News from Hussain Ahmed, Janet Seale and Liam Taggart, your Regent’s Park Ward Labour Action Team
Abercorn Place Estate
We are continuing to press the Council to explain how the freehold of this Council estate is now in the hands of a company controlled by one family. One person commented:
“I would like to know by what magic the ownership changed from public to private ownership. As I understand the law, more than a half of the original council tenants must have gained a lease via right-to-buy and collectively enfranchised the whole estate. A requirement within this procedure is that the qualifying tenants must have a long lease and must not own three or more flats. This would suggest that the qualifying tenants had acted collectively to form a company and all been shareholders of this company. Somewhere the history of this must be stored and recoverable. I would like to analyse the route from, say, eighteen council tenants getting leases, to qualifying tenants collectively buying the estate, to one company owning the estate. “
See the latest here
We have asked Council for an update on the long=standing road works. Residents in Wharncliffe Gardens say:
“The works are taking a ridiculous amount of time to complete with people present on site only every few days. This is also causing a major problem with the recycling bins on the corner of Cunningham Place and Aberdeen Place. As the bins are still in use but are hard for the dustbin lorries to access due to all the fences around the works, these are becoming unsightly and a major dumping ground for every type of rubbish going large and small and a worsening rat problem. While it was possible to walk along the pavement earlier in the year this is now impossible for buggies wheelchairs etc. as more of the pavement has been taken over and people need to navigate the tiny spaces between parked cars, causing people to cross over on a very blind corner of the road.
This corner has always been unsightly compared to the rest of the road with 2 trees now missing that were originally opposite Crocker’s Folly on Cunningham Place. When the works are finally complete can we have an assurance these trees will be replaced?”
The Council says:
“The works here relate to the major UKPN cabling works that have been ongoing for some time both here and on Lisson Grove. The works will complete tomorrow. I am not aware of the issues with the trees but we are investigating.”
We have again asked the Council to take action on this issue:
“It is just astonishing how many tree trunks are decorated with plastic dog poo bags- along Queen’s Grove there are little black plastic bags. There is one sign, but more might help please, particularly along the terrace between 1-28. There is definitely a shortage of litter bins in the vicinity, there seems to be more litter than usual, particularly at weekends- mainly food and drink wrappings. The gentlemen sweeping the streets say that there aren’t any staff out at the weekends.”
St John’s Wood Station
We reported a blocked gully on Circus Road outside St John’s Wood Station which has now been cleared.
We have asked the Council to clear the road and pavement of building materials.
We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this location:
“I would urge you to consider pushing forward getting speed tables in Abercorn Place. This road is a total danger to all pedestrians and cyclists and the very many children who go to school there. Cars and bikes roar along here too and despite the welcome, newly installed 20mph signs the vehicles ignore them and continue at the same ridiculously fast speeds. “
We have contacted BT about access to super-fast broadband for Aquila Street residents.
The Salt House, Abbey Road
With the support of the St John’s Wood Society, the Salt House in St John’s Wood is campaigning to safeguard its future.
Karen Buck MP says:
“The Salt House has been a public house since 1872 and has now been sold to property developers who wish to turn it into luxury flats and offices. This is such a sadly familiar story in London. We have to stop developers tearing apart what gives London it’s pulse and character. The Salt House is one of the few remaining local pubs in the area and has many long-term regulars who love it dearly. It is also home for the key staff members and their family who live above it and a secure job for many more. It would be a travesty if this beautiful Victorian pub was granted change of use and disappeared after over a century and a half.”
Elm Tree Road
We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate the following concerns raised by residents:
- Excessive speeding by motorists and cyclists – At present there are many, many motorists and cyclists who storm down the street and present clear and present dangers to pedestrians and infant children. A 20 MPH zone sign would certainly help.
- No wide vehicles – Wide lorries and heavy goods vehicles all too often use the road, turning on hazard lights and creating massive disruption. Often, they are doing works at Lord’s nearby or on residences in Hamilton Terrace. The road is effectively single lane traffic. A sign restricting the presence of wide vehicles and HGVs would be very helpful.
- Street lighting – The number of street lampposts is inadequate and so is the power of the lights. Can we please look into properly lighting what is currently a very dark street at night, quite unsafe for lone travellers and children?
Inside Housing magazine has published details of the number of former council homes now being let by private landlords, after analysing statistics from two-thirds of councils in England. The research reveals that on average more than 40 percent of property bought under Right to Buy is now in the hands of private landlords. The figures for Westminster show that out of the 8,988 leaseholds sold to council tenants, 3,363 — 37.42 percent — are now owned as buy-to-let. Inside Housing says that the average weekly council rent in London is £108 while for private flats it is £359.
City Council elections, May 2018
An interesting article looking forward to the May Council elections by Dave Hill which quotes Andrew Murray’s State of Soho blog
City West Homes – what you say
“I am a tenant with CWH and it has been a total nightmare since they closed the SJW estate office has been closed. My own personal experience of the new call centre has been very disappointing. I have had to contact them twice:
1) The first query I called the number twice and both times I was on hold for over 40 mins without any success, I even called the emergency number and once again no one picked up my call. I then had to take half a days holiday to attend a drop in session to have my query resolved. At the drop in session, the lady told me the wait for a call to be picked up was over an hour and in the future I should email the call centre.
2) The second time I needed to contact the call centre was to report a repair, which I did via email as advised, they are suppose to reply with a full response in seven working days, my initial email was replied to on the seventh day and an initial appointment was made for a contractor to attend my flat, however subsequent enquires and access to my neighbour flat above were required. When I emailed them for an update on whether this had been completed I have had no response to my email, I chased them up with another email two weeks later and once again no response, I called the number for the call centre but once again no one picks up the phone. I am now at a complete lose on what I need to do to expedite this repair as CWH simply do not respond via any of their communication options open to us tenants. Very frustrating.”
Abercorn Place Estate – what you say
“I horrified to read in the local paper about the Cricketer flats and do hope that something can be done to reverse what has happened. Much work has been done to put up railings and gates for security and I now realise that a private company must have done this.”
What you say
“Many thanks for your efforts to keep an eye on our neighbourhood and the wellbeing of our residents.”
“Excellent as ever and I note we now have 20 mph zone notices painted on the roads with schools including mine!”
“Many thanks for these letters/updates – they are very much appreciated!”
“Thank you for your newsletter I always follow it with interest.”
“Many, many thanks for getting a response which gives greater peace of mind.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Hussain Ahmed, Janet Seale and Liam Taggart
Your Regent’s Park Ward Labour Action Team