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Ilbert Street cycle hangars – update

The Council tells us: 

“The cycle hangars trial in Ilbert Street has been a success and, subject to them being moved across the road, will be made permanent.”

Second Avenue 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There has been for the past several months, constant piles of rubbish outside a house in Second Avenue, under the tree. Obviously put out without regard for the rubbish removal timetable. It is very unsightly and the piles are often then ripped apart by foxes making the street cleaners job more unpleasant. “

Third Avenue 

We have asked the Council to fix a number of loose paving stones and fill a pothole near the junction with Caird Street.

Avenues Playground 

We have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:

“I just wanted to make an enquiry about The Avenues Playground situated next to Queens Park Library. Some months ago the baby swings were taken away and it took a very long time for the swings to be replaced and when they finally did they have been replaced with larger swings for older children. These are suspended to high even so if your children were that bit taller they wouldn’t be able to be on them very safely. This is a playground for 5 and under and the baby swings were perfect so I don’t see why they are now changed and not like for like. It’s very frustrating as having a child that’s a year and it’s the only thing she can use at the moment it renders the park unusable for now and the swings for some time if this is what’s been offered. Even my nine year old pointed out why didn’t they put one baby swing at least and then a normal swing? 

Also there is a huge pothole that’s never been filled and many kids are tripping and falling over something must have been there once and now it’s just a frustrating dangerous crater.” 

City West Homes say:

“Both of the playground swings will be adjusted in height and also replaced with baby-swings; suitable for children under 5. The reported pothole was filled and made safe. Further works have been raised to fully replace this area of flooring.”

Residents told us:

“That’s amazing news. I am so pleased and very grateful. It me and a lot especially when you are using these facilities regularly. So Thank you so much for your help. “

Enbrook Street

We have asked the Parking Team to investigate this issue: 

“We seem to be having a problem with people parking on resident bays who 

shouldn’t be, especially trade people.   When I tackled one chap he said oh they don’t mind as we’re working. I mind as I have to pay to park there. We never ever see a parking attendant these days.  I have difficulty walking so to park up the road away from the house is a right pain! We’ve even got a massive trailer for cars taking up two spaces, sometimes parked on the disabled space in Enbrook Street.  It also looks like one person is parking cars waiting for repair on the street too.  If there are no parking attendants coming round they get away with it for free.”

Brooke Court 

We have contacted A2Dominion about this issue:

“I have contacted A2 Dominion about Brooke Court to ask them if they could change the external lighting to motion sensitive and timed so that they are not on all night. The lights are too bright and shine directly into my bedroom and no doubt other bedrooms that face Brooke Court. Please could you ask the management to do this please.” 

Portnall Road 

We have reported a number of faulty street lights in Portnall Road. 

Ashmore Road 

We have again asked the police to investigate allegations of a ‘drug den’ in a property in Ashmore Road.

Lothrop Street 

We are supporting residents in Lothrop Street who have been threatened with legal action if they do not change the front door of their house as it does not comply with the Council’s Conservation Design guidelines. The original Enforcement Notice was issued in 2004 to the previous owners of the house and we have asked why it has taken the Council 14 years to take action! 

Shirland/Ashmore Road junction 

We have again asked the Council to install CCTV cameras at the Shirland/Ashmore Road junctionso that rubbish dumpers can be identified and prosecuted. The latest from the Council is:

“Additional operations have been in place during September, supplementary to the frequent daily inspections that occur around the site.Prior to September the following enforcement actionswere reported by City Inspectors for this site:

  • 33 Residential Warning notices
  • 10 Residential Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) served
  • 2 Commercial FPNs served

During the first 3 weeks of September the City Inspectors have reported the following:

  • 104 reports to Veolia of waste dumped by the bins to be removed. All of which were removed on the day of reporting.
  • 7 formal warning notices have been issued to residents as these were deemed to be 1sttime offences. Any further offending from the same people will result in fixed penalty notices being issued.
  • Informal educational letters and verbal warnings have been given to residents
  • Contact has also been made with the Community Centre as it has been evidenced that after events held at this venue waste has been witnessed as being discarded inappropriately by this bins.

We have also engaged with parking in respect of using their mobile CCTV vehicle at the location with a view to this acting as a potential deterrent. This has been in place during Saturdays over recent weekends. During these times the officers have not witnessed any fly tipping but local residents have engaged with the officers and discussions have been had around the issues which have subsequently been referred on to City Inspectors. Further meetings are planned to consider a pilot for mobile CCTV operations and we will update you once we have further information regarding this.

The most recent exercise was undertaken on Sunday the 23rd September from 12.00 to 20.00pm,  where at least 50 local residents were witnessed using the waste and recycling facilities, for the main part correctly, however six residents were given informal waste education on the correct procedures for waste management and procedures for removal of bulky waste. There was no incorrectly disposed waste or bulky refuse evidenced during this time. 

In addition to this the site has been added to a priority tasking request for the shifted North Team to review the location late on a Thursday/Friday or Saturday evening with a view to enforcement where possible.”

Residents say:

“There’s been a transformation over the last few days! If it continues that will be fabulous.”

“I am very happy that you are considering putting cctv cameras at the junction of Shirland and Ashmore roads. I am so fed up with the rubbish dumped regularly. The last few times, cars have arrived and young children have got out and dumped. What a lovely way to raise them, our future!”

“From what I have noticed over recent days (I passed by there on Sunday afternoon and this evening) it certainly looks much better. Still a little bit scruffy round the bins but certainly no rubbish outside of the bins. So definitely good progress.”

“It has definitely improved. The only point to comment on is that what’s described below seems like a rather expensive (temporary?) approach. Perhaps the behind-the-scenes reasoning is that is the best way to avoid simply pushing the problem elsewhere by shoving up a permanent camera.”

Kilravock Street 

We have asked our new local Inspector, Tony Bird, to investigate a front garden in Kilravock Street which is being used to dump rubbish. 

Fifth Avenue 

We have asked the Police and City West Homes to investigate reports of anti-social behavior at a property in Fifth Avenue.

We have also asked that a dead tree be removed and a new tree planted outside 31 Fifth Avenue. 

Birch House, Droop Street

We have asked the Council to install CCTV cameras outside Birch House, Droop Street so that rubbish dumpers can be identified and prosecuted.

Mozart Street/Lancefield Street

There is a constant issue with fly-tipping at thisabandoned piece of privately owned land. We asked the Council to clear the site and to consider ways of finding a long-term solution. The Council says:

“Works have been carried out; the waste has been cleared and the overgrowth has been cut back. The area will be monitored. In the meantime, we are considering options for undertaking the works ourselves and re-charging the owner.”

Marban Road

We asked the Council to consider road safety concerns along Marban Road raised by residents and we received the following response: 

“Marban Road does not appear on the latest Local Safety Scheme programme.  Analysis of the most recent safety record for Marban Road does not highlight any significant road safety issues; in the last three years there have been three slight personal injury collisions reported, all of which were caused by one or more vehicles failing to give way at junctions and none of them had speeding as a contributory factor.  

However, there is an initiative run in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to investigate local concerns with speeding vehicles, called Community Roadwatch.  The scheme gives residents the opportunity to work side by side with their local police teams and use speed detection equipment to identify speeding vehicles. Information captured through the scheme will help identify whether further investigations in the area are required in the future.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting: WestminsterCommunityRoadwatch@met.police.uk.   “

St John’s Church

We met with Rev Ackerman, Vicar of St John’s Church to hear about the Church’s plans for a new pedestrian gateway.

Abandoned cars and bikes

We have asked Tony Bird, our new local Inspector, to investigate three abandoned cars – one is a Ford on the corner of Dart Street and Dowland Street, one is parked in Harrington Court and one in Fifth Avenue.

We have also asked Tony to remove two bikes tied to a lamp post outside 17 Huxley street, which are rusting are rotting away and have clearly been dumped.

Wilberforce Primary – a school transformed 

We are delighted to here this news:

When Claire Macfie became Head of Wilberforce Primary in 2016, the school had been placed in Special Measures.  Pupil attainment was falling dramatically and there were a number of weaknesses which needed to be addressed urgently. 

Claire immediately set to work to halt the decline and, together with the hard-working and committed staff, introduced a range of measures aimed at driving standards in all areas.  These included initiatives to improve attendance and behaviour, better training for staff and targeted interventions to raise academic achievement. 

When Ofsted returned in March 2018, they were so impressed by the progress that had been made that not only did they remove the school from Special Measures, they also raised it two categories and judged it to be ‘Good’ with many ‘Outstanding’ features. Commenting that the school had been ‘successfully transformed’ the inspectors praised every aspect including the curriculum, behaviour, attendance, communication with parents, governance and SEN provision.  Importantly, the inspectors commended the level of care staff give to pupils and described pupils’ personal development and welfare as ‘excellent’.  You can read the inspectors’ full report here. 

Not content to sit back, the school has continued to push forward and drive standards.  As a school committed to delivering an Education with Character it strives constantly to provide pupils with an engaging, enjoyable and inspiring school experience which will help them develop into confident, ambitious and kind individuals.

Queen’s Park Library

Queen’s Park Library has organized a Fun Palace event on Saturday 6th October, from 1-5pm.

“It’s an afternoon of cultural activities delivered informally by local people, for local people, and we’re also encouraging people to just drop in on the day to share a cultural skill or talent they might have. Absolutely anything is welcome! We’ll be serving snacks and drinks throughout and hope to make it a really fun, friendly afternoon for everyone involved.” 

Moberly Sports Centre

We have continued to report problems at the new sports centre. We have had complaints about cleanliness at Moberly. Apparently the gyms/exercise spaces are not cleaned between classes. Also there is not enough paper towels to clean mats between sessions.Andanother complaint about communal showers. In addition, there are problems with the sports teachers:

“Again, as has been the pattern all summer, no teacher turned up for Pilates. No one at the centre knows today if teacher ill or if on holiday cover has not turned up. We were told they have no way of contacting trainers!!! I understand this has happened with other classes too. I’m sorry to say that the attitude of the staff towards unhappy members is not as it should be. We have all paid our memberships”

The Council say:

“I’ll ensure the operational issues are raised with the site team and addressed. We are planning on making improvements to the changing room areas to improve privacy and respond to the concerns raised.  Works are being agreed and will take place later in the year, when the centres are quieter, to avoid disruption.”

23 more City West Homes ‘Horror Stories 

We thought (and hoped) City West Homes had, at last, turned the corner and was heading for an improved service. How wrong we were! City West Homes’ performance continues to create new horror stories for tenants and leaseholders:

So, we have compiled 23 more ‘Horror Stories’ as told to Labour Councillors by City West Homes tenants and leaseholders. Thankfully, after reporting them to CWH, many of these long-standing issues have now been sorted. But some are still outstanding even though they were reported to CWH many months (and sometimes longer) ago. Westminster City Council is currently conducting a Review of City West Homes’ performance to which Labour Councillors are contributing.

We hope that this latest batch of ‘Horror Stories’ gives the Review Team further examples of what has gone wrong so that tenants and residents no longer have to endure the appalling level service that is currently on offer from City West Homes. You can read them here

https://labourwestminster.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/23-more-cwh-horror-stories-september-18.pdf

City West Homes – The Future

We are delighted that Westminster Council has finally listened to the long-standing concerns of local residents and Labour councillors by taking the much needed decision to take control of Westminster’s Housing Services back in house and closing its arms-length management organisation CityWest Homes.

For several years, but particularly since summer 2017, we have been sounding the alarm about the performance of CityWest Homes, highlighting many ‘nightmare’ stories of poor performance and raising deep concerns about its service and culture, including most recently in a July 2018 Council Motion calling for CWH to be scrapped.

There is, however, much still to do in order to improve the services residents receive but this is a welcome step forward.

The case for a Tourist Tax

We have estimated that introducing a small Tourist Tax on hotel bedroom occupancy could raise over £25 million a year and help to pay for the costs of keeping the city attractive and providing the everyday public service which visitors expect to see.

A Tourist Tax would help to pay for the cost of providing facilities which tourists enjoy – keeping the environment clean and tidy, maintaining parks, street lights and open spaces, public toilets, policing and emergency services, as well as cracking down on illegal short-lets.

In Westminster, the state of public toilets is appalling with many toilets in the West End and other parts of the city closed or poorly maintained by the private operator. The estimated £2 million a year cost of running Westminster’s public toilets to a high standard could be paid for via a Tourist Tax.

In addition, some of the revenue could also be spent on policing short term lettings to ensure that unauthorised short term letting is stopped. Currently, there are real problems across Westminster with unscrupulous landlords ‘turning homes in to hotel rooms’ because of the increased revenue they can generate.

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/westminster-labour-makes-the-case-for-a-tourist-tax-to-improve-local-services-for-visitors-residents-and-business/

What do you think of the idea of a Tourist Tax?

Moberly Sports Centre – what you say 

Moberly is nice but flawed! (Changing room issues, low water pressure, single use plastic shoe covers, to name a few)” 

Street Sweeping – what you say 

“I would agree about the worsening litter problem on Ilbert Street and Peach Road.  It is particularly bad on a Saturday; the refuse collectors don’t do a great job of collecting all the rubbish when they come on Saturday morning.  Litter is strewn across the street and as there is not street cleaner on a Saturday/Sunday the roads are covered in rubbish all weekend.  Such a shame and so unsightly.”

What you say

“Thank you for your updates. They are welcome and informative and it is good to feel that the community is being heard.”

“Thanks for the report. It seems to me that not enough is being done to combat fly-tipping. I am not sure why the Council cannot install CCTV at the black spots.” 

“Excellent update, thank you.” 

“Thank you for your excellent update. It really is above and beyond normal councillor service!! 

“Great newsletter.”

“Thank you as always for all the work you do and for an interesting report.” 

“Thank you for all your hard work in making this estate somewhat safer and a more pleasant place to live.”

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