PIMLICO, SOHO, MARYLEBONE AND WEST END LABOUR ACTION REPORT – May 2021
News from your Westminster Labour Councillors
As more people are getting vaccinated and the number of people testing positive for coronavirus is falling, we hope that the pandemic will soon be 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.
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NEWS AND ACTION
Liza Begum is Labour’s candidate for the Churchill Ward by-election – 6th May
Liza Begum is Labour’s candidate for the Church ward by-election on the 6th May, the same day as the London Mayoral Election. Liza has been a tireless and visible campaigner on local issues. Her campaign to save Walden House and Cundy Street Flats received national media attention and it resulted in a victory for residents, winning the right to return for long established local social housing residents.
You can read more about Liza here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/westminster-news/2021/03/18/liza-begum-for-churchill/
Cundy Street plans
Grosvenor have submitted revisions to the original application to Westminster City Council detailing the changes to the project, as follows:
- The top floor of Building A1 on Ebury Street/Mozart Terrace has been set back and reduced in height by 3.5m
- The floor-to-floor heights in Buildings A and C have been amended to reduce the overall height
- A floor has been added to Building A on Cundy Street, which is set back from the building edge
- Some architectural details on Building A have been revised, such as the pitch of the roof and treatment of the roof pavilions
- Five one-bed flats in Building B2/3 have been converted from Intermediate Rent to market housing.
You can view the details of the amendments by searching for reference number 20/03307/FULL on Westminster City Council’s online planning portal https://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/, or by visiting www.cundystreetquarter.com.
Whitley House, Churchill Gardens
We are helping a family in Whitley House who are overcrowded and need a larger flat.
Charlwood House, Lillington Gardens
We are helping a resident who needs a new wheelchair and are making enquiries with the NHS.
We are making enquiries with TfL about this issue:
“Do you know if there is any plan to remove, or improve, the traffic junction travelling east along the Embankment and turning left over Chelsea bridge? The widening of the cycle lane feels slightly excessive for the use it gets and causes cars to sit in traffic back towards the Lupus Street turning which feels like it is causing more pollution and harm than good! I understand the risk of cars turning left there with cyclists but could this not be solved with a two stage set of traffic lights for cyclists and then cars.”
“The traffic restrictions put on the Embankment from Lambeth Bridge to Chelsea Bridge for the sole benefit of cyclists is having an intolerable effect on the whole of Pimlico as motorists try to find alternative routes, rather than sitting in long queues. They now use Lupus Street more, and little Rampayne Street is clogged up at peak times. I’m listening now to blaring car horns as drivers get so frustrated with the traffic lights.”
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate this issue:
“I wondered if you are able to let me know why there are travel restrictions on Abingdon Street in Westminster during certain times of the day? The cynic in me suggests that it may be to make car travel for MPs more convenient as that is the only set of people I can see that this helps! The road has never been particularly busy but removing that access means that Great Peter Street or Great Smith Street will likely have more traffic with people trying to avoid the restrictions”.
The Highways Team say:
“The Millbank-Abingdon Street-St Margaret’s Street corridor is one of Westminster’s busiest cycle routes; in pre-COVID conditions 2-way flow was around 1,000 cyclists per hour during the peak periods and recent surveys show that the 2-way flow is around 650 cyclists per hour despite the lock-down travel restrictions.
The corridor provides a link between Cycleway 8 along Millbank/Grosvenor Road to the south and Cycleway 3 along Victoria Embankment. The Abingdon Street corridor was therefore considered a strategically significant element of the central London cycle network, and if cycle volumes are to increase considerably then greater provision for the safety of cyclists was considered essential.”
Plans for the House of Fraser department store and offices on the south side of Victoria Street have been approved by the Council. The department store will be replaced with a 16-storey, 630,000 sq ft predominantly office building with retail and leisure in the basement.
St James’s Theatre, King Street
Vic Keegan writes about the St James’s Theatre in King Street
Trafalgar Square is being earmarked for a 12,500-capacity fan park for the upcoming European Championship. The proposed fan park would screen all the Euro 2020 matches being played at Wembley Stadium during the tournament — all three of England’s group games, one last 16 tie, both semi-finals and the final. An official announcement about the fan park is expected next month. The plans are subject to licensing approval from Westminster City Council.
This summer, visitors to Buckingham Palace can see the open spaces of the grounds without being on a special tour. You can read more here
Al Fresco toilet and cleansing arrangements
Councillor Pancho Lewis has welcomed the introduction of improved West End Weekend Public Toilets and Cleansing Preparations as a result of his representations and pressure from local residents and the Soho Society.
Great Marlborough Street Public Toilets
We were disappointed to hear that the public toilets on Great Marlborough Street have been closed following a recent incident. Councillor Pancho Lewis says:
“We need a proper long-term solution to this – more permanent toilets, that are well designed and easily accessible, complemented with temporary toilets when additional toilets are needed. Plus, proactive enforcement when people urinate on the streets.
Once this is in place, closing one public toilet isn’t so much a problem. But in the absence of the above, it is. Instead of closing this toilet, I ask that extra resources are deployed to Great Marlborough Street please.”
Following the collapse of Arcadia last November, the former home of Topshop on Oxford Street is now up for sale for £420m. The building on Oxford Circus also houses Nike’s London flagship and footwear store Vans and was valued at more than half a billion just a couple of years ago. Potential buyers are said to be the owners of H&M and Zara.
We applaud the efforts of local residents to brighten up Carburton Street with new planting of flowers and shrubs. It would be great if the developers of the adjacent site on Cleveland Street could contribute to the cost of additional planting in the area.
We have asked the Council to investigate a flat in Holcroft Court which residents say is being used illegally as an Airbnb letting. Residents say: “We have had to call their intercom in order to speak to them to turn their music off which they refused to do. The same property has a recent disturbance about 4 weeks ago.”
Also, following our enquiries, the Housing Office has agreed to install new communal ventilator fans to replace the current fans which are broken.
New Cavendish Street
We have raised concerns with the police and the Highways Team about this issue:
“I would like to bring your attention to the safety of pedestrians on New Cavendish Street and the surrounding streets. New Cavendish Street is one way, but cyclists are increasingly riding the wrong way down the road. These included delivery people, hire cycles cyclists who should know better and increasingly, the dreaded electric scooter. Parts of the pavement are barely wide enough for two people going in opposite directions to pass. The cyclists do not move to let you pass the pedestrians have to brave walking in the road with traffic lorries and the cyclists peddling the wrong way. I have spoken to several of the offenders only to be faced with verbal abuse.”
Let Me Take You By The Hand: True Tales From London’s Streets
Fitzrovia resident Jennifer Kavanagh writes about her forthcoming book, ‘Let Me Take You By The Hand: True Tales From London’s Streets’.
We are continuing to support residents who are opposed to the Council’s plans to build on the games area on Luxborough Street.
We asked the Planning Department for an update on the long-vacant and derelict former Swan & Edgar pub in Linhope Street after local residents contacted us:
“No 43 Linhope Street, which used to be the Swan and Edgar little pub, has been unoccupied for many years. It has fallen into disrepair and is an eyesore, apart from being a potential home for someone. I think something should be done about it.”
We have received the following response from the Planners:
“After winning the two appeals to prevent this former public house being converted into a single house, we have not heard anything from the owners for some time regarding its future use. We have written to the freeholders of the building regarding its poor state of repair. The freeholders for the pub have agreed to tidy up the building and a site visit will take place to monitor the condition of the property.”
We have asked the Council to investigate this issue and to take the necessary action.
“We live in Sussex Square, and noticed now that there are significantly more Uber cabs (since easing of lockdown). There are also more cabs stopping during late evening/night and pouring out their liquid onto the street. I recently read an article discussing how Uber drivers urinate into bottles whilst they are waiting for fares, and wondered if the liquid that they are pouring onto the street could be somehow investigated and stopped? It cannot be a good thing in 2021 that they have nowhere else to urinate, but also the health aspects to urine in the street?”
The Council say:
“I have contacted Uber and asked them to put out a refreshed communique warning drivers not to behave this way in future. In addition, local City Inspectors and the police have agreed to keep an eye out for any transgressions at this location and will take appropriate enforcement action should they witness anything.”
Tyburn Convent, Bayswater Road
Following our letter to the Prioress of Tyburn Convent, the problems caused by the noise from the cockerels has now been resolved to the relief of many residents in St George’s Fields next door.
Talbot Square – update
Following our request to the Council for area in front of the hotel at the corner of Talbot Square to be cleared of waste, the Council say:
“The waste is being stored on private land, however the City Inspector requested that they get rid of the bulky waste such as the plastic crates, wooden pallets and the cardboard to improve the appearance and risk of further refuse accumulating in this area. The contractors have a collection almost every day.”
St Michael’s Street
We contacted Notting Hill Genesis about the very poor state of the outside of a number of properties in St Michael’s Street to asked when repairs will take place here and in Star Street. NHG have told us that they hope to include the repair works for St Michael’s Street and Star Street in the programme for 2022/2023 and say:
“I was hoping they would be added to this year’s programme however, due to it being a conservation area and having some leaseholders, we have a lengthy process to follow before carrying out works”
We will continue to press NHG to undertake the works as soon as possible
Chapel Street/Cabbell Street
We have asked TfL to remove the derelict and vandalised phone box outside Edgware Road underground Station.
A number of buildings in the Paddington Basin area are seriously affected by the cladding scandal which has turned the dream of owning a home into a nightmare. Innocent residents are trapped, unable to sell and paying extortionate ‘waking watch’ charges. The Government has done next to nothing to help. They expect residents to foot the bill to fix a problem that wasn’t their fault, leaving them facing unaffordable leaseholder charges. We say:
- All unsafe cladding should be replaced by 2022.
- Leaseholders shouldn’t have to pay for repairs.
- Leaseholders should receive government support to replace cladding.
- End exorbitant charges for ‘waking watches’.
Karen Buck MP questioned the Housing Minister recently over revelations that leaseholders in new build blocks of flats are facing huge safety bills despite previously being assured their buildings were fine.
‘Don’t’ punish the innocent’, says The Guardian
We have contacted Notting Hill Genesis on behalf of shared ownership lessees who are concerned about the costs to lessees of installing long-awaited air conditioning units. NHG say “We are hopeful we will be able to cover the majority (if not all) of the costs of the air conditioning, although we need to receive the feasibility report from our consultants before we can confirm this to our residents.”
Former Paddington Green Police Station
You can read the latest on the plans for the former Paddington Green Police Station site here https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/new-skyscraper-could-replace-mets-former-counter-terrorism-hq/
A planning application has now been submitted and you can make comments on line at https://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/ using reference 21/02193/FULL
Rita Begum is Labour’s candidate for West Central in the GLA Elections
You can visit Rita’s website at https://www.ritabegum.com/
Schools in Westminster have lost around £460,000 in funding for poorer pupils, following government changes to the school census – at a time when we desperately need to support children recover from the impact of Coronavirus.
Voting by post
It is much easier, quicker and safer to vote by post.
You can use this form to apply for a postal vote
You can email your completed form to email@example.com or post it to Electoral Services, Westminster City Council, 14th Floor City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP.
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, W1. Anyone who has had coronavirus, either a test result or the symptoms, can offer to donate by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk to arrange an appointment to donate.
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. This link tells you 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: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/a-z-recycling
You can report dumped rubbish, broken pavements, defective street lights and more on the Report It service. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
Dispelling the vaccination myths
Here is the link to a video featuring Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic celebrities dispelling myths about the vaccine and encouraging people to have the vaccination
You can see the latest data for your area here
What you say
“Thank you so much for all you and your team do.”
“Your call for more loos is appropriate. Hyde Park, sadly, reeks of human waste by the end of summer evenings. A portable loo truck is urgently needed, e.g. one near Marble Arch, and another, bigger one, at the lakeside restaurant.”
“Thanks for all your hard work on matters to do with the community”
“I am very, very grateful for all your hard work, and also for the links to fascinating reading and viewing.”
“Thank you for fighting so hard on behalf of us all.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Please feel free to pass this report to your neighbours. 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
Your Labour Councillors can be contacted as follows
Churchill Ward – For details of ways to contact Councillor Shamim Talukder, please see the Churchill Labour website
West End Ward – You can contact Councillor Pancho Lewis by email or telephone.
Promoted by Westminster Labour on behalf of all its candidates and councillors, all at 4G Shirland Mews London W9 3DY