Queen's Park Ward Labour Action Report - Mar 18


From your three Queen’s Park Ward Labour Councillors Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Barrie Taylor alongside Hamza Taouzzale.

 

Gritting

We have been urging the Council to do more gritting on the streets and pavements in Queen’s Park and Harrow Road during this very cold weather.

Kilburn Lane

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this issue:

“The speed at which vehicles travel down the street is alarming, especially at night when the road is at its quietest. I don’t doubt that the vast majority of the vehicles are in excess of the speed limit. I would like to know whether there are any measures that can be taken to calm the traffic along this stretch of road. “

The Road Safety Team say 

“This section of highway had 11 slight personal injury collisions in the 36 month period up to the end of March 2017. Three of these have excessive speed as a contributory factor.  However, the site currently doesn’t appear on the Local Safety Scheme programme for a safety scheme.

However, the request for traffic calming measures has been noted. You will be aware the City Council is currently trialling a number of 20 mph areas within the City. The streets chosen to be included in this trial were established following a road safety review and requests from residents.  If the 20 mph trial shows positive results, the City Council may extend these zones and we will keep a record of the resident’s enquiry for consideration. We will ensure that this location is put forward as a possible extension to the existing 20mph areas. “

Queen’s Park Court

We have been pressing City West Homes to restore the water supply to a number of flats in Queen’s Park Court who were without water for over a week. 

Beethoven Street 

We have asked Nuno, our City Inspector to investigate this potential health hazard:

“We are most concerned that the skip full of rubble, dust and dirt has been left there for over six weeks! The dust and dirt etc is not acceptable especially opposite a school playground as the children are breathing in this dust. We are also suffering from the same effects. Surely this behaviour causing us all to have this dust and dirt without even putting a cover over and to get rid of this skip as it has been full for weeks!”

Kilravock Street

We have asked Nuno to investigate this issue:

“I have seen a man putting out cat food of a night time. I am assuming it’s to feed foxes as there are no hedgehogs been seen on Kilravock Street.  Surely with the problem we have with foxes why should he be encouraging them.”

Mozart Street 

We have again asked the Council’s Tree Officer when the replacement tree(s) for Mozart Street will be planted.

Sixth Avenue/Oliphant Street

We have asked Nuno to again investigate this issue:

“Just another email to report the bin has been missing, so far, for a day already. I haven’t checked my emails but I’ve been in contact maybe three times within 12 months over this disappearing bin. Could you find out if it will come back, but also, who takes it? “

Residents have told us:

“Many thanks. On my return from work, there bin is back where it should be and already in good use. Thank you once again for your immediate attention and intervention.”

Zebra crossings 

The zebra crossing on Kilburn lane, at the end of Ilbert Street, will have its markings refreshed and the lights will be repaired.

Consideration is also being given to installing ‘pedestrian countdown’ at the zebra crossings on Harrow Road, by First, Fourth and Sixth Avenues. 

Huxley Street 

We have raised two issues with the Council:

“I wanted to point out that particularly in Huxley Street (possibly in other streets) there seem to be a number of cars arriving and left for weeks on end that do not appear to have Residents Permits.  As I, and others, pay around £140 a year for the permit it seems pretty unreasonable that nothing is done about these cars just dumping in the street.  Surely there should be more attendance by parking wardens around here – again to Westminster’s advantage as more revenue for them.” 

The Parking Department said:

“A Marshal visited this location and took enforcement action against one vehicle.  A number of other vehicles were found to be not displaying Resident permits but all had valid permits in our system. We’ll keep a close eye on this and increase the number of visits until we are sure there are no compliance issues.”

We also raised this issue:

“I despair at the amount of rubbish just thrown out of cars into the street but it just enforces the fact that most people have absolutely no thought for others together with putting rubbish onto street in bags instead of bins, consequently resulting in contents strewn over road by foxes. Incidentally people should be warned about these animals as I have a tiny garden and found two foraging about this morning.”

Nuno, our City Inspector, says: 

“I will conduct an educational letter drop to the mentioned location and will monitor regularly.”

Galton Street

We have asked the police for van update on this incident: 

“One Thursday morning February I was leaving our home to take our baby boy to nursery.  There was a rather loud disturbance in the street.   Someone was caught breaking into a car and residents were restraining the individual before the police arrived.  I did not hang around to see what the outcome was as I was with our baby. There was a lot of shouting and general unpleasantness.  This is a residential area with families and I’m more and more concerned that there is always trouble in our community and needs to be addressed.  Please can you investigate this particular incident?  And what measures are in place to tackle this nonsense once and for all.”

The police say: 

“The male was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty at court and was sent to prison. For once everything went very smoothly and quickly thanks to the commendable actions of the members of public. Motor Vehicle crime is not a particular issue at the moment, and this seems to be an opportunist offence.”

Jubilee Sports Centre

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue: 

“I use the Jubilee Sports Centre on a regular basis and all this week the heating has been turned off in the changing rooms. When you come out of the pool it’s freezing. It’s £6.50 to swim and it’s not good enough and the floors are filthy too.”

The Council say:

The standards of cleanliness at the centre have been very good following rigorous site monitoring in February but there have been some issues with the performance of the air handling units is some areas of the centre.  The maintenance teams are working to address the remaining problems and some have already been resolved. We will be monitoring these areas closely.” 

Elm House, Avenue Gardens 

City West Homes tells us: 

“There is a problem with one of the main entrance gates to the block. This is not currently locking as it should be.  The existing door entry equipment has been subject to water penetration and due to the age of the system replacement parts are no longer available. We therefore need to replace the door access control equipment to secure the blocks as a matter of urgency.”

Bravington Road

We are making enquiries on behalf of residents about suspected subsidence issue affecting a number of properties.

Portobello Dock W10

We are supporting residents who have taken up this issue with the Canal & River Trust:

“The canal boats are also belching out disgusting smelling smoke that is seeping into everyone’s home! They are mostly pretty well behaved these short stays but this person has no respect at all for residents here”

Locksmith stickers 

A number of residents have asked if the locksmith stickers that have been appearing on front doors are a ‘scam’. We asked PC Dave Hammond who says:

“I have had a look at our intelligence systems, and these stickers are well known to us. They have been reported as suspicious to police on numerous occasions. We have investigated these claims and I cannot find anything to substantiate the rumours. The press ran some stories a a few years ago about similar stickers being used for scams, but they did not relate to this company. It is likely that this is the source of the suspicion re these stickers.”

If you are concerned about this sort of advertising, please contact

tradingstandards@westminster.gov.uk

Queen’s Park Community Council – Community Day – Saturday 10th March, 2pm-7pm

There will be a photography display by Avenues Youth Project; an exhibition of 100 years of women’s right to vote; refreshments and raffles; and a separate room for young people with a workshop making musical instruments from recycled materials; sports quizzes; and a competition to design QPG’s first girls’ football strip.

There will be two panel discussions of roughly 30-40 minutes – the first on the general theme of Why get involved? Why local politics matters. The second panel will follow a short break for a community drama production, and will be on the more locally specific theme of Queen’s Park: what next? Hopes, issues and concerns for the future. This will be followed by a short session on “Why be a community councillor?” -Susanna Rustin and Gill Fitzhugh have agreed to say a few words.

Both the panels are intended to be positive, inspiring, participative and non-confrontational, and hopefully will tend slightly towards the light-hearted. Karen Buck MP has agreed to contribute, as has Solomon Curtis (former Vice-Chair of the British Youth Council).

QPCC/Working with Men project

QPCC has been successful with a joint bid with Working With Men to the Mayor of London’s Citizen Engagement Project. The theme of the project is how London’s arts and culture scene can be made more inclusive and relevant for young black men. QPCC will be working with 12-15 young black men anywhere between 13-25 from Queen’s Park and surrounding areas. They will be invited to training sessions and then asked to go off and conduct the research and feed it back to the team over the course of a few weeks. £200 worth of vouchers will be given at different stages of the project. At the end of the project the whole team, peer-researchers included, will go to City Hall to present their findings. The group will be made up of around 10 Working With Men’s service users from around the area as well as 5 additional residents from Queen’s Park who want to put themselves forward.

If you know anyone who would be interested in either being a researcher or having their opinion heard, please contact Lindsey Brown, Community Development Officer, Queen’s Park Community Council lindsey@queensparkcommunitycouncil.gov.uk

Resonate Arts 

Resonate Arts is the main arts provider for people with dementia in the borough and the only group working with people in the community, as well as day centres and care homes and acting as a signposting service to other people’s work. For more information contact kathryn@resonatearts.org or go to www.resonatearts.org

Update from Debbie Heath, Problem Solving Coordinator 

  • I received a complaint from a resident at the ward panel that his elderly neighbour had rubbish in her garden, which is attracting vermin and foxes. She was unable to tackle this so he had contacted the social landlord to report it to them with no response in the last 2 months. I looked into the case and spoke with the housing provider. They have now visited the elderly resident and arranged a clearance time to get rid of the rubbish.
  • I received a complaint from a resident that the sale of his house had been blocked by a surveyor due to an allegation that knotweed was encroaching on his garden from another residents’ property. I contacted the senior arboricultural officer and we arranged a joint visit to establish what exactly the plant was and where it was originating from. The outcome was that the plant was not knotweed and the resident was able to continue with the sale of his house. 

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.

Cleaning up Westminster’s Planning syste 

We have pledged to clean up Westminster’s Planning system if we are elected at the Council elections on 3rd May.

There is a clear perception that senior Conservative Councillors have very close relationships with developers. For example, the Conservative Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Robert Davis, has disclosed that since the start of 2015 he has received hospitality related to his role as a City Councillor from developers, big business and other interests a record 514 times. This equates to a staggering 14 cases of declarable hospitality a month, peaking at 47 cases in December 2016. We believe that such an approach does not help build public trust that the Council will put the needs of residents before those of property developers and business interests.

If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will engage with industry representatives in open settings to share views and push for residents’ priorities, but we will do so whilst working to achieve the highest standards. Labour commits that:

  • Labour Cabinet Members and Councillors will not accept hospitality from individual developers and their agents.
  • Labour will require the Council to formally record all meetings between Cabinet Members and developers when discussing individual schemes. There will always be an officer present.
  • A record of these meetings will be posted on the Council website within two weeks.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/19/westminster-councillor-received-gifts-and-hospitality-514-times-in-three-years?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=264724&subid=12834692&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2 

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

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/

Harrow Road speeding – what you say

“I was absolutely astounded when I read this – die before anything is done? Whatever happened to prevention? The W10 section of the Harrow Road is notorious for speeding and the Police should be very well aware of this. Cars are always crashing into the road island near my property and it seems just a matter of luck that no one is crossing at the time.”

“Surely, it is FORTUNATE that there have not been 2 fatal collisions in a 12-month period? Whilst I appreciate that speeding is not to be trifled with, I do think that some people in the area have an idealistic utopia of what they wish The Avenues to be. Anyway, thought I’d point out that it is a good thing that Harrow Road doesn’t qualify for a speed camera. Indeed, I know of very few fatalities in road traffic accidents and me and my family have lived there for over 40 years. “

What you say

“I want to thank you for your help. Without you the door would not have been fixed. I am ever so grateful. Thank you”

“Thank you for the update. It is refreshing to see and hear of the progress within the areas. Thank you once again.”

“Thank you, as ever, for the round-up. “

“I read this email with great interest and am grateful for your team’s efforts for the area in which I grew up. “

“Brilliant work, the pot hole has been filled in. Thanks for your prompt and positive action”

“Just to say thank you for your continued efforts in looking after the Queen’s Park Ward, all very much appreciated.” 

“Thank you so much for all your support in helping us get our surgery working again.  As of this afternoon, we have a working lift, and doors that open.  We know that without your help this would not have happened.”

“I thank you for helping me pick my way through the labyrinth that is housing bureaucracy.   Sometimes it gets more convoluted but nearly there.”

“I wish to thank you for your support. My disabled parking badge has been delivered today. Once more, thank you very much.”

“I applaud your advice and assistance. Keep it up”

Please let us know if there are any matters on which we can be of help.

Please feel free to pass this Report to any of your neighbours who might be interested.