Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Two Sillies and Crossrail confusion

K&C Tory Leader Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell showed his ignor-oops poor officer briefing while stating his support for the bid for a Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks as it would give ‘a direct link to Heathrow’.

This misconception has been repeated by other Conservative Councillors at previous meetings, and by none other than Malcolm Rifkind MP, who stated in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle on 20 May ‘Establishing a Crossrail station would .. strengthen the local community’s links .. by providing a direct line to both Paddington and Heathrow’.

This is totally incorrect; Kensal would be the final stop to the west of this line. To go to Heathrow, you would have to take the tube or bus to Paddington and then change to the other Crossrail line which serves the whole route – or take the Heathrow Express which would be quicker.

The really scary thing here is that the very people who are leading this campaign for a Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks know so little about it. Are they really gambling £30m+ of public money on a project they are so ignorant of? Are they just a bit thick? Or is someone spinning them a line that it WILL take passengers to Heathrow, which is blatantly untrue?

So, ignorant? plain silly? or misrepresented? Take your pick.


  1. Perhaps they're not too concerned about facts because they won't be personally effected by the massive disruption to N Ken (AKA "A Dungheap") that Crossrail will involve. I'm fairly neutral on the subject but suspect that when the details of how small and dense the public housing will be, how much current green space will be destroyed and how much construction traffic and disruption will be, I'll be a bit less neutral. Rifkind et al, looking at spreadsheets and maps of a place that may as well be Timbuktoo for all they care about it, just believe what they're told.

  2. Counselling, Class and Income has been misled. There will be no public housing as part of the development, because the developers' money that should pay for the social housing will be used instead to repay the Council's loan of £33 million plus the extra millions for the additional train. So there won't be any money left over and no poor people will be allowed to live on this site. Which is just as well because the soil is probably seriously contaminated and the energy people may well decide to retain the gas holders for future storage needs, given the current constraints affecting energy conservation.

  3. Oh dear, Catallus seems to be very well informed! I would dearly love to see the sums on this.

  4. The Council's use of £33 million to fund this little endeavour is worthy of (a bit more) further comment.

    To summarise: Crossrail will not fund any "additional" stations. A Crossrail station at Kensal would be an "additional" station.

    If it it were solely up to Crossrail there would be NO station at Kensal.

    To that end, and to get their way, the Council have offered to "pay" for the construction of the station, to the tune of at least £33 million.

    Except they're not really going to pay for it.

    All they actually intend to do is to take the developer's Section 106 money and spending it on the station.

    In other words: robbing Peter to pay Paul. With Section 106 money.

    Actual cost to the Council = nil.

    Actual cost to the community = at least £33 million of Section 106 money they might have wished spent on something other than a railway station with very limited connectivity.

  5. If what Anonymous 06.11 says is true, this is outrageous. In North Ken we have been desperate for Council funding to bring regeneration for decades. Is this now going to support a large private development? For this is how it could end up.

    This is either a shocking exercise of misinformation 06.11, or a shocking piece of information. How can we find out for sure?

  6. As someone who knows North Kensington very well, surely this project is a win win situation? We are desperate for regeneration here, the transport is completely shambolic, and the Council is going to pay for it. Why is councillor Dent Coad getting so heated about Heathrow? A station at kensal would get us across the city in minutes...beats the bus and tube options we have at the moment. Imagine the connectivity to other lines would be pretty damn good too with Crossrail. I know you want to sound dramatic with your blog, but you are slightly delusional. It says on the council's webpage that it would be where the old gasworks are...ideal location, what use is that space getting at moment?

  7. 15.12, the issue here is that the Council has mounted a huge PR campaign on the basis of erroneous information. You will not be able to get to Heathrow from Kensal direct, but they keep repeating that you will. Of course we need better transport connections, and of course we need more housing, but if what Catullus and 06.11 say is true, those 2,500 new homes may not include one single home for local residents who are suffering ill health, are overcrowded and desperate for more space. So what would be the benefit to them?

  8. 15.12 brings up an interesting point about heathrow...I have scoured the crossrail documents on rbkc website and can't find any reference to heathrow...could councillor dent coad please show me where I can find where they are lying about heathrow?

  9. Malcolm Rifkind said (20.5.11) in an article for the Chronicle: 'Establishing a Crossrail station would ... strengthen the local community's links with central London, by providing a direct line to both Paddington and Heathrow.' This is still on the Chronicle website. Merrick Cockell said 'direct to Heathrow' at the Council AGM in the hearing of 100 people, several have confirmed they heard this.

    Getting a bus to Paddington is NOT 'direct'. I don't say they are 'lying': they may be misinformed, misunderstanding or misrepresenting the facts, only they will know why this has happened.

    We are also very concerned about the Council's ability to keep to its Core Strategy commitment on social housing at Kensal, which is hugely important to local people and not something to be ignored.

    We know who you are 04.43, you might as well use your name.

  10. What is my name councillor omniscient?

  11. You are the Troll who diverts serious comment by intervening and focussing on something else; stick to the points.

    This is about trust in our elected representatives and their advisors, and it is about what kind of
    'regeneration' we can expect in North Kensington for £30m of Council Taxpayers money.

  12. Oh the irony from councillor dent toad. You are the one who has been causing diversions and trying to focus attention elsewhere, namely heathrow. You are trying to create a propaganda campaign based on a non-issue. Unfortunately you are trying to deny us residents in North Ken the regeneration we need. You are fixated on negativity. A big shame.


  13. I find it very disappointing that a Councillor would resort to initiating the use of use of petty language to abuse people who are making valid contributions to the debate. It appears that the Councillor is unwilling to accept the positives that the project will bring.

    A slip of syntax should not be the issue here. The City and Canary Wharf will be greatly more accessible and the station will facilitate access to Heathrow. Having these links will drive development in the North Kensington area and I find it surprising that a Councillor would not want to achieve this.

    If anything, following the extra revenue this development will generate for the council, it would not be surprising if there was more money available to the council for social housing development.

  14. Trevor, I think you misunderstood the use of the word Troll: 'In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion'.

    I am very happy to discuss the issues at stake here. The problem is that many Crossrail supporters are very badly informed, eg, to get to Heathrow by Crossrail via Ladbroke Grove tube would take LONGER than tube all the way, to Canary Wharf LONGER, and to Liverpool Street EXACTLY THE SAME. This has been worked out from timings given by Crossrail and TfL.

    Please do your own homework and don't always believe the PR. I have been told 'but you could get to the City in 20mins!'. It takes 24 mins now from Ladbroke Grove to Liverpool Street.

    re your final comment, one fear is that all the S106 money could be spent on the station so there would be nothing left for social housing.

  15. Is it not the case though that calling someone a "troll", even if it is meant in the way that you have described, is highly hypocritical as it most likely has that same effect and will provoke emotional responses and disrupts a potentially interesting debate?

  16. Do we really want to house people - rich or poor - on contaminated land? I think not. If the gas holders have to be kept in service for storage rather than just to adjust London's gas pressure, then this project is a non-starter anyway. The Council has failed properly to inform itself about its own project; it is quite wrong to go on to mislead residents and raise their expectations on the basis of its its own ignorance; and it is disgraceful to allocate £33 million to a pie-in-the-sky project while refusing to use any reserves on the Kensington Academy that desperately needs top-up funding if the school is ever to be fit for purpose.

  17. It's all very well saying that it only takes 24 minutes to get from ladbroke grove to Liverpool Street, but surely Ladbroke Grove is not the only area of interest in North Kensington?

    By my own "homework" Kensal Green or Kensal Rise are around 1.5 to 2 miles away from Ladbroke Grove, and a simple check on the tfl website makes it at least 17 minutes to go from one of these to Ladbroke Grove.

    So if you add that to the extra 4 minutes it would appear to be a 20 minute journey instead of at least a 41 minute journey, and I believe that also would include the use of a bus that the Councillor seems to object so vehemently too.

    My question for you then is as follows: Is the area of Ladbroke Grove the only area that matters in North Kensington?

    Is it right to deprive other areas of North Kensington better transport links?

    If the answer to either of these is yes then I find it deeply worrying.

  18. Our concern here is for N Ken residents (Kensal Rise is not in N Ken) who currently rely on the tube, so for them Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park or Latimer Road when it is fully functioning - are the only tube stations available.

    What residents of the neighbouring borough of Brent may need is not the subject of discussion - especially when it is RBKC residents paying for it.

    Tell me, do you think we should have the station 'at any cost', ie, even if it means no social rented housing whatever? Because we fear this is what it could mean.

  19. In his comments to the press Cllr Cockell blamed his slip-up regarding Heathrow on 'syntax' and said: ' .. this station would mean its residents can reach the West End, Canary Wharf and Heathrow far more easily and quickly than they can today - even with a change at Paddington'.

    Sadly this just isn't true; go on the TfL website and see for yourselves. Frankly it would be plain bonkers to take the tube to Paddington then Crossrail to Bond Street, rather than the no 7 bus all the way.

    Why does no one check their facts?

  20. Please explain to me how you think it isn't possible to get from Paddington to Heathrow on Crossrail?


    I agree with the points raised about social housing - this shouldn't be neglected, and I am pleased that you are standing firm about this.

    This is about us residents in north kensington. But I don't see the problem with people in south brent being able to benefit too even though kensington and chelsea are paying for it. Synergies.

  21. but erm isn't Sean Mulryan's Ballymore group in the proverbial up to about £200m. ? he owns the land to be developed and obviously can't punt to bigger erm punters without a fast erm track to the City, you can't expect all w - I mean bankers to eat there all the time, the cafes in Nottinghill are more ,you know bohoo chic, ya ? So the yoiks will just have to get out of the way,who cares if they have lived here all their lives ,load of scroungers anyway aren't they? and the Imam said the Moroccan people don't care where they are ,didn't he ? Now this part of the borough is no longer under Labour control it must be made to get up off its lazy bottom and provide for better parts of K&C like any good servant.
    (from deprivation to exploitation
    bit like the NHS)(but 33m.is not a considerable amount for K&C considering their holdings)

  22. I'm slightly confused by your comments - it seems that you are suggesting that it would not be possible to take crossrail from kensal to paddington?

    From my search on the tfl website, a bus from ladbroke grove to bond street takes 40 minutes. Now if using crossrail, even if you have to change at paddington, was faster then I don't think it would be "bonkers" at all. The time savings, extra comfort, and not suffering from congestion on the roads would all make me want to use crossrail despite making a change at paddington.

    Do you have evidence that travel times to canary wharf are faster under an alternative method of transport than using crossrail would be? Because you have implied that the comments of Cllr Cockell are false.

    If you are concerned with a lack of transport options for North Ken residents, as implied by

    "Our concern here is for N Ken residents (Kensal Rise is not in N Ken) who currently rely on the tube, so for them Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park or Latimer Road when it is fully functioning - are the only tube stations available"

    then why is it such a bad thing to increase their transportation options?!

    Furthermore I find it strange that you can object to neighbouring boroughs benefiting when you are very supportive of redistribution schemes. If no one other than those of a particular area could use a service then no services would ever be implemented. Furthermore it is akin to saying that people receiving benefits, for example unemployment benefit, should not be allowed to do so since it is other taxpayers who are paying for it.

    The gains from crossrail do not accrue for just one year, they will be had for generations. So £33 million is not too great a cost for permanently missing out on this opportunity. It would only ever be more expensive or even impossible to have crossrail links in the future.

    One interesting question I would like to raise is whether or not you believe they would be re-elected in the future if they do not create extra social housing?

    And if the benefits from crossrail do not outweigh the costs then why would the council be so supportive and keen? What would they have to gain if the project was a waste of money?

  23. Indeed there are a lot of unknowns, but there are a lot of 'knowns' too. D - hello, why do you say this part of the boro is not under Labour control? If you mean Golborne where the Gasworks is sited, we DOUBLED our vote last year. Yes Ballymore is in the proverbial and needs to cash in. Join the dots - I know you have.

    Trevor, I did the maths, you do the maths. It would be quicker and certainly cheaper to get to Heathrow by tube via Hammersmith.

    I have no objections whatever to Brent benefiting, am just saying this is not what is being discussed either here or within the Council.I am told K&C approached Brent on the subject and they did not want to get involved; nothing to do with me.

    The social housing element is HUGE. And non-negotiable.

  24. beg pardon had meant North Kensington was formerly in Karen Buck's constituency.Since that time I feel the Tories have been hell for leather bent on remodelling this neighbourhood under the pretext of improvement,but it is really exploitation for gain and votes.


All comments will be moderated and posted unless offensive or spam