Queen's Park Ward Labour Action Report - late March 2018

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

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.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp250/pages/1096/attachments/original/1521622381/Westminster_Labour_2018_Manifesto.pdf?1521622381

Harrow Road/First Avenue

We have reported this issue to Nuno, our local Inspector:

“Just adjacent to the church on the corner of Third Avenue in the recess outside flats where the palladins were last month.  Someone has left a couple of items, black bin bag and a small radiator etc.” 

“I’ve not long returned from QP library on Harrow Road.  A mattress and 6 black bags have been dumped right in front of one of the recycling palladins. When I went past today I’d say there were double that number.  On top of that people dropping other litter and preventing others from getting to the recycle bins.”

Kilburn Lane/Fifth Avenue parking

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“I live on Kilburn Lane and there is no immediate parking space next to my home, I therefore need to park in nearby streets. A great number of drivers park their vehicles in such a manner that the end of the CPZ has 1-2 metres of unusable space in it’s barrier and these vehicles often have a similar space behind themselves extending towards the next car or van.

Is this not regarded as ‘double parking’ anymore? There does need to be a re-education of this, because  having to drive around attempting to park ones car up and down countless streets, is surely not  environmentally friendly, when there is  precious little space available as it is.”

Fifth Avenue

We have also asked the Council to take action on this recurring issue: 

“There are still drivers driving head first down Fifth Avenue, at the ‘No Entry’ Junction with Kilburn Lane, and it’s only a matter of time before there is a nasty collision. I chastised a moped food delivery person a couple of weeks ago, who almost ran straight into my car, whilst I was attempting an exit onto Kilburn Lane, and his attitude was quite literally, “What? Bite me!” and just rode off.”

Kilburn Lane

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate these issues: 

“Speeding on Kilburn Lane – it seems particularly bad on the westbound stretch between Bravington Road and Fifth Avenue – I’d say speeds of 50mph are not unusual, whatever the time of day.  And I know this is a recurring complaint, but the pedestrian crossing between Bravington Road and Portnall Road is a deathtrap – cars frequently don’t stop. “ 

St John’s Church, Kilburn Lane 

We have asked Brent Council to take action to stop the shops on Kilburn Lane dumping rubbish outside St John’s Church. Brent Council say:

“It would be for Westminster Council to deal with the evidence on their side but we can serve Duty of Care notices under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act on all of the shops on the Brent side to check that they have appropriate commercial waste contracts. Also, we have a project running in the evenings and weekends and officers can ensure that Kilburn Lane is checked.”

Barfett Street

We have asked the Council to investigate reports of anti-social behavior in Barfett Street.

Jubilee Sports Centre, Caird Street 

We have asked the Council to investigate this recurring issue:

“Jubilee Pool Watch: no soap in the shower dispensers for over a week now, stuff floating around in the pool, the bottom filthy too and a cockroach ran up the wall while I’m using the showers.”

The Council say:

“The shower dispensers have replenished, the debris in the pool has been swept (this can be a challenge to address when there are bathers in the pool) and pest control arrangements are in place.” 

We are also making enquiries with the Council about this issue:

“My old man was down on the weekend and is an ex-surveyor. He says the building would almost certainly have asbestos in and this should be removed before demolition commences for safety reasons. Do you know who we contact at the council, who is a partner in the project, to check on that? Also, no one has contacted those of us who live next door to the site from the builders or project team and it would be good to know about the hours of working and plans for any weekend works.”

The Council say:

“This is a closely monitored area and before any refurbishment or demolition is carried out at any site, a ‘refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey’ has to be undertaken under the Construction Design and Management regulations. This survey will indicate the type and location of any asbestos. Then under the Control of Asbestos regulations, a licensed contractor would remove any asbestos containing materials using a methodology appropriate for the amount and type. This process is very carefully managed and monitored in modern demolition and refurbishment.”

Bravington Road/Kilburn Lane

We have asked Nuno to investigate this location:

“The corner of Bravington Road and Kilburn Lane is a regular dumping ground. Rubbish is collected on Wednesday and Thursday but in other days even when the commercial refuse truck passes a pile of rubbish here they won’t pick it up. They say they are not allowed too which is ridiculous. It is a known dumping spot so it should be regularly inspected and rubbish picked up. Better still would be CCTV or better signs to deter dumpers as these are effective.”

Ashmore Road/Shirland Road

We have again called on the Council to install CCTV cameras at this location to identify those people responsible for the regular dumping of furniture, mattresses and building materials. 

We have also asked the Council to consider this request: 

“A small but nice request- we have some lampposts with hanging basket hooks on our otherwise shabby corner of Ashmore/Shirland Road… except we don’t get the actual baskets like the nicer roads do! Please can we have some flowers in them this year?”

Harrow Road

We have asked Nuno, our local Inspector to take action on these issues:

I regret to report more vermin activity along the Harrow Road canal-side terrace (between the Ha’penny Steps Bridge and Harrow Road Open Space). I have seen rats running along the balconies again and also in the Harrow Road Open Space.

I have also noticed the appearance of graffiti along the pavement brick wall (in front of the flats) along the Harrow Road between Third and Fourth Avenue. Could I urge that something is done about this to prevent the problem getting any worse please?” 

“If the council want people to stop putting down bread, the first thing they need to do is put a proper sign up so people are aware of that.  The only warning is on the tiny sign strapped to the lamp post”

Nuno says:

“I have reported the graffiti for removal and will liaise with the environmental health officer for the area to address the vermin issue.”

Avenues Youth Project

James McGowan, from Karen Buck MP’s office, is running the London Marathon for the The Avenues. He says:

“I’m running the London Marathon this year for The Avenues Youth Project, who support young people through sports, arts and their other fantastic facilities. They help children and young adults grow in confidence, learn to respect themselves and others and to discover that they can play a useful part in society.

In the context of the recent Central Government cuts to Local Authority budgets, Youth Work has been axed by Westminster Council. The Avenues Youth Project intends to continue providing excellent support to young people in the area and it will need more help to fund this. 

We now also know that child poverty rates for 2017 across the UK were 6th highest here in Westminster (top 2%) making The Avenues’ work even more important than ever.

Please help me to support this excellent local service!”

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jamesmcgowan1

Queen’s Park Book Festival.

A local resident tells us:

Just to let everyone know that we are having a book festival in Queen’s Park this year. I am one of the organisers and I think it’s going to be a fantastic event. We will be releasing the festival programme in a few weeks’ time, but I can tell you that we have some of the UKs best known writers, poets and journalists lined up, as well as a host of local writers and spoken word artists. There will also be children’s events on the day. The festival will be taking place over the weekend of the 30th June/1st July. https://qpbookfest.com/

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. 

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

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/labour-launch-further-report-on-25-more-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

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.

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

City West Homes – what you say

“Thank you so much for your help and intervention concerning my 73 year old neighbour and the fiasco with City West Homes repairs centre. She made an out of hours call when her boiler starting making clanking noises and was told as long as it was working they wouldn’t come out. The boiler broke down. The next morning, after a seriously long wait in the phone queue, they told her to call back after their shift change. That’s outrageous.  She called again and waited over half an hour on the phone once more, only to be told that someone would call her back within the hour which didn’t happen. Only your intervention got a call back for her which told her she would have up to a 5 hour wait for a gas engineer to arrive.

This is dreadful treatment for a 73 year old lady, living by herself, and in minus temperatures.  The call centre is a disgrace, the people manning the phone calls are totally uncaring and something is so wrong with the system in place with City West Homes. This should never have taken so long, or so much effort to get sorted. An elderly pensioner living alone should be a priority, especially in minus temperatures. Again, thank you so much for you help with this, I will keep you updated.”

What you say

“Thank you for your update, always informative and useful.” 

“Many thanks as always for your time and dedication” 

“Thanks again for support over naughty Boats on Canal”

“It’s reassuring to know that you are working hard on our behalves. It’s appreciated.”

“Excellent, thank you again.”

“Very encouraging report”

“Thanks very much for updates”

 

Regards

Councillors Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Barrie Taylor and Hamza Taouzzale

Your Queen’s Park Ward Labour Team – Here to Help