on national television to call the cinema “a flea pit” and that it “should be demolished.” 
Siding with the developer’s agents with whom he sups and ignoring a petition of 30,000 (equivalent to half the adult population of the borough) to save a much loved and historically significant landmark is an insult to the democratic process.

In addition, the “petitions” that are mentioned in this report were circulated by members of the community to force extraordinary general meetings of the council out of sheer frustration by the community at being ignored during the planning process most recently :

  • North Kensington Public Library
  • Save The Kensington Odeon

The CPS needs to add to your list of recommendations that there should be a basic code of Conduct for Councillors
which should include :

  • Not bullying, barking down and ignoring residents
  • No accepting hospitality from developers or their agents or having private meetings with them without council officers present.

I and others brought these concerns up at one of the so called consultation meetings by the Centre for Public Scrutiny  but perhaps these were inconvenient truths
that is was thought better not to mention in this report ?

Best wishes

Guy Oliver

Friday, 9 March 2018


Pooter Cockell embarrassed the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
His extraordinary expense claims were the subject of constant national media comment and the Dame is proud to have played her part in exposing his bizarre ways and blocking his lusted after peerage....Milord Pooter, my foot!

However, the Dame hears the silly fellow still believes he has influence. He is furiously trying to persuade the planning committee and ward councillors they should pass the application to develop the Heythrop College site for luxury planning without any affordable housing and exploiting a loophole.
You can read about this scam of a scheme HERE

If permission is granted residents and visitors will face years of misery.

Scrabbling around, looking for income, Pooter became chairman of a minor lobbying operation called Cratus so one assumes it's Cratus who are promoting this unwanted intrusion into an oasis of calm.

It would seem that horrid little Cratus has had quite a turnover of shareholders since the arrival of Pooter....oh, and a bit of difficulty about conflict in the Isle of Wight.

This is another Newcombe moment for the planning committee. 
Throw it out or risk a resident rebellion.

Friday, 2 March 2018


Dear Dame,

In all the years as a resident of K&C I have never felt myself to be so much a victim of representational deficit as I do now.

Let me explain myself...

·   We have a council mainly comprising of councillors whose arrogance towards those they represent beggar’s belief. There are exceptions Judith Blakeman and Robert Freeman being two.
·   An MP for Kensington whose only interest seems to be residents in the north of the Borough and tweeting furiously instead of doing a ‘proper job’
·   And an MP for Chelsea and Fulham who seem to think he represents Fulham alone

The Hornet seems to be the only campaigning medium fighting for all of us.
Without it we would never know what was going on.

Emma Dent Coad, when elected, said she was going to represent the entirety of the Borough.
This has turned out to be patent nonsense and a lie. 
I now hear she plans to remain a councillor; the very criticism she levelled at Mrs. Borwick.
She has mercilessly used the Grenfell tragedy as a political platform for her ultra extremist views.

Greg Hands takes no interest in Chelsea issues. 
I happen to live close to the threatened Sutton Estate. 
Has he got involved?
No, he’s far too self-important running around saying, “ I am in the government” !
Come on Mr Hands, commerce is being killed in Chelsea as small shopkeepers struggle to pay business rates, now nearly 40% of rental value and you do nothing.
I suppose you feel there’s no electoral dividend in helping the economic backbone of this country? 
The boat owners at Chelsea are being threatened with eviction and you do nothing.

And do we hear from ‘Hands Off Hands” on Crossrail or Thamesbrook?
Not a murmur.
I hear many moans that getting in touch with self-important Hands can result in a wait of months....if one ever hears back at all. One wonders what the point of the man is!

The same with Dent Coad.

And now I read that this motor mouth, Shaun Bailey is being lined up for Kensington.

Residents deserve better than this. It is just not good enough.

Yours faithfully

Michael Pettifer

(address withheld)