HYDE PARK WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – Late July 2022
News from your Hyde Park Labour Councillors – Judith Southern, Md Shamsed Chowdhury and Paul Dimoldenberg
We hope that all is well. It has been another few weeks with a lot of activity right across the ward.
We have had two walkabouts with members of HPEA and HyPER to look at potential traffic calming ideas that would reduce vehicle speeds and make cycling and walking easier for residents. We also hope that draft proposals for the ‘Connaught Village Green’ will be available soon for residents to give their views.
St John’s Church has kindly agreed that we can hold a regular advice surgery at St John’s Parish Hall, Hyde Park Crescent, on the first Thursday of the month from 6-7pm. The next advice surgery will be on Thursday 4th August.
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
NEWS AND ACTION
The Hyde Park Estate area, bounded by Edgware Road/Bayswater Road and Sussex Gardens
Hyde Park Square
We have asked the City Inspector to arrange for the white paint that has been spilt on the road outside 43 Hyde Park Square to be removed.
Following requests from residents, the Highways Team is proposing, “the introduction of double yellow line “at any time” waiting restrictions on the south-west side of Norfolk Crescent, outside Raynham, to prevent obstructive parking on Norfolk Crescent.”
We have again urged the Council to take action against short-term letting at Park West with landlords and short-term visitors caring nothing for people who live here.
One resident says, “The saga about short-term letting is carrying on. It’s now past midnight and the short-term tenants have decided to stand on the escape balcony and having a loud conversation.” The Enforcement Team say, “We will get this one prioritised and investigated, an officer will be in touch to update you, thanks for keeping us informed.”
Another resident suffered extensive damage caused by a leaking douche hose in the flat directly above and said: “The hose was leaking for at least 2.5 hours and has caused considerable damage to my property, and indeed several properties on lower floors. This latest incident is by far the worst and has caused huge distress”
After months of urging the Council to take action to remove an abandoned VW car in Connaught Square, the car has now finally been removed.
We have asked the City Inspectors to investigate the dumping situation in Connaught Place following requests from residents who say, “It may be a resident caused problem but there’s so much rubbish seemingly just dumped on the street. This needs daily street cleaning.”
We have also requested that Connaught Place be added to the list of streets to be resurfaced and also asked for one of the street ights to be fixed.
The damaged traffic light column at the junction of Kendal Street and Edgware Road has now been replaced following the recent traffic collision. Thanks to TfL and the City Inspectors for acting so swiftly to remove the damaged traffic light column and replace it.
25 Porchester Place
Following our request to the Council and the Church Commissioners to take action against illegal short-term lettings at 25 Porchester Place, the Church Commissioners say:
“We are actively investigating possible subletting at a number of flats at 25 Porchester Place. We have noticed an increase in residents returning to their properties for the first time since before the pandemic in recent weeks – they do arrive with a lot of suitcases as they have been away for so long and stay for the summer. There are occasions where other residents may consider that these are unauthorised tenants rather than returning leaseholders.”
The Council’s Enforcement Team is also taking action against flats suspected of being illegal short-term lettings.
We are supporting retailers’ and residents’ call for a Farmers Market to be established in the Connaught Street area. We have asked the Church Commissioners to give this idea serious consideration, perhaps along Porchester Place or Titchbourne Row.
Please let us know if you would support this idea.
In response to questions from a resident regarding confusing signage in Hyde Park, The Royal Parks say:
“We appreciate some of the old signage can be a bit confusing. We are just about to embark on a new signage roll out for Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and we hope, over the coming year, that both the wayfinding and interpretation signs will be much clearer.”
The resident says, “Great! Look forward to hopefully seeing some changes over the coming year or so. Thanks for following this up.”
Hyde Park Concerts
We have asked The Royal Parks to investigate the security arrangements for the recent concerts following a message from a resident who told us:
“security guards blocked off Stanhope Place between Bayswater Road and Connaught Square. I tried to walk on the left-hand pavement towards Connaught Square and was prevented from doing so, although I explained that I was returning to my home on the Hyde Park Estate. I was told to go over to the pavement on the right. I explained again to another security man that I was walking to my home and he told me I could not gain access and to go up to the Edgware Road. They were rude and aggressive.”
The Royal Parks say, “we will ask that the stewards in this location are re-briefed and are making sensible decisions about granting access to residents, as well as their positioning and behaviour in general in the residential areas.”
We have received the following message from The Royal Parks:
“Boating is open on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. You can find more details on our website Boating on the Serpentine. The Serpentine Lido is now open, and we are welcoming the public back to enjoy a swim this summer. We’re also pleased to announce that the popular terrace area in Hyde Park will be available for everyone to access this spring to provide an area for rest and relaxation. Visitors will be able to purchase the full café menu from the Terrace servery point. Visitors are also invited to use the free paddling facilities a few hundred metres away at the Diana Memorial Fountain.”
Hyde Park Gardens/Stanhope Terrace
We have again asked TfL to fix the noisy underground Central Line below Hyde Park Gardens and Stanhope Terrace which is causing continuing problems for residents.
We have also repeated our request to Thames Water to fix a noisy manhole cover on Bayswater Road which is affecting residents.
We asked the Highways Team to investigate this issue:
“About 5 weeks ago there was a storm with high winds. About that time the traffic signs disappeared from the gantry. Whereas traffic can see the remaining road limitation sign on the other gantry coming from Sussex Gardens direction, traffic coming around the Royal Lancaster circulatory system heading to filter left into Stanhope Terrace has already passed the first gantry/sign. It is therefore important that the missing sign on the second gantry is reinstated asap.”
The Highways Team has now replaced the missing sign.
The Star Street area, between Sussex Gardens and Praed Street
At long last, Star Street will be resurfaced, with work starting on 30th August and finishing on 2nd September. The road will be closed to traffic during this period.
We have also asked Notting Hill Genesis to resolve a long-standing issue at a house in Star Street. Neighbouring residents say, “There is a continuous water overflow coming from a house in Star Street. This water overflow is saturating the brickwork causing green algae at basement level. This continuous wetting of the clay foundations and brick footings is liable to cause unequal settlement of the lime mortar brick footings. This water overflow has been running for at least six weeks.”
Notting Hill Genesis say, “We will arrange for a plumber to visit and resolve the issue, in addition we will also arrange for the area at ground level to be cleaned.”
42 Southwick Street
We have again alerted the Council’s Planning and Building Control Teams to the demolition works being undertaken at 42 Southwick Street. Residents say:
“They have started stripping the sand and cement rendering from the brick party wall at basement level. We are alarmed that this waterproof tanking rendering is being removed from this lime mortar party wall brickwork. What is even more disturbing is that a large aperture, approximately 1.2: metres x 1.5 metres has been cut through the outside flank wall at the Star Street.”
The Planning Enforcement Team say, “We do have an investigation open on this property. This is on our radar and we will pursue the appropriate action once all the facts have been ascertained.”
We have asked for a large ‘Don’t Dump’ sign be installed by the tree outside 40 Southwick Street and for the tree base be treated with a hard surface to deal with dog fouling.
We are very pleased that after reporting residents’ concerns to the Police and following concerted Police action, prostitutes were given notice to quit by their landlord and have now moved out of a flat in Southwick Street. Residents who have been plagued by the activities at this flat said, “Amazing news! Thank you”.
We are continuing to work with the Council to resolve the ‘ponding’ issue in Bouverie Place. The Highways Team say, “FM Conway have resurfaced this area twice and the ponding keeps coming back for reasons unknown. FM Conway will be attending again to reassess and rectify the issue.”
We have asked the Police to investigate residents’ reports of a brothel operating in Star Street.
St Michael’s Street
We have asked the City Inspector to take action against the owners of a van which was seen by residents dumping rubbish in St Michael’s Street.
We have also asked the police to investigate reports of drug dealing in broad daylight in St Michael’s Street, as well as take action against a Bulgarian registered vehicle parked illegally in the street. The police say:
“We regularly patrol St Michael’s Street and use our stop and search powers where the grounds permit us to do so. If there’s any pictures or videos of these individuals then please pass this on to us so we can add an intelligence report onto our system.”
We have again contacted TfL about the repairs that are needed to the underground lines under Praed Street to fix the loud noise that is making it impossible to let the offices above.
Residents in Sale Place tell us that, “drivers are in the habit of parking their cars in Sale Place sitting in them with the engines idling, not paying for parking then moving off if challenged, this disturbs residents living in ground floor flats.” We have asked the Parking Marshalls to closely monitor the location and take appropriate enforcement action when necessary.
We have also arranged for two more hanging baskets to be located in Sale Place.
Edgware Road area
There has been an increase in violence on Edgware Road. We have written to the police after seeing footage online of the events that unfolded on Edgware Road on Monday 11 July 2022. – see footage, showing the aftermath:
We are concerned about the lack of police visibility, particularly at night. Our small SNT Team of Sgt Martin Noon and PCs Adam Oddy and Harminder Purewal do a very good job, but they do not have the capacity to tackle all the issues which affect the area. There is no substitute for regular foot-based patrols and we have called on the police to increase their activity in the area.
On a more positive note, Sgt Noon reports on a recent raid on sex establishments in the area. He says:
“We visited around half a dozen venues. All were positive engagements. The females inside were checked that they were not working against their will or trafficked into the country. We provided assistance and signposted charities that could assist them in getting out of sex work. We then worked through till 6am and completed robbery/burglary patrols in our hot spots. We are planning another one in August.”
We have asked the Council’s Enforcement Team to investigate a number of flats in Cambridge Court which residents believe are being let as unauthorised short term Airbnb lettings.
127 -175 Edgware Road
We have asked the following questions about the proposal to refurbish the vacant offices on the first and second floors of 127-175 Edgware Road to 23 new flats, including 35% affordable homes:
- Can all the affordable homes be let at social rents and include a range of sizes?
- Who will manage the affordable homes?
- Can a provision be included in the leases of the private homes to be sold/let that short-term letting is expressly forbidden and will lead to lease forfeiture?
- How will waste and recycling be managed to ensure that it is not left on the street?
Street flushing – update
We are pleased that street flushing in the Edgware Road is continuing, following our call for regular cleaning. The street flushing is undertaken at night on Edgware Road by Veolia’s night team. Deep cleaning in Connaught Place (Edgware Road to Stanhope Place) and Connaught Street (Connaught Square to Albion Street) has now been completed.
The Chapel Street, Cabbell Street and Transept Street area
We have asked the police to increase patrols in Cabbell Street after this issue was raised by a resident:
“Every time I leave the apartment or come back home there are random people sitting on the doorsteps and quite often these people either try to get into to the building by following me or keep the front door open so it doesn’t lock. I have tried to prevent people coming in a few times including today and always has been verbally abused because of that.”
The City Inspector says:
“It is suspected there is brothel activity within the mansion blocks which would also account for the large number of men trying to buzz into flats at unsociable hours of the night. I have also passed this intel over to central specialist teams based out of Charing Cross police station, so that they may also take an active interest in the blocks once again.”
We have again urged the Council to take action against those responsible for illegal rubbish dumping outside the entrance to 38-47a Chapel Street on Transept Street. The Council says:
“Where we have recently found evidence in the waste at this location this has been shown to have been left by occupiers of Oxford and Cambridge Mansions. Penalty notices have been issued to these individuals and we are preparing for educational letters to be sent to occupiers in these blocks to ensure they are aware of their waste presentation arrangements and penalties for non-compliance.”
We have also asked for the graffiti on the wall to be removed as soon as possible.
Paddington Basin/Sheldon Square area
We have continued to urge Peabody to fix the water leak that has been affecting many flats in Montgomery House. In addition, we attended a meeting with residents and Peabody following the terrible flooding and loss of electricity in the first six floors of the block in June which required many residents to leave their homes and stay in hotels and with relatives. We asked that residents be compensated for their losses and necessary additional expenditure, and we are pleased that Peabody has agreed to do so.
We are pressing Notting Hill Genesis for a date when the installation of air conditioning will start on their flats in Sheldon Square. The last date we were told was “June or July”, but so far there has been no confirmation of the start date. Notting Hill Genesis say,
“We have not yet received a confirmed start date for the works. Residents would have seen that the contractors have started to mobilise on site and we have been informed that Block 27 will be the first block worked on so this is good news for the residents.”
The Paddington Partnership has been exploring ideas to improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience on Bishop’s Bridge, between Harrow Road and Eastbourne Terrace, and have sent us this message:
“We appointed Fifth Studio to undertake this work, who are also retained by the Council’s place-shaping team on Paddington Places, so that we could ensure the two pieces displayed a seamless approach to the Bishop’s Bridge Road/Harrow Road/North Wharf Road interface. A summary of that first stage can be found on our website
We followed this up with some modelling work, to get a sense of how and where pedestrians cross, and how cyclists use the bridge. The ambition is to go out widely in the autumn, with schools and residents being invited to give their thoughts on the various ideas, and to suggest other ideas too, before drawing up a priority project list for further discussion, funding applications and inclusion in our emerging Neighbourhood Plan.”
The ‘Times’ reports:
“A housing association has won an £8 million claim over defective cladding in the first High Court case of its kind since the Grenfell Tower fire. In what was hailed as a landmark ruling, the successful claimant said that the decision would support other tenants and flat-owners in future legal battles over fire-safety provisions. Lawyers said that the court victory for Martlet Homes over Mulalley & Co, a building contractor, would be significant for many UK building owners facing similar cladding issues.”
Paddington Basin ‘eco-mooring zone’
The Council is working closely with the Canal and River Trust to identify opportunities to improve the air quality along the canal in Paddington Basin and turn the Basin into an ‘eco-mooring zone’ and says,
“Where there is broad support for the project, funding opportunities to install such a zone in Paddington Basin will be investigated. This will include providing electricity points and seeking to reduce the current emissions from wood, coal burning and diesel generators at current moorings.”
You can give your views on the proposals here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/planning-building-and-environmental-regulations/planning-and-climate-emergency/paddington-basin-eco-mooring-zone-consultation
Cost of Living Crisis
Around a quarter of households across Westminster (approximately 31,000 households) are particularly vulnerable to rises in living costs, with some people facing extreme hardship. We can help you get the support you need, from showing you how to access government financial aid to finding local advice services. Whatever hardships you’re facing, we’re here to help.
Bus Service cuts proposals
Transport for London is running a consultation about the goverment’s-demanded cuts, which would remove around 250 buses, with 78 routes cut and 16 routes axed altogether. The 11, 12, 14, 16, 24, 31, 74, N11, N16, N31 and N74 are among the routes in Westminster where cuts are being considered.
All are routes residents rely on to get to work, to see family and friends, to access services or to do their shopping. And despite TfL’s attempts to keep cuts to overlapping routes, the government’s demands for £400m in cuts and a reduction in the overall bus network by 4% mean that some buses will disappear altogether.
TfL has extended the closing date for this consultation to Sunday 7 August 2022.
Here is a summary of the proposed changes to bus routes into central London
A new edition of an illustrated walking map has been released by Footways, plotting hundreds of kilometres of scenic, safe and pedestrian-friendly walking routes in central London. The map, which is also available as a digital copy with geolocation – encourages Londoners to choose walking to get around their city.
At a time of rising bills, it is important to be as clear as possible about what rights you have because it can be complicated. There is a useful page on the LEASE website covering many of the key issues (what you can ask for, how to challenge bills). Service Charges – The Leasehold Advisory Service (lease-advice.org)
Westminster residents aged over 60, or in receipt of disability benefit, can request free help from a handyperson. The service covers minor works to a home such as replacing light bulbs and other small DIY jobs. It does not cover gardening, plumbing or decorating, and it is not an emergency service. Please see the following link for details https://www.westminster.gov.uk/handyperson
Electric Car charging points
Charging points have been installed in lamp columns across the area and you can register your interest in having a lamp post charger installed near you by completing the form below. You can also register an interest in having stand-alone charging posts installed in your area.
The Hyde Park Ward Safer Neighbourhood Police Team is PC Adam Oddy, PC Harminder Purewal and PCSO Grant. You can contact them at AWMailbox.SNTCWHydePark@met.police.uk
You can keep an eye on the latest local crime information through the Met Police website:
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 10 days of order.
You can check when refuse and recycling is collected from your street here http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/env/streetsearch.aspx
Recycling small electrical appliances
Any household electrical and electronic item that operates on a battery or has a plug and is smaller than 60cm in length and under 30cm in width and height, can be put in an on-street small electrical appliances recycling bin. For details of locations see https://www.westminster.gov.uk/recycling-and-rubbish/reusing-and-other-recycling-services/how-recycle-electrical-appliances/small-electrical-appliances
Light bulb recycling
Any retailer selling light bulbs is legally required to take them back. Please check https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-locator under ‘energy saving light bulbs’.
You can tell the Council about dumped rubbish, broken street lights, graffiti and more by using Report It https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
If you see anyone sleeping rough, please contact Street Link who are able offer help and assistance. You can contact Street Link 24 hours a day at www.streetlink.org.uk.
You can read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
You can see the latest data for your area here
What you say
“Wow, excellent work by councillors in Hyde Park ward”
“The area is looking a lot more presentable since you took over”
“Many thanks for keeping up the pressure for Bathurst Street/Westbourne Street”
“Huge thanks for such swift follow-up, as always.”
“Thanks again for your support which has meant a lot to me in what have been some dark times.”
“Thank you for staying on this issue as assiduously as you have done.”
“Thank you so much for all your help, as always. You really make a difference to people’s lives with the help you provide.”
“Thank you for the great news and your efforts in sorting this out.”
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 https://bit.ly/labour-news
Please keep safe, stay well and look after yourself and your neighbours.
Judith Southern, Md Shamsed Chowdhury and Paul Dimoldenberg
Your Hyde Park Ward Labour Councillors – Here to Help, All Year Round – We Get Things Done!
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read our latest news on https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk
You can read our manifesto here, setting out what Labour wants to achieve over the next four years: www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/manifesto-labours-plan-for-a-fairer-westminster/
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