Marylebone High Street Ward Action Report - Feb 18


 

News from the Labour Action Team in Marylebone High Street Ward

Chiltern Street

We have asked City West Homes to investigate residents of York Mansions’ concerns:

“Residents at York Mansions in Chiltern Street, Marylebone are fed up with the very poor unprofessional management and delivery of general services, health and safety issues and major works programmes by CIty West Homes.  We have tried to engage positively with CWH senior managers, our local councillors, the Leader Westminster Council and the Director of Housing but they really don’t want to know. We are desperate for advice and support! “

Luxborough Street

We are making enquiries with BT Openreach about this issue: 

“I live in Luxborough Street. Outside the flats there is a box marked ‘fibre’. We are next door to the university and 100m from one of the busiest roads in London, yet no high speed broadband.  I wrote to our MP, who contacted BT Openreach whose response was that there are no immediate plans to install high speed broadband. Any help you can give would be much appreciated. “

Paddington Street toilets 

We have raised our concerns with the Council at the continued closure of the public toilets in Paddington Street and asked when the padlocks will be removed and toilets re-opened. 

Marylebone Road traffic

Following our enquiries about traffic travelling north-south/south-north jumping the lights along Marylebone Road, TfL say:

“As a result of the lane closures that are in place for the Baker Street works, to introduce two way traffic on Baker Street and Gloucester Place, unfortunately some green signal time has had to be reallocated to Marylebone Road. This is because as it holds a considerable proportion of the traffic travelling around central London. Unfortunately, this has meant a slight reduction in green signal time to the side roads. Increasing the green time to the side roads will result in significant levels of queuing on Marylebone Road which would eventually cause gridlock of the whole network as you can understand. The traffic team are continuing to monitor the traffic signal strategy in the area during the works and have engineers constantly reviewing the signal timings.”

Marylebone Library 

Proposals to build the new Marylebone Library at Seymour Leisure Centre have been announced. The Council is seeking views on the proposals and has arranged the following consultation events at Marylebone Library, 9 – 11 New Cavendish Street W1G 9UQ

  • Tuesday 27th February, 3pm – 8pm
  • Wednesday 7th March, 8am – 10am

You can also view the design proposals and comment online at
www.westminster.gov.uk/marylebone-library-update

City West Homes ‘Nightmare Stories’

We have published a dossier of ’20 nightmare stories’ from City West Homes’, based on the experiences of CWH tenants and leaseholders over the past few months across Westminster. All have been reported to CWH for action and some problems have now been resolved – but only after a Labour Councillor had intervened. This is not the way to run an organisation responsible for 12,500 tenants and 10,000 leaseholders. How many more similar stories of incompetence and neglect go unreported because the tenant or leaseholder has not been able escalate the problem by reporting it to a Labour Councillor? City West Homes is in need of a radical overhaul and Labour is pledged to do this following the May Council elections.

To see the report go to https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/01/24/westminster-labour-launches-dossier-of-20-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

Please let us know if you are having problems with City West Homes.

Policing

There is a new Chief Superintendent in charge of Westminster Police and we hope to meet with him soon to discuss his plans. We will keep arguing for more police to keep our streets safe and for the Government to halt the cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget. In particular:

  1. There have been huge real-terms cuts to policing budgets across the country. In London alone, £700 million has been cut from the Met Police’s budget.
  2. These cuts mean that in London, we’ve lost 2,495 Police officers and 3,261 Police Community Support Officers.
  3. The Met Police still needs to find a further £370 million of savings by 2022 – meaning police numbers could fall below 27,500 by 2021 – the lowest level since 2002.

We have started a petition to stop the police cuts https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203543

Dealing with Airbnb

Research by the Residential Landlords Association published in December 2017 found the number of Airbnb rentals in London has increased by 187% since 2015. Karen Buck MP (Labour) said the number of properties advertised in Westminster North on Airbnb has more than doubled – from 1,603 in 2015 to 3,621 in 2017.

“In blocks of flats, long-term residents find themselves living in a hotel but without the services to support it, like staff and security. They have to deal with constant comings and goings, security concerns, noise, rubbish. These properties turn over every few days so you feel you aren’t living in a residential community.”

Karen Buck said short-term lets were also contributing to housing shortages.

“The original concept of Airbnb was you rent your flat out when you’re away or your spare room. That still happens and that’s absolutely fine. But what’s also happened is professional landlords have moved in, who in many cases own multiple properties.”

Research by Westminster City Council found that renting a one-bedroom flat in the area will make £495 a week for an ordinary tenancy, but £1,561 a week on a nightly basis.

Two years ago, the law changed to allow London properties to be let for up to 90 days a year without permission from the council. In January 2017, Airbnb introduced a block on London hosts renting out homes for more than 90 days a year, to ensure users complied with the law.

But some landlords are finding ways around the rules, including re-listing a property under a slightly different address or advertising a whole flat as a single room, which is not covered by the 90-day limit. People also advertise on alternative platforms to get around the cap.

Karen Buck said it was difficult for councils to enforce the 90-day limit and has put forward a bill to Parliament calling for all short-term lets to be registered

“It’s difficult to monitor. Local authorities have to spend a lot of time and money trying to catch the people breaking the rules. My suggestion is very light touch. People who are staying within the law are fine and just need to spend 30 seconds registering their property online. There’s no question of denying permission. But for people that are breaking the rules, we have a means of bringing them to justice.”.

The Blitz in Westminster

This website shows where bombs were dropped during the Blitz. You can find out how close they got to your home

http://bombsight.org/explore/greater-london/westminster/

What you say

“Thank you for your informative newsletters. I read with interest your latest report on Broadband. “