News from your three Queen’s Park Ward Labour Councillors Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Hamza Taouzzale
Jubilee Sports Centre
Twelve months after Westminster Council closed the Jubilee Sports Centre in Caird Street, the building remains boarded up and derelict. We have made repeated calls on the Council and their development partner, EcoWorld, to start work on redeveloping the derelict building for new homes. Residents say:
“This is affecting the quality of life for those of us who are confronted with it every time we step out, and what it is doing to our view of the Council’s commitment to the electorate.”
“I do feel its regeneration would help with some of the issues in our area and I was hoping to see work start in Spring as the Council promised. We’re now well into Summer and nothing seems to have begun. The centre is looking quite run down now. “
“It is unbelievable that they closed the centre and have done nothing for a year. It’s such a waste. Note that we are also seeing anti social behaviour outside our building and multiple break ins”
We have called on Westminster City Council and their development partner EcoWorld to make an immediate start on the redevelopment of the former Jubilee Sports Centre in Caird Street which has now been closed for over 12 months, was occupied by squatters and is becoming increasingly dilapidated and a blight on the local environment.Many residents opposed the closure of the Jubilee Sports Centre but were assured by the City Council that the site would be redeveloped for much needed housing.
Moberly Sports Centre
We have asked the Sports Team at the Council to investigate residents’ concerns that more private use of the sports centre is being arranged at the expense of public use of the facilities.
Queen’s Park Court
Following recent consultation with residents, the plans for additional social housing on the western car park have been revised:
- The proposal for this site is to provide 23 homes for social rent, 19 flats and 4 houses
- The central car park is to be re-aligned and will have a total of 25 spaces, including two accessible spaces. There are 4 additional accessible spaces proposed to the north of the new houses.
- New landscaping is proposed next to the proposed apartment block and houses. This will include planters, hard landscaping and tree planting, which will create a new environment for residents, as well as improving the appearance of the estate.
- The external fencing and razor wire at the Katharine Bruce Community Nursery is to be upgraded, with new fencing that will improve the appearance of the nursery
We have also received this update from the Housing Department:
“The new grounds maintenance team have carried out an inspection of the area by Droop Street. This patch has been trampled and is being used by dog users who allow their pets to foul in the area. We are working to install deterrents in this area and work will be carried out shortly.”
There have been a number of incidentsin Naylor House and Farnaby House. We are working closely with local police and the Housing Department to address the issue. Local police have been carrying out extra patrols within the Mozart estate and are in the process of identifying individuals involved. The Council is exploring the use of a CCTV camera to be installed at Farnaby House, to work as a deterrent and reduce the anti-social behaviour issues.
The Housing Department is looking at installing a camera along Parry Road which has also been highlighted as an anti-social behaviour hotspot area.
Queen’s Park Gardens
We have asked the Parks Team to ensure that dog owners do not bring their dogs in to the children’s play area in Queen’s Park Gardens. Residents say:
“I took my son to Queens Park Gardens, Ilbert Street as usual. My son likes the kids section (sand pit, swings) which is clearly marked as NO DOGS allowed. There was lady with her dog sitting with a friend, the dog was on leash but still my kids are afraid of dogs. This is the only safe place they enjoy playing.”
We have asked Environmental Health to take action here:
“There are many rats running around the Harrow Road Gardens. I saw about half a dozen just the other day. However, there is no evidence of bating. The same applies to the area around the Ha’penny Steps. This has led to an increase in rats running along Canal Terrace between the two points – it is literally a rat-run. Please could the areas be bated and monitored. I am surprised (alarmed) that this is not done as a matter of routine, particularly in the hot weather.”
The Council say:
“The pest control team has been on site today and will monitor the location every week from now on.There was a considerable amount of food being put out for the pigeons here which is attracting the rats. They have identified an area by the side of the canal which is difficult to get to and where the rats are. They will endeavour to access the location and provide treatment as necessary.”
We have asked that large signs are installed saying ‘Don’t feed the pigeons. The food you leave for the pigeons attracts rats’.
We asked Notting Hill Genesis to prune trees in the back garden of a house in First Avenue that were damaging the fence of a house in Barfett Street.
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate these issues:
“There is a skip van that steams up Fifth Ave early mornings, I counted it going past us 4 times between 7 and 8 am last Saturday morning (either the same van or it could have been 4 different identical vans). All blue, with Powerday logo on.
There is a speed bump near the junction of Fifth and Nutbourne and the lorry hits the bump at speed every time, so it makes our windows rattle. Is there anything I can do to appeal to them to use a different route, or drive with care that early in the morning? Happy to do it myself to any contact you may have. No chance of a lie in ever, it wakes us up every time and is obviously not good for the street itself. “
“We live on Fifth Avenue and we are aware that there is a constant flow of traffic up from the Harrow Road (entering at Sixth Avenue?) and leaving onto Kilburn Land at the top end of Fifth Avenue. This continues through the night with fast and noisy motorbikes as well as cars. We suspect that Fifth Avenue is becoming a rat run for drivers wanting to avoid the tragic lights by the Moberly centre.”
We have also asked that the branches on the trunk of tree outside 139/141 Fifth Avenue are pruned.
Ilbert Street/Fifth Avenue junction
We have asked the Highways team to take up this issue with Thames Water:
“Despite Thames Water ‘sealing’ covers around the estate especially by Ilbert Street/Fifth Avenue intersection the drains still smell. All year, in fact, but when gets hot it is more pervasive. I don’t encounter this in other areas so I wonder if there is a particular issue with too much rubbish being flushed down, including fats and oils that may be making sewerage etc less free flowing. It really isn’t nice!”
Following our enquiries about traffic congestion at the Kilburn Lane/Chamberlayne junction, the Council tells us:
“We are coordinating with Brent Council to propose safety improvements and improve traffic flow at this location, including; replacing the weight limit signage onsite, reviewing parking restrictions to allow a freer flow of traffic during peak times, increasing the width of the carriageway near the junction that falls within Brent Council and placing additional loading restrictions on the Kilburn Lane and Chamberlayne Road junction.”
Ha’Penny Steps open space
We have again asked for the graffiti on the side of the Canal Terrace is removed. We have also asked that the open space is given a deep clean to remove the pigeon droppings. Residents say:
“The open space is the responsibility of the Council and the area is ingrained with pigeon droppings and the problem of rubbish and food is constant. The Council could do more to prevent the vermin problems arising in the first instance by managing the open spaces more diligently.”
Nutbourne Street/Sixth Avenue
We have asked Nuno, our City Inspector, to take action against those dog owners who leave ‘poo-bags’ by the base of trees. Residents say:
‘The problem hasn’t gone away and if anything is getting worse. On Nutbourne Street and Sixth Avenue, I counted over a dozen bags, some not tied. Somebody uses colour bags, somebody black poo bags, somebody supermarket carriers. It’s horrid, some squashed, not always tied. And we have plenty of little kids around.”
Bravington Road/Mozart Street
We have asked Nuno to take further action against those people responsible for dumping rubbish b y the tree at the corner of Bravington Road and Mozart Street. Residents say:
“They probably assume the warnings on the sign are ultimately toothless and are now ignoring it completely. Do you not have a more terrifying sign to put up, with an eye-watering fine?”
We have asked the Planning Enforcement team to investigate a property in Bravington Road suspected of unauthorized short term letting.
Shirland Road/Ashmore Road
We have asked the Council to replant shrubs and plants in the planters at the corner of Ashmore/Shirland Roads. Residents say:
“You’ll recall these troughs, when filled with flowers earlier in the year, replaces the black bins and stopped the area being used to dump rubbish. As you can see the plants are now dead. If they are regularly tended the dumping will return.”
We have received this note from the Council:
“In May we began looking at locations in your area and informed you about a new Street Waste Action Team (SWAT) that the Council had formed to tackle local cleansing issues. The new drive has enabled dedicated officers to monitor and resolve issues locally whilst promoting and increasing awareness on how and when to dispose of rubbish and recycling bags, particularly amongst new or short-term residents.
As part of the information gathering stage, we asked for your support on helping identify the biggest hotspots and locations. These were then included into the areas that were monitored.
Below is a link to a short survey (which should take no more than a few minutes) asking for your feedback on those issues you informed us of, and letting us know about areas which we still need to work on.
Harrow Road/First Avenue
We have asked Nuno to investigate this long-running issue:
“After finally moving the house clearance shop from the corner of First Avenue and Harrow Road and the nuisance to pedestrians that that involved, it is now replaced by a new furniture shop that is extending across the pavement and around the corner in the same way. It is very unsightly and obstructive.”
We asked the Noise Team to investigate reports of very loud music coming from a party at a flat in Bantock House all evening on Sunday 21stJuly.
We have alerted the police to this issue affecting residents along Harrow Road and also Fernhead Road:
“Daily I hear very loud motorcycles racing along the Harrow Road between the junction of Ladbroke Grove and First Avenue, where there is a clear way for them to rev and roar their engines and speed as if on a race track. This starts early in the morning, when it is quiet, and goes on during the day and evening. The noise is excessive! Can anything be done to slow these riders down so we don’t have to suffer their high pitch noise? Maybe a speed camera can be installed.”
Policing report from Karen Buck MP
“There has been a marked increase in levels of community concern about crime recently, ranging from burglary and robbery to serious youth violence and anti social behaviour, and it is deeply worrying.I naturally liaise with the local police and the Council’s enforcement teams about individual issues.
I pushed for a meeting with Westminster Council and senior police in June and was disturbed to hear that we are down by another 200 police over the last two years, coming on top of a reduction of one third in police strength after 2011 when the cuts to the Met budget began. As I have reported before we are also now dealing with the consequences of the complete withdrawal of funding for youth, after-school and holiday services by Westminster Council in 2016.
On the positive side, Westminster Council has now recognised the consequences of that awful decision and will now be restoring some of that money for youth work. This may not be enough but it is nonetheless welcome.
Recently, I was very pleased to have Mayor Sadiq Khan come down to meet with me and to hear first hand about these issues. He confirmed that he has raised his Council Tax precept to the maximum possible and raised Business rates to put some additional police back, and I was also able to introduce him to some of our inspiration youth workers as we lobby for support from the Young Londoners Fund.
As I know that many people are not quite sure about how police funding works, and what the balance is between the responsibility of the Mayor and the Home Office, this is helpful from the independent fact-checking charity, Full Fact linkhere. “
We have asked the Council to investigate reports of drug dens in flats in Ashmore Road and Kilburn Lane.
Also, see this article which includes an interview with Councillor Hamza Taouzzale, stressing the importance of youth workers:
We have repeated our request to the Council to significantly improve parking arrangements for the Carnival weekend. Residents say:
“Your correspondent who complained about the parking for carnival last year is absolutely correct in that 2018 was a shambles as the Council seemed ill -prepared and did not control the area at all.Cars brought by visitors filled the Residents’ Bays, occupied the corners which should be kept clear to allow visibility at junctions, then started bumping up on the pavements. Some of these illegally parked cars remained until the small hours of Tuesday morning.
This year we require more enforcement resource to be applied, for it to be deployed from early to late across the three days, and for a direct Hotline to NSL to be available to residents.”
Bravington Road area road surface
We have asked the Highways Department to look into this issue:
“I just wanted to bring to your attention the condition of most of the just resurfaced roads around Bravington Road. I’m not sure why the newly laid asphalt is mixed with stones of the size of a large walnut rather than fine gravel. The surface resulting from that mix is obviously very rough especially after a couple of months when the asphalt recedes and expose the pointy stones.
Result, the roads are just too dangerous to ride on with bicycles, motorcycles and similar as those large and pointy stones are capable of ripping apart any protective clothing, let alone flesh.Secondly, those roads are very difficult to clean as the dirt get stuck in the gaps between the stones and it becomes impossible to remove.Lastly, when it rains they become a ‘sheet’ of water as they have a very poor drainage and the gaps fill up with water; it’s like driving on ice but without the fun. And good luck spotting the potholes under those conditions by the way. They are dangerous and look scary too when you think of the aftermath of falling on them.”
We have alerted the police to this incident:
“I am a resident in Queens Park and today it was a near miss while I was crossing the Harrow Road with my 2 and 3 years old daughters and my wife when a cyclist showed up fast in front of us while a lorry and cars were waiting on the red light. Luckily we escaped a tragedy because my wife was holding my youngest daughter.”
The Council’s Anti-Fraud Team has recovered four properties in Queen’s Park Ward, which have since been allocated to people in genuine need of support and assistance. These included; Oliphant Street (Two bedroom), Heather Walk (One bedroom), Dowland Street (Three bedroom) and Bravington Road (One bedroom – Peabody).
If you have any concerns regarding fraud, please contact the fraud hotline 020 7361 2777, or send details by email to the shared service mailbox address firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be assured, all information is held in strictest confidence.
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
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:
London Living Wage
We are delighted that after years of Labour campaigning, Westminster City Council is finally adopting the London Living Wage (£10.55 per hour) for all its contractors and apprentices. The Council adopted a policy that would see it work to achieve accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation and see future contracts adopt the London Living Wage for those based in London (and the Living Wage Foundation’s nationwide rate of £9 per hour for contractors based outside London). At present only the council’s directly employed staff are paid at or over the London Living Wage.
Requiring the Council to adopt the Living Wage for all its staff and contractors has been something Westminster Labour Group has supported for many years, being a pledge in our 2014 and 2018 manifestos. After campaigning from Labour in 2014 the Council adopted the London Living Wage for its Home Care Workers but as recently as May this year the council was claiming it would be illegal to set a policy that contractors would receive the Living Wage.
We are calling on the Council to declare a Climate Emergency and have 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:
Westminster Housing – what you say
“It seems all the naming and shaming of City West call centre and Repairs System has worked! Today I phoned in for a repair. The phone was answered IMMEDIATELY!! The job was put out to Effectable for a shower repair and within a couple of hours a repairman had phoned and attended and done the job. All of this in one afternoon without a moments stress. I was personally astounded by the efficiency of it all. What a difference from the last few years. Well done in your campaign to get the call centre and repairs system handed over to someone else.”
What you say
“Wow, what a newsletter, so much in it thank you team.”
“I have just received the latest Queen’s Park newsletter. Excellent as ever and I always look forward to reading it.”
“I fully support the comments about the graffiti by the Ha’penny Steps – I have asked for this to be removed in the past but nothing has been done!”
“Thank you again for all your efforts on our behalf.”
“Thank you for this great update. “
“Thanks for the newsletter. It’s great to keep in touch with what’s going on in our area. Thank you all for all your hard work on our behalf”
“Thank you for your interesting and informative newsletter, and for all the work that you and your colleagues put in on behalf of the community.”
“Many thanks for allowing us residents a voice”