Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward Labour Action Report - March 18

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward.

Enford Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“There is a hugely increased amount of traffic (largely diesel taxis queuing and idling in Enford Street, right next to the school gates and playground) sometimes even queueing round into York Street, which in 40 years of living on the corner of York and Enford Street, I have never observed before. It is a startling increase and I notice it as school opens, when I am on my way to work and in the late afternoon and evening when I return.”

Knox Street

Residents in Knox Street are facing the same problems:

“Knox Street, also one way from York Street to the Marylebone Road has also seen a large increase in traffic.  We are getting unexpected traffic jams that stretch the length of the street, something we’ve not had in the 19 years I’ve lived here.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when they occur.  It can be during what is normally a quiet time, such as Sunday evening, as well as at rush hour on a weekday night.”

Lisson Grove/Marylebone Road

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“Can anything be done about the large private coach which every day parks on the double yellow lines at the Marylebone Road end of Lisson Grove just before the junction traffic lights on some sort of school run around mid day onwards which seriouly reduces the flow of traffic flow down Lisson Grove which tails back way past a Catholic Junior school with the resulting delays from two lanes to one lane and all the added pollution in the whole area.”

We have received the following response:

“We have briefed all Marshals who regularly patrol this area regarding the complaint.  If found parking/waiting in contravention of the parking restrictions, the service will manage in line with our published enforcement code of practice.  Should the vehicle be involved with the school, we will engage with the school as part our overall engagement plan to ensure compliance.”

Broadley Street/Harewood Avenue

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“I would like to comment about regular illegal dumping in the small fenced off space in front of the property on the corner of Broadley Terrace and Harewood Avenue. There have been mattresses and other household waste, as well as bits of wood and broken furniture. “

Oxford Street

Following the announcement of the latest consultation returns on the Oxford Street project, we have made the following statement:

“The consultation results show that TfL and Westminster City Council still have a big job to do to demonstrate that the proposals will have local benefits. Around half of local residents are opposed to the proposals, with the other half in support (with or without concerns).

We have four major concerns and call on TfL and Westminster Council to show ((a) how any additional vehicular traffic will be kept out of residential streets; (b) how air pollution levels will be reduced in residential streets; (c) how the needs of the disabled and elderly will be provided for and (d) how Oxford Street will be managed 24/7 to ensure the safety and security of residents, shoppers and visitors”

“We will keep campaigning to get the best deal for local residents and businesses”

Baker Street Two Way

You can register for weekly updates here http://www.bakerstreettwoway.co.uk/index.html#contact

Wigmore Street

Works started 22nd January at Seymour St/Gt Cumberland Place and Wigmore St from Duke St to Wimpole St. Any queries relating to the Seymour Street and Wigmore Street works should be directed to the following email address: wigmorestreetimprovements@conwayaecom.com.

Giving residents a powerful voice in the planning process

For too long Westminster Conservatives have treated residents as an afterthought in a planning process geared towards the needs of major developers. If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will radically reform how the planning system operates to put residents first.

Labour’s reforms include:

  • Giving residents the right to speak at Planning committee meetings to present their case. Westminster is virtually alone amongst local authorities in preventing residents from doing so.
  • Providing more information explaining how the planning system works, including jargon busting, to help residents find the relevant information that explain what is being proposed for their area and have their say. The Council would also use social media to encourage resident engagement on key decisions.
  • Establishing a ‘Design Panel for Westminster’ to allow professional architects, other experts and interested residents to give external advice to planning committees on design aspects of major planning proposals.
  • Creating a new Strategic Projects Planning committee with a larger than normal membership to prevent major applications being dominated by the whims of over-powerful individual Councillors such as Tory Deputy Leader Cllr Robert Davis.

Keeping the Council Tax low

If elected in May Westminster, Labour will keep Council Tax low. Labour will support the current proposals by the Council for a freeze in the Council Tax rate and a 2% rise in the adult social care precept in 2018/19. If elected, we will not raise the council tax and adult social care precept by any more than the Conservatives have over recent years.

Council Tax is always an emotive issue. Westminster Council receives the highest levels of parking revenue (£73.2m) in the country as well as substantial commercial income from its large Central London property portfolio (£42.8m) that help prop up its finances far more than in other boroughs. Westminster also has a long-track record of under-investing in its public services and its upcoming budget plans to cut over £3 million from services for children and young people and £2 million from rough sleeping and supported housing.

Due the impact of crippling Conservative Government cuts to local council funding, Westminster Conservatives have raised the Council Tax (including the adult social care precept) every year since 2016.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

Residents are angry with the very poor performance of CityWest Homes. Service standards have clearly deteriorated after Conservative council cuts to the housing management budget, the closure of local estate offices and the bungled introduction of a new call centre and repairs contract.

A Labour Council would immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties.

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills.

Building genuinely affordable homes

If Labour win 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.

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.

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 gov.uk/register-to-vote 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

Scrapping tall buildings policy – what you say

“Current policy just exploits London for all it is worth. So disrespectful of existing communities and indeed of the generations of builders and craftsmen who constructed this city. Those buildings, so thoughtlessly being demolished (rather than adapted) are probably the only memorials that those men and women have.”

Baker Street two-way – what you say

“Whose idea was it to spend all this money on changing Baker Street and Gloucester Place into two way and the extra cost of cycle lanes which hardly anyone uses when the present system works perfectly.”

What you say

“Thanks, as ever, for your newsletter. “