Tag Archives: Nicholas Botterill

Nightmare on King Street (Part 14)

Yesterday, as I was looking at my Twitter timeline, I saw this tweet from H&F Council’s propaganda department,

H&F propaganda1

So I followed the link to this article on the Council’s website. I will quote the first two paragraphs,

A judge has thrown out a legal challenge that threatened £1billion worth of community benefits to North Fulham and Earls Court, describing it as ‘absurd’.

West Kensington Estate resident Harold Greatwood, applied to court to launch a judicial review of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s decision to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement with EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider regeneration of Earls Court.

Gloating? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Finding that the challenge to the Council’s consultation was “not reasonably arguable”, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The analysis of the consultation responses put to cabinet on 23 April 2012 and 3 September 2012 was balanced and fair. The suggestion that the results of the consultation were hidden is unwarranted”. He went on to say that “The time for the consultation – nine weeks – was adequate” and that “The suggestion that because the defendant did not address the consultation documents to tenants by name or to the ‘tenant’, the process was flawed, is absurd.”

Justice? Justice only exists for those who can afford to pay for it. As for justice being “blind”, that’s another myth. Judges are ideological too. I suspect the Council has a dedicated legal team whose job is to deal with this and other property and land deals.

I saw another tweet on H&F Council’s Twitter timeline.

H&F tweet

This isn’t riding roughshod over the majority of the tenant’s wishes, it’s getting into a steamroller, putting a brick onto the accelerator pedal and running over the tenants again and again. I clicked on the link.

There’s a quote from Council Leader, Nicholas Botterill.

Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of H&F Council, said: “We believe that the residents living on the estates have negotiated the best deal of any regeneration scheme in the country. They will only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied. That new home will be the same area as they are already living in. People will be compensated and we will keep support groups and neighbours together.

Whoa! Hang on! Botterill says, “The residents living on the estates have negotiated the best deal of any regeneration scheme in the country”. Which “residents” are these? Not the residents who oppose this development and he can only mean the astroturf group of residents that was set up by the Council to give the impression of a consensus for the redevelopment project. It’s an old PR con trick that Edward Bernays would have admired.

Here’s some more,

“Residents, their current and future children will be living in an even better, safer neighbourhood environment with access to new leisure and community facilities. Most of all local people will benefit from the thousands of new job opportunities that will be created”.

“Local people”, says Botterill. Most of those “local people” will be forced out of their homes to make way for the affluent and those who will take, at face value, the words of the developer and the vendors who will sell shoebox properties that have a luxury price tag on them.

At the end of the article, which was quite possibly written by the Council’s propaganda minister, Harry Phibbs, it asks,

What happens next?

  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council will make an application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  for consent for the transfer of the estates to EC Properties. This is likely to be considered in March.
  • When the Section 106 agreement with the developer is firmed up, the Planning Authority will refer the planning application to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in.

The Secretary of State, the immensely rotund Eric Pickles, is already on board and so is Emperor Bozza. It looks like a done deal… or is it? The Council, in its arrogance, believes that it can do no wrong. We’ll see.

The former Council Leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, is facing a criminal investigation over the alleged “VIP list” where tenants who signed up to support the redevelopment were promised preferential treatment. If this investigation goes ahead, I expect other councillors and council officials to face charges. For all the Council’s gloating, the VIP list could come back to bite them. The Council and Greenhalgh deny any wrongdoing.

Funnily enough, when I click on any link on the pages I’ve linked to, I get the following message,

http://www.lbhf.gov.uk is unavailable or may not exist.

Amusing. No?

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Welcome to Pyongyang-on-Thames, the model Tory council

Hammersmith & Fulham's very own version of Pravda or whatever the North Korean version is called.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham…anyone would think it was Pyongyang or Moscow circa 1962. The council is a favourite with Lord Snooty and his pals. The Dear Leader Stephen Greehalgh is a cost-cutting, services slashing commissar of municipal ‘best practice’ or is he?

Greenhalgh and his crew won the council in 2006 and won it again this year. More’s the pity. Since they assumed power, the Tories have embarked on a local class war. As reported in this blog and elsewhere, Greenhalgh has gone on record as saying that he wants “more rich people” to move into the borough. In order for this to happen, those unsightly council estates have to be bulldozed first.

The Council is also rather fond of slapping itself on the back at the taxpayers expense. It produced a newspaper called H&F News; it looks like a real paper too. If you didn’t know much about print journalism, you’d think it was the real deal but when you look closer, you notice that the “Your Shout” column towards the back is actually written by a member of the editorial staff. That makes it “Our Shout”. It’s a different beast.

Fortunately H&F News is going. There’s a new law that prohibits the production of town hall propaganda that disguises itself as local independent journalism. We have a word for that sort of thing at Nowhere Towers: it’s called deception.

The Shepherds Bush blog tells us that H&F News’s days are numbered as a newspaper, but the Council is determined to bring it back in another incarnation,

…tonight it seems our Council has launched a new publication – this time called H&F News: Live! – An email alternative to the propaganda sheet, first edition hot of the electronic presses is below. I actually dont mind the electronic pumping out of propaganda – at least the readers have to opt in and can opt out if they want to.

I’ll pass, thanks

H&F News isn’t the only means that the Dear Leader has used to disseminate propaganda: the Council has spent thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money bigging up its ‘achievements’ on lamp post banners across the borough. They have even taken out advertizing space at underground stations. These are highly unusual actions for a local council. Normally councils tend to publicize services, not promote themselves through outdoor advertizing.  For a council that likes to promote itself as the model of fiscal prudence, it likes to throw money away on salaries for picked executives. It recently spent £260,000 to “poach” a former council housing chief for its social housing arm, H&F Homes.

Mr Johnson has decided to set up his own company to receive this money. Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal the company has received £700,000 from H&F Homes since Mr Johnson took up his position in February 2008.
In the last financial year alone, Davies Johnson Ltd was paid £260,980 in ‘consultancy charges’. The year before, it banked £269,405.

Let me get this straight, this man is employed by the council on a self-employed basis and he’s set up his own company to receive his salary?  Something smells funny here. We should remember that Greenhalgh and his colleague Nicholas Botterill both run something called “Trade Waste” and have a contract with the Council. Where there’s muck, there’s brass! This information is contained in the Register of Member’s Interests.

If H&F council was actually any good, it wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of propaganda that was commonplace in the former Warsaw Pact countries or North Korea, but this council and its leader has a controlling nature that is evidenced by its tireless production of propaganda. Not happy with the government banning its newspaper, it now has resorted to cyberspace to get its message across. Apparently you have to sign up for the new H&F News. Somehow I can’t see many borough residents taking up the offer.

UPDATE:

I see Kennite blogged this story yesterday. His article is somewhat qualified. He admits that H&F News is council propaganda but then goes on to say that,

Though H&F News was Tory, the vast majority of the council Pravdas in London – including the only two weekly ones, the execrable East End Life (Tower Hamlets) and Greenwich’s laughable Greenwich Time – are run by Labour-controlled boroughs. Time for Labour, too, to get the message: in an era of cuts, spending the vast sums of money on these things is no longer defensible.

He doesn’t miss a trick, does he?  I am sure the sheets that he mentions here are in no way as bad as H&F News. Those councils don’t tell their residents how great they are either. LBH&F does.

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