Vincent Square Ward Labour Action Report - March 2018

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


St George’s Mansions, Vauxhall Bridge Road

We are making enquiries with the Council following contact from neighbouring residents who are very concerned about the state of disrepair of the building. They say:

“A piece of the facade appears to have fallen from the fourth floor to the ground. This would have represented a huge risk to the pedestrians below. There are holes in the building at ground level too, and from the first floor a smaller piece of the facade also seems to have fallen down. The building is split into many different leasehold flats and the freeholder may not be aware of this development – it would seem sensible to find a way to communicate with them.”

Turner House, Millbank Estate

We have helped an elderly resident and her carers in Turner House who was having difficulty with a mechanical aid which was in need of attention.

Coburg Close

We are supporting residents’ requests to L&Q to upgrade their homes and tackle anti-social behaviour. Residents say:

“Outside work has not been done for 15 years. problems with drug use and ASB which is never dealt with.”

Greencoat Place

We are delighted to read this article:

Cyclists at a homeless hostel in Greencoat Place can continue their quest for pedal power after being awarded a £13,000 cycling grant to boost their health and wellbeing and explore the city’s greenspaces. The windfall will enable residents at Queen Mary homeless hostel to carry on running their cycling club for the next three years. Cycling Grants London is a programme funded by Transport for London (TfL) and managed by the environmental regeneration charity, Groundwork London. Kelvin O’Mard, Riverside’s Area Manager for Westminster, said: “The initiative is very popular with residents and we’ve seen real benefits from participants such as improving their health and wellbeing, mental health, and helping them to become more independent. We also have qualified instructors from Westminster Council that give lessons on cycling and road safety.”

http://www.24housing.co.uk/yournews/grant-windfall-to-help-homeless-people-in-westminster-get-on-their-bikes-to-improve-health-and-wellbeing/

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

Residents are angry with the very poor performance of CityWest Homes. Service standards have clearly deteriorated after 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.

A Labour Council would immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties.

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents.
  • 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.

Building genuinely affordable homes

If Labour win 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.

Keeping the Council Tax low

If elected in May Westminster, Labour will keep Council Tax low. Labour will support the current proposals by the Council for a freeze in the Council Tax rate and a 2% rise in the adult social care precept in 2018/19. If elected, we will not raise the council tax and adult social care precept by any more than the Conservatives have over recent years.

Council Tax is always an emotive issue. Westminster Council receives the highest levels of parking revenue (£73.2m) in the country as well as substantial commercial income from its large Central London property portfolio (£42.8m) that help prop up its finances far more than in other boroughs. Westminster also has a long-track record of under-investing in its public services and its upcoming budget plans to cut over £3 million from services for children and young people and £2 million from rough sleeping and supported housing.

Due the impact of crippling Conservative Government cuts to local council funding, Westminster Conservatives have raised the Council Tax (including the adult social care precept) every year since 2016.

Giving residents a powerful voice in the planning process

For too long Westminster Conservatives have treated residents as an afterthought in a planning process geared towards the needs of major developers. If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will radically reform how the planning system operates to put residents first.

Labour’s reforms include:

  • Giving residents the right to speak at Planning committee meetings to present their case. Westminster is virtually alone amongst local authorities in preventing residents from doing so.
  • Providing more information explaining how the planning system works, including jargon busting, to help residents find the relevant information that explain what is being proposed for their area and have their say. The Council would also use social media to encourage resident engagement on key decisions.
  • Establishing a ‘Design Panel for Westminster’ to allow professional architects, other experts and interested residents to give external advice to planning committees on design aspects of major planning proposals.
  • Creating a new Strategic Projects Planning committee with a larger than normal membership to prevent major applications being dominated by the whims of over-powerful individual Councillors such as Tory Deputy Leader Cllr Robert Davis.

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.

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

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle lane – what you say

“There is the occasional exception, but most cyclists are ignoring the slow signs and whizzing through the crossing without any care. The cycle lane Vauxhall Bridge Road to Regency Street needs to be pavement only. Does WCC want a serious accident on its hands? As the weather gets better and more visitors are welcomed to the area, as well as those who are slower at walking, using wheelchairs or families with children in pushchairs, is a big accident the only way? “ 

What you say

“Thank you to you and the team for helping residents concerns about living in Westminster.”

 

Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell,

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

vsq@westminsterlabour.co.uk