News from Councillor Maggie Carman and the Labour Action Teams in Bayswater & Lancaster Gate
We are helping a family in Durham Terrace who have been trying for months to get the Housing Department to fix a leak from a rotting window. They say:
“Morgan Sindall sent a report to Westminster Housing several weeks’ ago informing them that because the windows are rotting, a temporary fix will not last long and so the windows need to be replaced. The rain today has proved that the temporary fix has been inadequate. The surveyor already came to inspect the windows several months’ ago. We are waiting for a response from the Maintenance Department. We have already chased Westminster Housing but still no response. “
“The different stages we have had to go through just to sort the windows has been quite shocking. The expectation is that we can spend hours at home waiting for them to turn up for them to tell you that they need to send someone else round on another date. We have to chase everything. My husband was asked whether he would like to join a residents’ forum as a way of improving communication with the council. He agreed but never heard anything since.”
Westbourne Park Road
We have asked the Tree Officer to investigate this issue:
“During the Ciara storm we were very worried by the prospect of large branches or the trees themselves between 16 and 28 Westbourne Park Road breaking and falling into our house or the houses opposite. It seems a while since they have been cut back/pruned and they are a big hazard in high winds. Can the council look into this and take action or comment when they are due their next trimming?”
Talbot Road/Chepstow Road
We asked the Highways Team to look in to this issue:
“Following up on the below report re Talbot/Chepstow Road crossings’ pedestrian lights, we passed by this weekend and saw there are temporary light structures. Are these because of the Street works and temporary or part of your work post the feasibility study and permanent?”
The Highways Team say:
“The project for the Talbot Road/Chepstow Road pedestrian improvements is currently in feasibility design and at this stage there are no works underway on site. Having said that, after further investigation, it appears there were recent water utility works taking place at this junction that had temporary signals in place. The works were programmed to be completed on 7th February, to which the permanent signals should now be switched back on.”
Westbourne Park Road/St Stephen’s Gardens
We have alerted the Refuse Team to this issue:
“We live opposite the bins at WPR/St Stephen’s Gardens junction and are keen to support your efforts to reduce fly tipping there too… including bags left on the pavement which are then pulled apart by foxes etc.”
Porchester Leisure Centre prices
We are continuing to press the Council to sort out the current chaos over prices at the Porchester Leisure Centre and at the Spa. One user tells us:
“When the Spa was due to close for refurbishment, a statement was issued saying “for all Spa members we would arrange an extension to your membership to cover the closure period once improvement works are complete. Please come and see our membership team who will be happy to assist you”.
When I attended in person to renew my membership, I enquired about this extension. I was told directly by the membership manager that neither she nor any of her team had the authority to grant this. She said she would contact their HQ office and promised to notify me when this had been confirmed. As I hadn’t heard, I went back into the membership office and spoke to someone different. He claimed to have no knowledge of this extension arrangement and agreed to email HQ. I heard no more. I have today returned to the membership office and was told that only the membership manager authorises the extension and she was on holiday. I said I thought it was a HQ responsibility and was told that I was wrong.”
The resident has subsequently received an assurance that his membership will be extended.
We have asked the Refuse Team to investigate this issue:
“Since the bins were removed from the corner of Porchester Terrace North, I spend a lot of energy sorting out all of our recycling (before we would put it all in mixed recycling bags) and taking it to the bins at Waitrose, along with our rubbish. Not only is this a further distance from our flat and we have to individually sort all of the recycling to feed by hand into the bins, but the Waitrose bins have now become a new dumping ground. They are not being emptied and if they are not behind a locked metal gate (the opening hours seem unpredictable) they are overflowing and I just have to add everything to the growing piles on the sidewalk. I feel it’s making the neighborhood look bad. Would you please look into this for us and see whether the bins can be left open and emptied regularly?”
The Waste and Recycling Manager says:
“On-street bins are not intended to be used as the sole means of disposing of rubbish/recycling and will often overflow if too many people use them for this purpose. The council provide a weekly pick-up of mixed recycling in bags and it’s easier to manage resource and reduces the negative consequences of dumped rubbish if this is used by all residents. The collection day for Porchester Square is Tuesday, recycling bags need to be out for collection by 8am.I have asked for Veolia to clear the dumping from this site more frequently”
“I checked the Porchester Road site yesterday evening and it was in an unacceptable state so I’ve reported this to the operations manager. The recent road closure has had an impact on operations but they should be back up to speed by now so no excuses. The cans/plastic bins are collected as mixed recycling so residents can put all the materials in this bin if it makes life easier.”
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate this issue:
“There is currently no access to Porchester Road from either Westbourne Park Road nor Westbourne Gardens due to works to extensive works to the pavements/road. The diversion and the signage in place is, however, not working and is leading to frustrated drivers driving around Westbourne Gardens at high speed in different directions when they realise that they can’t access Porchester Road via Westbourne Gardens. They drive around the square and then have to exist the area via Alexander Street.
A blue light ambulance trying to access Porchester Road via Westbourne Gardens also ended up having to drive around Westbourne Gardens, wasting critical time. Can someone in charge of the diversion please visit and improve the signage, as it looks like the works will not be complete tomorrow and the diversion and signage needs to be improved to avoid any accidents”
Residents in Kensington Gardens Square have again been affected by noise from the Whiteley’s building site. One residents said:
“One of the windows at the rear of the flat cracked during the work outside. It really does not seem that the vibration/decibel level is being monitored/controlled. Our buildings’ foundations and walls must be being damaged by this. “
1-8 Porchester Square
We are continuing to press the Council to improve security at 1-8 Porchester Square and have written to the Director of Housing to ask that he investigates the current delays in taking action.
We are chasing the Council to replace a damaged tree in Westbourne Gardens following contractors working in the area. In addition, we have asked the Tree Officer to replace a dead tree outside 33 Westbourne Park Road. The Tree Officer says:
“We do have these trees on our planting list. I have chased our contractors for an expected planting date”
We are supporting leaseholders at 64/66 Gloucester Gardens with the problems with the communal boiler. Residents say:
“The leaseholders of 66 and 64 Gloucester Gardens were to be polled regarding the installation of individual heating arrangements, and an update was promised for October last year. To date no information has been forthcoming. The opportunity to replace the temporary boiler is fast approaching and a plan to agree and install a permanent solution is now urgently needed.”
We have again contacted the Council about the rough sleepers who gaining access to the building site at 34 Princes Square.
Lord Hills Bridge
Following our enquiries, the lights on the bridge have finally been repaired/replaced.
TheHousing Department tells us theCCTV system on Hallfield estate is now fully working.
Artesian Road black bins – update
The Artesian Road black bins will not be removed at present. We have received the following update from the Council:
“The Environment Bill currently going through Parliament is set to substantially change how the council provides waste collection services to residents and visitors over the next few years. Measures required by the Bill include introducing weekly food waste collections, regular garden waste collection services and a range of measures to reduce packaging waste and substantially boost the quantities of waste diverted for reuse and recycling. Officers are currently considering options on how this could effectively be delivered in Westminster. Given this potential change to services, Cllr Smith has decided to defer a decision on the removal of bins from Artesian Road until the council has agreed a new strategic approach to waste services that will help to tackle the climate emergency.”
Reaction from residents has been split. On the one hand, some residents say:
“For my own part I am more than disappointed – I am appalled – that the heartfelt and entirely reasonable plea from Council Tax payers and residents whose immediate environment has, for nearly two decades, been despoiled and blighted by these bins and their serial abuse by residents and non-residents alike should be so easily dismissed. Yesterday evening, a mountain of filthy, old suitcases – among other rubbish – was dumped at the Artesian Road/Moorhouse Road bins. This was reported and the rubbish removed, only to be replaced this morning, by broken-down office furniture.
This sort of thing happens nearly every day and nearly every night and with no CCTV coverage of the site, the perpetrators continue to get away with their atrocious behaviour. And they will persist with it. Why on earth should long-suffering residents be expected to put up with this any longer? If the bins can’t be removed, at the very least, they should be relocated so that others can enjoy what those of us living close to the bins in their current location have had to for far too long.”
Whilst others say:
“We use those black bins on a daily basis. The shape of our houses, that I am sure you know very well, does not allow to store rubbish anywhere. The main corridor at the entrance is used for prams and kids’ scooters. If Westminster will decide to remove the bins will put us in a terrible and uncomfortable situation, potentially also unsafe and unhealthy.”
“I live on the first and second floors of Needham Road (very close to the bins) and I have no outside space to put a trolley bin for collection, and I have no idea what I am to do with my rubbish if these bins are taken away. There are about 5 or 6 flats in the same situation in Needham Road, and we’re very concerned.”
A House in Bayswater
Councillor Maggie Carman says:
“Just discovered this 1960 Ken Russell 30 minute film – A House in Bayswater. He used to live there. The layout of the house divided into flats looks so familiar but sadly the final frame shows it demolished.”
Craven Road – update
Following our enquiries about a shop leaving pallets on the pavement, residents say:
“I spoke to some staff in the shop and for now they seem to have stopped putting out the pallets.Hopefully it’ll stay that way.Thanks for your help.”
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.
Westminster City Council tenants and leaseholders
Westminster Housing Department as set up an online consultation group. There is a link to follow so that residents can join:
Notting Hill Genesis tenants
Notting Hill Genesis has organised a housing surgery in Westminster on 25th March 2020.This will be an opportunity to meet with local housing staff to discuss issues and to ask questions about any recent changes to the services you receive.The housing surgery details are as follows:
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at Carlton Vale Community Centre, 1 Pentland Road, Kilburn, London, NW6 5RT
To attend this surgery, please sign up for a 30 minute appointment by visiting this link:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/notting-hill-genesis-westminster-housing-surgery-tickets-95869136167
Clean Air Walk
The Stop Heathrow 3rdrunway campaign has organised a monthly Clean Air Walk. These will take place on the last Sunday of every month and the next one will be on March 29th 2020 at 11.30am, meeting point – inside the gate leading from Bayswater Road on to the Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens.
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).
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:
Also, here are details of 9 companies that reward you for donating unwanted things, from H&M to M&S https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/worklife/g15049323/brands-reward-throwing-things-away/
The new Report It service has been unveiled. Let us know what you think https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
You can register here https://www.fixmystreet.com/alert for alerts of everything reported in your area (just use your post code and it will offer you the option).
Recycling – what you say
“At The Cleveland Arms we have for the last 12 months been separating all food waste including both bones, oyster shells etc that is collected on a daily basis and goes to a local composting site. The composer is then reused in local parks and other areas. By doing this it has become much easier for us to get a routine in separating all food items/cans/other plastics and paper for recycling. “
What you say
“Thank you for all your hard work!”
“Very much appreciate all the work you are doing. Do like your new Climate Change Tip section.”
“It’s nice to know our one Labour councillor in the ward is so efficient and responsive. Thank you so much.”
“Thank you for your continued good work and support.”
“I have read with interest your update reports and I would thank you and your team for all the issues you take on. You were obviously very instrumental in supporting us at Swanleys over City West Homes, for which I personally am very grateful”
“Thanks again for all of your help.”
“Thanks for always being so responsive to our concerns.”
“I just want to say thank you. Thank you again for your support. I am sure without it this may not have happened”
“Many thanks for unblocking this. Your email to Neil Wightman clearly did the trick.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
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Councillor Maggie Carman, Dafydd Ellis and Max Sullivan
Bayswater and Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team
Councillor Maggie Carman holds drop-in surgeries on the first and third Saturday of every month from 2pm to 3.30pm at Paddington Library, 45 Porchester Road, London W2 5DU.
Angela Piddock, Elizabeth Whitmore and Simon Wyatt
Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team