News from the Labour Action Team in Bayswater – Maggie Carman, Dafydd Ellis and Max Sullivan.
And the Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team – Angela Piddock and Simon Wyatt.
Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections
After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.
The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.
Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd 2018.
We were very concerned to hear from Monmouth Road residents that motorbike problems that have afflicted residents of Kensington Square Gardens have moved to Monmouth Road. Residents say:
“There has recently been a problem with delivery scooters in Kensington Garden Square, which has now moved wholesale to Monmouth Road, off Westbourne Grove. We believe the problem in Monmouth Road is much greater in extent. On one occasion we counted 18 bikes parked on both sides of the road. This new commercial activity has completely changed the character of Monmouth Road.
The noise from these bikes’ engines is intolerable. We hear this every few minutes at peak times. One scooter in particular is very loud. We mentioned this to the rider and he responded by riding the bike repeatedly up and down Monmouth Road at full throttle, making as much noise as he possibly could.
There have been numerous instances of delivery drivers urinating in the street, including through the railings into the grounds of College Park School.
On one occasion, on returning to the street early evening, the pavement was obstructed by a large group of drivers. When we pointed out to them they were blocking the pavement we were subjected to a tirade of aggressive and threatening abuse from a group of at least 8 people. One of whom even told us to ‘walk in the road’ if we didn’t like it.
We have spoken to a Westminster Traffic Warden about illegal parking as they park on single and double yellow lines and in the two diplomatic parking bays. The warden explained that he was told to treat the scooters as commercial vehicles and therefore they can park for up to 20 minutes.
In recent weeks a mobile scooter repair workshop van has been illegally parked in the street, for several hours most days. We fully expect a catering van to appear next! Monmouth Road has been turned into a distribution depot which does not have planning consent. We believe all of this constitutes anti-social behaviour and should be treated as such.”
We have asked the Council and Deliveroo to investigate this as a matter of urgency.
We asked the Council to remove dumped rubbish in Hatherley Grove.
We are making enquiries about this issue:
“There were road works going on last night until 9.30pm at the corner of Artesian and Chepstow Road. The noise was so loud it kept up my 7 year old daughter. What on earth are they thinking doing road works at that time of night!”
We asked the Street Cleaning team to take action to stop regular dumping outside 11 Newton Road.
We have also made enquiries to ask that Newton Road be included in the post-Carnival clean up. The Council says:
“Thank you for your enquiry regarding the Notting Hill Carnival clean-up operation. At previous Carnivals the council has not cleaned private residential basements or front gardens in Newton Road. I have asked for this position to be reviewed ahead of this year’s Carnival and full details of the council’s cleansing operation will be circulated to residents in advance of Carnival.”
We are making enquiries with BT Openreach about problems residents are having accessing super fast broadband. One resident said that he frequently gets disconnected from work videoconferences and finds that sometimes his 3G faster than the connection.
We are continuing to support Hereford Road residents and have written to residents to say:
“Our view is that burglar alarms should not be considered as ‘visual clutter’ in the same way as satellite dishes and UPVC windows can cause damage to the environment.
We believe that the Council should instruct its planning officers to terminate their enforcement action against Hereford Road residents, many of whom who have spent considerable sums maintaining their homes to a very high standard over many years.
If the Council insists on exercising planning controls over burglar alarms then it should consult with English Heritage, the Georgian Society, the Victorian Society, the Police, Insurance companies etc on adopting a practical code for the installation of alarm boxes on listed buildings. Consultation with residents should also be part of this process.
There are many more important things that Planning Enforcement officers should be doing rather than spending their time (and your money!) on such unnecessary activities.”
Porchester Leisure Centre
Following complaints by users we made enquiries about the showers. The Council says:
“Officers have investigated this matter with the site team. I understand that the showers are operating correctly. New shower handles are required on some of the units and have been ordered by the site team who are awaiting delivery.”
Westbourne Park Road
Labour Councillors from Westbourne Ward have been helping residents in Swanleys with their major works bills and clearing out their abandoned garages.
Westbourne Park Villas
We have asked the Parking Department if the residents’ parking bay in the area checked at night. Residents say they often find it difficult to get a parking space, and suspects that the resident bays aren’t being policed. Sometimes they have to park on a single yellow and move their cars in the morning.
Bishop’s Bridge Road and Porchester Road junction
Following our enquiries about safety at this junction, the Council says:
“The timings of the pedestrian phase at this junction have been reviewed by Transport for London and they have advised that it operates within the permitted time threshold, and that there is no opportunity to extend this time. We are, however, working with TfL to introduce ‘pedestrian countdown’ technology at this junction, as this have proved beneficial in assisting pedestrians when judging the crossing time, and removing uncertainty. The technology is planned to be introduced at this junction in late spring/early summer this year.”
Hallfield School parking
We are continuing to press the Council to enforce the parking and engine idling regulations outside Hallfield School. Residents say:
“From time to time I watch the wardens and all they do is check their phones and rarely ask parents to move or switch off idling engines. They also do nothing about the minicab drivers who sit on the P/D bays with engines running waiting for a fare. I still think that the council should explore my idea that the residents and P/D bays nearby should have some status where parents who live too far away from the school or have too many children or some other reason which makes it impossible for them to use public transport, are allowed to park safely on them for a limited period around school drop off/collection so that they can park, turn their engines off and walk their children to the school rather than dangerously parking all over the junction and sitting in their cars with their engines running. “
Labour’s pledge on Cleaner Streets
Mattresses and other household objects dumped on our street corners have become an all too common a sight. A Labour council will rigorously focus on fly-tipping and bulky waste dumping and we have made a number of commitments that will help tackle the problem. If elected in May 2018:
- Labour will urgently reform the fees and charges for bulky waste collection, restoring a ‘first time free’collection and reducing costs for standard collections.
- We will develop a new ‘express collection’bulky waste removal service.
- We will look further at the use of mobile cameras to help enforcement at fly-tipping hotspots and at ways to increase fines for dumping.
- As part of our support for a new Private Renters Charter we will improve the information provided to landlords, letting agents and tenants.
- We will provide a smartphone App to make it easier for residents to make use of the Council’s ‘report it’ service, helping further target the worst affected areas.
Building genuinely affordable homes
If Labour wins the Council, we will create a new type of affordable housing – Westminster Key Worker Homes. We will commit that, in addition to social housing, all new affordable housing built on council land will be at rents that are affordable to residents on average and below average incomes. We will ensure that these homes are focused on providing opportunities for long-standing residents of Westminster and key workers such as nurses, teachers, firefighters and the police.
25 more ‘Nightmare Stories’ from City West Homes
In January 2018, we unveiled a dossier of ’20 Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’. The reaction to this from tenants and leaseholders was overwhelming, with many more ‘nightmare stories’ coming to light from all over Westminster. Residents are angry with the very poor performance of City West Homes, particularly following the recent debacles over the new call centre and the repairs contract.
We have followed this up with ‘25 More Nightmare stories from City West Homes’ with details of:
- Continued long waits on the telephone to report problems to the CWH call centre
- Failure to deal with emergencies quickly
- Lack of communication between CWH and its tenants and leaseholders
- Poor communications between CWH and its contractors
- Failure of CWH to return calls from tenants and leaseholders
- Broken appointments by CWH contractors
Welcome for extra police on the beat
We have welcomed welcomed the Mayor’s decision to invest an additional £59m annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers by using income raised from business rates. This will help avoid falling police numbers due to Government cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.
We have also welcomed the Mayor’s announcement that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. The Mayor’s new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April. Of the total new funding, £10million a year will make up a new fund into which local communities, charities and schools will be able to bid for funds, and £5million a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded from City Hall that are already supporting young Londoners.
In addition, over 1,800 people have signed Westminster Labour’s petition to halt the Government’s further £400 million cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.
The petition to Parliament, https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203543, runs until 27th April.
Register to vote
The local Westminster City Council elections are on Thursday 3 May.
If you aren’t already registered to vote, you need to do so to vote in this local election. The deadline to register at is Wednesday 17 April. It only takes a few minutes. Anyone who is already registered to vote does not need to re-register. If you have moved home in the last few months and have not registered to vote at your new address you still have time to register at this new location.
The other key dates are the postal vote application deadline which is 5pm, on Wednesday 18 April and the proxy vote application deadline is 5pm, Wednesday 25 April.
EU citizens are able to vote in these local elections.
You can get more information by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-city-council-election-2018
Chepstow Road pavements – what you say
“Last year, when the pavements were done, they raised the height of them by quite a lot. This meant that many front paths ended up being significantly lower than the pavement causing huge puddles at the threshold of the paths. One of the workmen did notice the potential problem before they began on the west side of the street but his bosses told him to continue regardless. I live on the west side and have often had to climb over my railings to avoid wading through the puddle at my gate. I’m pleased that the situation is being rectified but it does seem ridiculous that this mistake was made to begin with.”
Cleaning up the Planning system – what you say
“I am delighted to know that Labour, if elected, will change the planning rules which have been in the domain of Cllr Davis. Also, that the public will be allowed to speak at these meetings and a Design Panel for Westminster, which is the best news of all. How and why Westminster, the most important borough in London if not the UK does not have one has always been a total mystery”
Gritting – what you say
“We had a gritting machine coming down our pavement the morning the thaw had set in and there was water running off and into the gutter. On the days before when Westbourne Park Villas and pavements were like skating rinks, nothing except what we did by collecting buckets of salt from the local bin and spreading it ourselves.”
What you say
“Could the Labour Councillors who sweep into Westminster in May, as I hope they will, consider reviving the notion of ‘Conservation Areas’ and what precisely that means. Nothing, ironically, according to the Conservatives. This is not to say that nothing modern can happen, but that special attention should be given to enhancing what has taken centuries to evolve, rather than slashing and burning.”
“Thank you for sending me your latest news letter which I always read with interest and this time with more than usual. “
“Thank you again for all your good work on our behalf and for keeping us in touch with local issues”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.