Bayswater & Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team
Bayswater & Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team

News from Councillor Maggie Carman and the Labour Action Teams in Bayswater & Lancaster Gate

Whiteley’s development

Councillor Maggie Carman is continuing to urge the Council to take action to reduce the daily noise from the Whiteley’s demolition contractors. Residents from all over the area have made contact with their daily experience of the noise and disruption: 

Maggie attended a meeting with concerned residents at the Prince Bonaparte pub to discuss what to do about the noise pollution from the Whiteleys redevelopment. As a result of the meeting, residents formed Whiteley’s Noise Action Group and have undertaken a survey of how residents have been impacted by the demolition works.

Many residents attended a Public Meeting at the Small Porchester Hall on 27thJune. Here is a note of the main points from the meeting from the Whiteley’s Noise Action Group:

“About 200 people attended the Community Liaison Meeting hosted by Erith, the contractors and Nick Dines of Concilio a communications company. Also attending were Councillors Susie Burbridge, Margot Bright and Maggie Carman and Council Officers Mark Walshe and Anthony DeRoche.

We were informed that demolition was heavily advanced leaving mainly the offending concrete slab to deal with. During the course of the evening it was revealed that this slab presents a unique problem to the contractor, one possible alternative means of removal under consideration was dynamite.

Much time was spent assimilating the results of tests held on 10 June when different concrete breaking tools were used in each of the 3 periods in the day so the effect could be monitored by a sample of people in their homes at 20 locations. Unfortunately, it transpires that as not all of the same people were at home during each of the 3 test periods it was difficult for them to make an informed comparison. Nick Dines said noise complaints have seen a reduction as a result of the adjustments to the machinery.

The developers did demonstrate that they were aware of the scope of the problem showing a map of all the effected homes and workplaces in a 1km radius, apparently an unprecedented achievement for the site engineers and something the Safety and Environment officer at the Council has never previously encountered.

Many attending were driven away from the meeting by the sheer volume of the microphone. Some people couldn’t understand why the project had ever been passed by the Council in the first place.

Gradually it was apparent that our hosts were unable to answer many of the significant issues raised on behalf of the developer Meyer Bergman. This included a number of requests for compensation from people who had to transfer their places of work because of the continuing disturbance promised to last until at least the end of November.

Someone declared the intrusion on their daily life from 08:00 was insidious as “Nobody wants to start their day swearing”. The contractors did say they would consider the suggestions of varying the times of the offending work in the mornings and putting in place a Twitter or similar facility to inform the community in advance of the daily work schedule.

 

Take the survey at http://bit.ly/bayswaterbanging

Councillor Maggie Carman said:

“Noise and vibration from the Whiteley’s excavation work is being broadcast underground through the sewer network directly into people’s homes. The work is expected to continue until at least November 31st. This is an intolerable intrusion into your right to peaceful enjoyment of your homes. 

Both Westminster City Council and the Erith demolition company admit that the number of complaints is unprecedented and say that this is a unique and unforeseeable situation. They say that the noise and vibration are within legal limits. I say the Council should halt the works immediately while seeking solutions.” 

Swanleys, Westbourne Park Road

We are continuing to support leaseholders in Swanleys who say they have been forced by City West Homes to pay for expensive repair works. Residents say: 

“We have been bullied into accepting a new system that was clearly not needed, on the threat of a potential lack of security for many months, when an inexpensive solution would be immediately available in an emergency if the current system failed. “

Chepstow Road/Talbot Road 

We have asked the Council to investigate this road safety issue:

“The speed that people drive going from Westbourne Park Road into Talbot Road is extremely dangerous.  St Stephen’s Church is on an island where there is no safe access to cross the road.  The Church is used not only by its parishioners of all ages but also a selection of different classes for young children and the elderly as well as a Nursery School.  If any traffic plans in the area are being consulted I think that it is essential that this area is reviewed as well. “ 

Over the years many of us have expressed concern about it’s safety and nothing has been done. Rather than have a Pelican crossing, which would be noisy, all we need is a longer delay in between the changing of the lights. At present, it seems immediate with no time allowed for pedestrians to feel safe to cross. Just have a delay of 15 or so seconds. I think that would solve the problem.”

The Highways Department say: 

“I can confirm that the location does not have green-man pedestrian crossing facilities and that the location has had 5 slight ‘personal injury collisions’ (PIC’s) in the previous 3 years. This accident rate is comparable to similar junctions and whilst not ideal, it would not meet criterial for prioritisation of our limited Road Safety Funding.A potential avenue for funds to undertake improvement would be via submissions for CIL funding. There is another round of CIL applications due in September and we can draft an application for consideration.”

Councillor Carman has asked the officer to draft a submission for funding for a green-man crossing from the Community Infrastructure Levy. Residents say:

“Thank you for your prompt attention to this. A green man/pedestrian crossing at that junction would be great especially for the many children crossing that street. Keep us posted!”

St Stephens Gardens

We have asked the Council to take action to stop the work at Genesis Notting Hill properties after receiving this message from residents:

“Some of the falling debris has been scaffolding couplers (total of 6), and a short scaffold pole (about 1 metre length). If any of these had hit a person, serious injury or death would have been caused.” 

Following our enquiries, the Council said:

“I have been in touch with Genesis, this morning, and told him that the situation at St Stephen’s Gardens is wholly unacceptable and can’t carry on. I have told him that I want the scaffolding to be taken down immediately, as the current set-up is not fit for purpose and dangerous.”

https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/westminster-news/2019/06/13/swift-action-by-labour-ensures-unsafe-bayswater-building-site-is-shut-down/

1-8 Porchester Square 

We are continuing to support residents and have called for the compensation offered to be reviewed as what was offered is not sufficient for the extra expense incurred. Residents have not only had to put up with the inconvenience of the boiler failure but have been left out of pocket.

Westbourne Park Villas 

We have asked Notting Hill Genesis to replace an ill-fitting front door in Elsie Lane Court.

Westbourne Gardens 

We have asked the Council to investigate serious dumping/rubbish problems outside Vere Court in Westbourne Gardens. Residents say:

“The problem has become much worse since the placing of large rubbish and recycling containers right outside Vere Court. Before, when Vere Court rubbish was collected in large metal bins around the side of the building, there was never such a problem. Now, because there is ample room for cars to park just beyond the containers, cars and vans drive up and offload large quantities of domestic and other rubbish – old mattresses, sofas, fridges, even kitchen sinks! This in addition to the large number of cardboard boxes and black bags. Usually the containers are already overflowing so the excess is just dumped at the side of them, blocking the pavement. I have noticed foxes getting into the bags late at night, which results in rubbish being strewn across the pavement and road.”

Westbourne Grove

We have asked the Planning Department to advise a shopkeeper on Westbourne Grove what kind of security grille they would grant planning permission for after a third attempted break-in recently. The shopkeeper’s previous application to install a security grille was unsuccessful.

Hallfield estate parking

We are supporting residents who are calling for compensation from the Council for the parking fiasco on the Hallfield estate: 

“I am paying £22 per month for a parking bay and because of a dispute between Westminster Council and the DVLA people are parking free in the Estate, yet I am still being charged. This has been going on for two years now and I want compensation for the two years I have been charged and others are parking free.” 

Praed Street taxis

We have continued to urge the Council and TfL to take action against the illegal taxi rank outside Paddington Station and have asked that the Council use provisions within the Carriage Act to enforce the law, as suggested by a resident: 

“Deal with it under the Carriage Act under which the taxis are licensed and use cameras to do it. There used to be a camera for this purpose on the lamp post on the NW corner, so I am sure it can easily be reinstated.”

Craven Road 

We have asked the Street Lighting Team to investigate this issue: 

“In the stretch of Craven Road between Gloucester Terrace and Devonshire Terrace new street lights have been installed. Although glad to see improvements this seems a significant waste of money as the lights were recently replaced. We had the street lights replaced in the last 6 months and now they have been replaced again. This seems hugely wasteful and I would like to understand why the lights have been replaced so soon. “ 

The Street Lighting Team say:

“One column was renewed and the lanterns were renewed on the columns, however we then received a nomination from a resident in regards to converting 4 of the columns into the Large Grey Wornum Style, and this was agreed.  We have therefore changed the lantern heads of 4 or the columns to the Large Grey Wornum style, and installed two of the embellishment kits for a Large Grey Wornum, and a further two are still to be installed.The lanterns installed prior to the installation of the Large Grey Wornum Lanterns will be reused on other projects, so there would not be any additional costs to the Council.”

BT phone boxes 

Local resident Roger Harding reports:

  • Two were removed from Porchester Gardens to facilitate the external steel structure around Whiteleys
  • Two were removed from outside 14/16 Queensway
  • Three were removed from Queensway outside Barclays and Bayswater station.
  • Three more are scheduled to be removed from the south side of Bayswater Road.
  • Seven are in the throes of being equipped as 5G internet hubs.
  • Only two have been repainted since preparations for the London Olympics seven years ago.
  • Two more are particularly ‘stinkily’ disgusting! In Inverness Terrace/Inverness Terrace and Queensway/Bayswater Road.
  • I’ve ‘adopted’ the two kiosks outside Nisbet’s emporium, W2 5AA and keep them clean and disinfected.

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 

Notting Hill Carnival 

The 2019 Notting Hill Carnival Residents’ Meeting will be held on Monday 15th July from 18:30-20:00 at St John’s Church, Lansdowne Crescent, London, W11 2NN.

5 Kingdom Street

Councillor Maggie Carman has written to object to the proposals for a new development at 5 Kingdom Street in Paddington Basin. She says:

“I think that 18 storeys is too high.  The blocky design is also unattractive.  The project as planned at the moment would dominate the skyline, especially affecting the views at Little Venice.  I would like the developers to reduce the height and reconsider the design.”

Schools

A survey conducted by Labour Councillors has revealed the widespread impact that cuts are having on schools in the Westminster area. Councillor Tim Roca, Labour’s Education spokesperson, invited schools to take part in the survey, with 22 head teachers responding from primary, secondary and specialist schools across the borough. Most reported cuts to staffing, books and equipment with further cuts anticipated.

You can read the details herehttps://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/westminster-news/2019/06/21/schools-survey-highlights-the-real-impact-of-government-cuts-in-westminster/

Street begging

We received this enquiry from a resident:

“Have the Council investigated the circumstances of the many beggars around the same area, holding out near identical pieces of cardboard on which are written the same message “I am very hungry. God bless you”? They seem to be coordinated by someone and raise worries that they could even be victims of modern slavery.”

The Council say:

“The issue of coercion has long been debated amongst partners. The Police have investigated through a modern slavery lens and the issue they come up against each time is that the groups in question are more often than not family units. As a result, they are not willing to speak out against each other and insist that they are choosing to be there. We continue to monitor and offer alternatives to street begging and working with partners for a more meaningful solution to the challenge.”

Recycling

Many people have asked where Westminster’s recycling is sent for processing. Virtually all of what is collected is reprocessed within the UK.  Further details can be found at:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/where-does-all-my-household-recycling-go

Climate Emergency  

We are calling on the Council to declare a Climate Emergency and has launched a petition to present to the Council at its next meeting on 18thSeptember. The petition reads:

“We the undersigned support the call by Westminster Labour for Westminster City Council to declare a Climate Emergency at the Council Meeting on 18 September 2019. The Council must set out a Plan of Action which is both ambitious and deliverable to show how our City can make a real difference in the urgent fight against climate change. 

Cutting carbon emissions must be at the heart of the decisions the Council makes including on planning, house building, energy supply, procurement, freight consolidation, investments, transport and green spaces.”

You can sign the petition here:

http://bit.ly/climate-emerg

What you say

“Thank you so much for the work you do in our area. And in particular for your actions on behalf of concerned residents” 

“Horrible idea to reduce Holland Park Avenue to one lane each way, very congested as it is already.”

“Thank you for your help with emails.  I am so happy that finally a good plumber who was very respectful and did an excellent job! worth the three and a bit month wait.”

“This is simply to thank you for the work you are doing to support residents over the noise at Whiteley’s.  At moments like this we are wholly dependent on our elected representatives.  Thank you again for your commitment to protecting our interests. It will switch many of us to Labour.” 

“I appreciate you helping me and for the work that I know you do within this community.”

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