As per the event's description:
"Residents are reminded that next Monday, 30 June, is the first time since the local elections to have a chance to meet the Leader of the Council, Councillor Nick Paget-Brown who is holding his fourth open meeting to hear residents' issues first hand."
The event is at Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, Kensington W8 5SP and begins at 6pm with light refreshments and then at 6.30pm, Councillor Paget-Brown will give a short introduction followed by a question and answer session."
We went along and asked some questions. We got answers. Just not very good ones.
Councillors continue to insists that it was TfL, not the Council, that proposed locating a station on the Cremorne Estate. Unfortunately this answer conflicts with the content of the letter Councillor Coleridge wrote to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, last August. That letter includes a specific request for a station to be located "between World's End and Beaufort Street". Unless the Council intends to desecrate the Moravian cemetery there's not much else between World's End and Beaufort Street other than the Cremorne Estate. They may not have said it, but they clearly meant it.
Councillors also repeated the claim that the Council consulted residents with regards to the proposed site of a Crossrail 2 station last year. The problem is that no-one we have spoken with to date recalls that consultation. Many recall the consultation carried out by TfL (to which a mere 181 residents of the borough responded) but none recall the subsequent consultation the Council claims to have carried out. This seems more than a little fishy. We are not yet claiming that the consultation is bogus, but we are withholding our verdict and will investigate further.
We found find it particularly comforting to be reassured that the Council does not, in any way, intend to participate in any form of "social cleansing" of our little corner of Chelsea. We would very much like to believe this but would note a distinct reluctance on the part of both the Council and individual Councillors to give any assurances whatsoever. Surely, we ask ourselves, that should not be so difficult if they do not, in fact, and as they claim, have any nefarious intentions? Yet no Councillor has been willing to promise anything at all, whether in relation to the disruption that would be caused by the construction of the proposed station, the long term future of the estate or that of the people affected. Providing some clarity, transparency and meaningful guarantees as to how the Council intends to proceed would help reassure residents that "social cleansing" is indeed the furthest thing on the Council's mind. Why the hesitation?
In the meantime, we will not apologise for assuming the worst. Our community has been placed in jeopardy by those who appear happiest operating in the shadows and behind the scenes, making decisions without engaging with those whose lives will be directly affected. Remember: we learnt of this through a leaked document, not from the Council, the TMO or TfL. That simple fact says more about the intentions behind what has happened to date than anything Nick said to us on Monday when we asked him a question.
Verdict: must try harder.