10 Portman Square | 2-14 Baker Street

Subject: NAMA and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Transparency Bill 2011, Second Stage Wednesday, 6 June 2012.

The proceedings and debate on this Bill in Irish National Parliament makes for interesting reading. It raises serious questions about the responsibility of organisations such as NAMA (and those who act under NAMA Authority) to the People of Ireland and to the Taxpayers who bear the burden of the failures of the Irish Property Market. The Bill, introduced by Senator Mark Daly proposed a substantive and necessary oversight of what continues to go on behind closed doors.

In the proceedings and debate, Senator Mark Daly raised specific and serious questions about the British Land development site at 10 Portman Square (formerly known as 2-14 Baker Street) – and the manner and structure of the deal between McAleer & Rushe and British Land. Senator Mark Daly also raised a question about the nature and…

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Westminster City Council Bends the Rules for British Land – Who says Graft is Dead?

Old boys network - if you are big, you are mighty - at least with Westminster City Council.Park without paying in Westminster, even for a few minutes, means instant fines and worse. At least if you are Joe Bloggs. Step out of line on planning regulations in Westminster and wham – BIG BIG trouble.

Block a whole road illegally – or pull down a major building with no dust or particulate containment and it’ll be back to the days of the dungeons. Prison – for a loooong stretched out time. Pour wet concrete over the fence of a building site – repeatedly and onto people and property on Westminster’s public highways? Shudder – it’ll be ‘off with your head’. Ignore ALL regulations and stick two fingers up at everyone – and then again with the other hand….. Chop! Westminster City Council would see you as a very very bad person. One to be eliminated from the boundaries of the City of Westminster. Banished, with no food or drink. Horse and all.

Unless you are British Land, that is. Yes, the very organisation who seems to view itself as the real monarchy of Britain. The organisation whose poetic ‘Uncle Bim the Board Man’ sings like a true song bird – a true song of power and influence. A song of strength and greatness. Company and Self, no less.

Yes, if you are British Land, the evidence points to you being allowed by Westminster City Council to do as you please. Get your contractors to play the thug to residents of Westminster and that’ll be an extra pat on the back. Sir!

Yes, don’t forget the ‘Sir’.  F the bloody residents. F Joe Bloggs and Mary Bloggs and the little ones. F them all, in fact. Who cares? A few injuries or deaths or a few more cars written off is no bad things, after all. Yeah, Westminster City Council and British Land are Buddies. Best of Buddies, in fact. Don’t mention the graft. Don’t mention that at all. No Sir, not a word. Promise! Cross me heart and all that.

McAleer & Rushe? Yeah, we’ll turn a blind eye there too. They’re best of buddies of Uncle BIM the Board Man, after all. Family, like. Got to be protected. Uncle Bim’s got £30m riding on that friendship, after all. Yeah, I remember, don’t mention the graft. Not at all. Not even once. Forget that word. F NAMA and all that. Cross me heart again, and again, and then again again.

No, don’t know what that £30m is about. Not a word of it. Old Uncle Bim and his gang had a good Bim Brag about it all the same to a bunch of Analysts. That’s Analysts with a Capital ‘A’. Important people, not that other type of ‘A’s. Yeah, and all that.

But back to Westminster City Council. If you are Joe Bloggs or anyone even distantly related – yeah, there’s the considerate builders thing. There’s all those regulations and legislations. Don’t screw up. Do it right or BANG, that’ll be you gone. Apply for all the right permits. Don’t start ahead of the permits. Consult, consult and consult. Consult with everyone. Follow the rules. Don’t cut corners. Don’t take shortcuts on Health and Safety. Whatever you do, DO NOT BLOCK THE ROAD – EVER. Don’t be rude to ANYONE. Thuggery is a BIG NO-NO. This is Civilised Society. Behave at ALL times.

BUT, BUT, BUT. None of that applies to British Land or their cronies. Bed buddies especially. Yeah, if British Land want to have illegal structures with no permits that’s fine. BUT if it’s anyone else we’ll screw them. Screw them good, in fact. And so the site at 2-14 Baker Street – also known as 10 Portman Square – EXEMPT.

Exempt from everything. No site perimeter fencing for the first nine months when there’s dust and possible asbestos flying everywhere – yeah, no problem. Naughty, but ok. Keep a temporary structure AFTER its licence has expired? Yeah – that’s ok too. No problem about the road being blocked off with no permit. F the residents anyway. Public right of way from Baker’s Mews to Robert Adam Street? F that as well. In fact F everything.

Yeah, pump that concrete over the fence – children, women, who cares. Target that bastards car – and ‘job well done’. In fact, do it again, and then do it to a few more resident’s cars. F the lot of them. The Council doesn#t care and we will turn another blind eye. How many blind eyes do I have? Graft? That’s nothing to do with blind eyes. Yeah – lets British Land, McAleer & Rushe and Westminster City Council sit down and figure out how we can go to WAR on the public in Westminster. The less of them the better. F the lot of them. It’s US and US, after all.

– – – – – –

UPDATE – 1st June 2012

Within just one day of Westminster City C0uncil being asked to explain why this construction site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) is allowed to maintain temporary structures without licence and closing off public highway and footpaths, and one day after this article being published, it seems Westminster City Council have rushed through a new temporary structure licence! Considering the comments of Mr Kennedy on the 31st May  as reported in the legal notes below, why the sudden great rush to ligitimise what has been an illegal structure?

– – – – – –

For more background reading about 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) please read other posts on this blog and namawinelake.wordpress.com

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Legal Notes:

This article includes factual information relating to the operation of and site management at 2-14 Baker Street (also known as 10 Portman Square) and the position of and information from Westminster City Council. It was confirmed in a phone call with to Mr Joe Kennedy in the Street licencing team at Westminster City Council that the construction site has no current licence for the temporary structures surrounding the site. This conversation took place on 30th May 2012 – over two months after the licence displayed in this article expired. No new licence has been issued and the structures, including the closure of the roadway from Baker’s Mews to Robert Adam Street are therefore not authorised. Westminster City Council have taken no action. Indeed, Mr Joe Kennedy explained the Council’s position – he stated and agreed that the site is required by Law to ”have a current valid temporary structure licence displayed on the site”.

However he also stated, when asked whether they would take action for the failure to have such a valid licence, that Westminster City Council would not seek to enforce the failure to have a temporary structure licence. He justified this by stating that there is a big difference between erecting a new structure (without a licence) and having an existing temporary structure without a licence.

So there you have it. If you are in breach of any condition or regulation in Westminster and can show that you have been doing this previously – that, according to Mr Kennedy at Westminster City Council, would appear to be sufficient grounds to avoid prosecution. During the conversation with Mr Kennedy he huffed and puffed – not at all sounding like the wolf in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. No, this was huffing and puffing because he clearly felt that British Land and their contractor, McAleer & Rushe, should be given free reign.

Mr Kennedy also stated he has a busy workload and displayed impatience in having to spend time discussing why this site is seemingly above the law and is being afforded preferential treatment. FOr a public servant to audibly huff and puff when dealing with a member of the public is clearly not acceptable behaviour and calls into question Westminster City Council’s whole attitude in it’s dealings with British Land and their site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square).

The developers of the site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) have contributed materially to Westminster City Council by way of Public Realm Works.

This article sets out a position that there is improper response by some sections of Westminster City Council in its dealings with British Land and British Land assets – specifically in respect to several breaches of regulations on the site at 2-14 Baker Street and including where there is substantial danger to the public, where property has been damaged, where conditions have not been adhered to and where unsafe and improper practices on the site are supported by video, photographic and other recordings.

This article makes no claim whatsoever that any improper payment of funds have been

Posted in 10 Baker Street | 2-14Baker Street Campaign, 10 Portman Square, 2-14 Baker Street, British Land, Considerate Building Scheme, Health and Safety, McAleer & Rushe, NAMA, Thuggery, UK Construction News, Uncategorized, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

McAleer & Rushe Group: Asleep on the Job – or are Liabilities Forcing an End Game?

 

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One can only wonder what’s going on at McAleer & Rushe Group when these two images are viewed side by side – and coupled with the fact that, according to records at Companies House, McAleer & Rushe Group accounts are now three months overdue. One week or one month late filing might be reasonable – but for a company whose loans are now sitting with NAMA in Ireland and whose performance reported in it’s 2010 figures points to a shaky business – three months is an awful long time.

The question is: Is the FD asleep on the job or are liabilities mounting up to such a level that the company is simply no longer viable? In the worse case scenario – where would a collapse of the business leave the 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) project? Could British Land end up with NAMA as a development partner?

Information at Companies House on 30 March 2012 for McAleer & Rushe Group:

Company No. NI063407 Status: Active

Date of registration: 05/03/2007

Accounting Reference Date: 31/03 Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/03/2010 (GROUP) Next Accounts Due: 31/12/2011 OVERDUE. Last Return Made Up To: 31/03/2011 Next Return Due: 28/04/2012

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World War III Hits Westminster at 10 Portman Square

Image taken on 14th March 2012

10 Portman Square - aftermath inside the site after uncontrolled concrete splurge that also fell outside the site onto pedestrian pavement. And this is a 'considerate builder'.....

Many years ago pigs roamed what is now modern Marylebone. The image on the right might be mistaken for a still surviving pig stye. But this is a British Land site under the proud stewardship of McAleer & Rushe. In fact, it might also be mistaken for a war zone.

The site is 10 Portman Square (formerly known as 2-14 Baker Street). This photograph is of the public highway at the rear of the site from Robert Adam Street into Baker’s Mews.

And this is the filth that adjoining and local residents have to live with on an occuplied roadway taken over with no consultation. Would it happen anywhere else in Westminster?

This site proudly displays a ‘Considerate Builders Scheme’ notice on the perimeter at Fitzhardinge Street. It is far from that. Starting January 2011, this site has been an active and real danger to local residents, to vehicular traffic, to pedestrians, cyclists and members of the public. Late February several residents had their cars damaged by concrete from the site. One of the less dangerous incidents on the site to date. On the 14th March 2012 a more serious incident happened – and one that could have had very serious consequences.

This time a substantial spillage of concrete happened at the site perimeter between Robert Adam Street and Baker’s Mews. This spillage is evident both inside the site and outside. The photograph on the right is of the public highway and taken approximately 8 hours after the spillage was evident outside the construction site perimeter.

The concrete outside the site is evident in the unprotected narrow pedestrian pavement between Robert Adam Street and Baker’s Mews. Its effects also affected the roadway in Baker’s Mews. This pavement is used by young children, by mothers and babies and general members of the public.

Local residents suffered concrete splashes on their cloths from this incident – but it could have been much much worse.

One also wonders whether it is ‘best practice’ for a construction site to dispose of concrete spillage down a public drain – as happened on the 14th March at this construction site?

In October of 2011 Westminster City Council Street Licensing division were specifically made aware of the danger to to public – in a communication by a local resident naming this exact pedestrian passageway. There was clearly a danger to the public. There had already been falls of building material from the site onto this pavement. A request was made to oust McAleer & Rushe from their occupation of the public highway. Falling that, a request was made to install a covered walkway for pedestrian safety.

No action resulted. British Land also refused to deal with the concerns – despite several earlier major health and safety failings on their site. McAleer & Rushe adopted the same stance.

Will it take a death or serious injury before anyone acts on health and safety on this site? Is Westminster City Council really a democratic institution? Why are public and resident views and ligitimate concerns not being acted upon?

Why is a company the size of British Land willing to allow it’s brand and reputation to be put at risk by the technically bankrupt McAleer & Rushe? Why is this site continued to be given free rein on what is one of the main Olympic 2012 routes?

Though this site, in the above photograph, may look like something from World War III, this is not Britain at War.

The public and residents have the right to be safe, are entitled to not be put at risk and entitled to have ligitimate concerns dealt with BEFORE incidents such as the one on the 14th March happen.

Notes to Readers: Further information about this construction site can be found on other posts on this blog – and also on the NAMAWINELAKE Blog.

 

Posted in 10 Baker Street | 2-14Baker Street Campaign, 10 Portman Square, 2-14 Baker Street, British Land, Considerate Building Scheme, Health and Safety, McAleer & Rushe, NAMA, Thuggery, UK Construction News, Uncategorized, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

10 Portman Square | W1: Can a Name Change Clean up a Dirty Image?

Just west of The Rocks area of Sydney.

Not quite this bad - but ANY amount of wet concrete falling onto a car is just not acceptable. Image via Wikipedia

10 Portman Square – the new name for 2-14 Baker Street. Sharper, better sounding and, perhaps a better address withough having to move….. The name change might well result in higher rents, shorter rent free enticements and might well have pointed to a clean start (or a break from the old dirty image of the past year, at least).

But the problem with renaming 2-14 Baker Street to 10 Portman Square is that McAleer & Rushe are still on-site and will remain on-site for some time. And would you trust your reputation to that firm?

The rebranding happened too early. It had been talked up at a British Land Office Analyst and Investor event in September of 2011. The website had been launched, and marketing has been under way. And McAleer & Rushe show their mettle for disaster yet again – and tar the new brand, the new name with the old brush.

Residents around the site have had their cars damaged with wet concrete this week – and solely and entirely because McAleer & Rushe are not prepared to clean up their act and adopt practices on site that prevent negative impact on those outside the site.

Local residents are P***ED off yet again. One had brickwork dropped on the roof of his car and has concrete splashed over the paintwork outside another nearby site operated by McAleer & Rushe previously. Unsurprisingly, McAleer & Rushe were prosecuted for their bad practices on that same site.

And now this – more damaged paintwork on cars. Same old approach by McAleer & Rushe when complained to – poor excuses. Very poor, in fact.

Simply put – to splash concrete over cars once is once too often. To do it more than once, and taking into account the behaviour of McAleer & Rushe over the past year, is criminal.

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Posted in 10 Baker Street | 2-14Baker Street Campaign, 10 Portman Square, 2-14 Baker Street, British Land, Health and Safety, McAleer & Rushe, NAMA, Thuggery, Uncategorized, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

10 Portman Square Campaign

English: Junction of Baker Street and Portman ...

Please follow the link to 2-14 Baker Street Campaign

The development known as 10 Portman Square is also known as 2-14 Baker Street.

Posted in 10 Baker Street | 2-14Baker Street Campaign, 10 Portman Square, 2-14 Baker Street, British Land, Considerate Building Scheme, Health and Safety, McAleer & Rushe, NAMA, Thuggery, Uncategorized, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , | 2 Comments