St James's Ward Labour Action Report - Feb 18

News from the Labour Action Team in Covent Garden, St James’s and Victoria

Martlett Court – update

Following our enquiries about the problems with outside lighting and the theft of garden furniture, City West Homes have told us:

“Our housing services advisor inspected the area and agreed that lighting needs to be installed.  We have requested lights to be installed that are operated on a timer system. In addition to this, we are going to install a code lock to the gates and issue the code to the residents.  This will reduce unauthorised access to these gardens. If the gardening committee can supply a quote for the garden furniture that was stolen to our housing services manager, she will submit this request to the Soho aerial fund for consideration.  We do have a caretaker who visits Martlett on a daily basis to carry out the cleaning and the housing team carry out quarterly block inspections. Notices advising residents of these dates and times are displayed in the noticeboards.”

Residents say: 

“Very many thanks for all of this information which I will share with our Garden Committee Members. Thank you for all your hard work on our behalf.”

Covent Garden Street Lights

We have asked the Street Lighting Department to fix various lights out in and around Covent Garden:

  • at the junction of Bow Street and Long Acre
  • along Long Acre
  • in front of the tube station exit
  • outside vale Royal House, Charing Cross Road
  • at the end of Long Acre at the junction with Drury Lane
  • attached to the Prince of Wales in Drury Lane. 

Covent Garden Piazza public toilets 

We asked the Council why the public toilets have been closed and padlocked. The Council said: “The Council has responsibility for the structural integrity of the facilities. The facilities at Covent Garden are temporarily closed while we replace/renew manhole covers, carry out drainage repairs and alterations and make commensurate repairs to the flooring. The facilities are due to reopen next weekend.”

King Street

We are making enquiries about the building at 15 King Street which was renovated in 2016 following enquiries about whether the building regulations were complied with.

Huguenot House 

We are in discussion with residents of Huguenot House about a number of concerns, including fire safety. 

Abbey Orchard Estate

We have asked Peabody if the lights in the bin store on Abbey Orchard Estate can be fixed.  

Cleaning up Westminster’s Planning system

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/

What you say

“Thank you so much for all your support in the lighting issue on Drury Lane. The Council turned it down slightly, which has helped reduce the amount coming into our home. So grateful for all your help.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.