Sign

Protest Notting Hill Prep School LTD (NHPS) and Pret-A-Manger taking the former Westway Information Centre building on Ladbroke Grove

Westway Information Centre

While the community’s attention has naturally been focused on supporting our community in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, NHPSL has been busy developing the former Westway Information Centre, a building left in trust to the surrounding community and central to life in North Kensington.

Protests 5-7pm Fri 2nd, Tues 6th and Fri 9th Feb 2018 @ 140 Ladbroke Grove

Video of our first demo; features interviews with MP Emma Dent Coad, Councillor Pat Mason and community activist Niles Hailstones. Filmed Fri 2nd Feb '18.

A public statement signed by community and campaign groups in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea:

In the summer of 2016 RBKC Council devoted the front and inner pages of Westway magazine to support their claim that the stairs of the much-loved North Kensington Library, made the building inaccessible.

The council did this whilst at the very same time ending the lease of the former Westway Information Centre, and relocating the service to a smaller nearby premises, only accessible via a steep and narrow stairway.

The incoherence of these two postions point to a broader picture in which the Council, then under the leadership of Nick Paget-Brown, and Rock Feilding Mellen, were pursuing an asset-sweating strategy which prioritised the commercial value of public land, casting such issues as residents’ consent, public access, and public amenities as minor concerns.

In recent months, the Council has claimed that there will be ‘change’ and there will be ‘listening’ under the new leadership of Elizabeth Campbell and Kim Taylor-Smith. In the spirit of this new era, we invite the council to rethink the development plans for the former Westway Information Centre, given away by a sleight of hand. The result of this is that we are now facing the prospect of a private prep school and Pret-a-Manger chain outlet on the 23 acres under the Westway, which is supposed to be community space.

We remind Campbell, Taylor-Smith, and their councillors, that the land under the Westway A40 flyover where the former WIC stood, was left in trust for the benefit of the surrounding communities. The ratio of community vs commercial use on the 23 acres has reversed from 80/20 in the community’s favour to 20/80 in favour of commercial interests. Rebalancing this, so that the 23 acres is used according to the purpose and values that the Trust was established to protect, is well overdue.

Reducing the land available to the community in order to facilitate the expansion of a £6k per term prep school is, in our view, a misuse of the land; and the use of council funding to pay for building development works is a misuse of public funds. The School’s decision to sublet part of their lease to corporate interests - that not only do not enhance, but actively threaten, the mix of independent and community led activities on the 23 acres - demonstrate a worrying level of ignorance from the School about the interests of the local community. Pret-a-Manger is famous for employing precarious workers. They like to employ people who can afford to take home very low wages, often those who are young and without children, or casual workers. Therefore, while their product range, with baked kale and protein pots, might meet the aspirations of the affluent, their business model takes no account of the need to support workers with family and caring responsibilities, the very foundations of the community who have stepped up to the crisis in North Kensington and are the fabric upon which our area depends. We, the community, can not affort to subsidise this business with sub-living wage labour in exchange for the sleek aesthetics of global consumption.

In the wake of decisions about North Kensignton Library, and Wornington College, our commuinty knows that it is never too late to go back on signed agreements. In the spirit of the new, listening, community-led and culturally sensitive culture that Campbell and Taylor-Smith have described, we invite the Council to note that RBKC has broken planning guidance by letting another chain into North Kensington, rather than an independent business. This degrades the character of North Kensington and its economy. We ask that Campbell and Taylor-Smith review decisions made by the old regime at the Council, thereby embracing and affirming a new era of community-led decision making for North Kensington. The right thing to do now is to re-think the future of the space with an open process accessible to all concerned, to design something that reflects the needs and desires of this community, with a fresh start for 2018.

#NoPrepNoPret #W23PublicStatement #ReclaimLadbrokeGrove

Unity Is Strength
Westway23

Further reading

Grenfell Action Group

"The Grenfell Action Group has learned, via the Freedom of Information Act, that the cost of stripping out the interior and recladding the exterior of the former WIC premises will cost RBKC council tax payers nearly £1 million."

An additional FOI request (REF: 2017-1855) was made to RBKC council on November 28 2017, we are still awaiting a response.

Who owns Pre-A-Manger?

  • Bridgepoint equity investments have a 50% share. This is an extract from their Social statement; "Bridgepoint aims to make a positive contribution to the communities where we operate, through the Bridgepoint Charitable Trust, our charitable giving programme." ...

How did we get here?

It is our understanding that there was wide objection 2 years ago to RBKC Planning Property's re-zoning of W.I.C from CKI (Community Use) to retail use (A1). RBKC Property under Cllr Fielding Mellon were developing the whole Lancaster Rd site, inc WIC, Issac Newton School, Epic Youth, & The North Ken Library, all gifted to the Prep School's... A possible huge scandal therein. The Westway Trust, under Angela McConville took in the Citizen's Advice Bureau to a property without disability access, & so aided the clearance. Why? (1) The Prep School new demographic mirrors W.T's 'Portobello Village': new 'artisan retail', 'elevated restaurant' reduced no market. etc. (2) For W.T development's to ever go ahead, land swaps or lease changes would have to take place with RBKC Property... RBKC has land by Norfolk Pl or did... McConville and Mellon were seemingly singing the same song. WestWay Trust Charity & the Council urgently need to explain how Pret ever got there...

Co-sign

We are asking local community groups, organisations and individuals to co-sign this statement, please fill out a form below, and share with your friends.

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Signed

Individuals

  1. Jacob Rety 31 Jan 2018
  2. Fiona O'Hara 31 Jan 2018
  3. David Kear 31 Jan 2018
  4. Ram 31 Jan 2018"Stop stealing from the people,"
  5. Ben mayers 31 Jan 2018
  6. Irene Lyford 01 Feb 2018
  7. Sarah Ramage 01 Feb 2018"we don't need coffee shops we have literally loads. We need spaces for young people to get them off the streets, activity centres youth clubs"
  8. Ian Trewin 01 Feb 2018
  9. Melanie Coles 01 Feb 2018"Supporting Westway 23 and my whole community 💚"
  10. mark brown 01 Feb 2018
  11. Elaine Arthur 01 Feb 2018
  12. Pippa Jones 01 Feb 2018
  13. Thirza Philpott 02 Feb 2018
  14. H Palmer 02 Feb 2018"Please rethink this development, it’s not great"
  15. ben dellow 02 Feb 2018"enough!"
  16. Latasha Brade 02 Feb 2018
  17. Alexis Smith 03 Feb 2018
  18. Davinia 03 Feb 2018"Pret looks very much out of place in an area that thrives on a unique culture. This mainstream outlet does not fit it, it is not their to help/support/serve the local community. The building should've been left for the community not another chain that will ruin the uniqueness of Grove."
  19. Vanessa Best 03 Feb 2018"We don't need another coffee/cafe on the stretch of road... how will this benefit the community... and what about the coffee shop in front of it... i suppose he will gone by the end of the year if this goes ahead"
  20. Maria Gallagher 03 Feb 2018
  21. Jonathan Pandy 03 Feb 2018"Utter waste of community land, formerly our citizens advice bureau.. Theft of community space by another faceless chain for private profit by pretentious posers at the expense of local businesses."
  22. Rick Britt 04 Feb 2018"Looks like RBKC Councillors need reminding that it's the Council's job to provide STATE education and to support the community, NOT private education businesses and other businesses! Any Councillor who doesn't get this simply shouldn't be in the job - just leave and join the commercial world instead please."
  23. Miranda Dickson 04 Feb 2018"WHY WASNT I CONSULTED!!! I have a local voice i would have wanted to use - how dare you make decisions for the community without involving us!"
  24. Nathalie Barazetti-Harris 05 Feb 2018
  25. Jessica Jones 05 Feb 2018"I'm not anti-Pret, but this is inappropriate in this location. North Kensington has a unique community, with it's own strong identity - a rare thing in this homogenised world. We need businesses that support the community by being part of the community - i.e. owned by local individuals, giving long-term employment to local people, and offering goods and services that the community needs - not through a charitable trust."
  26. Sue Duggins 05 Feb 2018"Anything under the Westway should be what the community want, to support communityneeds. A chain coffee shop is not needed or wanted. Why was I, as a resident, not consulted. Hands off our community. Reclaim Ladbroke Grove"
  27. Marian Skeen 05 Feb 2018"Land left in trust for the community. Now trust is broken yet again by RBKC"
  28. Bernadette 06 Feb 2018"As a long-term resident of Ladbroke Grove, with family living here for many generations, and the mother of three sons born and raised in these streets, I wholeheartedly object to the blatant mis-use of Westway land, which I fought hard to keep for the community."
  29. Iain McCallum 06 Feb 2018
  30. Emmanuelle de la Lubie 06 Feb 2018"Hands off our community land!!!"
  31. Greg 06 Feb 2018
  32. Ilana Estreich 06 Feb 2018
  33. Herbie mensah 06 Feb 2018
  34. Sarah Tisshaw 06 Feb 2018
  35. Pat Mason, Golborne Councillor 06 Feb 2018"The plan was clear: Paget-Brown & Feilding-Mellen wanted to turn the Westway Information Centre into a Ladbroke Grove shopfront they could sell to the highest bidder to add to the Council's property-earning empire - currently £1m a year. I & other Lab Cllrs opposed the destruction of the WWIC but there are more Tories than us so they voted it through. When we & local people run the Council there are going to be radical changes to stop this sort of abomination."
  36. Yasmina 06 Feb 2018
  37. romica sharma 07 Feb 2018
  38. Liz Sippy 07 Feb 2018"I work in W10 every Tuesday as a volunteer therapist. Pls listen to your amazing local community!"
  39. Fatima 07 Feb 2018
  40. Barbara 07 Feb 2018"This is yet another betrayal of the North Kensington community, this is community space."
  41. Leanda Daley 08 Feb 2018
  42. Oliver W J Tuck 08 Feb 2018"This Is Our Land! No Prep,No Pret The 12 golden state primary schools within a 2 mile radius of the former Info Centre: Barlby,Middle Row,St Charles,Oxford Gdns,Colville,St Mary,St Thomas,Bevington,Thomas Jones,St Francis,Avondale.St Clement & St James - There is absolutely no need or demand for a Lord Snooty socially exclusive £6,000 a term Prep School in the Ladbroke Grove area."
  43. Maria Saugar 08 Feb 2018
  44. Gillie Evans 08 Feb 2018
  45. Murray 08 Feb 2018"Kensington & Chelsea Council, wake up - all over London, attempts at social cleansing by local councils are being fought and will be defeated!"
  46. Judith Blakeman 09 Feb 2018
  47. Catherine Walker 09 Feb 2018
  48. Xavier 09 Feb 2018
  49. Celeste Thomas 09 Feb 2018
  50. Sabrina Ceol 10 Feb 2018
  51. Andrea Vukovic 10 Feb 2018
  52. qendresa 12 Feb 2018"such bold business deals in a community still hurting from your negligence RBKC. leave grove alone!!! leave grove alone !!!!"
  53. karimah bint dawoud 13 Feb 2018
  54. Rachael Stone 13 Feb 2018"I grew up in W10 and still work in W10. Horrified to see a business on community land"
  55. Jacqui Sitch 13 Feb 2018
  56. Kain egan 13 Feb 2018
  57. Anna Bell 13 Feb 2018
  58. KiranJames 13 Feb 2018"As a Grove resident, having grown up and lived in the area for most of my life, and as someone who has dedicated the majority of my working life to community and youth work; I am disgusted and saddened to see that our council still continue to ignore the needs and wishes of the local people! CommUnity; No Pret, No Prep"
  59. Sarah Gill 13 Feb 2018
  60. Gavin Johnson 14 Feb 2018
  61. Sammy Todd 16 Feb 2018"The Grove belongs to the people and we want our Grove back....since 2008 our area has been systematically taken over in a bid to dissolve the strong community and voice - Justice for Grenfell is paramount as is reclaiming all that has been taken from us"
  62. Karolina Hardy 16 Feb 2018"No!"
  63. PortobelloCafeSociety 16 Feb 2018"Council completely lacks imagination, empathy and understanding of needs of North Kensington community."
  64. Sylvia Parnell 16 Feb 2018"Council completely lacks imagination, empathy and understanding of needs of North Kensington community."

Groups

  1. Listen NHH 21 Dec 2017"We support you 100%"
  2. Grenfell Action Group 27 Jan 2018
  3. THis Is North Kensington 02 Feb 2018
  4. Justice4Grenfell 04 Feb 2018
  5. Friends of North Kensington Library 08 Feb 2018"Our campaigns are not isolated; our strength & success largely due to the support we give each other."
  6. West London RCG 13 Feb 2018