News from Councillor Maggie Carman and the Labour Action Teams in Bayswater & Lancaster Gate
General Election result
Karen Buck was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Westminster North on 12thDecember. The full result was:
- Karen Buck, Labour, 23,240
- Jamie Macfarlane, Conservative, 12,481
- George Lee, Liberal Democrat, 5,593
- Holly Robinson, Green, 1,064
- Cyrus Parvin, Brexit Party, 418
- Gabriela Fajardo Palacios, Christian Peoples Alliance, 115
She said afterwards: “It’s an absolute honour” to be re-elected to represent Westminster North.
“Whilst I am delighted tonight it is clearly a very bad night indeed for the party I represent and love and while some of that is due to the challenges of Brexit which have divided us in Labour, divided the country it is clearly not the only reason we performed so badly and starting tomorrow we have to learn the lessons of this defeat and face up to it.”
We reported this issue to the Council:
“I live at Orsett Terrace and there are huge water puddles on the pavement after rain. There is drainage on the opposite side of the street but there needs to be drainage on our side as the water collects on our side only. It makes it very inconvenient!”
A few days later, residents told us:
“Thank you so much for your help regarding drainage! A new one was installed last Friday.”
Westbourne Park Passage
We have reported this issue to the Council for action:
“There was a particularly unpleasant mugging in the Westbourne Park Passage the other day with luckily no injuries and with fast police action which caught one of the perpetrators with the victim’s bank card on him.
The passage, which, some years ago, was known as Mugger’s Alley and which no local resident in their right mind would have dreamed of entering after dark, after new lighting was put in and the rubbish being cleared by our street cleaners became a much more healthy way of getting from Westbourne Park Villas to Westbourne Park Road, and vice versa, but this has now begun to slide back into its former state.
This is partly due to the amount of greenery which is climbing over the left hand wall. It makes visibility quite difficult and it also reduces path space without the growth whipping you in the face. Is there any way in which you can get some action done about this?”
The Council has now written to the householders whose gardens have overhanging greenery and have asked them to cut it back.
We have asked the Council to plant additional trees in Monmouth Road, following a request from residents.
Park Modern, Inverness Terrace/Bayswater Road.
Residents are suffering from the impact of the demolition works at Park Modern, on Inverness Terrace/Bayswater Road and Councillor Maggie Carman has urged the Council to take action against the demolition contractors.
The Colonnades development plans – update
Councillor Maggie Carman reports:
“Since talking to the residents involved it seems a genuine application for the purpose of creating more space so growing families can stay in an area they’d otherwise be priced out of and is a resident-led cooperative venture rather than a private development. I have been assured that an extra effort will be made to reach out to the wider community of the Colonnades in order to address the concerns raised.”
Maggie has also been contacted by residents who are concerned about the impact of the proposals on their Right to Light and has made a request to the planners for a visit to inspect the situation.
We have asked the Parking Team to investigate this issue:
“Cars park on double yellow lines at the end of Hatherley Grove and we have several of these every once in a while. Other cars then don’t have enough space to U-turn.”
The Parking Team say:
“I have notified our enforcement team, asking that they to keep a close eye out for the vehicle during their patrols. In general, the marshals can be asked to attend at short notice via report it which is monitored 24/7. “
We are calling on the Housing Department to compensate a resident for the damage done to herbathroom hand basin following a series of call outs for blocked drains. The resident says:
“The drainage company acknowledged damage while they were on site and assured me that the matter would be reported and the basin replaced. I am now being told that they have no record of it and there is nothing that can be done. I am not willing to ignore it as it is completely unacceptable.”
Elsie Lane Court/Westbourne Park Villas
We have asked the Council if there is anything that can done to sort out this issue”
“For some reason Google Maps shows most of the houses along Westboume Park Villas as being in Elsie Lane Court. As a result, packages and letters addressed to a flat number in Elsie Lane Court are occasionally delivered to the corresponding house number in Westbourne Park Villas. It isn’t a huge problem, I’ve had two letters and one attempted furniture deliver this month, but it’s a nuisance affecting most of the lower-numbered houses in the street, and the corresponding tenants of Elsie Lane Court who may be missing important mail.
I think that this would probably happen occasionally even without the error in Google Maps, but it may be a contributing factor, especially when couriers are using Google for navigation. I’ve tried amending the page for Elsie Lane Court on Google Maps, but it doesn’t seem to want to accept changes.”
We asked the Council’s Tree officer to take the necessary action on this issue:
“On the evening of 13 December 2019, the contractors acting for GNetworks were removing their large equipment which had been kept at Westbourne Gardens, at the stretch that car enters from Westbourne Park Road. The next morning a tree in exactly the same stretch had been broken. Only one tractor remained after the large equipment had been removed on large trucks on evening on 13 Dec. Can you please look into this and help us identify when the tree will be replaced?”
The Tree Officer says “A replacement tree has been ordered for planting over the next few weeks.”
Swanleys, Westbourne Park Road
Following recent break-ins at Swanleys, we are calling on the Housing Department to improve security measures.
Clifford Court, Westbourne Park Villas
We have asked the Housing Department to investigate this issue:
“CityWest Homes carried out Major Works some years ago. Three blocks were included in the major works, one of those was Swanleys on Westbourne Park Road. There were many issues with the works and the whole process was not good. During the works, Niblock (the contractor) installed a gate at both sides of the building to prevent people who were not residents accessing our communal garden. The gate on the left hand side always looked lopsided and has been faulty about seven or eight times over the last two years.
Each time the gate has broken I have either been unable to lock it or it has been locked shut and because of the slant, it’s been impossible to open. Each time I have contacted Westminster Housing I have said that the gate was not installed correctly due to Niblock’s sub standard work but each time it’s been fixed but within months it malfunctions again. I know Westminster Housing take no notice of me when I tell them about this issue, they just do a quick fix. Do you think there is anything you could do to help with this?”
A repair has been made and the hinges have now been replaced. Residents say:
“I wanted to thank you for getting out side gate at Clifford Court fixed recently. I will let you know if we have any more problems with it, as it seems to malfunction every few months but for now it is working perfectly.”
Artesian Road – rubbish dumping
The Refuse Collection Team say:
“There are two street bin sites on Artesian Road (outside St Mary of the Angels Church on Moorhouse Road and at the junction with Chepstow Road). Both sites regularly suffer the same problems as many sites and effectively function as the local ‘public tip’ (bulky waste, flat clearances, some commercial waste). All houses and converted flats in the area have ‘front garden’ storage areas for regular waste and recycling collections whilst some small blocks of flats also have off-street waste storage areas so we do not envisage the removal of these bins causing any waste storage problems for local residents.
In response to a residents’ petition seeking the removal of the Artesian Road bin sites, the Council proposes posting notices on the bins advising residents of a trial during the week of 13th January with the bins then being removed the week after (initially for a six week trial period). The sites would continue to be visited and waste cleared during the trial period but from experience fly-tipping generally stops after the first 1-2 weeks.”
“We will be affixing signs on the bins on Monday telling residents they will be removed a week later. I am carrying out letter drops to residents in neighbouring streets alerting them of this and will be speaking with local people as well to increase awareness and try to get the message to as many people as possible. “
Councillor Maggie Carman has called on Westminster City Council to review the massive price increases proposed for the Porchester Spa, where the Concession rate charge has almost doubled from £9.40p to £18.45p and Local Resident charges have increased by over £5 from £16.05p to £21.55p.
In a letter to the Council, Councillor Carman says:
“Porchester Spa users are shocked at the proposed price increases, especially practically doubling the concessionary rate from £9.40 to £18.45. This will massively disadvantage pensioners among others. How can this enormous price hike be justified?”
For further information, see
Brunel’s Bishop’s Bridge
We are calling on Historic England to work with Westminster Council to return Brunel’s original Bishop’s Bridge to Paddington. Brunel’s bridge, his first in cast iron, had been forgotten by history but was discovered by researchers in 2004 buried inside a later bridge and shortly before both were to be demolished and replaced by a brand new structure. This original bridge built by Britain’s greatest engineer dates to 1838.
The bridge was dismantled in 2006 with plans to move it a short distance to a new location spanning the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin. Instead, Brunel’s masterpiece has been kept in storage in Portsmouth for the last fourteen years and the BBC now report that the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust has asked for the bridge to be installed on permanent display in Portsmouth.
We have asked the Council to take action on this persistent issue:
“What plans are currently in place to put an end to drivers leaving their cars or vans idling whilst parked. This is one of the most gratuitous and completely avoidable forms of pollution on our streets. I regularly walk up and down Inverness Terrace and Queensway, and in spite of some (rather muted) signs asking drivers not to idle, there are almost always cars or vans with their engines on with the drivers showing no intention of moving. Whilst I understand that it is an offence, I am concerned that nobody takes it seriously and it does not seem to be enforceable.
I also wanted to report to you that a couple of weeks ago I was in Paddington station, walking by the taxi rank. Virtually all cars had their engines idling, and the rank is located in a slightly reclined area the air quality was beyond words. Is there an initiative to encourage some of the more frequent road users such as Taxis to turn their engines off when they are not moving?”
Westminster Council says it wants people to help it improve air quality by reporting drivers running their engines when parked but does not know where the worst offenders are located, according to a Freedom of Information request made by a resident. You can read more here:
Climate Change Tips for the month
Save any Christmas wrapping paper to reuse next year. Smaller pieces can be cut up to make decorations for homemade Christmas cards or gift tags. Remember, metallic and sparkly wrapping paper can’t be recycled. Save your Christmas wreath and spray it with gold or silver spray paint to have a wreath that can be used for longer. Red ribbons or ornaments can be added to give it some more colour.
Consider reducing your meat and dairy intake. Commercial farming is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, biodiversity loss, water usage, eutrificaion and soil acidification. Try Veganuary, a month-long commitment to going vegan for the month of January, with help and recipes at uk.veganuary.com. Already half a million people from 178 countries have taken part. If that’s too daunting, go for Meat-Free Monday, www.meatfreemondays.com an idea set up by Paul McCartney in the UK, but is already popular in many other cities around the world, with some cities such as Ghent, Cape Town and Los Angeles declaring a meat-free day once a week.
Local charity, Youmanity, has produced a short video about their work
We are calling on the Government to increase the Council’s powers to take strong action against those responsible for dumping rubbish on our streets. In 2016, the Government gave Local Authorities the power to issue fines of up to £400 for those responsible for fly tipping. But the current £400 fines barely cover the costs of clean up; do not cover the cost of Enforcement Teams; are less than the cost of a skip and do not provide sufficient disincentive to offenders. Fly-tipping has risen by almost 40% since 2012 – according to LGA figures. We believe that the Government should:
- Increase the fines the Council can levy to £2,000
- Make it compulsory that the Council is reimbursed for the costs of clearing fly-tipping in addition to legal costs from fines issued in court.
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
The doorstep recycling service concentrates on the recyclable materials most commonly produced by houses so that these can be easily separated into the different material types. The link below summarises what can be put in recycling bags
Lots of other materials can be recycled but not through the doorstep collection service. The A-Z list below gives details of what and where items can be recycled or re-used:
The new Report It service has been unveiled. Let us know what you think https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
What you say
“Great report with lots of interest for everyone – a model of its kind – well done!”
“Thanks so much for your effort and support.”
“Thank you for your time and hard work putting together and circulating these emails. Very informative and much appreciated.”
“We want to thank you very much indeed for all your help and support with the planning application going on behind us in Westbourne Gardens. We have been so touched by the time, care and attention you have given to this, and we want you to know we appreciate it very much. Thank you.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Councillor Maggie Carman, Dafydd Ellis and Max Sullivan
Bayswater and Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team
Angela Piddock, Elizabeth Whitmore and Simon Wyatt
Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team