News from the Labour Action Team in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair – Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley, Caroline Saville and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg.
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:
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.”
We have asked the Council to drain a gully in Hopkins Street where a large ‘lake’ appeared recently.
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.
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.”
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?”
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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!
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.
We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.
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
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 email@example.com and we will add them to the list.
Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville
West End Ward Labour Action Team
You can contact Pancho, Patrick and Caroline at
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