Councillors Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca
Councillors Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca

NEWS FROM YOUR HARROW ROAD WARD LABOUR COUNCILLORS GUTHRIE McKIE AND TIM ROCA

Councillor Ruth Bush

Councillor Ruth Bush has been elected the first Labour Lord Mayor of Westminster. Ruth will not take part in party politics during her Mayoral year and local casework will be undertaken by Councillors Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca.

This is her latest report about her activities as Lord Mayor: 

Since the end of November, I’ve carried out over 40 engagements, including announcing the results of the General Election as Returning Officer and attending the second Queen’s Speech of this Lord Mayoralty. Other events ranged from the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace to Chanukah and Bangladesh Victory Day celebrations.

I attended more than twelve Advent/Christmas services and concerts at churches across the City, reading Bible lessons at four of them and joining in the children’s delight when two donkeys were carefully led up the nave of Westminster Abbey at the Christmas Eve Crib Service.

I switched on Christmas lights across the City, culminating in the event in Trafalgar Square where the tree I had seen in Norway was lit up.

It was a time for awards – to the Royal Engineers of the British Army and long-service awards to employees of Westminster City Council.And, with a Harrow Road resident and her daughter and friend, I rode in the second landau in the New Year’s Day Parade.

There was much else besides – visits to St John’s Wood Almshouses, St Christina’s School, dinner with the Navy in St James’s Palace, business events and a tour of the Supreme Court with Lady Hale as guest of the Honorary Stewards of Westminster Abbey. 

General Election result

Karen Buck was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Westminster North on 12thDecember. The full result was:

  • Karen Buck, Labour​, 23,240
  • Jamie Macfarlane, Conservative, 12,481
  • George Lee, Liberal Democrat, 5,593
  • Holly Robinson, Green, 1,064
  • Cyrus Parvin, Brexit Party, 418
  • Gabriela Fajardo Palacios, Christian Peoples Alliance, 115

She said afterwards: “It’s an absolute honour” to be re-elected to represent Westminster North.

“Whilst I am delighted tonight it is clearly a very bad night indeed for the party I represent and love and while some of that is due to the challenges of Brexit which have divided us in Labour, divided the country it is clearly not the only reason we performed so badly and starting tomorrow we have to learn the lessons of this defeat and face up to it.”

Lydford Estate

The Housing Office reports the following:

“There has been a vast reduction in illegal parking on Lydford Estate since the start of the traffic management orders plan, as parking tickets have been issued. The majority of residents with parking have now signed the new agreements, and any remaining spaces will be allocated to residents on the waiting list.

Residents have been reporting excessive amounts of refuse being left on the estate, outside of the scheduled collection dates. Letters were sent to residents, by both our housing team and Veolia to clarify the collection times and provide advice on rubbish disposal on the estate. We will continue to support them on this matter to ensure the estate is kept clean and safe. 

Following how popular Daffodil bulb planting was with residents in October, we have donated 250 Bluebell bulbs for residents to plant around the grounds and to continue their efforts in making Lydford estate bloom come Spring 2020.”

Elgin Avenue – update

Following our request for a traffic island on Elgin Avenue, opposite the new WECH office, we have received the following update:

“When such road safety concerns are raised, we first conduct an analysis of the recent road safety records and then check to see if the specific area appears on the City Council’s Local Safety Scheme (LSS) programme.The LSS programme identifies over 100 locations at which there are the highest number of accidents and vulnerable user casualties, primarily pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, this location does not appear to be on the LSS programme.Furthermore, analysis of the latest available 36 months of collision data for the location revealed no collisions.Asthe safety record for this street does not highlight any significant road safety concerns or trends, the City Council is unable to prioritise any of its limited resources to investigate this issue further now.”

We will look for an opportunity to raise this again in the future.

Maida Hill Market

The Council has received a planning applicationfor the continued use of the basement car park at 1 Elgin Avenue, W9 3PRfor the storage of street market stalls and associated equipment at relating to Maida Hill Market.

The application documents can be viewed online at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning. Please use the reference number 19/09655/FULL as the primary search criteria.

Fernhead Road

We have again asked for action to be taken against those responsible for dumping rubbish by the bus stop on Fernhead Road. Residents say:

“Today is a typical example with 5 bin bags surrounding the overflowing bin – 3 of these bin bags are large recycling bags. People seem to think it is acceptable to leave their household rubbish here. As it it right by the bus stop it often gets kicked over and sometimes rubbish is strewn over the pavement.”

Trees

As part of National Tree Week, we are supporting the need for more trees in the area. Trees help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: trees create more space for nature, supporting hundreds of species of insects, birds and mammals. Trees are also great for public health, helping clean the air and providing access to nature that’s important for our wellbeing.

If you have any locations where you would like to see extra trees planted please let us know.

Engine Idling

Westminster Council wants people to help it improve air quality by reporting drivers running their engines when parked but does not know where the worst offenders are located, according to a Freedom of Information request made by a resident. You can read more here:

https://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2019/12/18/westminster-council-has-a-problem-with-air-pollution-and-foi-requests/

Climate Change Tips for the month

  • Switch to renewable energy.Choose companies who offer 100% green electricity, as well as those who oppose fracking and are making efforts to end the use of fossil fuels. Some recommended suppliers are Ecotricity, Good Energy and Octopus.
  • Bring your own containers for lunches and takeaways.Everyone knows about reusable coffee cups, but what about re-usable lunchboxes or takeaway containers? Bring your own when picking up food from takeaway outlets and pack your lunch in reusable containers. You can buy reusable sandwich wraps that have an inner lining that’s washable and a velcro fastener to keep your sandwich intact. Alternatively, use baking paper instead of cling film or tin foil. 

Report It

The new Report It service has been unveiled. Let us know what you think https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

Rubbish dumping

We are calling on the Government to increase the Council’s powers to take strong action against those responsible for dumping rubbish on our streets. In 2016, the Government gave Local Authorities the power to issue fines of up to £400 for those responsible for fly tipping.  But the current £400 fines barely cover the costs of clean up; do not cover the cost of Enforcement Teams; are less than the cost of a skip and do not provide sufficient disincentive to offenders. Fly-tipping has risen by almost 40% since 2012 – according to LGA figures. We believe that the Government should:

  • Increase the fines the Council can levy to £2,000
  • Make it compulsory that the Council is reimbursed for the costs of clearing fly-tipping in addition to legal costs from fines issued in court.

https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/westminster-news/2019/12/22/westminster-labour-calls-for-increased-powers-to-levy-higher-fines-for-fly-tipping/ 

Refuse collection and Recycling collection times

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

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/what-can-i-recycle-home#can-recycle

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

What you say

“Just wanted to say a huge thanks for getting this sorted out. The council visited and inspected the damage, the scaffolding was erected (and is still up) and work undertaken to clear and repair the guttering. All good, and wouldn’t have happened without your intervention.”

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

Councillors Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca.

Your Harrow Road Labour Councillors

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