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Notes from the ONA AGM on 28 April 2022
News  |  Fri - June 3, 2022 7:05
ONA President Julian Lloyd Webber
ONA President Julian Lloyd Webber
Secretary Laura Mosedale opened the meeting at 6:30 pm and welcomed attendees, who included RBKC Councillors Greg Hammond, Janet Evans and Quentin Marshall, ONA President Julian Lloyd Webber and 45+ members. She thanked our Institut Francais hosts as well as ONA members Caroline Church, Ian Grimshaw and Nicola Mather who helped set up and serve drinks at the reception.
The 2021 ONA AGM notes were unanimously approved.
Julian Lloyd Webber spoke about the importance of residents’ associations and urged those present to help increase our membership and to put themselves forward for leadership positions.  He thanked ONA Treasurer Susanna Trostdorf for her many hours of work on the successful campaign to persuade the RBKC to turn down TfL/Native Land’s proposals for the Around Station Development (ASD).
Susanna Trostdorf delivered the 2021 Treasurer’s Report. She noted that ONA funds peaked at £52K in 2019. After expenditures of the campaigns for the ASD and for the two Pelham Street developments of Wellcome Trust, funds were reduced to £29K.  ONA has been careful with expenditures but campaigns cost money—ONA spent £12K alone for the visuals of the ASD that were presented at the RBKC planning meeting and their impact was powerful.  She emphasized how important it was to coordinate, collaborate and share knowledge with our partner amenity societies to achieve this outcome.
She recently participated in an RBKC Zoom call about Business Improvement Projects (BID) that RBKC has launched for Notting Hill and Kings Road High Streets and requested that the Old Brompton Road High Street be included in the future.  She would very much appreciate hearing from ONA members who might like to attend these meetings and help with planning issues in general.
Charles Lawton began his Chairman’s Report by expressing the hope that we are past the worst of the Covid 19 pandemic.  Despite restrictions, the ONA Committee worked hard in the last year to protect this special part of London from unwanted development.  ONA’s focus was on the following proposals:
The Around Station Development Redevelopment Scheme
The most significant achievement in the last year was the campaign that derailed  the TfL/Native proposed scheme for the area around South Kensington Station, culminating in the Council’s refusal of planning consent.  This shocking scheme was totally out of keeping with the historic, built environment and would have destroyed many of the iconic views of the nearby museums and dwarfed the low-rise station.  It was also a far cry from the excellent 2016 Development Brief developed by TfL in conjunction with ONA and other local residents' associations.  ONA would welcome a heritage-led and sensitive re-development, not only of the area around the station but the promised upgrade of the station itself, including the long-awaited step-free access.  We are now awaiting to hear whether the developers will appeal or bring forward amended proposals.
Wellcome Trust (WT) - Pelham Street Developments
We suffered a defeat in the planning consent given to Wellcome Trust to demolish and re-build the large office block at 63-81 Pelham Street.  While not of outstanding quality, the building could have been renovated.  Now, residents face the prospect of an office building double the size and increased in height by two floors.  This will result in significant overlooking of the houses on South Terrace and reduction in the open aspect and light enjoyed by flats in Crompton Court.  Another proposed re-development by Wellcome Trust at 40 Pelham Street was also given planning consent.  ONA and other residents’ associations had objected to due to the adverse effect on the houses on Pelham Place and Crescent.  These objections resulted in some improvements being made to the design.
Former Christie’s Site, Old Brompton Road
The owners of Sussex Mansions are studying the redevelopment of the large site in the back currently occupied by a commercial warehouse hangar. The owners intend to demolish the hangar and build 30 to 40 residential units on this site.  We have registered our concerns. These are fire, health & safety and servicing issues as these residential units would have access only through a very narrow alleyway also restricted in height. There would be loss of light and privacy for the neighbouring residential properties.  We will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to provide our input to the ongoing planning process.
Other Issues
In other areas, ONA has strongly welcomed the forthcoming permanent pedestrianisation of Bute Street.  We have also sought RBKC enforcement action on the feeding of feral pigeons outside the South Kensington underground station.  We have been delighted to hear that the Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road has been saved from demolition (not that it is any beauty) and will now be renovated by its new owners.  We have also intervened in many licensing applications by local cafés for overly large outside eating areas and so-called Dark Stores--stores without customer traffic for rapid home deliveries of online orders—that are popping up everywhere. So far, despite several attempts, we have been unable to get the date from TfL when the escalators to the Piccadilly Line will be up and running and Piccadilly Line stopping again at South Kensington station. (Post AGM, TfL fully reopened the station on June 1.)
As chair of the Courtfield Ward Panel, Laura Mosedale gave a brief report on the most recent quarterly meeting with our Dedicated Ward Office Braam Nortje.  Local officers continue to work hard but their efforts remain hampered by years of cost cutting. New funding promised by the government for policing has not resulted in more officers for the borough.  When he started in the Courtfield Ward eight years ago, there were 15 PCs in the RBKC Council’s police team; now there are two. There were 70 to 80 crimes a month reported in Courtfield Ward; now there are 170. Thieves know this is an affluent area and there is little chance (under five percent for burglaries) they’ll be caught and charged. For now, it remains up to residents to remain vigilant and take common sense crime prevention steps, such as always double locking doors, securing windows and using alarm systems and motion-sensitive lights and cameras. The most common type of crime in Courtfield Ward in the past quarter has been theft from motor vehicles. It’s often not locals but visitors who experience this crime—so please warn your visitors to not to leave anything of value in their cars even for a short period. Residents can check the website for the latest stats and advice.
The Chairman proposed a vote to confirm re-election of the current committee members en bloc and the three were unanimously re-elected.  He noted that due to the term limits in the ONA constitution, this will be his last year as Chair, and the second to last year for Laura Mosedale as Secretary, highlighting the urgent need for more committee members and leaders. 
Members also elected Samantha Wyndham to the ONA Committee. She has been involved in many planning issues as well as the National Trust. 
Charles Lawton then introduced the guest speaker Chris Lenon, author of Zero Carbon Our Choice, who spoke about the challenges of achieving net zero in an urban setting.  His power point presentation is attached and on the ONA website. Lenon discussed the role of government, businesses and consumers in cutting emissions. Among his points: we need to let politicians know that addressing climate change must be a priority. In the Q&A that followed, he cautioned the audience against misinformation about both electric cars and air source heat pumps, both of which can do much to reduce emissions.  He also recommended the BBC Radio 4 series ’39 Ways to Save the Planet.’
Charles Lawton thanked Chris Lenon for his presentation and the meeting was closed at 8:25 pm.
Respectfully submitted,
Laura Mosedale
ONA Secretary