Pages tagged "West End"


West End Ward Labour Action Report - May 2018

 

News from the Labour Action Team in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair – Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville

SOHO

Silver Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Last week one of the two lampposts in Silver Place was removed. Residents of Silver Place are anxious that it be replaced quickly. As you may know, there have been several break-ins in the last year in the immediate vicinity of this lamppost. Its absence is leaving that end, the western end, of Silver Place alarmingly dark.”

Denman Street

Following our enquiries, Sanctuary Housing has conformed that it will be replacing the broken glass in the doors and replacing the broken lift lights.

Wardour Street

Residents have told us of their unhappiness at the closure of another local shop due to a huge rent increase:

“I’ve just come back from Wardour News with this morning’s Guardian and bad news.  After 34 years the shop is closing at the end of May because the landlord is asking for a 50% rent increase. I’m both angry and depressed.  I don’t know who the landlord is, but 50% is excessively greedy and socially irresponsible. I like going there. There’s a wide variety of newspapers, a dazzling display of glossy magazines, and a friendly staff.  It’s part of our Soho neighbourhood and I’ve been happy to buy my newspaper there at full price rather than save a bit with coupons at Tesco.”

“Heartbroken to hear that they are having to close Wardour News due to rent increases in Soho. They opened the shop 34 years ago and he’s been one of the greatest stockists of fashion magazines ever! Truly gutted this has happened to one of the nicest human beings”

FITZROVIA

Hanson Street – what you say

“City West, they blighted the lives of people living in Hanson Street (where I live) for nearly a year in 2015 because the major repairs took so long. The contractor didn’t have skilled staff, and the quality of the work was appalling. I wrote this article for Fitzrovia news at the time:

City West Homes has poorly managed this maintenance programme and blighted people’s lives

I had a meeting with the CEO and he seemed to want to put things right. But to be honest, I have little confidence in the organisation as a whole. Interestingly, scaffolding has just gone back up on one of the City West buildings in Hanson Street that Axis worked on. “

Portland Place

We are supporting parents of children at schools in Portland Place who are concerned about road safety. Parents say:

“There are five schools in Portland Place, many with very small children (L’Ecole International Franco-Anglaise, Abercorn School, Portland Place School, Queen’s College Preparatory School and Southbank School). Road safety on Portland Place is unacceptable.”

Petition Links:

Overall safety review and request for Pelican Crossings/Pedestrian Light Sequence at the following locations:

  • Portland Place and New Cavendish Street (north side)
  • Portland Place Weymouth Street (south side)
  • Devonshire Street and Portland Place (south side)

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/safer-portlandpl/

Extension of time for pedestrians on pelican crossing at A501 and Park Crescent

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lights-ParkCres/

Expanding current 20mph speed limit trials in Marylebone to include Portland Place

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/20mph-PortlandPl/

Queen Anne Street

Following our enquiries about a broken tree in Queen Anne Street, the Council’s Tree Officer tells us:

“I think we may have to wait until the autumn to replace this tree. It’s actually quite an unusual species of birch and only available from Hiller nurseries. I’ve asked our contractor to try an obtain one but been told that there are none available in the size we need until the autumn.”

MAYFAIR

Grosvenor Square Gardens

Residents have contacted us to raise concerns about the Grosvenor Estate’s plans for 15 commercial events a year. Residents say:

“Noise from Grosvenor Square Gardens reaches as far as the Brown Hart Gardens area and via Duke Street to Weighhouse Street, as well as going down other streets that actually lead off Grosvenor Square. We know this from when there were demonstrations penned against the hedges of the gardens – the noise arrived in Brown Hart Gardens, Balderton Street, Lumley Street. Demos restricted to the eastern end cause noise problems in Duke Street, Brown Hart Gardens, Weighouse Street.

Grosvenor wants to hold commercial events, 15 per year, which will probably be concentrated in the warmer months. They do not say how many unlicensed events they will hold, or how many non-commercial. Nor do they define ‘commercial’, but in Berkeley Square they hire out to private upmarket parties, causing noise nuisance, traffic problems, and damaging the grass.

Grosvenor Square should be a tranquil green space, not an events venue. Night time lights and noise will cause disturbance to wildlife as well as damaging residential amenity.”

North Mayfair

We are working with residents to investigate these issues:

“There are a lot of things that need looking into, for instance enforcement of weight restrictions on roads, vehicle idling, lack of traffic enforcement officers in some areas, bikes being chained to railings posts trees and other places, Oxford Street needs improvements/repairs. These are just a few of many problems facing residents and visitors in Mayfair.”

WEST END WIDE ISSUES

Oxford Street – where we stand

We continue to oppose the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because residents’ concerns have not been answered by Westminster Council’s leaders, by Transport for London (TfL) nor by the Mayor of London.

Westminster Council are entirely responsible for Oxford Street. The plans could never have got this far in the face of residents’ fears without Conservative Council leaders fully supporting it.

We oppose the plans; they should be paused and all options remain on the table. We believe there has been:

  • insufficient information or planning on traffic displacement
  • a lack of ideas on how those with limited mobility will continue to enjoy Oxford Street
  • uncertainty on safety on Oxford Street at night
  • late night visitors to Soho needing buses would have to walk a few blocks north past Oxford Street increasing potential related ASB into Fitzrovia and other wards
  • the consultations appear to residents to be rushed and unprofessional. This has made residents fear they were not being listened to
  • ideas to improve Oxford Street need to include the whole area to reduce traffic, including how they could enhance life Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho and beyond.

Our position has consistently put residents of the West End first. For years of Conservative rule in Westminster residents have not been allowed a voice and the Council has had far too close a relationship with powerful property developers. The Conservatives had years to oppose pedestrianisation and put forward alternatives – and they have done nothing.

We have been listening to residents for over 2 years, having thousands of conversations. We have consistently said we would oppose the plans if residents’ genuine fears about traffic displacement are not addressed; if those with limited mobility are not able to access Oxford Street fully and if ASB is not reduced. We have raised these issue for many months with TfL and the Mayor.

It is now time to pause the scheme and continue to listen to residents. Failure to do so could ruin Oxford Street itself and the 1,000 businesses that are already threatened by out of town shopping malls and crippling rent and business rates.

Rushing could also ruin the wonderful character and lives of many in neighbouring areas of Fitzrovia, Soho and Mayfair who we seek to represent.

Residents want less pollution, cleaner air, less traffic and fewer accidents for the whole area, not just moving traffic around.

We have consistently passed on these concerns to TfL and the Mayor.  If elected we will continue to put residents of Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair at the heart of decisions, not the big property developers.

You can see the West End Extra’s report of our pledge at the recent election hustings:

http://westendextra.com/article/labour-candidates-oppose-sadiq-khan-over-oxford-street-pedestrianisation

Council Elections – Thursday 3rd May

You can read Andrew Murray’s latest ‘State of Soho’ blogs here:

https://stateofsoho.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/all-to-play-for/

https://stateofsoho.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/soho-manifestos-2018-local-elections/

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

What you say

“Very, very, very good luck this week”

“I think you guys are doing a great job of connecting with local people and getting your messages across. I’ve lived in Fitzrovia for nearly 10 years and I’ve never felt that local people were being listened to as much.”

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.”

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

If you do not wish to continue to receive this newsletter you can unsubscribe below.

Regards

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville

West End Ward Labour Action Team

You can contact Pancho, Patrick and Caroline at

pancho.lewis@gmail.com

patricklilley@me.com

Saville.caroline@gmail.com

 

Promoted by Robin McGhee on behalf of Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville all at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY


West End Ward Labour Action Report - Late April 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair – Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville.

SOHO

Soho GP practice

We have written to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to ask him to take action to save the Soho GP practice:

“We are writing to you to express our deep concerns over the ongoing situation at the Soho Square GP practice and the failure of the contract between the Central London CCG and the operator Living Care Medical Services.  

All the undertakings given by the operator in December 2017 have not been met. The GPs that had been working at the practice have left and been replaced by locums, which have on several occasions resulted in the practice having no medical staff who could see patients or authorise repeat prescriptions.

We are very concerned at the failure of the CCG to deal with these problems and call on you to investigate the serious issues at the Soho Square practice and difficulties in working with the CCG. We also urge you to request the Care Quality Commission to arrange an inspection of the Soho Square practice as soon as possible and to report to you with their findings as a matter of urgency.” 

Berwick Street

We have asked the Council to urgently look into the situation behind the closure of what is believed to be the oldest shop in Soho – the lighting shop W Stich on Berwick Street (http://www.wsitch.co.uk/ ). This reinforces the need for urgent action on rates and rents for SMEs on Berwick Street and across the West End as a whole.

We have also asked the Council to fix a bent sign post on the pavement on Berwick Street, just north of the junction with Broadwick Street.

Green’s Court

We have asked City West Homes to take action to deal with mould and damp in a flat in Green’s Court.

William Blake House, Dufour’s Place

We have asked City West Homes to investigate a number of issues raised by residents of William Blake House.

Dufour’s Place

We are again supporting residents in Dufour’s Place who are battling with Soho Housing Association to allow them to control the heating in their flats. Residents say:

‘The building is already over-heating and with temperature increases forecast this week the boiler does not need to be on 24 hours a day. As has already been established, it is unnecessary for it to run 24 hours a day; even in winter. If the system was networked this adjustment could be easily achieved without incurring call out costs for a visit to the Plant Room”

Denman Street

We have written to Sanctuary Housing and asked that the following be repaired:

  • the door on the top floor has glass missing from the top panel
  • the light in the lift is not working 

Standing up for Soho’s Small Businesses

Small businesses are integral to Soho’s unique identity and heritage. But they’ve fallen victim to rising rents and rates. The Conservatives in Westminster Council have chosen to side with powerful landlords and developers instead of helping small businesses.

We pledge to champion small businesses. We will stand up for small businesses and fight for them. We pledge to:

  • Send a strong message to developers and landlords. We will tell them that Soho’s existing small businesses need to be supported.
  • Oppose any development projects that give local residents and small businesses a bad deal.
  • Use the Council’s powers to create a Special Policy Area in Soho to protect and grow small businesses.
  • Work closely with small businesses to challenge rent reviews.
  • Lobby central government to bring down crippling business rates. 

Peter Street – what you say

“Temporary blacktop paving does seem best. About a year ago I saw men replacing concrete paving slabs, which, thanks to construction and other large vehicles, were crushed by the next day.  With a hotel on Hopkins Street traffic will be increasing around there.  What with that, maybe a shared street without kerbs and with rugged paving would be best.”

Broadwick Street – what you say

“With repaving work in Broadwick St, as well as construction work in both Hopkins St and Peter St, and with both misleading and unreadable traffic signs at the top of Ingestre Place, traffic is a mess around here.  Much backing up and reversing by drivers trying to get out.” 

FITZROVIA

Haddon House, Hanson Street

The handrail on the top floor of the stairs at Haddon House is coming loose as one of the brackets has lost its screws. We have asked City West Homes to fix this.

Wells Street

We have repeatedly asked the Council to take action to stop regular rubbish dumping outside 24 Mortimer Street (which has an entrance on Wells Street). The piles of rubbish cause a hazard to pedestrians and residents.

Mortimer Street – update

Following our report about a blocked gully on Mortimer Street, the Council says:

“We have attended site, but unfortunately, the crew were unable to fully raise the gully lid as the kerb is leaning over the gully. We have already raised this as a defect and I will come back to you with a date for the works to be carried out on the kerb and the gully cleaned.”

Middleton Place

Residents say the Council does not seem to do regular sweeping on Middleton Place and we have asked the Council to investigate. Residents say

“The landlord at the Yorkshire Grey does his own sweeping within his premises, and it would help with upkeep of the area if the Council helped with its sweeping duties too. Can this be looked at? “

The Council say 

“Sweeping schedules are largely designed to match pedestrian footfall patterns. As a relatively quiet side street, Middleton Place is swept each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Further sweeping can be provided if required on other days and this should be flagged by reporting litter on the Report It tab on the council website – this data is reviewed on at least a weekly basis and sweeping schedules adjusted in response to changing usage patterns.”

Langham Street

We have again reported rubbish dumping in Langham Street and called for cctv cameras to catch the dumpers and for stronger action by the Council:

“I’m becoming a bore on the subject of rubbish (corner of Gosfield Street andLangham Street particularly). Huge pile all yesterday afternoon and stillthere at 9am this morning. I see people on their way to work, justdropping off a bag as they go. They know it will be collected; this isthe place to leave it. *No one thinks of it as dumping*. we need biggerdifferent posters – “please don’t leave your rubbish here. Take itto…” or something. The other day I did call out from my flat tosomeone leaving bags there, pointed out the sign, which he hadn’tnoticed. said how I hated staring at a pile of rubbish. He said he wouldtoo, had missed the time when he was supposed to leave it outside thatmorning, and asked where to take it. I mentioned some bins in RidingHouse Street, and he kindly took them there. Threatening fines is ridiculous- who is going to catch them? and anyway they don’t think it applies tothem.” 

Foley Street

We have asked the Council to replace two lampposts which are broken on Foley Street

Queen Anne Street/Mansfield Street

We have asked the Council to move dumped rubbish at this location.

MAYFAIR

Brick Street

We have asked the Council to fix a dangerous pothole in Brick Street.

Mount Street/Berkeley Square

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate the crossing between Mount Street and Berkeley Square which is dangerous for pedestrians.

The Council say:

“We are currently developing a public realm scheme which will prioritise pedestrians and reduce vehicle dominance at the Mount Street/Davies Street junction.  Some of these include:

  • Traffic signals removal
  • Mini-roundabout installation
  • New wider footways
  • New narrow carriageways (shorter crossing points)
  • 3 informal crossing points 

The above will be implemented as part of the wider construction programme anticipated to commence in early summer 2018 and continue for a period of 12-16 months.”

Hanover Street

We have reported regularly rubbish dumping in Hanover Street.

Curzon Street

We are making enquiries with BT Openreach about the slow broadband speeds in Curzon Street.

WEST END WIDE ISSUES

Oxford Street – where we stand

We continue to oppose the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because residents’ concerns have not been answered by Westminster Council’s leaders, by Transport for London (TfL) nor by the Mayor of London.

Westminster Council are entirely responsible for Oxford Street. The plans could never have got this far in the face of residents’ fears without Conservative Council leaders fully supporting it.

We oppose the plans; they should be paused and all options remain on the table. We believe there has been:

  • insufficient information or planning on traffic displacement
  • a lack of ideas on how those with limited mobility will continue to enjoy Oxford Street
  • uncertainty on safety on Oxford Street at night
  • late night visitors to Soho needing buses would have to walk a few blocks north past Oxford Street increasing potential related ASB into Fitzrovia and other wards
  • the consultations appear to residents to be rushed and unprofessional. This has made residents fear they were not being listened to
  • ideas to improve Oxford Street need to include the whole area to reduce traffic, including how they could enhance life Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho and beyond.

Our position has consistently put residents of the West End first. For years of Conservative rule in Westminster residents have not been allowed a voice and the Council has had far too close a relationship with powerful property developers. The Conservatives had years to oppose pedestrianisation and put forward alternatives – and they have done nothing.

We have been listening to residents for over 2 years, having thousands of conversations. We have consistently said we would oppose the plans if residents’ genuine fears about traffic displacement are not addressed; if those with limited mobility are not able to access Oxford Street fully and if ASB is not reduced. We have raised these issue for many months with TfL and the Mayor.

It is now time to pause the scheme and continue to listen to residents. Failure to do so could ruin Oxford Street itself and the 1,000 businesses that are already threatened by out of town shopping malls and crippling rent and business rates.

Rushing could also ruin the wonderful character and lives of many in neighbouring areas of Fitzrovia, Soho and Mayfair who we seek to represent.

Residents want less pollution, cleaner air, less traffic and fewer accidents for the whole area, not just moving traffic around.

We have consistently passed on these concerns to TfL and the Mayor.  If elected we will continue to put residents of Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair at the heart of decisions, not the big property developers.

And another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’

We have issued a new dossier of another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ this year, following our first report in January 2018, which included 20 Nightmare Stories, and our second report in March with details of 25 more Nightmare Stories.

Once again, we have had reports from tenants and leaseholders living right across Westminster – from Pimlico to Paddington, from the West End to Westbourne – all expressing anger at the incompetent and heartless way in which City West Homes treats its 22,000 tenants and leaseholders.

Service standards have deteriorated badly following 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.

In 2018, it is hard to believe the almost Dickensian situation some people have to live in and which is summed up by this report about a 70 year old woman in Dowland Street, Queen’s Park who “has been without electricity for 6 weeks. Contractors turn up and never finish the job. She is now lighting her flat with candles.”

We will immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties. We have set out our plans for change if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents. If it doesn’t urgently improve Labour will scrap it.
  • 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

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/and-another-25-more-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

Standing up for our EU residents

In the EU referendum in 2016, Westminster voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

If elected in May, Westminster Labour will fight to support our EU residents at this difficult time by expanding EU residents’ access to specialist legal advice and support services.

We will also play an active role in challenging the Government’s attempts to weaken EU citizens’ rights and demand that all existing rights are retained in the future.

We will appoint a Council Champion for the issues facing EU nationals and create a working group of local residents from the EU27 to help address future issues.

EU citizens are eligible to vote in the Council Elections on Thursday 3rd May. 

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

Latest on the West End Ward candidates

The ‘Mirror’ published this story recently:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-council-candidate-heart-britains-12374191

And Andrew Murray’s latest ‘State of Soho’ blog focuses on the local election issues

https://stateofsoho.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/some-thoughts-on-the-local-elections/

Problems paying Water Rates?

Thames Water is running a project with Citizens Advice Westminster to help people who are having problems paying their Water Rates. They can help to access hardship funds and apply for grants to pay off water rate debts. They will provide budgeting advice and negotiate regarding other household debts.

Contact the Gateway helpline 03003301191.

There is also an on-line enquiry form at:

www.westminstercab.org.uk/advice/online-enquiry. 

What you say

“I was most interested and (as always) very grateful to receive your latest action report, together with the very welcome pledges which you are making as we come up to the local elections – in which, as I am sure you know, I wish you the luck you so much deserve.” 

“Thanks once again for your report and for your support of local residents.”

“I want to wish the Labour Team well in the coming election – you know how much I hope you will all get in.  The situation in Soho is at crisis point – the behaviour of property developers in Poland Street who constantly obstruct the pavement, when added to the closure of Broadwick Street, has reduced at least one lady in her nineties to tears, because like me she has to use a shopping trolley and cannot get up and down the kerbs.  Added to this, cyclists are now using all available pavements, which is terrifying.” 

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.ukand we will add them to the list.

If you do not wish to continue to receive this newsletter you can unsubscribe below.

Regards

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville

West End Ward Labour Action Team

You can contact Pancho, Patrick and Caroline at

pancho.lewis@gmail.com

patricklilley@me.com

Saville.caroline@gmail.com

 

Promoted by Robin McGhee on behalf of Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville all at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY


Oxford Street – where we stand

We, Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville, West End Labour candidates, continue to oppose the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because residents’ concerns have not been answered by Westminster Council’s leaders, by Transport for London (TfL) nor by the Mayor of London.

Read more

Conservatives lose two of their West End Ward Councillors

Two of the Conservative West End Councillors will not be re-standing on 3rd May – Glenys Roberts has been de-selected by her party and Paul Church has decided not to stand again. This is what they say:

Councillor Glenys Roberts

“I have been deselected by the party and won’t be standing at the May election.  I worry about the West End and having lived there all my adult life I think I am well qualified to look after its best interests.  However, my continuing frustration at the lack of action, understanding and local knowledge, the failure to allot funds to priority issues and the frightening hostility encountered at any genuine attempt to tackle reality rather than rely on PR self-delusion means my time would not be well spent”

Councillor Paul Church

“After four wonderful years of the honour of serving the residents of Fitzrovia, Mayfair & Soho, I’ve taken the difficult decision not to re-stand in May & notified the local party today. I tried to stand up for the communities I was elected to represent against the dominance of property developers & their agents, patronage & power in Westminster, but I was bullied, silenced & threatened by their powerful allies.”

See this West End Extra article about the story.

It is certainly time for a change in the West End!

Labour’s three candidates are Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville.


West End Conservatives ‘familiarise’ their candidates with Soho and the West End ward

One of the Conservative candidates in the West End recently tweeted that he was “Out and about familiarising” his two fellow candidates with Soho and the West End.

Read more

West End Ward Labour Action Report - April 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair – Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley, Caroline Saville and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg.

SOHO

Standing up for Soho’s Small Businesses

Small businesses are integral to Soho’s unique identity and heritage. But they’ve fallen victim to rising rents and rates. The Conservatives in Westminster Council have chosen to side with powerful landlords and developers instead of helping small businesses.

We pledge to champion small businesses. We will stand up for small businesses and fight for them. We pledge to:

  • Send a strong message to developers and landlords. We will tell them that Soho’s existing small businesses need to be supported.
  • Oppose any development projects that give local residents and small businesses a bad deal.
  • Use the Council’s powers to create a Special Policy Area in Soho to protect and grow small businesses.
  • Work closely with small businesses to challenge rent reviews.
  • Lobby central government to bring down crippling business rates for small firms.

Planning protection for Soho and Chinatown

You can read Dave Hill’s latest article here:

http://www.onlondon.co.uk/westminster-labour-pledges-to-extend-planning-protections-to-unique-soho-and-chinatown/

Peter Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“There are cracked pavements by the NCP car park on Peter Street. These have been in a state of disrepair for a long time and need fixing.

The Council say:

“The team have visited site and agree the footway needs repair. To avoid further works we will be removing the damaged slabs and resurfacing with a blacktop footway which will be more robust. This will be a temporary measure pending completion of the building works.”

Hopkins Street

We have asked the Council to drain a gully in Hopkins Street where a large ‘lake’ appeared recently.

Dufour’s Place

We are continuing to support Soho HA residents who are struggling with the loss of water. Residents say:

“Another day without water. No sign of anyone here working.”

This is getting ridiculous, I have been at work all day and my girls and school, how can you expect us to go without hot water? Where will you paying for for us to wash, which is our basic human right?”

“I spoke to one of your customer service agents during the day yesterday who absolutely assured me that the hot water was fixed, there would be no more problems, and the hot water will work over Easter weekend. However just to confirm that the hot water is not working, and when I called the out of hours service they said no one else has reported this, and when they called the hearing company they thought the issue was fixed.”

William Blake House

We contacted City West Homes following another incident involving the loss of hot water heating at William Blake House.

Meard Street

Once again we have contacted BT Openreach about the appalling broadband speeds in Soho. Residents say:

“I am writing again as am sitting here attempting to get some work done and my connection is so incredibly slow I am at my wits end.  I came across this from November 2016 https://www.westminster.gov.uk/broadband but clearly this must mean other parts of Westminster as Soho has not yet been activated. I used the ‘checker’ button and it seems our exchange at Gerrard Street is Fibre enabled, but the marker below still says they are ‘exploring; – any idea why we cannot get it? The exploration has taken about seven years so far.”

Broadwick Street – John Snow Pump – Update

We have made enquiries following receiving this message:

“Once again the subject of the reinstatement of the John Snow pump needs mentioning: at the moment Broadwick Street is being dug up and cobbles replaced around the area where the pump used to be and where it needs to be returned to. Please can you put more pressure on and get information and reassurances from the developers responsible.”

The latest update is:

“The pump will be located on an extended footway build-out outside the John Snow pub.  This will be the final phase of the works which is scheduled to complete in July.”

Cycling in Soho – what you say

“Bikes on pavements, often drunk tourists or Deliveroos, almost running people over. Sometimes succeeding. Going through red lights (buses do this frequently on Regent St) cycling too fast while on phones. The pedestrian’s life is a dangerous one in Soho.”

FITZROVIA

Riding House Street/Middleton Place

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“On the corner of Riding House Street and Middleton Place there is a drain that is blocked. It’s been causing lots of problems. Please can this be fixed?”

Gosfield Street

We are continuing to urge One Housing to re-house a resident in Gosfield Street who is responsible for continual anti-social behaviour which is ruining the lives of neighbours.

35-50 Rathbone Place

Westminster City Council planning committee has approved a legal agreement to enable affordable homes at Rathbone Place to be re-sold at market prices because mortgage lenders will no longer finance the type of property offered. The site was demolished to create 142 luxury flats, shops, restaurants, and an office complex now occupied by Facebook.

https://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2018/03/23/mortgage-providers-will-not-lend-for-affordable-homes-at-west-end-site/

Mortimer Street/Great Titchfield Street

We have asked the Council to clear a blocked gully at the corner of Mortimer Street and Great Titchfield Street which has caused a large ‘lake’ to appear after it has rained.

Bulky refuse

We have received this suggestion from a resident:

“Another suggestion for bulk dumping. Maybe a monthly skip at a specific place where people can put furniture etc that others might want to take. Often people put things in the street in the hope others might take them?”

What do you think of this suggestion?

MAYFAIR

Queen Street/Curzon Street

Following our requests to the Council to take action on the constant rubbish dumping at this location, the local Inspector tells us:

“I spoke with the Manager at the business at length and she was clearly aware of the issue and keen to keep her area tidy but she informed me that other businesses do dump their rubbish by her bins. There were some items left by the bins that had been dumped and had not bene collected by the contractor. I therefore dealt with these myself this week in order to tidy the area a little in the meantime. I placed a large tub of vegetable oil, 2 large pieces of wood and a picture frame on the kerbside with a “don’t dump” sticker on the items. I will continue to monitor the area daily going forward and will address any issues that I see.”

Carrington Street

We are continuing to assist residents living close to the NCP site in Carrington Street who are concerned about the impact of the construction works on their homes.

WEST END WIDE ISSUES

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

Conservatives lose two of their West End Ward Councillors

Two of the Conservative West End Councillors will not be re-standing on 3rd May – Glenys Roberts has been de-selected by her party and Paul Church has decided not to stand again. This is what they say:

Councillor Glenys Roberts

“I have been deselected by the party and won’t be standing at the May election.  I worry about the West End and having lived there all my adult life I think I am well qualified to look after its best interests.  However, my continuing frustration at the lack of action, understanding and local knowledge, the failure to allot funds to priority issues and the frightening hostility encountered at any genuine attempt to tackle reality rather than rely on PR self-delusion means my time would not be well spent”

Councillor Paul Church

“After four wonderful years of the honour of serving the residents of Fitzrovia, Mayfair & Soho, I’ve taken the difficult decision not to re-stand in May & notified the local party today. I tried to stand up for the communities I was elected to represent against the dominance of property developers & their agents, patronage & power in Westminster, but I was bullied, silenced & threatened by their powerful allies.”

It is certainly time for a change in the West End!

Oxford Street

As West End ward candidates, we’ve spoken to many residents on the doorstep about plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street. It is clear there are very strong concerns about the proposals. TfL and Westminster Council would do well not to underestimate the real anxieties and concerns that residents have expressed. The well-being of residents needs to be at the absolute forefront of any plans put forward – otherwise we will not support pedestrianisation.”

We have four major concerns and call on TfL and Westminster Council to show (a) how any additional vehicular traffic will be kept out of residential streets; (b) how air pollution levels will be reduced in residential streets; (c) how the needs of the disabled and elderly will be provided for and (d) how Oxford Street will be managed 24/7 to ensure the safety and security of residents, shoppers and visitors.

We will keep campaigning to get the best deal for local residents and businesses.

Litter

We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43609325

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

What you say

“Thank you so very, very much for your latest West End Labour Team Report which, as always, shows what a staggering amount you do for us.  I am so very, very grateful.”

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville

West End Ward Labour Action Team

You can contact Pancho, Patrick and Caroline at

pancho.lewis@gmail.com

patricklilley@me.com

Saville.caroline@gmail.com

Promoted by and on behalf of Westminster Labour Party at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

 


West End Labour Team Stand Up for Soho’s Small Businesses

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville, Labour’s Team for the West End, have launched their 5-point plan to support Soho’s small businesses.

Read more

West End Ward Labour Action Report - late March 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair – Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley, Caroline Saville and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

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 Conservative 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 

SOHO

Soho Square Doctors’ Practice

We are very concerned about the situation at Soho Square General Practice. Due to what appears to be a terrible mishandling of the situation by the provider Living Care, patients are being turned away and have been kept in the dark about what will happen next to their treasured GP service.

Many of the hundreds of Chinese patients who use the General Practice rely on the fact that Dr Cheung, who is no longer working at the centre, could speak to them in their native tongue. The current situation where patients are being asked to speak to an interpreter over the phone is clearly untenable. On top of all this, these changes seem to have been made without the consent of patients.

Urgent steps must now be taken to address the situation. The local Chinese community have a right to access high quality healthcare and should not be denied this right. 

Protecting Soho’s special character 

We are very concerned that some of Westminster’s most iconic areas are under threat and that action needs to be taken by the Council to help protect them. Soho has fallen victim to over-development, pressures from Crossrail, rising rents and the encroachment of global high street. If action is not taken now to save it, what makes the area unique may be lost for ever.

Labour will look at the use of the Council’s ‘Special Policy Area’ powers to protect Soho, as has been done for other parts of the city.

Poland Street

We have reported this to the Refuse Collection Department: 

“On the west side of Poland Street huge, revolting bags of rubbish are left beside a restaurant or, usually now, stacked in the entrance to the car park – again this is beside the restaurant.  These bags are so repellent that I don’t know how diners can use the restaurant, and surely if the bags were not restaurant refuse the restaurant itself would have complained?  These bags are there daily from morning on, without a break.  Farther up Poland Street, towards Great Marlborough Street, bags of refuse are left on the pavement in the same way.” 

60-62 Broadwick Street 

We have written to the Council to oppose the use of the former City West Homes estate office for commercial purposes. We want it to re-open as a local office for housing and other Council services. 

Poland Street/Broadwick Street 

We have asked the Council to investigate a number of missing street signs. Residents say:

“I was stopped today by a mystified stranger, asking me where on earth he was – he was in Poland Street.  At the Broadwick Street end of the street, the sign giving the name was removed when a development began and has never been replaced.

At the Oxford Street end of Poland Street again, the street sign has been removed and a huge development is now in its final stages, but temporarily it would have been easy to put the street sign on the opposite side of the street.  From end to end of this vital street, incredibly, there is no sign with the street’s name – this despite how busy it is with traffic and pedestrians!  Not even on either side of Great Marlborough Street – although that street actually retains its street sign.”

The Council say:

“Regarding the street name plate on Poland Street junction with Oxford Street, unfortunately the nameplate has gone missing, and we have ordered a replacement as is standard procedure when a street name plate is reported as missing. Please be aware on the opposite side of the road there is a development that is of glass construction and unsuitable for mounting a nameplate, however a nameplate could go on 2 posts and I have ordered a replacement name plate as is routine.”

Cambridge Circus

We are making enquiries about this issue raised by a resident:

“You will find Cambridge Circus a decrepit mess, a botched scheme seemingly abandoned.  Where previously we had 7 beautiful black and gold historic lamp columns, the remaining 4 (the agreed plan was to retain 5 not 4) are now neglected, cast-iron doors missing, cement everywhere. One column not even installed at all and a standard one put up in conflict with the consulted plan. It is an utterly careless, unloved mess and it was characterful and beautiful. The works are also months and months over time.” 

Meard Street – what you say 

“I support the complaint about the rubbish deposited at the west end of Meard Street.  Unsightly and obstruction of the pavement.  There’s a good bit of foot traffic crossing Wardour Street at that point too since Meard Street is a short-cut.”

Supreme, Peter Street – what you say

“I, too, am weary of the Supreme queues. The (mostly) lads are not noisy, the stewarding seem good, and the clean-up is pretty good.  But the frequent queues are a nuisance since they take up the narrow pavements, especially in Peter Street.  And both Peter Street and Hopkins Street are frequently blocked by cranes and other construction vehicles, which have damaged much of the remaining pavements.” 

We were interested to see this recent article in The Guardian and hope that this latest news helps to control the situation outside Supreme

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/mar/16/supremes-hype-game-is-strong-cult-brand-tries-ticketed-fashion 

FITZROVIA

Hanson Street

We have asked the Planning Department to investigate long-term Airbnb short-lets in various flats in Hanson Street. Residents say they face anti-social behaviour like loud noise coming from the stairwell, shouting, screaming, partying into the late hours.

Rathbone Place

We are supporting residents who have made the following objection to the proposals for 35-50 Rathbone Place: 

“We strongly object to this change to the Section 106 agreement. The 22 units to which it relates are single aspect and have a very small floor area of 50 sq.m. It appears the intention is that they will be available to 1 or 2 people with an income up to £64k. This in our view does not constitute ‘affordable housing’ and the units are very unlikely to be purchased by anyone in genuine housing need on the waiting list. 17% is not an adequate proportion of (off site) affordable housing for a site of this size, location and value as it does not meet the Council’s requirement of 25% and the Mayor’s of at least 35%. The public was unable to see the reasons submitted by the developer for not providing this on site.

In revising the City Plan it’s essential that the Council accepts its responsibilities and fully implements the principle of attractive, mixed tenure housing developments with up to 50% genuinely affordable housing. For too long this planning policy has been flouted and evaded by accepting distorted viability statements without question.”

Gosfield Street

Residents have asked whether the proposed extension of Brock House will have an impact on light to properties in Gosfield Street. We have been told:

“The restoration and expansion work will not reduce light to the rear of Gosfield Street. The green roof will be designed to encourage biodiversity and small wildlife and there will be no public or private access to the green roof other than for maintenance.”

MAYFAIR

St George’s Buildings, Bourdon Street

Residents say that on top of St George’s Buildings in Bourdon Street there are seagulls nesting. This gets worse during spring. This can lead to very disruptive noise. At 3am seagulls can be squawking. Residents have complained about this for years and the problem hasn’t been solved. The nests on top of the building need to be removed and we have written to Sanctuary Housing to ask that action be taken.

Queen Street/Curzon Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this recurring issue with refuse bins on the pavement, which attract rubbish dumping. Residents say:

“These look unsightly and seem to attract additional dumping. It is clear that the problem arises primarily because the café and restaurants have inadequate provision for their own rubbish. This does not justify creating an open rubbish dump on the pavement. “

Brook Street/Davies Street

Property Week reports that Grosvenor is planning the wholesale redevelopment of two acres of land opposite Claridges. The company has employed Sir Michael Hopkins to draw up a masterplan under the code name ‘Project Osprey’ for the triangular site bounded by Brook Street, South Moulton Lane and Davies Steret.

Mount Street

The Council has given The Connaught Hotel permission to place tables and chairs outside the hotel.

http://westendextra.com/article/five-star-connaught-hotel-in-al-fresco-dining-land-grab-row

What do you think?

WEST END WIDE ISSUES

Oxford Street

As West End ward candidates, we’ve spoken to many residents on the doorstep about plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street. It is clear there are very strong concerns about the proposals. TfL and Westminster Council would do well not to underestimate the real anxieties and concerns that residents have expressed. The well-being of residents needs to be at the absolute forefront of any plans put forward – otherwise we will not support pedestrianisation.”

“We have four major concerns and call on TfL and Westminster Council to show ((a) how any additional vehicular traffic will be kept out of residential streets; (b) how air pollution levels will be reduced in residential streets; (c) how the needs of the disabled and elderly will be provided for and (d) how Oxford Street will be managed 24/7 to ensure the safety and security of residents, shoppers and visitors”

We will keep campaigning to get the best deal for local residents and businesses.

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.

Building genuinely affordable homes

If Labour wins 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.

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.

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

Council Elections – 3rd May

Another interesting article from Dave Hill on the ‘state of play’ in the West End Ward

http://www.onlondon.co.uk/labour-hopes-rise-in-westminster-as-west-end-tory-stands-down/

City West Homes – what you say

“The thought that a victory for Labour in the coming elections might mean the reinstatement of CityWest Homes Estate Offices and an insistence on improvements to CWH’s treatment of its tenants would be enough to make me vote Labour, even if I weren’t going to do so already!” 

What you say

“Thank you and the others in the Labour Team for the, as always, very detailed report”

“I am so very grateful to you and your colleagues for all that you do for us.” 

“Thank you very much for taking up the air quality issue with Westminster Council.” 

“Thanks as ever for the brilliant newsletter, that I know residents really feel empowered by, including myself.”

“I am voting for your team as so is my partner… I really hope you take the council, as do almost all my local friends.”

“I really hope you win! You are always on the right side in everything I have read in the newsletter. THANK-you for being there to look after Westminster, and constantly remind those in power that ordinary people live their lives in Westminster, and that the borough’s government should be to foster a good life for its inhabitants, not for wealthy absentees. Kind regards, and good luck in the elections!”

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

If you do not wish to continue to receive this newsletter you can unsubscribe below.

Regards

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville

West End Ward Labour Action Team

You can contact Pancho, Patrick and Caroline at

pancho.lewis@gmail.com

patricklilley@me.com

Saville.caroline@gmail.com

 


Why we're standing in West End ward


West End residents tell us that the area feels neglected. With rising homelessness, more and more rubbish dumping on streets, and antisocial behaviour on the up, it often feels like the West End is getting worse.

But it doesn't need to be that way. In the local elections this year, there's a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get a Labour Council elected in Westminster. If this happens, it'll mean the start of reversing decades of neglect by the Westminster Conservatives. It would mean the West End gets the representation it deserves, with hard-working representatives ready to take up what matters most to local people.

Find out more about your three Labour candidates for West End ward by clicking here.


Westminster Labour call for public inquiry into BT's failure to provide super fast broadband in the West End, St John's Wood and across Westminster

Westminster Labour Councillors have called for a Public Inquiry into BT's failure to provide super fast broadband to residents in the West End, St John's Wood and elsewhere in Westminster.

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