BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – April 2018
News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor
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 have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:
“I spoke to a resident about anti-social behaviour happening in the courtyard of the Marylebone Estate on Homer Row. Intruders jump over the low gate when locked and reportedly gangs and individuals regularly do drug deals and try to break into people’s property from the back-garden. The resident also has seen a condom in the garage of estate. The residents say the gate is too low and a larger more secure gate should be installed.”
Old Marylebone Road/Marylebone Road junction
We have asked TfL to repair a number of the street lights at this very busy junction.
Residents have contacted us about two long standing issues where they the Council has failed to protect residents’ interests:
- There has been considerable noisy work to the basement of the retail unit at the corner of Seymour Place and Crawford Street, involving power drills early in the morning and after 6pm, with huge amounts of building material being removed, some of which residents fear is structural.
- The tenants of the retail units along Crawford Street appear to be using the garden area of Seymour Buildings (which is reserved for residential tenants of Seymour Coop). They appear to be gaining access to the garden via the rear fire doors.
George Street/Gloucester Place
We are making enquiries about this issue:
“I live in Montagu Square and have always found the north side crossing of Gloucester Place and George Street very dangerous as have many other people who need to use that crossing. There are no pedestrian crossing lights there. A large number of people use that crossing including children on their way to and from school, and elderly people. Most car drivers do not honour the highway code by giving way to pedestrians when turning into Gloucester Place from George Street and are often driving very fast. It is amazing that there haven’t been serious accidents. I had assumed that as Gloucester Place is to become two way and traffic lights needed to be altered, provision would be made for pedestrians but I have just learnt that that is not the case. Since one of the selling points for the two-way scheme was “safer pedestrian crossings” I and many of my neighbours were hoping that our local crossing would be made safer. Is there anything that can be done at this stage?”
The Council say:
“The team has looked at this particular junction throughout the development of the project and it will be kept under review as part of the monitoring regime being put in place to assess how demand and traffic conditions change. However, in this particular case, given the traffic analysis, it was not considered that a full set of signals could be introduced here without having a detrimental impact on the overall traffic flow. This particular location is being kept under review to see if traffic flows that arise after the scheme is introduced will allow for this crossing facility to be extended to the other arm.
“The Crawford Street/Gloucester Place crossing does now have full pedestrian crossings on all arms. That is really good but, in my experience, over many years, fewer people cross there than at the George Street crossing. I do urge the Council to reconsider their decision. I really fear that there could be a very serious accident at that crossing. I have seen and experienced many near misses.”
We have asked the Council to instruct the Parking Marshals to make a concerted effort in Harewood Avenue where the queueing taxis are continuing to create problems for residents. They say:
“Every day from very early in the morning (6:00am) until late at night everything is the same as described in our last letter. The traffic is chaotic, engines are permanently switched on and we can’t get out of our building or cross the road safely. We can provide you with photos if required but can you please deal with this matter urgently.”
We have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:
“At present the car parking gates on the Blandford Estate have been out of order for three weeks. This is after numerous reports to the housing manager and the Customer Service team. We are suffering a terrible ASB problem at present and the broken gates are adding to this problem. As a resident I am at a loss as to why I am paying my service charge in particular the administration fee.
For example – you cannot speak to any of the housing managers at the Lisson Green office. You are not allowed their email addresses or indeed their telephone numbers. Their current set-up is so they do not have to deal with resident complaints/issues. The reception desk at Lisson Green Estate do not have a telephone on the desk. Therefore, when you go to the office you are again, blocked from talking to a housing Manager. Even making an appointment to meet with a manager becomes an almost impossible task as you are constantly fobbed off or ignored.”
City West Homes say:
“I made contact with the Chair of the Blandford Estate Residents Voice group and arranged to meet with her and other members of the group to walk around the estate and look at the issues raised first hand and agree the way forward. With regard to the gates, I arranged to have these repaired as a priority. I have also arranged to have the three remaining vehicle gates inspected to ensure that they are also working correctly. The meeting was very positive and I am now addressing a number issues raised by the group. We have agreed to meet again in the next couple of weeks to discuss progress and agree a way forward. “
We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.
Enford Street/Knox Street – what you say
“The appalling congestion and pollution you refer to in Knox and Enford Streets are caused by the works for the unwanted and unnecessary and unwelcome Baker Streets and Gloucester Place two-way scheme. Vehicles tying to travel north on Gloucester Place and unable to make progress due to major works, turn off left and make their way through these once quiet residential streets, eventually joining Marylebone Rd westbound at Upper Montagu, Knox, and Enford Streets.
Similar things are occurring north of Marylebone Road with huge increases in traffic in Melcombe Street, Dorset Square, Melcombe Place, Harewood Avenue and Lisson Grove.”
“I think this is because the Waze navigation app regularly shows this route to get onto the Marylebone Rd rather than Gloucester Place. Tom-Tom used to route via Gloucester Place. “
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
What you say
“I am pleased to see that you are well informed of the incompetency of CWH. Residents under this housing provider are really suffering as repairs to estates are not being carried out in a timely manner. I and others are of the opinion that it is time that CWH’s loose their current contract and a competent, customer friendly housing provider be employed.”
“Once again, thank you for all your hard work and you certainly get my vote.”
“Thank you very much for your Bryanston and Dorset Square ward action team reports. With best wishes and thanks for all you are doing for our ward.”
“Many thanks – as ever- for the brilliant newsletter”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.