The HOMELESS -A Victory for Pragmatic Compassion!

We have just heard that, following a petition set up by the Liberal Democratic party that attracted over 450 signatures, our RBK’s Resident Participation team is no longer refusing to let CREst and One Norbiton use Piper Hall to give hot food to the Homeless on the Thursday after Christmas.
At a meeting on 26th September with Hall users, the Residents Participation team said that they would not open the Hall for the Homeless on the 28th of December because their team needed to have an undisturbed two-week holiday over Christmas. We then requested that Jill Preston be allowed to take responsibility and open up the Hall up without disturbing them. This too was refused despite our explaining that this had been permitted last year and that she had been responsibly holding the key for the past fifteen years. We are really grateful to all those who organized and signed the petition and got this decision reversed. 

Diary of Events – Sept to Nov

So much has been happening recently that in order to keep you all up to date I am publishing a diary of recent events.

6th September
The Three Chairs Harry Hall (CRERA), Jill Preston (CREst) and Mike D’Souza (One Norbiton) met with Regeneration CEO, Marcus Carling and local political leaders to discuss the progress. Later the same day they meet Tom Copley from the GLA to get advice from him about securing the maximum number of Social houses in the project.

13th September
Jill and Mike attended the final meeting of the local committee chaired RBK’s Neville Rainford to help manage Street Drinking. This approach of uniting the police, community groups, statutory bodies including addiction experts was generally considered to have been a success by all and complaints etc. have been considerably reduced.

26th September
There has been general distrust with RBK’s approach to Regeneration and particularly with their proposals for how residents’ appeals will handled during the rebuild. Therefore the Three Chairs organised a call-in of the decision, made to implement this in the Growth committee chaired by Cllr Cathy Roberts

27th September
Jill and Mike attended a meeting of Hall Users called by RBK senior Resident Participation Officers, Simon Godfrey and Nina Baruch. This presented revised charges for use of RBK’s Halls. There was some disquiet that unlike last year Piper Hall was not being made available for giving the Homeless a Christmas meal.

October 2nd
Jill assisted Cambridge Gardens residents to form their own group to represent their independent interests now that RBK have announced have proposed that they will be doing in-fill development in their Estate.

October 11th
The Three Chairs go to see the new Student “VitBe” building. This is very plush but we learned that some of our local lads had been pelting it with eggs. We promised to do what we could to stop this.

October 14th
CREst and One Norbiton supported a very successful Family Learning day See Photo below.

October 16 th
One Norbiton Directors met to discuss the legal and other aspects of accepting RBK’s restrictive terms for a one-year lease on the Hub. We are a bit bemused as to why our request to do minimal building changes and agree to a peppercorn lease is requiring expensive legal costs when the first issue of the Decant policy that affected thousands of residents was not even shown to lawyers. We have asked RBK for an explanation.

October 17 th
The Three Chairs attend the full Council meeting to witness their Call-in being accepted and referred to a Task and Finish sub-committee.

October 24 th
CREst and One Norbiton supported another very successful Half- Term Horrors event for the local under tens. See photo

October 26th
With the help of the Labour party, the Three Chairs met James Murray, Deputy Major of London for Housing, to discuss how the Mayor’s office might be able to protect the rights of those on the Estates during Regeneration. See the Photo I took of the meeting below.
From left to right. Vanessa Palmer (Vice-Chair CRERA) Harry Hall (Chair CRERA) Sian Berry (Green Party) Lucy Owen (Head of London Housing) James Murray (Deputy Mayor of London) Laurie South (Labour PPC) Cllr Linsey Cottington Cllr Bill Brisbane Jill Preston (Chair CREst) Cllr Sheila Griffin

A bid for Aviva Community Funding- Please Vote now

Dear All
Will you vote for our new One Norbiton Community Project to increase conviviality in Norbiton? To get funding from Aviva we need as many votes as possible by 12 noon on 21 November
Please give us all ten of your votes and ask your friends to help as well. See the bid below. To vote you will need to register
Dr. Mike D’Souza (Chair One Norbiton)

Real Communities need to meet and talk. How can this be helped?
This project aims to improve conviviality both within our local estates and between the estates and their surrounding areas. We will recruit local volunteers to organise regular, perhaps quarterly, tea-parties in neighbourhoods sharing the same post-codes.

We will train our recruits and support them in planning and advertising their events and finding suitable local venues. Wherever possible we will recruit volunteers with chronic disabilities to be the primary organisers in their own neighbourhoods. We have already successfully piloted such post code parties; e.g. getting attendances from 30% of the residences in a single tower block.
Developing neighbourhood identity out of the sharing of the same Post Code has similarities to the successful Street Parties already taking place elsewhere in our borough on special occasions. However, we are exploring whether using this model can foster community spirit and get additional activities such as Neighbourhood Watch and WhatsApp groups as well as support for young mothers and the isolated elderly in areas of most need.

Our long term objective is to evolve an urban village atmosphere across the Royal Borough of Kingston with “active and supportive” neighbourhoods that can help reduce social stress and the current need for and reliance on expensive and overstretched public services.

We have found that when problems are known and talked about, natural human concern begins to operate spontaneously. Then the main task is to prevent this from becoming intrusive and a nuisance.

In our model the arrival of New babies and of Newcomers to the neighbourhood will provide an opportunity for introductions. Supporting families with preschool children bereavements etc. would be a priority and Newcomers with limited English will be assisted and introduced to local charities such as LEAH (Learn English at Home) to help them integrate.

Cascaded Training.
By the second or third Postcode party a potential neighbourhood organising team might be identified who might regularly contact their immediate neighbours. These could be trained in ground rules to avoid intrusion etc. This process could be cascaded on to others.

Wholesale Regeneration is being currently planned for our largest Estate. We hope that by developing supportive neighbourhoods it will help real co-design and co-production to be supported by our organisers at very little extra cost, aided and abetted by Digital Champions who may assist the disabled in their own homes.

Measuring outcomes
We will test our success using our Faces QoL tool used in our CareCreds App. will be available on tablets recording attendances and suggestions.

Constructive input into the Regeneration debate

As you know the three resident groups CREst, CRERA and One Norbiton have successfully called-in RBK’S Decant Policy because we believe it is important that our Council behaves in a fair and decent manner to all its citizens, particularly the most disadvantaged, we hope that citizens throughout the Borough will agree to changes. However if this regeneration is to go ahead we do want to be constructive and collaborative and we present a new proposal for debate.


As soon as over 250 signatures were received requesting a call-in of their decision to treat CRE residents unfairly, RBK changed the rules about permitting to be used. At 10.00 pm last night they emailed us saying that they now required either hard copy signatures or that all petitioners used RBK’s own e-petition software before they would accept any Call-in as valid.

This RBK e-petition site is more awkward as it requires petitioners to register. However it can be reached using the following link.
We do hope that all our members and their Kingston friends will not mind repeating the call-in using it. Also we hope that none of you will think any the worse of our current Administration for making this surprising change because our objective remains to get fair treatment for all and to achieve collaboration rather than conflict.

The further 100 signatures need to be delivered to Guildhall by 5.00 pm this Friday and we have already collected over 60.

Our Community Call-in Petition is Successful!

Cambridge Road Estate’s three Community Groups, One Norbiton, CREst and CRERA have just successfully petitioned for a call-in of what we consider to be an unfair item in RBK’s Decant policy. This affects residents’ rights of appeal when they are being temporarily rehoused to make way for the redevelopment of their estate.

Mr. Gary Marson, Democratic Services Team Leader, wrote to Jill Preston saying:
“I can confirm that the Call-in has been accepted as valid and that it is likely that it will be considered at the Council meeting on Tuesday 17th October 2017, to be held at 7.30pm in the Council Chamber

The Council’s procedures relating to Community Call-ins are attached below.  The procedures indicate that a representative of the signatories to the call in has the opportunity to address the meeting on the subject for a maximum of five minutes.  A further period of up to 10 minutes will be allowed for questions and answers.  These time periods may be extended by resolution of the Council.  The options available to the Council are to:

i. reaffirm the decision of the Committee OR
ii. modify the decision of the Committee OR
iii. overturn the decision of the Committee OR
iv. refer the decision back to the Committee for further consideration OR
v. refer the decision of the Committee to a Task and Finish Group for further consideration

Nearly 300 signatures have already been added to the call-in since last Wednesday hopefully people will continue to add their names to this even though it has already been successful. Click link

Our long term aim is get everyone involved to work collaboratively on this Regeneration project. Then we might achieve “Win-Win results” for all the people of Kingston not just for RBK and any wealthy developer.

If the present policy is not changed it will set an unfortunate bullying precedent throughout the Borough and jeopardise the joint support this important project needs. We believe that it would be politically naïve for RBK not to be scrupulously just to all those who are being disadvantaged by their initiatives and hope this opinion is shared by all fair-minded Kingstonians.

CREst Fun Day 2017

We have had a very busy beginning to Autumn beginning with the CREst Fun Day on Saturday 2nd September. This was attended by our local MP Ed Davey and his wife Emily Gasson. Cllr Cathy Roberts and Kingston’s new mayor, Cllr Julie Pickering also came. She is shown in the picture below with CREst Chair Jill Preston who has been organising these very successful community events for the past sixteen years.

Rules of Engagement agreed with RBK

The Chairs of our three Community Groups, Jill Preston of CREst Harry Hall of CRERA and Mike D’Souza One Norbiton have been holding regular meetings with our local Ward Councillors Bill Brisbane LibDem, Sheila Griffin and Linsey Cottington Labour, the Deputy Leader of the Council Terry Paton Conservative and the Leader of the Opposition Liz Green Lib DEm. This is to get regular updates from Marcus Carling and his Team about the progress of CRE regeneration.

Following the signed survey endorsement that the three groups got to represent them from the CRE residents we obtained unanimous agreement for the following rules of engagement on the 26 July 2017

Rules for Engagement between the joint three Community groups and
RBK staff Development Partners and their commissioned Companies etc
Rules for Engagement between our joint three Community groups, RBK Council, its staff, development partners and its commissioned companies

With the promise of a decade or so of upheaval due to the planned CRE Regeneration,it is more important than ever for ourselves and RBK to establish a stable collaborative and constructive dialogue so that all Stakeholders can be engaged in working towards what could be a win-win situation for most participants.
Now that 95% of those responding to our recent survey have endorsed our three Community groups to negotiate with RBK on their behalf, matters can be simplified.
(For example, we now know that the information, offered at our last meeting by Genastacia and Cllr Cottingham, claiming that residents were wholly supportive of RBK’s current proposals was simply incorrect and damaged trust when it was uncritically accepted as true. Furthermore, to fail to try to reach those Residents out at work during the daytime will cause further damage to mutual trust.)
We believe that what is now needed are legally enforceable guarantees concerning Decant and Residents’ Rights to return.
It is important to involve the newly appointed Pinnacle team and ensure that the Resident’s Friend works out in practice to be acceptable to Residents or can be replaced.

From now on we propose:
A) That our meetings adopt standard committee rules chaired by One Norbiton unless a suitable replacement is agreed.
Therefore, there should be the following:

1. Pre-meeting preparation
The times, venues, minutes, background papers and agendas.
2. The items on agenda should be jointly agreed.
3. All should turn up to meetings or make timely apologies to the Chair.
4. Proper introductions must be made so that all new participants can explain
who they are and what their experience and brief is.
5. Minutes or at least notes on agreed actions must be made at each meeting and mutually agreed as accurate
6. All discussions should be through the Chair and conducted respectfully.
7. There must be timely completion of agreed actions

Other agreements
It might be wise for certain issues to be temporarily treated as confidential. All documents, emails etc about them will not then be shared except by mutual consent. This will apply as long as these rules are met.
That we all work towards a common end that is agreed to be fair to both residents, council and developers. That, if possible, the latter should be an (embryonic) London wide “DevCo” * rather than any commercial concern solely motivated by maximisation of profits.
Wherever possible we will encourage Co-design and Coproduction by Residents and important contributions made by individuals should be recognised publicly (Kudos theft i.e. erroneously claiming to have been the sole author of “good things” that were, in fact, done by others or jointly done with others) must be strictly avoided and publicly exposed if it ever occurs.)
While RBK obviously has a duty to talk to every individual resident to establish needs etc. it should only consider the joint panel of the three residents Groups, CREst, CRERA and One Norbiton, as having been elected to give opinions on behalf of all CRE residents.

Further Action
The three Resident Groups may apply jointly for grants from the HRA to defray costs (e.g. for stationery) to undertake independent resident’s surveys etc. consulting over regeneration issues. Finally, RBK should be transparent about its Regeneration plans and about any changes to these plans.

* DevCo is a proposed London wide publicly owned development company that could partner Councils to do regeneration.

Lots of Local news!

Sorry I have not had time to update this website before now but that is because we have been very very busy.

Our Bid
Our bid , made last year, for One Norbiton to become Commissioned to do some of the tasks of the Resident Participation Team, was, after a three month wait, turned down by RBK. Although our offer was the most economic and did involve giving important work to our chronically disabled members, RBK saw fit to award the Contract to a company called Pinnacle owned by a Chinese Billionaire. We have just heard that Pinnacle has since been taken over by another (? larger) commercial concern. Even though it is now July, we have yet to meet any of its staff.

Our Hub
Our full plans to create a Community Hub at the foot of Madingley tower were also turned down by RBK but we are going ahead with a very much more limited scheme simply to enlarge our meeting room and create a Disabled toilet. We are at present awaiting a peppercorn lease from RBK.

Regeneration of the Cambridge Estate
This topic continues to dominate our plans. We have been working closely with CREst and CRERA to get fair treatment for all our members. Very recently we completed a survey/petition on the Estate which suggested that over 95% of the residents are not happy with RBK’s plans and want our three community groups to work together and negotiate the best outcome possible for them. We hope the present administration will respect their wishes. Download this PETITION POWERPOINT
to see all the latest results.

The Homeless

For over a year now, every Thursday afternoon in Queen Mary’s Hall from 1.00 pm to 3.00pm and every Tuesday from 12.00 to 2.00pm in Piper Hall, CREst and One Norbiton have been jointly helping run a service for the local homeless. For six months, we allocated most of our free hours to the group when RBK began requesting £450 rent for Queen Mary’s Hall.
The group was originally set by Angel Levick and the MOT (Moving on Together) recovery group and has been financially supported £30 a week by Kingston Wellbeing via the WDP (Westminster Drug Project). Recently Sainsbury’s (Sury Basin branch) has started donating food which is shared between the two days.

We are providing all-comers convivial encouragement with meals, music, hair dressing, First Aid and helpful advice – particularly for those with addictive disease, and well over 160 people have attended so far (About 50 a week). Attendees have been helping research to update our i-bet-me App based on earning credit for helping themselves and others. We are measuring Quality of Life with our simple faces scale that we also used in our Survey on Regeneration.

In all together with a local support group on Thursdays Jill Preston (CREst) on Tuesdays have served over 1,178 meals. I will shortly be writing up a full report for publication.

What’s happening with Regeneration?

One Norbiton has been told that for the next four weeks from 20th March,regular drop-in surgeries are being held in Piper Hall on Mondays and Thursdays from 2.30pm to 5.00pm and on Tuesdays from 12.30pm to 3.00pm to explain what is happening. Also late evening sessions can be booked by emailing

For on-line information visit

People living in the area scheduled for regeneration who are interested in selling their property please register by emailing