Derek Myers, now joint Chief Executive of H&F and overseeing services across the new three borough giant of H&F, K&C and Westminster, took the allegations made by the residents of willful obstruction and bad faith on the part of our Council so seriously that he responded to each and every one in detail, rejecting each.
You may remember the Council sought to restrict access to response forms that had been submitted, even though the personal information had been redacted, on the grounds of "data protection." Apparently 45 minutes access was enough to "protect data" but any more was not. Perhaps realising this is a bit silly Mr Myers now accepts that the residents can have as long as they like but in the main he absolutely refutes their allegations of bad faith.
And this from the Council that surrounded a 9 year old girl with beefy security men when she wanted to hand in her form at a supposedly "public" event.
The residents have responded to this with the letter you can also read below. Amid the claim and counter claim I found this little exchange most illuminating as to the complete breakdown of relations between the Council and the people they are supposed to be there to serve. The Council had disqualified one form from a resident opposed to the development on the grounds that he was "violent". This is what he actually said:
"I disagree because it is not plesent and it is a load of bullocks. All my friends live here and I love my estates, West Ken and gibbs green. The Council will benefit from it because there taking 10 million quid from the developer. It will destroy our neighbourhood. If you come round here I will lamp you in your head for rudeness. I WANT YOU TO FUCKING Read this!!!!"It's this sort of little guy that doesn't really stand a chance when up against a Local Authority and a global property developer determined to make serious money and with all the means at their disposal. But while he might not be able to express himself in writing very well he certainly seems to understand the main motivation behind the development, and his own position of relative helplessness.
But thankfully they're not on their own. Here's what the Community Organiser fighting their corner Jonathan Rosenberg has to say:
"Our determination to save our community is boundless. We are not intimidated by threats from the Council, veiled or otherwise; and we shall not allow the Council, Capital and Counties PLC, the Mayor of London, nor any other collaborator or contractor, to bully residents out of their much-loved homes".I think the interesting thing about this letter is not perhaps the contested details of every bullet point but the fact that the Council has responded like this at all. It is hard to imagine Stephen Greenhalgh permitting the Chief Executive to do anything like this under his reign, when the modus operandi was simply to ignore and steamroller. So amid the anger and irritation that this latest exchange between the Council and residents of West Ken, perhaps there is a chink of light, that there can at least be some degree of dialogue.
Or maybe I'm grasping at straws. Read the residents letter below.
Letter to Myers June 2012
Oh dear. It seems Hammersmith & Fulham Council have no interest in listening to residents at all. Instead this has been the response to this article from Peter Graham, who sits on the infamous planning committee:
TUESDAY UPDATE - Many thanks to the reader who sends in the official definition of "refute" from the Oxford Dictionary. Mr Graham would do well to note the second bullet point - and perhaps to start thinking about residents interests rather than cheap point scoring.