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News from Maida Vale Councillors Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis
And the Little Venice Labour Action Team – Iman Less, Murad Qureshi and Sue Wolff
In these unprecedented times, we all need to care of ourselves and help our neighbours. For the latest information, visit the following:
- Health advice
- Westminster Council’s advice and response website:
- The Council operates a ‘Local Support Payment’ scheme:
If you are willing and able to volunteer to help in the community support operations please register at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/volunteer-help-your-community
If you are concerned about anyone who you think requires care and support please phone 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email email@example.com
If you or anyone in your household has symptoms you are advised to stay at home. If you are staying at home and need help please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have had to cancel our regular advice surgeries but are available by email and phone. Also, here are some contact details for other advice agencies
We have issued the following statement on the coronavirus epidemic, with details of the additional actions we believe need to be taken to protect the most vulnerable
We have made enquiries with our local City Inspector about this issue:
“Over the past 2-3 years, estate agents’ boards have started appearing in Elgin Avenue (between Shirland Road junction and Chippenham Road). I was always under the impression that boards are not allowed in this section of the road and for very many years we have had none. Could you clarify whether advertising of any kind is allowed in this stretch of road? If so, can we enforce a time limit post sale for the boards to remain?”
The City Inspector says:
“Estate Agent boards are allowed along Elgin Avenue in the stretch described. However, there is an exception; from Lanhill Road to Shirland Road on the Lanhill Road side of Elgin Avenue is a conservation area, and no boards are permitted at any time here. From Shirland Road to Lanark Road, Elgin Avenue is completely in a conservation area.Having said this, boards are entitled to stay up for two weeks after the sale or the let of the property goes through. We’ll keep an eye out on the area to ensure compliance.”
We have received this enquiry:
“The pavement on Randolph Avenue between Elgin Avenue and Carlton Vale really needs replacing. My children are constantly tripping on the uneven and broken pavement tiles. This is a high traffic area between Maida Vale station and Paddington recreation ground and has not been replaced in the 10 years I’ve been living in the area. For some reason the pavements on Randolph Avenue closer to the canal appear to have all been replaced over the last few years. The drainage on that part of Randolph Avenue is also very poor with large pools of water remaining in the gutter for long periods of time after rainy periods.”
We have managed to get the Randolph Avenue pavement between Elgin Avenue and Carlton Vale included in the 2022/23 maintenance schedule and on the reserve list for 2020/21.
In respect of the drains, the recent wet weather has shown how many have become blocked and we’re reported a number to the Council, including around Maida Vale Station. The Highways team have promised priority action. Meanwhile, if you see anything needing urgent action, please let Westminster know via the ReportIT service. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
Dockless Bike Hire
We have received this enquiry from a resident:
“I notice that the shared e-bike scheme called JUMP – I believe owned by Uber – does not include much of Westminster in its permitted parking area. I live on Sutherland Avenue and I find these bikes very useful as a supplement to my normal transportation.Is there a specific reason why the council does not allow these bikes to be parked across Westminster?”
There are real issues with bikes and scooters left on the pavement and blocking the way for the blind and partially sighted and people in wheelchairs/pushchairs too. We receive a great many complaints about this from residents. For that reason, London Councils (the body representing all the London boroughs) is pushing through a bylaw that will allow them to regulate shared bikes/scooters. This cannot really be done on a borough by borough basis as rider, understandably, don’t recognise London’s borough boundaries. The bye-law should be completed this year.
Westminster Council has not been particularly co-operative and has refused to meet with the hire companies. Lime Bikes is particularly keen to engage Westminster and has been rebuffed. Once the bye-law has been agreed, we will then be calling on Westminster Council to run a proper consultation to find a way forward that meets the needs of both riders and pedestrians.
Maida Vale Studios – update
The latest we have is the Historic England are still considering listing all or part of the studios. There has been an interim report but we’ve no indication when we can expect a final decision.
We have checked with Westminster’s Planning Team and the BBC has not been in touch with them about future plans. We expect much depends on Historic England’s final decision and we know that many local residents have written in support of listing. We will let you have more news when we have it,
We have received this enquiry:
“Why is Lanark Road between Sutherland Ave and Clifton Road still a 30mph limit whilst going north it is 20mph? In this stretch there are both Leonora House and schools.”
We have checked with council officials and nobody has a satisfactory explanation about why Lanark Road wasn’t included in the 20 mph limit. The good news is that a blanket 20 mph limit is likely to come into force throughout Westminster later his year. It’s going through the final stages of consultation now.
Kilburn Park Road – parking
We are continuing to press the Parking Team to take action about this issue:
“It’s amazing that Brent residents have more freedom of parking that Westminster residents on our road. I pay my Council tax to Westminster and therefore expect their support. Surely people who pay parking have the absolute right to park in their own street not people who do not choose to pay then you take pot luck. Every time this issue comes up we get some lame excuse for not extending our parking times to later in the evening and the weekend. I do not tend to go out in the evening recently as I have no parking when I get home. This is affecting my social life and I do not think it’s right”
We asked Westminster Council to consider extending parking controls and got this response:
“Whilst extending C zone permit holder controls is the obvious answer, we would only be able to do this after a full consultation exercise with, and the support of, local WCC residents, businesses and stakeholders. It should therefore be noted that whilst extending controls would benefit C zone permit holders, it could conversely be to the detriment, in parking terms, of other Westminster residents who require casual visitor parking during the evenings and weekends, or those Westminster residents who value the freedom of parking at these times without the need for a permit: we cannot assume that all vehicles not displaying a Westminster C zone permit are from LB Brent.”
We’re not going to give up on this and will keep Kilburn Park Road residents updated with news as we have it.
Kilburn Park Road – road safety
We are working with Council officers and St Augustine’s School on plans for highway improvements. These will include improved pedestrian crossing facilities, wider footways and rationalised parking and loading facilities. The objective is to make the area safer during the morning and afternoon peaks.
A resident asked whether the trees on Delaware Road would be pruned this year. The Council replied:
“The pear trees have not previously been reduced and have not been included in our winter pruning programme as the mature London planes in the street are. These are potentially at the size now where they could be pruned. I will take a look and get back to you.”
Oak Tree House
Following objections from local residents and your Maida Vale Councillors, Westminster Council has rejected plans for a large and very ugly telecoms mast on top of Oak Tree House on Delaware Road.
The Squirrel Pub
Owners of The Squirrel have had their redevelopment plans rejected for a second time in less than a year. Freeholder, The Cowell Group had hoped to turn the pub into a pharmacy but its plans were refused by Westminster Council on March 4. Westminster Council said the pub’s loss ‘would be to the community’s detriment’ and that the pharmacy proposals ‘would fail to preserve or enhance the setting of the neighbouring Maida Vale Conservation Area’.
We continue to press Westminster Council for action around Milad Supermarket on Maida Vale, where unloading activity often blocks the pavements and bus stop. Westminster officers told us:
“This is a known parking hotspot and is already subject to enhanced monitoring. The main issue is, as reported, that vehicles load for longer than permitted and block the bus stop. At times there are vehicles waiting to get into the bus stop to load and this creates more obstruction. Parking have now issued instructions to NSL for further increases to the monitoring. On Saturday morning it will be subject to visits every thirty minutes by a Marshal. Data will be collected to explore the potential need for camera enforcement (but that can only be deployed when there is documented evidence of the problem) as the main offence here is one that can be enforced by that sort of monitoring should it be required. We will undertake the additional enforcement over the coming two months and subject to what is found will propose further measures or actions after that period.”
Thurso House -new council housing
We are working with Westminster officers on plans for a new in-fill housing block on part of the car park of Thurso House on Randolph Gardens. This will include one two-bed, two three-bend and one four-bed flats which will be available for social rent with a local lettings policy. This scheme has now been through the second round of consultation and could be available for housing local families in 2022.
We have received enquiries about this issue from a number of residents:
“To your point on the drains outside 123 cleaners, next to the telephone box: they are still blocked. Also, there is a big puddle of nasty black water sitting on top of a drain on Shirland Road, outside Day True. This drain has been blocked for a long time and the splash water when the traffic goes by has caught many unsuspecting pedestrians. “
“Regarding other drains that need unblocking – the one at Maida Vale tube station almost outside Banana Tree needs to be cleared.”
The wet weather has exposed a number of blocked drains in the area and we reported the drain outside Banana Tree (and some others) to the City Inspector.
We have again asked the Council to take action against a number of offices in Pindock Mews who are leaving food waste out on the street which is unhygienic, unsightly and attracting vermin.
Edgware Road Station (Bakerloo line)
Planned maintenance work on both lifts at the Bakerloo Line Edgware Road station will start on Monday 23 March and continue until early June. The work will improve the reliability of the lifts. One lift will remain in service at all times, but at peak times there could be queues to enter/exit the station.
Please allow more time for your journeys and move down inside the lift car. Alternatively, take care when using the stairs, which have 125 steps, or walk to nearby Edgware Road (Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines) station and change at Baker Street if necessary.
St Mary’s Churchyard, Paddington Green
We have asked the Parks Department to look in to this issue:
“We have noticed that over the past three or four years, St Mary’s Churchyard by Paddington Green has been re-landscaped with most of the grass lawns left to grow wild and thus no longer suitable for use by families and in particular children because of the long grass, numerous weeds and much dog mess that cannot be scooped up by their owners.
Since we have lived here we have observed these extensive lawns have been the only proper open space for use as play and picnicking for the many thousands of residents who live around and very near to this park. There are many thousands of flats with little or no private open space or even integrated balconies.And now we have large areas of horrible unfriendly wild grass and weeds galore, including stinging nettles and thistles and other prickly weeds all of which are and have closed down the lovely well-groomed green grass lawns of yesteryear.I am all for wilding but in the right places where it would be effective and relevant.”
The Parks Department say:
“Over the past three years we’ve removed approximately a third of the tarmac pathways and converted these to a wildflower meadow area which is intended to promote biodiversity whilst also leaving large areas of mown grass for residents to enjoy picnics etc. The site was independently assessed as meeting the ‘Green Flag’ quality standard again this year and the council also won the prestigious Britain in Bloom ‘council of the year’ award for the quality of all of our parks and open spaces.”
John Aird Court
The playground fencing at John Aird Court has now been replaced. A new and more robust fencing has been installed to prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the area.
The meeting room at Braithwaite Tower has been completely refurbished and is now being used for resident meetings, consultation events and local residents’ surgeries.
Karen Buck MP says – “Homes are being turned into hotels. We need a national registration scheme for short-term lets”
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:
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 options).
What you say
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Keep well, take care and look after yourselves and your neighbours.
Councillors Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis
Your Maida Vale Labour Action Team
You can read our news here
Iman Less, Murad Qureshi and Sue Wolff
Your Little Venice Labour Action Team
You can read our news here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/your-ward/little-venice/