News from your three Queen’s Park Ward Labour Councillors Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Hamza Taouzzale
234 Portnall Road
We are delighted that piles of rubbish have now been cleared from the front garden of 234 Portnall Road by Westminster Council, following our requests for urgent action. While long-awaited legal action has been taken Westminster City Council against the owners of 234 Portnall Road requiring them to take action to repair the property in the next three months, the front garden remained in an awful state of dereliction. We told the Council:
“This amount of decaying rubbish is not only unsightly, it must also pose a risk to nearby residents and properties. It is a magnet for vermin and for those who want to dump stuff on top of what’s already there. Surely there must be something that can be done to clear the rubbish while ownership of the house is being resolved.”
The Council has served a Section 215 notice on the owners of 234 Portnall Road on 20th December 2019 which took effect on 29th January 2020. There is a compliance period of 3 months from the date on which the Notice took effect requiring the owners to do urgent repairs to the house.
“I saw this last evening and assumed the legal notice had worked but seems you had to intervene. Certainly is a big relief as this was definitely a health hazard. Its a permanent home for many pigeons and I shudder to think how bad it must be on the inside. “
Kilburn Lane/Fifth Avenue bus stop
Following our enquiries with TfL, we are pleased to say the ‘Countdown’ bus information on the bus shelter at the Kilburn Lane/Fifth Avenue bus stop has been restored: Residents say:
“The bus timings sign is back on our stop, we were all so happy this morning!”
We are supporting residents’ objections to the proposal to locate 12 telecommunications antenna masts on the roof of Naylor House. Residents have objected on a number of grounds, see here:
Queen’s Park Court
We have asked the Housing Department to investigate the use of the car parks at Queen’s Park Court by non-residents. Residents say:
“Builders seem to park all the time, vans, cars and lorries are constantly parking on the residents’ car parks some are Moberley customers and some commuters. Also, some of them had got a permit somehow and they only work here. I haven’t seen a traffic warden for years.”
We have also asked the Housing Department to liaise with Thames Water after a number of residents again raised the issue of low water pressure in some flats in Queen’s Park Court.
Jubilee Sport Centre
Demolition works has begun on Caird Street, Lancefield Street and Third Avenue as part of the Jubilee site redevelopment project. Initial activity started on site from 17th February in the form of repairing, realigning and repainting the hoardings, and large vehicle movement. The full details are here
We have asked the Highways to fillina large pothole in Droop Street close to the junction with Fifth Street. A few days later, residents told us, “All repaired, thank you”
We have asked Nuno, our local Inspector, to arrange for the litter in a tree guard on Ilbert Street to be cleared of rubbish and for the tree guard to be removed. The tree has now been cleared of rubbish and will be monitored to see if this is a regular occurrence.
We asked Nuno to investigate and arrange the removal of an abandoned motorcycle outside 218 Third Avenue.
We asked Nuno to investigate and arrange the removal of two abandoned motorcycles outside 59 Fifth Avenue.
We have asked Network Housing, who own 157 Bravington Road, when the
front garden will be cleared of rubbish, includingmattresses, a toilet cistern, large water tank.
We are continuing to press the Parking Team to take action against the owners of the parked motorhome. Residents say:
“The motor home continues to park illegally (has had a number of PCNs) as well as a trade vehicle branded CMR City Recycling. I have yet to see a PCN on the latter. This illegal parking has been going on for months. I have a suspicion that the vehicles are linked.”
“It’s still there collecting tickets except it’s moved back to where it started. They’ve managed to hit the resident parking sign which is now bent outside the school! I cannot believe it takes this long to move it by the relevant department. “
The Parking Team say:
“The vehicle is being actively pursed and multiple PCNs have been issued.”
We have again asked Octavia when the scaffolding, which has been around various properties for over two years, will be removed. Residents say:
“Last year Octavia said they will have final Ashmore Road scaffolding up until the middle of January 2020 at latest. The scaffolding is still up and we are now into February. Can you please follow up on when the never-ending 2yr+ scaffolding is now meant to come down?”
“We currently have three scaffolds up on Ashmore Road, 262 and 160 side and rear will be coming down this week once the winds subside and 178 is having the flat roof at the rear replaced again having failed my inspection. 191 Ashmore Road requires access to remove the scaffold at the rear and we are waiting on a response from the resident.”
Also, we have again asked the Tree Officer when the dead tree outside 86 Ashmore Road will be replaced.
The bike abandoned outside 16 Huxley Street has now been removed.
The motorcycle abandoned outside 218 Third Avenue has now been removed.
Fifth Avenue/Nutbourne Street – skip lorries
We have called on Westminster Council to take urgent action to stop skip lorry companies using streets on the Queen’s Park estate as a ‘rat run’ to avoid traffic on Harrow Road and Kilburn Lane. The problem streets appear to be centred on Nutbourne Street and Fifth Avenue where the skip lorries make a hug noise as they travel at speed over the speed humps. Residents say:
“I had one last week go along just before 6:30 a.m. there are now at least five different skip companies using our roads.”
‘They continue to explode over speed bumps, avenues and side streets. Two lorry “explosions” this morning as they travel the streets with humps, honestly, just like explosions. The drivers clearly couldn’t give any hoots. Beyond the huge bangs, the side chains clang like demonic bells.”
“Rather a surge in our skip lorries last two weeks. All seem to be contractors, can’t see all names, but Simpsons and Donoghue noted. Earliest was 8am yesterday. They tend to cluster. And, as we know, oh the boom explosion over bumps.”
The Highways Team say:
“Following on from your emails, I can consider options for banning lorries through Fifth and Sixth Avenues as part of the forthcoming traffic order about to advertised for Harrow Road/Ladbroke Grove junction project. The orders for Harrow/Kilburn junction are nearly ready to be advertised, so it may be difficult to add significant changes to these without delaying them, but a lorry ban ‘except for loading/access’ on two entry points into the area could be accommodated.
At the moment, there is no restriction on skip lorries using these roads, so despite our efforts to contact them and ask them not to use Fifth/Sixth Avenues, they are technically in their right to use them however inappropriate it might be. We did automated traffic counts in September last year on both streets and found that 2 axle van/lorries accounted for 6% of all vehicles, on average 3-4 lorries in either direction every hour. Whilst these numbers are not considered high, I appreciate the situation may have worsened since then, possibly related to construction works nearby, and also there is a risk that our Harrow/Kilburn junction ‘green man’ project could lead to HGV rat-running through Fifth/Sixth Avenues to avoid any delay on north/south route via Kilburn Lane.
As we have explained previously, normally to put in a lorry ban would mean an area-wide approach including a study. However, the alternative available that I am suggesting is to ban 7.5t Goods Vehicle entry points on Fifth and Sixth avenues only, with the risk that this could shift the problem further east. However, we could monitor this and act accordingly.”
We have asked the Housing Department to investigate the yellow brick block on Kilburn Lane on the corner of Herries Street. It’s in a sorry state and looks neglected.
It’s had double-glazing installed but many of the front doors look as if they are from the 1950s.There are glass panels which let the heat out and generally in poor condition.
Several gardens on the ground floor are full of junk – particularly 270 and 270a. 270 has clothing strewn around the porch.There is a huge crack in the wall next to 276 on the ground floor which extends up into the first floor balcony. The crack looks as if was poorly repaired at some point but has opened up again. It also looked very wet. The crack extending into the concrete balcony is worrying. 276 has been empty since September 2019 when the previous tenant was evicted.On the first floor there is a large puddle of water extending right across the balcony for several yards. We have made enquiries about this block in the past but told that works are not envisaged for some years.
Symphony Mews, Bliss Mews and Beethoven Street
A2Dominion tells us they are planning improvements to Bin Storage areas at Symphony Mews, Bliss Mews and Beethoven Street. In addition, grounds improvements are planned to Herries and Dowland entrances. Also, ‘Sheffield’ Bike Stands will be installed in Dowland, in collaboration with Westminster City Council.
Portnall Road/Coomassie Road
We have asked the Tree Officer to inspect a tree which was damaged in the recent storms and got the following reply:
“If we can’t get a replacement tree in this year we will add it to next year’s planting list.”
Portnall Road – Street Lights outside 257/259
We have asked the Street Lighting team to fix this faulty light:
“The street lights outside 257-259 Portnall Road have been off now for nearly 6 weeks. Multiple people have complained about it on the Report it site including me but no action has been taken. It does feel unsafe especially at night and luckily nothing untoward has happened but I hope people responsible are not waiting for it.”
The Street Lighting Team say:
“I have checked column 3 outside 257 to 259 Portnall Road, the job confirms that this requires a new lantern and I have asked our service provider for an update in regards to the installation.”
The Housing Departments tell us:
“After consulting with the residents on Mozart estate, we have put together a My Estate Action Plan as part of the Local Housing Services Offer. Together, we agreed on nine priority actions the residents would like prioritised. These include taking enforcement action against residents leaving items in the communal area, tackling condensation in the block, installing CCTV to deter anti-social behaviour, addressing repairs and unauthorised parking.
An action plan with 8 priorities for the estate has recently been agreed.
These include repairs to the main gates; exploring options to deter ASB; removal of abandoned bicycles and scooters; exploring ongoing suitability of the rubbish chutes; increasing recycling and providing bicycle racks.”
We have asked Brent Council for an update on when the redevelopment of the Falcon pub area will start. Residents say:
“Thesite has been empty for quite some time now and is beginning to look more and more derelict as time goes by.”
Brent Council has told us that the proposed redevelopment has fallen through over viability issues. Brent say:
“We are now exploring other options to bring the site forward including potentially purchasing the Falcon Pub site ourselves. More detail can be found on the link below on agenda item 14. http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=455&MId=5358&Ver=4
Officers have been working on this to bring site forward as soon as possible.”
Advice for Westminster Council tenants
Westminster Housing Department is advising tenants to inform their insurance company if there is scaffolding attached to their property. Apparently, some insurance companies may not pay on any claims if scaffolding isn’t reported.
Following residents’ concerns about continued dog fouling on the pavement, Crissie Chambers tells us:
“The Council has contacted me regarding dog bags for the dog owners both in the community and workshop and will be dropped off by the Dog Warden when she is next on patrol. Our patrols have mainly been with Nuno Reis, our Local inspector, because we can vary our times and days to make dog owners aware and hopefully make the public feel safe and enjoy our local parks.”
Bravington Road shooting
The police have issued this update following the recent fatal shooting in Bravington Road:
“A second man has been charged with murder following a shooting on Bravington Road, Queen’s Park on Wednesday, 29 January.Errol James, 51, (26.10.68) of Bruckner Street, W9 was further arrested on Wednesday, 5 February and was charged later that day with attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday, 6 February where he was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on 3 March.
Romello Briggs-Leon, 25 (21.01.1995), of Second Avenue, W10 was arrested on Monday, 3 February and charged with attempted murder in the early hours of Tuesday, 4 February. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court the same day and was also remanded to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 3 March.”
We have asked the Police and the Council to let us know what action is being taken on this serious situation:
“I wanted to bring to your attention that there have been a huge surge in child muggings on the run up to Christmas and throughout January. The muggings are well documented through local forums – including Kensal Rise FB page. Many parents are extremely worried about their children coming home from school. Some assaults have been violent. Children are threatened with beatings and knives. It seems many of these are happening near to the Avenues and around Moberly Centre, Tesco Metro (Chamberlayne Road – corner Kilburn Lane area), and also by Queens Park station. Some children are being followed on public transport. School children are being target for their money, phones and earphones. There have also been adult muggings. Some mothers are requesting that local shops and businesses offer safe spaces for the children – but what could we do stop the muggings in the first place?”
The Police say:
“I have met with the Brent Team and discussed the issues. It is apparent that they are having more issues than we are with this and they are taking the lead on it.There does appear to be some degree of cross border offending and I have offered our assistance to help them with their planned activities to disrupt and/or bring people to justice for these offences.
They have been working on a solution to prevent further offences in partnership with the local schools. This will run alongside the ongoing individual investigations into the individual offences.
It is not clear from the emails if all of the offences have been reported to police. If anybody hears about further incidents that have not been reported, please encourage the victim or parent to report via 101 (999 if in progress) or online via https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/
Whilst each individual case may not be solvable on its own, the combination of evidence and intelligence from all the cases put together will give us a better chance of catching those responsible and bringing them to justice.”
Warning – roof repair scam
A resident has alerted us to this possible scam:
“I have just been visited in the Avenues by a man claiming he spotted a loose tile etc on my roof that needs fixing. He gave every appearance of the scam where, depending on the vulnerability of the resident, either a quick fix is arranged at what turns out to be an extortionate rate, sometimes with damage to the roof, or with the addition that the entire area needs emergency attention, followed by a large bill, threats, visits, door kicking until a major payout occurs.”
We have told the police and the Council who are investigating. Trading Standards say:
“We will be contacting the complainant to see what info he can give us about this incident. If there is any cross boundary or other intel we can investigate further.We will also consider leaflet drops in the vicinity warning of this type of scam, and what to do if approached in this way.”
If you are suspicious, please make a report to Trading Standards who are keen to hear about bogus workmen.
Ward Budget – How we have spent the money this year
We have £46,000 a year to spend on projects benefiting local residents. This is how we have spent the money so far:
- A2 Dominion – £1,655 – Summer Activities Club
- Avenues Youth Project – £5,000 – Easter Holiday Programme
- All Sing! Community Choir – £773
- Beauchamp Lodge – £5,000 – Floating Classroom trips for local primary schools
- Community 4 All – £2,105 – Dominoes and Games Night and £1,315 – History of a Record Collection
- Everyone Active – £175 – Summer Cycle Scheme
- Essendine Primary School – £423 – Specialist Speech and Language Service
- Happy Lizzy – £570 – Easter Bunny Egg Hunt
- North Paddington Food Bank – £2,550
- Paddington Arts – £1,800 – Let’s Dance Not Fight
- Paddington Academy – £1,300 – School Trip – and £1,187 – School Library
- Paddington Youth Enterprises – £510 – Christmas Trees
- Paddington Law Centre – £3,316 – Legal Advice Clinic
- Queen’s Park Community Council – £2,000 – Fireworks – and £1,815 – Winter Festival
- Queen’s Park Primary School – £4,000 – School Journey
- St James’s Church – £185 – Paddington Remembrance Service
- St John’s Church – £3,000 – Tree/hedge planting
- Westbourne Park Family Centre – £1,000 – Club Xpress
- Westminster Befriend a Family – £1,650 – Mothers’ Support Group
- Z2K – £3,333 – Housing Advice Clinic
VE Day 75thAnniversary celebrations
St John’s Church is organizing a barbecue on 8thMay as part of the VE Day 75thanniversary celebrations. You can find out more about events at St John’s here https://www.stjohnskensalgreen.org.uk/events.htm
Rita Begum selected as Labour candidate for West Central
Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum has been selected as Labour’s Candidate for West Central at the London Assembly elections on 7thMay 2020. Rita’s priorities are:
- Homes fit for Londoners– I will campaign for more good-quality council homes and to protect residents from the developers and councils that try to short-change them. I’ll work alongside the mayor’s campaign to introduce rent controls and a universal landlord register to crack down on rogue landlords.
- A green new deal for London– I will invite the distinguished economist Ann Pettifor, as well as other experts, to advise the mayor and the London Assembly on the creation of London’s green new deal – from the small ideas that make our lives greener and healthier to a city-wide plan for transition.
- Fight to keep London global– London is a global city and should be open to all. We must fight against racism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and any kind of prejudice. I will stand with the mayor to fight for fairness for all, regardless of race, gender, background, or disability. I will fight for you.
- Really tackle crime– The Tories cut 91% of the youth services budget in Westminster – and the same story has played out in Tory-run areas across London. To truly tackle crime, we need to restore these services, better housing, jobs with a future, and more community-based police.
Climate Change Tips for the month
In order to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfills, try using products that cause less of a footprint, for example there are some health food shops and zero waste shops where you can bring your own containers to refill things like laundry liquid, shampoo and soap. Liberté Cherie in Portobello Road is one such shop and Portobello Wholefoods nearby also offers this on some items. For those who have difficulty travelling, there is an online shop that does the same: www.plasticfreedom.co.uk/fill
Another option is to use environmentally friendly Soap Nuts, which people in India have been using for thousands of years and can be used for laundry, as well as other cleaning and even as shampoo. These will also save you money, as only a few nuts are required per wash and can be reused (tip for the soap nuts – if you soak them in hot water first, the nuts will release more soap, then you can use the liquid for your washing).
Environmental issues/dumped rubbish
We have reported the following for action/removal:
- Dumped mattresses at Harrington Court, Dart Street
- Wood dumped in the garden area of Leeve House
- Broken door/glass at 19 Dowland Street
- Cracks in the wall on Onslow Square
- Rubbish dumped in Farnaby House
- Dumped rubbish in First Avenue
‘One Bag Zero Waste’ campaign
Queens Park Community Council and Westminster City Council have launched a campaign called One Bag Zero Waste in two schools in a bid to support the recycling and reuse of plastics. Run by recycling association A Future Without Rubbish, the campaign will see a design competition in Queens Park and Wilberforce primary schools. After being chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Queens’ Park community council, the winning design from each school will be displayed on reusable bags made from recycled plastic.
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
You can keep an eye on the latest local crime information through the Met Police website:
What you say
“Many thanks for your update and for your time in regard to the development at St Johns Terrace. I am pleased to say the Council have responded quickly regarding the road repair and the parking issue. Just one visit by a parking warden has made a huge difference with commercial bikes that had been permanently parked there disappearing overnight.”
“Thank you for this informative report.”
“I really appreciate your proactivity as always.”
“I am grateful to you and your colleagues for all the hard work you do within this ward. I read your regular newsletter with interest and admiration. There are times when I could add to it but often I find others have already brought the matters to your attention.”
“I would like to thank you for your involvement and helping to resolve this matter.”
“Thank you for intervening regarding the house on Herries Street. There has been no more noise out of them since, which is excellent as I get uninterrupted sleep.
Re 266-268 Kilburn Lane; the toilet has been removed which I am really happy about. It is just wonderful that you are responsive to residents and quickly act on their complaints and that you send this email which both documents and shows actions on complaints.”
“Thanks for your help and support as always.”
“Thanks to you and the team for the great job in our ward”
“Just a thank you for pointing us in the right direction for the blue badge, we now have it and my husband is very grateful. What a difference it has already made, especially being able to park closer to doctors & hospitals, without having to park elsewhere and having to walk.”
“Thank you so much for resolving this issue on my behalf. I really am so very grateful.”
Please let us know if we can be of any assistance.
Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to your neighbours.
Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Hamza Taouzzale
Your Queen’s Park Ward Labour Councillors – Here to Help