Vincent Square Ward Labour Action Report - Feb 18

News from Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell, your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward.

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road taxi rank

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“Back in 2016 part of Upper Tachbrook Street, from Longmore Street to Vauxhall Bridge Road, was changed to one way to stop it being used as the overflow from the taxi rank in Vauxhall Bridge Road. This was causing serious problems in Upper Tachbrook Street as the taxis were double parking. We still have lots of vehicles driving the wrong way into Vauxhall Bridge Road, including the taxis who must know by now it is a one way street, but the taxis are now causing a different problem. 

When the taxi rank that run along Vauxhall Bridge Road is full, which it often is, they wait with their hazard lights on along the red route either side of Upper Tachbrook Street. Please see photos attached. The traffic travelling towards Victoria from Vauxhall Bridge is suddenly reduced to one lane because of the taxis parked up. All traffic, buses, lorries, cars, vans and cyclists all have to indicate and try to move out to drive around the parked taxis. Is it not illegal to stop on a double red route?

Could we please ask for your help with the matter as if this is allowed to continue there is going to be a serious accident.”

Causton Street

The big black bins in Causton Street continue to cause problems with constant rubbish dumping and we have asked the Council to consider locating CCTV in the area to catch those responsible. Residents say:

“The big black bins signal a dumping spot. There are no small street bins as before which were collected 2 or3 times per day, usually outside small shops for cups or wrappers. Builders’ vans park outside the pub, wait for the coast to clear, dump it all on ground and the disappear in their white unmarked vans!! “

Marsham Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this recurring issue and to take the necessary action:

“I am worried about the number of beggars who are sitting outside the Sainbury’s supermarket on the corner of Marsham Street and Horseferry Road. Yesterday there was one sitting by the shop entrance and another sitting by the cashpoint machine. They were shouting abuse at each other – presumably for occupying the same location – as primary school children were passing at the end of the school day. Is it possible to encourage the store manager to deal with this intimidating behaviour?”

“There are times you can walk the stretch from Marsham Street to the coroner’s court and run a gauntlet of half a dozen people begging. The problem is now exacerbated by the now empty NatWest bank building, where the doorway has become what seems a permanent home for rough sleepers. I’ve tried reporting it a few times, to absolutely no avail. “

The Council says:

“The City Inspector is in regular communication with the Marsham Street Sainsbury’s management and he reports that they, in his view, make every effort to take a robust line in addressing this begging behaviour directly outside their store. He will raise this issue again with them. The profile of the problem in this area may have been raised by the displacement from elsewhere of a quite vocal and known beggar who has recently been seen in the locality.  I have been in contact with the leaseholders of the recently vacated Natwest bank at 57 Horseferry Road about the sporadic (linked to this issue) rough sleeping within their recessed doorway. I have impressed upon them a need for a regular cleaning regime. The lease holders will change on 4th March when I will contact the new building management. 

I have alerted the local police team to these recent concerns and understand the sole Vincent Square Dedicated Ward Officer will imminently be joined by another so hopefully increased attention to this issue will result. I will also request the assistance of the mobile WCC City Inspector team for attention to the area with robust environmental enforcement. “

Queen Mother Sports Centre

Following our enquiries about the lack of recycling facilities, the Council has told us:

“As part of the mobilisation of the contract, Everyone Active were asked to use Veolia as it was a main contractor of Westminster. This meant ditching their national contractual relationship with Biffa and having to pay for additional waste services with Veolia. During this process, Everyone Active have been closely liaising with the council’s recycling team to carry out audits of two of the main centres (Queen Mother and Porchester) in order to then replicate this across all the sites. The audits have taken place and the number of recycling bins have been identified and are being costed. I appreciate that the contract has been in place for quite some time, but please be assured that this matter is in progress and we are working alongside Everyone Active to ensure implementation as soon as possible.”

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/

Vauxhall Bridge Road crossing – what you say

“TfL and co should have thought of the problem when they devised such a daft layout, shouldn’t they? it’s a nightmare for the C10 and cars crossing over from Pimlico into Westminster, too, because the traffic backs up and the cyclists don’t observe the signs. “ 

“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.”

What you say

“No problems my end – but just to let you know I think you do a great job and it’s very comforting to know that your support and backup is there should it be needed! Many thanks! “ 

“Many thanks for this recent report and, indeed, many thanks for everything you and your colleagues are doing for the local community. The fact that we rarely say “thank you” doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your work.”