Tachbrook Ward Labour Action Report - Feb 18

News from Gillian Arrindell, Terry Harper and Will Thomson, your Tachbrook Ward Labour Action Team 

Vauxhall Bridge Road

We have again asked TfL to take action to safeguard the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on Vauxhall Bridge Road: 

“Please could you talk to the relevant authority about the pedestrian crossing outside the White Swan pub on Vauxhall Bridge Road. There is a bike lane that runs between the pathway and the road. Cyclists are supposed to give way to pedestrians but on frequent occasions, they don’t. It is now a very dangerous crossing with cyclists zooming along far too quickly, often ringing their bells or shouting at pedestrians – when we have the right of way. The give way markings on the cycle path need replacing with red STOP signs. This would make is more safe for us pedestrians.”

Tfl say: 

“I’m aware of the conflict between pedestrians and cyclists near the White Swan. Earlier last year I went on a bike ride around the area and this was one of the issues he raised. I asked TfL officers to look at this. They have developed some new signage which we believe will help reduce the conflict. Unfortunately, our proposed signage arrangement hasn’t been accepted by Department for Transport. The TfL designers are currently working on a solution but it’s proving to be more complicated than we had originally envisaged. I will keep you posted on our progress.”

Dolphin Square

A recent article in the ‘Evening Standard’ asks: ‘Dolphin Square to get new homes, but how many will be affordable?” 

Despite submitting almost 300 planning documents to the council, Westbrook has declined to say exactly how many of the new homes will be affordable and earmarked for people who would otherwise be priced out of the area, other than to promise it will designate the “maximum possible”.”

“As property values in the area have risen exponentially, however, so have rents at Dolphin Square. Today it is largely unaffordable to people on average London salaries. Rightmove is currently listing about two dozen one-bedroom flats at the red-brick square at rates ranging from £360 per week to £495 per week.”

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/notorious-dolphin-square-flats-in-pimlico-to-get-new-homes-but-how-many-will-be-affordable-a117686.html 

Henry Wise House

We are continuing to assist a resident who has had to move out of his flat to enable major works to be undertaken. He tells us:

“I am now back at the flat. It was chaotic and frustrating at times dealing with CityWest Homes and I hope I don’t have to deal with them again soon but I’m relieved that it’s finally done.”

Lillington Gardens 

We are continuing to press City West Homes to improve the repairs service and communications with residents. One resident told us: 

“Residents in at least Priory House have had no hot water since Monday – in this cold spell. As an engineer from DJ Higgins was around on Tuesday morning and said it would take a couple of days to fix, I believed him and didn’t chase up. Then we get a letter, saying the water would be shut off on Monday! Trying to get an update on progress this morning: I have rung repairs (who never know anything), emailed the person who sent the letter who said he would get back to me, then received a call from DJ Higgins to tell me the water would be turned off on Monday (they knew nothing about my query)! It is impossible to speak to anyone who knows anything (we would at least have received an update from the former estate office).

I have now found out that the shut down on Monday is to fix this problem – but CWH didn’t explain any of that in their letter. Again it smacks of incompetence, and having no regard to keeping residents informed. I’d love to not have to bang on about how rubbish CWH is, but they just keep on giving me cause. “

Queen Mother Sports Centre 

We have raised this issue with the Council: 

“For 18 or more months I’ve been trying to get Everyone Active to introduce recycling facilities at the Queen Mother Sports Centre, where I swim three times each week. The managers at QMSC seem unwilling or unable to perform this task. The excuses are endless, changes in staff too. WCC should not be contracting suppliers who don’t take their environmental responsibilities seriously.”

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

“I was delighted to hear from you!    Thanks for your good work.” 

“Thank you very much.” 

“I do love your newsletters. They are fantastic at keeping us all in the loop.”

“Thank you for your continuing efforts regarding Vauxhall Bridge Road. Elderly and disabled people as well as the many tourists bound for Tate Britain are at very significant risk.”

“Thank you very much for your regular newsletter, which I find most informative and useful.”

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