New from Councillors Councillors Adam Hug, Papya Qureshi and David Boothroyd
Estate Parking Update
The Council have promised that all estates in Westbourne will be consulting on Traffic Management Orders to tackle the long-standing problem of estate parking, after significant pressure from Westminster Labour. Estates in our ward are due to be completed shortly with a consultation period due to start shortly after Easter and the work to be undertaken in late May and June. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can help with any issues relating to the implementation.
The council have finally agreed their plans to finally replace the cladding on the six tower blocks on the Warwick and Brindley Estates. After residents’ consultation they are moving ahead with using an External Wall Insulation (EWI) ‘rendered’ system rather than cladding, to cover the exposed walls and provide the required protection for the blocks. The Council says it plans to start on site in July 2019 and complete by December 2019. Ward councillors will monitor progress and want to hear from residents if there are any problems.
Hot water charges in the Towers
We have been pushing for the council to be clear about the impact the cladding removal on heating bills in the Towers, particularly since the introduction of the new metering system installed last year. We’ve been working with a couple of residents whose bills have jumped dramatically and we are asking others to get in touch with us if their have too.
Water bills – are you paying when you don’t need to?
We have just saved one constituent from a water bill of several hundred pounds. If you are a tenant of Westminster City Council, you pay your water bill with your rent so you should not be getting a separate bill from Thames Water. However because of data protection rules, Westminster can’t send Thames Water a list of flats which are occupied by Westminster tenants, and sometimes Thames Water does send out bills to them. When one resident asked us about an unexpected water bill from Thames Water, we were able to get them to cancel it and close the account.
Shutting the gates
We have been working with both Notting Hill Genesis and Network Homes, in partnership with the local police, on a number of different blocks in our ward about security issues where groups of non-resident youths have been forcing the garage or carpark gates raising real concerns about drug dealing, residents’ safety, burglary risk and fire risk. Notting Hill Genesis are taking action against offenders and conducting a joint audit of vulnerable entrances undertaken to look at works to improve security. Network Homes Residents involved a ‘community trigger’ procedure, attended by ward councillors, which has allowed the police to outline what Network need to do. We now understand Network has committed to a long term fix to the car park gate, as well as a more secure door between the car park and the staircase. CCTV coverage will also be improved.
Wessex Gardens Repairs
We have been continuing to raise residents’ concerns about the slow progress of communal repairs and works necessary on this estate. Councillor Hug attended this month’s estate inspection and we have been making the case that the new housing service needs to improve engagement with residents on the estate.
Rubbish Dumping and Fly-tipping
We have been communicating with WCC to raise resident’s concerns and deal with rubbish in various areas including Blomfield Mews (where council contractors were dumping building materials), Marylands Road and the Grand Union Canal Towpath near the bus garage.
We have been working with residents to put pressure on the Council’s Housing Department to restore heating and hot water on a number of occasions where the system had broken down and have pushed them to increase the number of staff working on the long-term replacement works.
Westbourne Place Communal space
We are looking into reports that affordable housing tenants in the Westbourne Place development (the old Harrow Road Police Station) have been prevented from accessing the communal courtyard. The property managers say that it should not have happened, and it appears to be against what was agreed when the new development got planning permission.
Lift, Lift, Lift
We have been working with staff at the Stowe Centre over recent months to get the council to sort out the long-standing problems with their lifts. We have also assisted residents in Oldbury House to expedited repairs on their lift after it also failed recently. We have helped resident leaseholders of Fazeley Court on Elmfield Way put pressure on landlords Network Homes which led Network to cancel unnecessary lift replacement major works, and are continuing to support them as Network monitor the lifts for future work.
Brunel Gas Pipes
We have been working with local residents to get a commitment from Westminster’s Housing Department that any new gas pipes to be installed on the estate will go through the trunking already on the blocks or use other unobtrusive routes to prevent a repeat of the eyesores created on a number of blocks on the estate.
Dog fouling around Westbourne Park Road
One resident got in touch after noticing increasing levels of dog fouling in the streets around Westbourne Park Road – through dog walkers failing to clean up after their dog, or carelessly disposing of bags. The City Inspector told us:
“We will issue Fixed Penalties to anyone found not picking up mess as it is now a breach of the borough wide Public Space Protection Order and carries severe penalties upon prosecution. I will also ask the Animal Warden to carry out patrols in this area, where we will actively be on the look-out for people who do not pick up.
“If residents know who the serial offenders are, we can take action on the completion of a witness statement. This will mean that the complainant may have to attend court to give evidence, however, it should be made know to residents that they can ask to remain anonymous in court, if they feel that they may be a target for revenge.”
Taxi House Woodfield Road
We have been working with local residents to encourage the developers to reduce the height of the proposed building on the current LTDA Taxi House site on Woodfield Road. What is now currently proposed is down to around 10 floors, 15 meters lower than next door Hathway House (initial plans were for the same height as Hathaway). We are also pushing the developers to find ways to protect neighbours from late night noise by restricting outdoor access late at night. We also want to make sure that local groups and people will be the ones to benefit from the creation of local jobs, community investment funding, SME workspace and trying to ensure there is support for properly affordable housing. The plans will be coming out for formal planning consultation in the next month or two so make sure you have your say.
Notting Hill East Neighbourhood Forum
Councillor David Boothroyd attended the recent AGM of Notting Hill East Neighbourhood Forum, which covers the part of the ward south of Westbourne Park Road. We are eagerly waiting the proposals from Groundwork for improving Shrewsbury Gardens, on the corner of Talbot Road and Shrewsbury Road.
The planned Westminster Tree Trust scheme on the Brindley and Warwick Estates will be planted this weekend. This comprises:
- Warwick Estate (raised planter in front of Brinklow House) – 3 trees
- Brindley Estate (grass areas) – 4 trees