PIMLICO, SOHO, MARYLEBONE AND WEST END LABOUR ACTION REPORT – October 2021
News from your Westminster Labour Councillors
We have asked the Highways Team to take action against speeding cars along Lupus Street. Residents say:
“I’m now finding it really dangerous crossing Lupus Street, even using the Zebra Crossing, as motorists, cyclists and scooter users alike drive straight at you. This dangerous driving has to be stopped. Might I suggest that cameras are installed both ways along Lupus Street, and those who are in breach of the law are fined and prosecuted.”
The local police say: “The Safer Transport Team ran an operation last week following complaints of electric scooters riding on the pavements along Lupus Street. This resulted in three e-scooters being seized and one male being arrested for an unconnected offence. I am hoping that we will be able to run some further operations in the coming weeks.”
Morgan House, Lillington Gardens
We are continuing to support Morgan House residents who have raised concerns about the impact of the proposed redevelopment proposals on residents. They say:
“The problem at the moment is that everything is being debated without us knowing as residents what is really being proposed. I also don’t understand how a design can be put forward which involves the removal of four trees in a conservation zone. And the proposals for noise reduction don’t make sense with the facts on how noise amplifies”
We are assisting a disabled resident living in Sherborne House with their housing transfer request.
We are taking up many issues on behalf of Tachbrook Estate residents, including:
- Harvey House – The sign on Harvey House on the Tachbrook estate telling residents which flat is on which floor has been removed. We have asked Peabody to fit a new sign.
- Malcolmson House – we have asked Peabody when double glazing will be fitted in Block A, when the Community Activities will restart and if storage space can be found for a young people’s group.
- Kent House – we have asked Peabody if residents in Kent House who live by the garden at Founders House can also use the garden. We have also asked Peabody if the space outside Kent House behind Founders House can be swept regularly.
- Individual housing issues – we are also helping a number of residents with their individual housing issues.
Residents tell us that there is regular ASB and drug dealing along Aylesford Street at the entrance to the Tachbrook Estate. There used to be a police car parked there as a deterrent. We have asked the Tachbrook Police team to investigate.
We have written to the Blue Cross Animal Hospital after receiving this message about the filthy pavements outside their premises:
“Years ago, the Blue Cross Animal Hospital on Hugh Street cleaned the pavement outside the length of its building on Hugh Street with a water hose on a daily basis. With recent lay-offs, retirement packages, this task rarely happens, even on a weekly basis. Regardless of the temperature outdoors, the state of the pavement is disgusting with dried urine (and medication) streams covering the pavement. Could you encourage them to be more respective of the neighbourhood and CLEAN the pavement on a daily basis?”
A few days later, residents told us:
“THANK YOU! Less than 24 hours after residents complained to you of the filthy, urine and medicine-stained pavement that persists for over a week at a time outside the Blue Cross Animal Hospital on Hugh Street, it was cleaned! Unfortunately, an hour after the pristine condition, urine stains were in evidence, once again. Hopefully, the management will resume the daily clean with a hose that they used to do. Thank you for such a quick result!”
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate and clean the gullies in Longmoore Street and Guildhouse Street following the recent flooding.
Mary Smith’s Pantry
We have called on the Council to help Mary’s Smith’s Pantry find permanent premises for its Food Bank.
There is also a petition from local residents which you can sign
Mary Smith’s Pantry are collecting clothes for resettled Afghan refugees. If you have any spare clothes, please donate them. The Pantry is based at Bridge House, Ebury Bridge Estate SW1W 8SL and is open 10am – 5pm, Monday – Friday.
Councillor Liza Begum makes her maiden speech
Churchill Ward Councillor Liza Begum made her maiden speech at the Council meeting on 22nd September. You can read her speech here
A huge new Greggs could be built in Leicester Square if plans are approved by Westminster Council and could open by February 2022. The application reads: “Whilst the application site is located in a Conservation Area (Leicester Square Conservation Area) it is a well-established busy tourist destination, with many restaurants, entertainment and hotel uses with associated signage and activity.”
VINCENT SQUARE WARD
Following our enquiries about various issues at Ashburnham Mews, the Council tells us:
- The WCC Short Term Lets team is continuing its investigations regarding specific lettings within Ashburnham Mews.
- Seven calls relating to general noise/noisy parties/music in Ashburnham Mews have been received since January of last year.
- The broken access gate was repaired on 12th August.
- The Vincent Square City Inspector has advised Veolia of the issues linked to the manner in which the rubbish is collected. They have agreed to revert to using the correct waste collection route.
Soho Neighbourhood Plan
At the recent referendum on 2nd September, 91 per cent of residents and 89 per cent of businesses voted in favour of the Soho Neighbourhood Plan.
The Future of Soho streets
West End Labour Candidate Patrick Lilley is quoted in this article by Charles Wright on the future of Soho streets. Patrick says:
“The needs of residents as well as those of our many businesses both need listening to. Our residents do want to see the area prosper. The vast majority have lived happily alongside our gay bars, restaurants and theatres for years. We all love Soho. I think I am the first person to run for council who has a background in LGBT club and event promotion. No one could fairly say I am anti-fun!”
We have urged the Council to take action to deal with the increased rubbish dumping in Soho and the West End. Alongside residents, we are calling for strong action against rubbish dumpers. We have also called for the pavements along Brewer Street, Old Compton Street and Rupert Street to be deep cleaned. West End Labour Candidate Patrick Lilley is quoted in this local press article:
Robin Smyth of Soho Dairy in Berwick Street makes a compelling case for more public toilets in Soho and the West End
The West End Labour Action Team has sent a letter to the Leader of the Council and the Mayor on behalf of many local residents calling for an end to the regular helicopter noise.
“Loud noise is one of the biggest threats to wellbeing in the City of Westminster and especially for those residents who live in the West End neighbourhoods of Soho, Mayfair and Fitzrovia.
Residents have been disturbed by extremely loud noise caused by increased helicopters circling both day and night. We call up Westminster Council to speak up for residents whose lives are blighted by loud helicopter noise day and night.
We invite the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to explain the use of helicopters and to consider alternative and less disruptive methods of policing. We call upon the Civil Aviation Authority, the National Police Air Service, and the Metropolitan Police to justify the number of evening and night flights by police helicopters in terms of arrests and successful operations for the expense. We call upon all interested authorities to consider better options to the use of helicopters.”
Photographer John Claridge’s exhibition SOHO FACES opens at the House of St Barnabas in Greek St, Soho, W1D 4NQ, on Thursday 7th October.
Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Plan
At the recent referendum on 2nd September, 79 per cent of residents and 86 per cent of businesses voted in favour of the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Plan.
Oxford Circus pedestrian piazzas
Plans to part-pedestrianise Oxford Street by creating two pedestrian piazzas at Oxford Circus have been axed by the Council following widespread opposition voiced by residents who were concerned that it would lead to traffic being displaced to residential streets north and south of Oxford Street. We have welcomed this decision which is a victory for common sense following the recent £6 million Marble Arch Mound fiasco.
Residents have contacted us to say:
“I heard with colossal relief the announcement on the News that the plan for a pedestrianised Oxford Circus have been postponed – let us hope permanently. I am so grateful to the whole Labour Team for working so hard to investigate the financial and impact details of this scheme, because both the cost and the effect of dispersing traffic into narrow and often residential streets totally incapable of coping with it seem never to have been fully investigated nor the findings revealed.”
We have again urged the Housing Department to take action against the regular anti-social behaviour at Holcroft Court. Residents say:
“For the fourth night running we have people in the communal gardens of Holcroft Court, some of these individulas do not live in Holcroft. For those whose property faces the communal this is becoming a regular inconvenience. Residents on this side of Holcroft do not have double glazing.
Bad behaviour breeds behaviour and absolutely nobody from Westminster Council is taking any responsibility in addressing this. Nobody is making an effort to manage these problems and at some point there will be a serious incident.”
A number of residents in Carburton Street have expressed concerns about plans to designate the street a ‘play street’. Residents say:
“We are concerned on several counts with the proposals to turn Carburton Street into a ‘play’ street. With no access for vehicles, we are concerned about hospital transport, rubbish collections, deliveries, emergency services not being able to get through. People are concerned that no consultation has been carried out and that these plans will be pushed through against residents wishes. We already struggle to get items delivered and often have to pay congestion charge on top of delivery costs, and if firms have to park further away will make getting large items delivered almost impossible.”
The Council has told us that there are no plans to turn Carburton Street in to a play street.
Mayfair ‘Green Route’
Consultation has begun Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum’s project to create a Green Route through the heart of Mayfair, connecting Park Lane and Hyde Park to Regent Street and the area’s existing green spaces to create a meandering green thread and transform the hard urban landscape. You can view and comment https://www.mayfairforum.org/current-projects
The gardens on Hanover Square have reopened to the public following an extensive redesign. The garden redesign is the first of a series of public realm improvements for the Square. The remainder of the project will be unveiled once the new Elizabeth Line has been completed.
New Bond Street/Grafton Street/Bruton Lane
Plans for an 11-storey, 84-bed hotel at 8-14 Grafton Street, 22-24 Bruton Lane and 163-164 New Bond Street have been cancelled after the developer pulled out. The site consists of three predominantly office buildings which would have been demolished to make way for the hotel development, which also included flats and shops.
£6 million Marble Arch Mound
We have called on the Council to remove the £6 million Marble Arch Mound as soon as possible. The Mound project has been a major embarrassment to Westminster Council who have lost £6 million of taxpayers’ money. It highlights the incompetence and arrogance of a Conservative administration that has been in power for far too long.
The Marble Arch Mound fiasco continues with this article highlighting the Council’s failures
Westminster residents’ groups have issued a scathing response to the Council’s £6 million Mound fiasco and the lack of meaningful consultation on major projects.
We have identified many ways in which the £6 million could have been better spent to benefit local residents
We have called for clean hybrid trains to replace the dirty, polluting diesel trains currently operating from Marylebone to Birmingham. We have written to Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris calling for the new contract from Marylebone to stipulate that all diesel coaches are converted to diesel/battery bi-mode hybrids as quickly as possible and certainly within a short time period.
The RIBA is to launch a design competition for the redevelopment of its grade II* art deco headquarters at 66 Portland Place. New president Simon Allford said the building is “tired” and inaccessible and needs to be brought up to modern standards. He outlined a vision that included creating three new galleries aimed at public, profession and policymakers, as well as upgraded office space.
HYDE PARK WARD
Bathurst Street/Westbourne Street
We are continuing to urge the Council to take strong action against those responsible for dumping rubbish by the tree at the junction of Bathurst Street and Westbourne Street. We are pleased that new ‘Don’t Dump’ signage has now been installed but the signage alone is not enough. The signage should include details of the maximum fines for dumping and tough action should be taken against those responsible for dumping. We are working closely with residents who say:
“Residents have been asking for several years and nothing was done until we were visited by Westminster Labour. They took the time to come down on several occasions and walked up and down the street talking to the shopkeepers and the residents to see what was happening. Two of them even took the time to take the rubbish – several bags – and brought them to the bins next to the church on Sussex Gardens.”
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate the roadway on Somers Crescent where there is a very poor section of reinstatement which has left an uneven road surface. The Highways Team believe that the original reinstatement works were not done properly and we have asked for this section of the road to be resurfaced.
Alleyn Court, Sussex Gardens
We have asked the Refuse Team to clear the bins outside Alleyn Court on Sussex Gardens which had become overflowing with bags of rubbish and attracted dumping. We have also asked if the collections can be increased to cope with the amount of waste and for fines to be issued to those responsible for the dumping.
We have asked the Council to give the pavement at the corner of Porchester Place and Connaught Street a deep clean after repeated rubbish dumping at this location. This section of the pavement looks in particularly filthy condition.
We have also asked the Highways Team to fill a pothole in the road outside the shops on Porchester Place.
Buchanans, 5a Porchester Place
We were delighted to support local businesses by attending the first ‘pop-up’ party organised by HyPER on Saturday 2nd October at the cheesemonger, Buchanans, 5a Porchester Place, London W2 2BS.
During the event, we sampled three excellent cheeses, including the legendary Mrs Kirkham’s creamy Lancashire, together with a glass of fine cider. To find out more about Buchanans visit http://www.buchananscheesemonger.com. The cheese was so good that we had to buy some to take home.
We have asked the Council to relocate the black bins on the corner of Star Street and Sale Place. The bins are clearly a magnet for all sorts of dumping, residential and commercial. Residents have asked that the bins be relocated to somewhere less offensive and have suggested round the side of the pub on St Michael’s Street.
The pavements from 238 Edgware Road northwards are in a filthy condition with a number of areas which are regular dumping hotspots and need a deep clean following constant dumping. We have asked the Council if this can be arranged. It would be good, too, if fines could be issued to those responsible.
38-47A Chapel Street
At the request of residents, we have asked the Housing Department to install a cycle parking stand in a convenient location in the block. There are at least 6 residents with bikes and so there is an obvious need for safe and secure cycle parking.
The entrance to the flats is in Transept Street and this creates a lot of confusion for delivery people as sometimes people can’t find the entrance to the flats. We have asked for better signage on the Chapel Street frontage to direct people to the entrance on Transept Street.
We have also continued to urge the Council to take strong action against those responsible for dumping rubbish outside 38-47a Chapel Street. Following our reports to the Council, new ‘Don’t Dump’ signage has been installed.
The Labour Party has pledged to create a “Building Works Agency” that will “assess, fix and certify” tall buildings and to legislate to ensure that leaseholders do not have to pay for building safety work. The agency would then “pursue those responsible for costs” and Labour would “put in law that leaseholders won’t pay” for building safety work.
David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, explains why builders should pay for the mistakes that led to the cladding crisis
Sheldon Square – late night drinking
At the request of residents, we have asked the Paddington Central management if signs could be attached in prominent positions to licensed premises in Sheldon Square limiting outside drinking to before 9pm, as happens in many other residential areas in Westminster. Currently, there are a couple of ‘mobile’ signs that are brought out from time to time urging patrons to be quiet when they leave, but permanent signs could be a better way of dealing with this particular issue.
Travis Perkins site, Harrow Road
So far, 118 objections have been made to the proposals for a building of between 7 and 22 storeys in height providing accommodation for 843 students. You can make comments online at https://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/ using reference 21/04536/FULL. We have submitted an objection to the Council.
Westminster’s streets are littered with mounds of dumped rubbish from Pimlico to Paddington despite the Council spending £50 million a year with Veolia whose contract has just been extended for another three years. The time is long overdue for tough action against the regular rubbish dumpers who litter the streets of Westminster and who are currently getting away with this particularly selfish and nasty form of anti-social behaviour. We have put forward a 5-point plan to tackle the rubbish dumping menace.
E-Scooter hire trial
Transport for London is holding an e-scooter hire trial over the coming months. If you have any comments on the trial, please contact TfL by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Westminster Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust network of Foodbanks. The foodbank provides nutritionally balanced non-perishable food to residents in Westminster experiencing financial crisis through a referral system. The foodbank is currently operating an Appointment Only Collection Service. Clients can be referred by one of the following agencies:
- Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau: 0300 330 1191 (freephone – 0808 278 7834)
- The Cardinal Hume Centre, (Pimlico): Tel: 020 7227 1673
- Local Support Payments: Tel: 020 7745 6464.
Grants available for people affected by flooding
Some good news. People whose homes are not habitable due to flooding may not be obliged to pay Council Tax. This would apply for the period you are not living in the property. Affected residents should email Rehana Hannan at the Council email@example.com with details of your property, reasons it is not habitable and some indication of how long it will be vacant.
We are assured that Westminster will treat the flooding victims fairly but please let us know if you have any problems claiming this exemption.
One Westminster has raised funds to support Westminster residents affected by the floods. Grants of up to £200 are available. If you have been affected by the floods and want to apply for a grant contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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
You can see the latest data for your area here
You can read the ‘Westminster Extra’ on-line
What you say
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“Huge thanks to Paul and the team at Westminster City Council who promptly dealt with a dripping overflow problem at 92-94 Belgrave Road that had gone for over 2 years. Your interest and service was most welcome when all other avenues had been exhausted. Without your intervention this nuisance would have continued to detrimentally affect those living close by. Very grateful for your concern and action.”
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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 Liza Begum and Councillor Shamim Talukder, please see the Churchill Labour website
West End Ward – You can contact Councillor Pancho Lewis by email or telephone.