28 February 2010

Phibbs plays the race card

The Tories are getting desperate nationally as their poll lead slides. And locally the Tories running the council are in a financial mess and looking for a scapegoat.

Hard-nosed Tory Cllr Harry Phibbs has blamed immigration for the Tories having given up their ambitions to emulate Wandsworth levels of council tax. If the Tories hadn't spent the last four years cutting local services, they wouldn't be in such a pickle.

21 February 2010

H£F plc up for sale

It's official – control of the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has been passed to developers.

Last week CapCo, the owners of Earl's Court and Olympia, began a roadshow around West Ken presenting their plans to build 8,000 homes and a massive commercial centre straddling the border between H&F and Kensington & Chelsea. This is triple the density allowed for in the London plan.

The scheme was dreamed up by H&F's Tory leader Stephen Greenhalgh as a site for an international convention centre and a way of demolishing the homes of 763 families in council and housing association homes on the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estates. Branding the estates ghettoes and the people who lived there too poor, he ordered them out.

But last week the developer rejected Cllr Greenhalgh's grand plan. They can make more money by putting 30-storey blocks of luxury flats in the middle of the site, offices along the A4 and Kensington-style mansion blocks where the estates now are.

Tory H&F council no longer pretends they are making decisions on planning and development issues. The elected representatives have handed total control of local neighbourhoods to unaccountable multi-national businesses.

Since Cllr Greenhalgh declared H&F 'open for business' three years ago, the following has happened:

Not one but three massive 'Opportunity Areas' have been designated at West Ken, White City and Old Oak. 3,500 affordable homes will go and the scale of development will mean gridlock and inundation of local services. The borough will mimic Westminster as a destination for visitors and workers alike and both its distinctiveness and residential character will be destroyed.

Medium-sized sites are earmarked for over-development: the Olympia aparthotel, the 'squashed strawberry' in Hammersmith Broadway, the Goldhawk Industrial Estate, 282 Goldhawk Road, Stowe Road Depot, Shepherds Bush Market.

Community resources are sold off, privatised or left to rot. The latest to be marked up for sale is Palingswick House in King Street, home to 22 community groups. But it follows: 13 homeless hostels, Peterborough School, the Castle youth club, High Master’s House, the Hut Association. And will soon be joined by the old Wormholt library, and, according to leaked budget papers, Sands End and Baron's Court Libraries.

14 February 2010

Tory (s)care rip-off airbrushed

From the creators of mydavidcameron come the latest versions of the Tory gravestone poster: http://mydavidcameron.com/tombstone/

And the latest 'I've never voted Tory' poster variations start here: http://mydavidcameron.com/tory/

Hammersmith Bridge closed for half-term!

H&F Tories have closed Hammersmith Bridge to all traffic for half-term week (from February 13 to 22). Presumably all local Tories are away skiing, in Luxor or in the country so they won't be affected.

The bridge will also close every weekend until March 15.

To make matters worse, Mayor Boris Johnson's Transport for London has agreed that Tory Kensington & Chelsea council can close Albert Bridge, linking Chelsea with Battersea, on February 15 for 18 months.

07 February 2010

H&F Tories give up on Wandsworth ambitions as budget holes grow

As previously reported by hfconwatch, Tory H&F council is planning cuts in services of over £13 million next year and more than £35 million in total over the next three years. (http://hfconwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/tories-budget-gamble-reveals-cuts.html)

The Tories' budget plans until 2013, to be discussed by their cabinet on Monday this week, show:

- council tax cuts will stop in 2011, with no cut in the following two years (another broken promise), thwarting H&F Tories' ambitions to emulate Wandsworth

- more than £25 million has been identifed as budget 'risks' exposing big holes in the plans over the next three years; the Tories are already raiding reserves as they gamble with the risks

- local residents face increased charges and fees for local services on top of council tax, while the Tories continue to make huge cuts in services

06 February 2010

Council fails to plan for baby boom

Less than two years after Tory H&F council closed popular Peterborough primary school (and sold the site for a private French school), the council is desperately trying to cope with a surge in demand for places in, er, primary schools.

The much-heralded baby boom has led to local primary schools being asked to expand their intake at short notice.

Why the Tory council couldn't forecast the increased demand for primary school places is unbelievable.