News from Gillian Arrindell, Terry Harper and Will Thomson, your Tachbrook Ward Labour Action Team.
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.
Lillington and Longmoore Gardens – Gardening Service
We have launched the following petition:
“We the undersigned, being residents of the Lillington & Longmoore Gardens Estate, wish to protest against the contracting out of the gardening service. The decision to privatise the service was taken without resident consultation, just as there was no resident consultation on the closure of the estate office, or the so-called “security” railings installation on Longmoore Gardens, which, in due course, is to be rolled out across Lillington Gardens. Due to the hard work of the in-house gardeners the estate has been awarded the coveted Green Flag for the 11th year running. The gardening team offer invaluable support to the allotment holders and to those who volunteer to run the children’s gardening club. They also facilitate the annual Open Garden Squares Event. We therefore ask that Westminster City Council and CityWest Homes, place the same value as the residents do on the gardening team, rethink their decision and keep the gardening service in-house.”
We have written to Westminster City Council to object to Westbrook’s planning application for Dolphin Square on the following grounds:
- The planning application is contrary to Westminster Unitary Plan policy H2 which opposes the development of short-term let residential property because of the acute shortage of full-time residential planning application seeks to increase the number of serviced apartments from 124 to 205 serviced apartments, almost double the existing. Nowhere in the planning application is the Use Class C1 referred to, despite the serviced apartments in the Dolphin House hotel clearly falling into this category since they are available by the night as apartment hotel units.
- The proposed new building to replace Rodney House will be out of scale with the surroundings and will interfere particularly with the easterly view of the listed terrace in St George’s Square and St Saviour’s church.
- The plans seek to replace the internal Dolphin Square shopping arcade with large retail units along Chichester Street which will have a profound adverse effect on the character of the Conversation Area. Also, the shops are likely to attract mainly secondary food take-away outlets due to the general retail shopping downturn. This will have a negative effect on the Conservation Area and provide unhealthy food facilities for children attending Pimlico Academy on the other side of Chichester Street.
- The Dolphin Square Gardens are already used by residents from the Pimlico area as there are no locked gates, except late at night. For Westbrook to claim that making the gardens ‘public’ would be a gain to the community is clearly false.
Following the snow in February and March, residents asked us to contact Peabody to urge them to improve the gritting on the pavements and roads. Peabody has now told us the following:
“Regrettably, Tenon, our cleaning contractor at Bessborough Place did not adequately grit the property. When we inspected and found this to be the case, our in house caretaking team attended site to improve the situation. We have met with Tenon to discuss their performance and confirm what we expect during periods of heavy snowfall. A plan is now in place to ensure a more wide spread gritting programme if the bad weather returns. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention”
Henry Wise House
We have reported a water leak outside Henry Wise House to City West Homes who have told us the following:
“Wehave relayed the constant on-going issue for our residents to Thames Water. Residents have been suffering as a consequence of failures to the burst water mains at Henry Wise House. Thames Water say they are dealing with Emergency situations across all of London off the back of two week’s severe weather across all of London.I can assure you we are doing everything we can and will follow up on this daily.”
We have raised this issue with City West Homes:
“I have asked a number of times as to why the street properties in Claverton Street have not been decorated external for over ten years, and can never get a reply just avoidance of the topic, and consequently the houses are looking very sad, neglected and shabby. They were due to be done when Pimlico School was being demolished and rebuilt, so it was decided that due to the dust – the procedure would be delayed and then commenced once the school was finished. Well it hasn’t as yet been done!!!!”
We are helping residents in Malcolmson House housing issues and have written to Peabody.
We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.
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
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.
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 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
Dolphin Square – what you say
“Westbrook’s proposal does nothing to increase the availability of affordable housing in Westminster. For the duration of the works, which are almost certain to exceed the 5 years projected by Westbrook, the health and well-being of Dolphin Square residents, residents of neighbouring housing and pupils and staff at the Pimlico Academy, is likely to suffer.
While the new homes proposed may be decent, they are unlikely to be affordable to the majority of people who live or work in Westminster, even those earning twice the national average plans envisage Dolphin Square becoming a collection of apartments let on short-term term contracts, with the erosion of the existing community, which will be replaced by a transient population with no stake in the neighbourhood.”
What you say
“Thank you so very much for dealing with this and also chasing – much appreciated indeed!”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Gillian Arrindell, Terry Harper and Will Thomson,
Your Tachbrook Ward Labour Action Team – Here to Help
Promoted by and on behalf of Westminster Labour Party at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY