News from Councillor Maggie Carman and the Labour Action Teams in Bayswater & Lancaster Gate
Westbourne Park Villas
Residents have raised concerns over proposed works in Westbourne Park Villas to install broadband fibre. New paving was recently laid on the south side of Westbourne Park Villas and now two sections of it are to be dug up again, starting 30th January. The Council say:
“The works in this street are by contractors working for G.Network who are providing high speed fibre broadband across the City. Notice from the utility of their intention to work here was received by the Council one month after the repaving works had finished. Had we known they intended to work there we would have rescheduled our paving works or brought the utility works forward to ensure they were completed in the more satisfactory order.
While we cannot stop the utility from undertaking works in the newly laid footway they have agreed to ensure that the footway is restored to the standard they found it in. Officers made it a condition of the works that they complete a “first-time-permanent” reinstatement to avoid any unsightly temporary surfaces which normally a utility is entitled to leave for up to 6 months after works. We also will be undertaking extra monitoring to ensure that the works are completed promptly and efficiently.”
We have called for an urgent meeting with G.Network to ensure residents get earlier notification of works and for effective coordination between the Council and G.Network to ensure that recently re-laid pavements and resurfaced roads are not dug up just a few weeks later.
Porchester Square/Porchester Terrace North
Residents have raised this issue with us:
“The Council removed our large bins for recycling and household waste which were on the corner of Porchester Terrace North and Porchester Square several months ago and the sight has become a popular dumping sight. Please may we have our bins back.”
Councillor Carman says:
“The bins were removed because of persistent fly tipping. CCTV showed it was a number of local people who were responsible. After the bins were removed the fly tipping stopped. Lately though it has started up again, so we have asked the Council to monitor this and take the necessary action against those responsible.”
Inver Court, Inverness Terrace
We have asked the Parking Team to take action at Inver Court after receiving this message:
“I would like to raise an urgent problem with the area near the entrance gate. We have repeatedly found illegal parkers using this area day in day out and blocking the access for delivery vans, waste removal lorries and most importantly the emergency services. Could you please arrange for the area to be put back onto the radar of the local traffic wardens? They explained that it had previously been part of their patrolling and ticketing location but was then removed for not obvious reasons.”
The Parking Team say:
“Inver Court is private property and has never been enforced by Parking Services. Inverness Terrace, however, is part of the Council’s Controlled Parking Zone, it is visited by the marshals on a daily basis, and any vehicles left parked on the existing Double Yellow Lines (DYLs), situated across the entrance to Inver Court, would be subjected to enforcement action by PCN or asked to move on, if parked inappropriately, without permission, or for longer than permitted. In light of the concerns, I have asked the marshals to keep a close eye on that area of Inverness Terrace, to ensure access to Inver Court is not restricted.”
Following enquiries from residents, Councillor Maggie Carman urged the Council to take action to improve safety along Westbourne Passage by cutting down the overgrown foliage. Residents said:
“The greenery in our passage between Westbourne Park Villas and Westbourne Park Road is getting thicker and bushier every week, and the request made to the owners of the gardens made by one of the WCC officials following your alert do not appear to have been answered or adhered to. The greenery makes the passage even darker now and your photographs illustrated exactly the fear that residents have of going down this passage, especially after the mugging which recently took place down there”
The overgrown foliage has now been cut back and residents say:
“Could you add a great thank you in your next newsletter, to Cllr Maggie Carman for the help she has given in getting the greenery cut back in Westbourne Park Villas Passage which, before it was done, was making it very difficult to walk through. Plus, removing the danger of potential muggers being able to hide in the overgrown bushes which was making local residents quite nervous about walking there. Also, for her help in trying to get our footbridge made safer for pedestrians crossing over the railway lines. This has always been an area of for attack and it seems that it is impossible to improve it thanks to no official body being willing to take on the responsibility for protective measures – she tried her best for us.”
Inverness Terrace/Porchester Gardens
We asked the Council to cut back the climbing plants at this location so that the plaque to Beatrice Viscountess Samuel can be seen:
“I’m writing about the miniature garden at the northwest corner of Inverness Terrace and Porchester Gardens. This garden was originally dedicated to Viscountess Beatrice Samuel (see https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/beatrice-viscountess-samuel), a lifelong resident of the area, suffragist, and aunt of Rosalind Frankin, the famous DNA scientist. It is one of very few memorials in Westminster to women.
Unfortunately, since the addition several years ago of the bust of Skanderbeg, the 15th century Albanian national hero, the two plaques on the wall, which can be seen clearly in the picture on the London Remembers website, have both become completely obscured by trees and climbing plants, and it now appears as if the garden is dedicated to Skanderbeg. Would it be possible to get the excess vegetation cleared so that Beatrice can resume her rightful place?”
Beatrice was a lifelong member of the New West End Synagogue in St Petersburgh Place, and was one of the founders of the Jewish League for Woman Suffrage (which was established by members of her family and also campaigned for changes in Jewish religious law to give equality to women). Her husband, Viscount Samuel, who was at onetime leader of the Liberal Party – as a backbencher – put forward the first bill supporting women’s suffrage – which became the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918. He had apparently originally been opposed to suffrage and it is thought his wife’s views and activities persuaded him to change his mind.
Update – The Parks Manager says: “I will arrange to have the foliage cut back so that the memorial plaque is clearly visible”.
We have had it reported that there are rough sleepers using the undercroft of 270. Gloucester Terrace – believed to be part of a Roma organised begging gang. We have asked the Council to take the appropriate action.
Linton House, Hallfield
We have asked the Housing Department to fix a long standing damp issue in a flat in Linton House.
We have asked the Rough Sleeping Team to investigate concerns that rough sleepers have sought refuge in the building site at 33-36 Princes Square and to offer assistance to the people involved. A Council officer has now attended and instructed the contractors to secure the site so as to prevent rough sleeping.
Cleveland Terrace area
We have asked the Lighting Team to investigate these issues:
“Conway contractors who have just finished resurfacing this portion of Cleveland Terrace have damaged a street light on the corner of Westbourne Terrace and Cleveland Terrace. Perhaps this can be brought to their attention for repair.A street light seems to be permanently on outside appx. no. 140 Gloucester Terrace. Perhaps that could also be looked at.”
Cleveland Terrace – rubbish dumping
We have arranged for the Refuse Collection Team to inspect a regular rubbish dumping ‘hot spot’ with local residents to work out away to deter those responsible. Residents say:
“It has for pretty much the past 3 or 4 years.There have been 3 rubbish tips in Cleveland Terrace since the beginning ofDecember. I phoned the environmental line concerning this. One tip was onlypartially cleared. I still have notreceived a satisfactory reply as to why the signs so very very close toproper large black bins continue to encourage this tipping.The signs are misleading and should perhaps be removed? The tips are noteven cleared according to the schedule.”
Councillor Maggie Carman wrote to the Council to urge the Council to stop Everyone Active imposing large price increases on the pay as you go tariff at Porchester Spa which disadvantages many local residents.
As a result of Maggie’s letter in support of users who opposed the price increases, the Council has now agreed to rethink the proposed increased charges.
Also, we made enquiries after one of the steam rooms was out of action, following electrical problems. The Council said:
“The lighting units in the steam room were fitted too tightly and resulted in one cracking that did allow water ingress.”
Artesian Road black bins – update
Following theresidents’ petition for a trial removal of the bins, the Council has requested further details of usage levels and extent of fly tipping before approving the trial. The City Inspectors are carrying out further monitoring of the bins over the next few weeks. There have been a larger than average number of reports of fly tipping by the bins which seem to act as a magnet for fly tippers. The City Inspectors say that all houses and flats have sufficient capacity for disposal of refuse via individual and (for blocks of flats) communal bin areas.
We have asked the local Inspector to investigate this issue:
“I noticed that the shop at 35 Craven Road, Supermarche, has started a habit of leaving palettes outside most days. They also started to put an sign on the pavement to advertise their left luggage service. Both are unsightly. Is there anyone that can give them a warning to stop doing this. The Nisa shop, after a visit from the council has stopped leaving their cages outside – so the council visit was effective.”
Westminster Council tenants – Thames Water charges
We have received the following update from the Council:
“Thames Water have terminated their agreement with us for the collection of water charges with effect from 31 March 2020.From 1 April 2020 Thames Water will charge council tenants directly for their water services. This means we will stop adding fixed costs for water to our tenants weekly rent and service charge bills from this date. Tenants will then pay Thames Water directly for their water use.
We are writing to tenants this week to let them know about the changes.Thames Water plan to write to tenants later this month to set up their accounts in advance of their first bills which we expect they will receive in late Feb to early March for the period April 1 2020 to 31 March 2021. Thames Water will offer payments in instalments and offer social tariffs which could see some eligible tenants’ bills reduced by 50 per cent.
More information including advice for tenants can be found online here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/yourhousing/news/changes-tenants-thames-water-bills-and-how-save-50”
Climate Change Tips for the month
Reduce, reuse and recycle: Every year an estimated 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill. Instead of buying new clothes, buy secondhand clothes from charity shops. It’s possible to find good quality clothes that often last longer than their new, often more cheaply made counterparts. If you’re looking for something in particular, check out Oxfam’s online shop: www.oxfam.org.uk/shop
If you like the idea of a clothes swap, where you bring something you don’t want any longer in exchange for something someone else is getting rid of, there are a few swap shops around London www.timeout.com/london/shopping/best-swap-shops-in-london and a few Swap events that take place at different locations www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–london/clothes-swap/
If it’s difficult for you to get to a charity shop, or if you have items that are too heavy or bulky to carry, list them on Freecycle which is a great place to get rid of things, as people will come to you to collect https://freecycle.org/
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
Porchester Spa – what you say
“Thank you for investigating the huge price increases at Porchester Spa. I notice that Everyone Active has also introduced large price increases on the Pay-as-you-go tariffs for activities at Porchester Centre, which penalises residents who do not wish to get a membership. With the almost continual problems at that centre – there is almost always something, like showers not working; lockers broken; no hot water; music system jammed; admin errors – I am not inclined to get a membership. When you could just go on the day and see how things were running, pay as you go was a good option, but with the price increases I am inclined to go elsewhere, where at least you get good and consistent service for the same price. Shame.”
Engine Idling – what you say
“For at least three years we have been complaining to TFL and Westminster about the illegal Taxi rank outside the Hilton Hotel on Praed Street. At peak periods the taxi queue can extend back down Craven road, across Westbourne Terrace and sometimes it has been as far down as the Gloucester Terrace crossing with most drivers having their engines idling. In the heat of last summer the air quality was abysmal. There have been numerous reports and complaints, it even featured on the front cover of the SEBRA News yet still it persists. TFL have put an officer at the location on occasion and we get a relatively pollution free period but the officer will only be there for a few hours and then its back to normal. Ask a taxi driver to switch his engine off and your likely to get a response which will turn the air even bluer than it already is.”
What you say
“Thank you for your work”
“Westminster have contacted me this morning and have arranged for one of their surveyors to look at the issue next Wednesday. Thank you for your help it’s much appreciated.”
“Thank you team”
“You’ve been more than helpful. You achieved something that I’d been trying to sort out for years. I’m impressed. Thank you”
“Thank you very much for your prompt helpful reply to this enquiry over charges. We resolved our questions – happy to have you represent us!”
“Lovely meeting you at your surgery today. Thank you so much your advice”
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