And it is indeed a very good question (although I rather resent his parting jibe to the effect of: I know it's London and you're not interested anymore being "some sort of northerner now". I retorted that I am indeed a genuine fully paid-up northerner now; and I blanked his later snobby references to whippets and so on)...
There was the famous evening when Alison Brooks, renowned brilliant architect, RIBA Stirling Prize winner, and resident of Queen's Park, although to be completely fair here, I'm not clear if she lives on the Brent or Westminster side of the boundary (and I am truly ashamed of this!) attended a South Kilburn Partnership scheme to object to a housing scheme which we (and Brent) had proposed. I think (and hope) that this may have been on the grounds of aesthetic appeal, rather than that it impaired her residential amenity; the fact that the proposed housing block was to be located a full eight tracks width of railway lines away from the bottom of her garden didn't seem to be at all material.
Needless to say, once I'd tumbled as to what was going on in the room (and it took me some time to believe it, frankly) I wasn't best impressed with this sort of chatterati NIMBY-ism and I said so from the Chair, with considerable feeling, as you may imagine. And, for something of a refreshing change, basked in the full support of my resident members in these rather trenchant views. A month later Ms Brooks's practice had been appointed to Brent council's Framework Agreement to supply architectural services to the borough. So I can only conclude that wishing to build places for poor people to live in was not completely above her, even though she did not wish to live next door to them. And that it is, indeed, a funny old world!
The Queen's Park parish council is expected to undertake such activity as "co-ordinating community events, befriending the elderly, supporting young people and the unemployed, local management of Queen's Park Gardens and the launching of a local allotment" (on this last aspiration, one can only wonder where? Are we greening over that dreadful junction by the Falcons pub? If so, huzzah!). Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster city council is quoted as saying "for Westminster to have the first parish council in London for 50 years would be a fitting endorsement for the Government's ambitions for localism and neighbourhood engagement". Well, for those of us fully paid-up true fans of localism, let us hope that is the case and that it doesn't merely provide a further voice for those actualised-haves to dismiss the adjacent have-nots.
I wonder what a collective of the neighbours of Ms Brooks make of the London Plan (that well-known anti-localism charter)? Probably not in favour of it; even those that had made fat fees by working on it.
Queen's Park residents vote 'yes' on parish council