Pimlico Station
Pimlico Station


News from your Westminster Labour Councillors

Dear Resident,

As more people are getting vaccinated and the number of people testing positive for coronavirus is falling, we hope that the pandemic will soon coming to an end. We are doing all we can to help the local community and individual residents and their families.

Over the last month residents in Marylebone, Pimlico, Soho and the West End have raised issues with us and this is a summary of the action we have been taking, together with an update on a number of local issues. You can read our latest news on https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk

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

If you know of anyone else who might like to receive this report, please send them this sign-up link http://bit.ly/signuplabnews



Gatliff Close 

We have contacted the Housing Department to raise concerns about proposals to charge leaseholders for Major Works which include “To remedy the defective anti-slip floor paint system which was applied as part of a previous major works contract”.

We do not believe that residents should be made to cover the cost of the Council rectifying defective works.

As a result of our enquiries, the Housing Department has clarified the situation:

“The works being carried out under this contract are not exactly rectification works, as the original works were for painting the flooring. However, painting of the floor works degraded quickly due to the level of footfall on the area.  Therefore, we have produced refunds to the residents for the monies charged. We have liaised with residents and chosen a different flooring for the communal hall/stairwell.  These works will be recharged to residents. We are in the process of writing to residents in regards to their refunds”

Denbigh Place 

We are continuing to help Sanctuary tenants in Denbigh Place who require repairs to their flats and have requested a transfer to more suitable accommodation.

St George’s Drive

Following our enquiries, Sanctuary Housing has agreed to install a new front door to a property in St George’s Drive.

Vauxhall Bridge

Transport for London has warned that the volume and type of traffic able to cross Vauxhall Bridge could be restricted within five years if money for repairs is not found, according to TfL’s financial sustainability plan. According to the document, the grade II listed bridge “which carries over 70,000 vehicles per day … could face usage restrictions within five years absent investment”. Last year TfL carried out four months of work on Vauxhall Bridge which included bridge deck waterproofing, footway and carriageway resurfacing, drainage improvements, kerb works and the replacement of the bridge’s expansion joints.

Darwin House and Balmoral Castle

We have continued to press the Council on its plans to redevelop Darwin House and the Balmoral Castle on the Churchill Gardens estate. In particular we have raised questions about the following:

  • The length and depth of the consultation
  • The need for any new housing in a redevelopment to be social, not intermediate/’affordable’
  • The height of the new supported housing block (per Shelley House residents’ complaints especially)
  • The decision to demolish & rebuild rather than refurbish/extend Darwin House
  • The architectural importance of the estate and thus the importance of any new design
  • The petition which the Council has referenced as a ‘springboard’ for this redevelopment only mentioned the Balmoral Castle site, and did not include any reference to Darwin House.
  • Churchill Garden residents were never meaningfully consulted on the use of the whole site before WCC’s plans were unveiled.

De Quincey House, Lupus Street

We are helping a family in De Quincey House with tenancy issues. 

Lillington Gardens

We are helping residents in Stourhead House, where there was a blocked drain, and Henry Wise House where residents are experiencing a range of water-penetration problems and we have asked the Housing Office to investigate these and take the necessary action.

A Tale of Two Cities: Inequality in Westminster

Churchill Ward Councillor Andrea Mann spoke at the last Council meeting about ‘Inequality in Westminster’. You can read her speech here:



The India Club, Strand

The India Club has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds towards a legal battle with its landlord. The India Club restaurant and bar at 143-145 the Strand, the same building as the Hotel Strand Continental, has been served with a notice to vacate the premises by Marston Properties, but intends to fight back. The family said they need to raise at least £50,000 for legal costs, with £10,500 already raised on the crowdfund of a target of £25,000. In 2018, Westminster City Council rejected the landlord’s previous redevelopment plans, but the family said the landlord seeks to modernise the building and run its own hotel from the property, or threatens an 80% increase in rent.



Oxford Street – temporary public realm improvement works  

The Council has announced details of proposed temporary public realm improvement works along Oxford Street which you can see at www.westminster.gov.uk/osd. The works are proposed to begin towards the end of this month.

Soho businesses 

The Soho Business Alliance has warned that “if Soho dies, London dies.” In an open letter to the Government, the SBA said that businesses in the area were close to permanent closure, explaining that many “won’t survive [the] avalanche of costs due… whilst we are closed.” The letter calls for an extension to VAT cuts, business rates holidays and grants for struggling businesses, and asks for the government to “support the landlord / tenant negotiations by ensuring no foreclosures by banks on landlords.” Without this support, the group say, “[the] government is guiding many of our members and the hospitality sector as a whole, towards mass failure, CVAs and liquidation.”


Broadwick Street 

We have continued to urge the Council to re-open the public toilets on Broadwick Street.

Soho Square

The Soho Society is campaigning to retrieve the Twentieth Century Fox House Neon Sign. They Society say:

“The sign, which we think has been there since the construction of the building in 1937, has been removed under the cover of lockdown.  Repeated attempts to contact Disney to ask them to donate the sign to either the Soho Society or the Cinema Museum – who have offered it a place – have been ignored.  We suspect that Disney is keen to expunge the words “20th Century Fox” from both our history and our buildings even where this involves the destruction of heritage assets”.

There is a petition to sign here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-twentieth-century-fox-sign-in-soho-square?mc_cid=555f5e7043&mc_eid=5acbd6b741

Oxford Street recovery 

‘Property Week’ has published an article by Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, about the potential for the West End to bounce back. He says “In the short term, financial support and clear communication from the government is imperative to help businesses plan for the first half of the year and survive. For the West End to recover successfully and sustainably and return to prosperity, the government must address three key areas of concern: the eradication of tax-free shopping, business rates and Sunday trading.”



Newman Street

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Form has severely criticised proposals to expand a new hotel being built on Newman Street into a neighbouring building on the corner of Mortimer Street. You can read more here:


Great Titchfield Street

An Italian delicatessen owner is (jokingly) asking customers to form two queues outside a shop in Great Titchfield Street. Signs have been placed outside the shop asking EU passport holders to line up on one side, and British passport holders on the other.

On the door there is a warning to customers that they must wear a face mask, but also that they are entering Italian territory and should have their passport ready for inspection.

Oxford Music Hall

Nick Bailey tells the story of the Oxford Music Hall on Oxford Street


Cartoon Museum, Wells Street

The Cartoon Museum in Wells Street has published a special fundraising eBook entitled #DrawtheCoronavirus: A Cartoon Mini-Challenge from the Mind of Martin Rowson. The eBook is available to buy exclusively through the Cartoon Museum’s online shop, with all proceeds going towards the museum’s fundraising appeal to secure the long-term future of the museum in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

#DrawtheCoronavirus: A Cartoon Mini-Challenge from the Mind of Martin Rowson, is available from the Cartoon Museum online shop. 


Fitzrovia Advice Service

The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association has re-opened its advice service, after the organisation succeeded in securing new grant funding to restart the project. Advice is available by telephone and email only, three days a week, and for speakers of English, Bengali, Sylheti, Urdu and Hindi.

The Fitzrovia Advice Service will be able to help with private and social housing problems, housing and council tax benefits, disability benefits, Universal Credit and Job Seekers Allowance, pensions and Pension Credit, Working and Child Tax Credits, fuel poverty; and help with benefit, passport and other forms. For more details see https://fitzrovia.org.uk/advice-service/


Audley Square 

We are supporting residents in the Audley Square area whose lives are being made unbearable by the adjacent building works. Noise and vibrations produced by drilling are being described as “unbearable” and flats are said to be constantly “vibrating, it’s like a constant earthquake”. Others say: “it’s a terrible feeling and also I don’t feel secure at my own house. I don’t know what do add except that the noise and vibrations are becoming worse every week.”



Wythburn Place

We have asked the Street Lighting Team for an update on the plans to add an extra street light to the Mews to deter the regular anti-social behavior that takes place here. The Street Lighting Team say:

“Wythburn Place is part of 2021/22 planned preventative maintenance programme, so additional lighting will be assessed and installed within this period, this however depends on how quick wayleaves can be agreed with property owners for the installation of additional lights.”

Gloucester Place/George Street

We are pleased that, after a long campaign by local residents, the Highways Team has told us “that the signal design to provide green man crossings on all arms of Gloucester Place/George Street junction has been completed by TfL. The works are programmed to start on site on 22nd February 2021 and will take 3-4 weeks to complete.” 

Wendover Court, Chiltern Street 

Did you know?

Wendover Court was originally called Wendover Buildings, and was constructed between 1890 and 1900 by the Artizans, Labourers and General Dwellings Company (also known as the Artizans Company), a philanthropic organisation which specialised in building for the working class. In order to offer the flats at the lowest possible rent, the company built them without bathrooms but with shared washing areas on each floor.Between 1955 and 1965 the flats were converted into self-contained dwellings. You can read more here http://www.wendovercourt.com/buildinghistory

Edgware Road

You can read about the history of Jacques Samuel Pianos on Edgware Road 


A short history of Marylebone

The Beatles, bank heists and Baker Street – a short history of Marylebone



Paddington Walk

We are supporting residents of buildings with dangerous cladding by endorsing Inside Housing’s 10-point plan calling for the Government to lead an “urgent, national effort” to end the scandal that has left tens of thousands of buildings nationwide clad in dangerous materials and residents asked to pay.


Residents living in the Paddington Walk development are amongst those badly affected https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cladding-grenfell-tower-fire-flats-high-rise-block-lockdown-a9562756.html

GLA Assembly Member Murad Qureshi has also written about this:


Travis Perkins site

Proposals for a 900-bed student building on the Travis Perkins site have been announced by Unite Students https://www.balticwharfpaddington.co.uk/

Blood Donors 

The NHS Blood and Transplant service is appealing for donations from people who have recovered from coronavirus to help save lives as London moves from “medium” to “high” alert. Donating blood plasma is a simple procedure and very similar to giving a normal blood donation but the red blood cells are returned to the patient and the process takes a little longer.

The nearest donor centre is at 26 Margaret Street, Fitzrovia. W1. Anyone who has had coronavirus, either a test result or the symptoms, can offer to donate by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visitinghttps://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk to arrange an appointment to donate.

Warm Homes Discount Scheme

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020 to 2021 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2020 to 2021 will open on 12 October 2020. The money is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. See here for more details https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

Jobs with the 2021 Census

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is hiring people for a range of temporary roles to make this year’s census a success. On Sunday 21 March 2021, the census survey will take place throughout the UK and prior to that, ONS is looking to employ people to help encourage everyone in England to participate. You can apply at http://www.censusjobs.co.uk/

Jobs and Skills

Microsoft and LinkedIn have produced a free programme to help those looking for a job and learn new skills


‘Early Voting’ – Voting by post

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting. Millions of people in the USA used a postal vote to vote early. You can do it, too. You can use this form to apply to vote by post


You can email your completed form to electoralservices@westminster.gov.uk    or post it to Electoral Services, Westminster City Council, 14th Floor City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP.

‘Westminster Extra’

You can now read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online


Refuse collection and Recycling collection times

Recycling bags can be ordered from https://webforms.westminster.gov.uk/order-recycling-bags/

Bags will be delivered within approximately 48 hours of order.

You can check when refuse and recycling is collected from your street here http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/env/streetsearch.aspx

The doorstep recycling service concentrates on the recyclable materials most commonly produced by houses so that these can be easily separated into the different material types.  The link below summarises what can be put in recycling bags


Lots of other materials can be recycled but not through the doorstep collection service. The A-Z list below gives details of what and where items can be recycled or re-used:


Also, here are details of 9 companies that reward you for donating unwanted things, from H&M to M&S https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/worklife/g15049323/brands-reward-throwing-things-away/

Report It

You can report dumped rubbish, broken pavements, defective street lights and more on the Report It service. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

You can register here https://www.fixmystreet.com/alert for alerts of everything reported in your area (just use your post code and it will offer you options).

Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE

Interactive Map

You can see the latest data for your area here


Test and Trace Support Payments

You may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if you are self-isolating because of COVID-19 and you are either employed or self-employed. The payment is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and lose income as a result.

Westminster Council’s advice and response website:

Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222

Beware the Coronavirus scammers


Help and Advice for businesses

For details of how businesses can get access to Government financial assistance https://www.westminster.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-businesses

Rita Begum is Labour’s candidate for West Central in the GLA Elections

You can visit Rita’s website at https://www.ritabegum.com/

What you say

“Thank you for the update, it is good to know someone cares. Especially when everything looks bleak around me.”

“Great newsletter – as always”

“Thank you for all you are doing on our behalf!”

“Just wanted to say many thanks for your help with this matter.  Rubbish and recycling is no longer being dumped outside on Wednesday morning, or any other days!”

“Thank you for these local details supplied over the years”

“I started non-political but was so impressed by the help that was given by Labour councillors. To ALL. Even those of us stuck in Tory wards. Where our councillors didn’t even reply. Labour councillors facilitated even that.”

“Again, thank you for this update. So pleased to read about your support for West Mews against the hostile plan to develop No 1”

“I was so grateful to receive and read the latest Report, and I know how hard Pancho has been working in Soho and how hard the Labour team have been working all over the West End, and am very, very grateful.”

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

If you know of anyone else who might like to receive this report, please send them this sign-up link http://bit.ly/signuplabnews

Please keep safe, stay well and look after yourself and your neighbours.



Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour City Management spokesperson

Westminster City Council



Labour Councillors can be contacted as follows

Churchill Ward – For full details of ways to contact Councillor Andrea Mann and Councillor Shamim Talukder, please see the Churchill Labour website

West End Ward – You can contact Councillor Pancho Lewis by email or telephone.

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