West End Labour Action Team
West End Labour Action Team

News from Councillor Pancho Lewis and the West End Labour Action Team


Meeting about Rubbish Bags on Streets

I have continued to receive correspondence from residents about rubbish bags being left on the street and not being collected. I had planned to hold a meeting in June with residents and the local Council officer in charge of collection services to help co-create solutions, but this is being pushed back until further notice. I’ll keep you updated.

Free Use of Rooms for the Community

I have taken up this issue with the Council’s Director for Community Services:

“It looks like at the Fitzrovia Community Centre all use of rooms are charged. These are not inexpensive amounts, most are in the region of £40 an hour. http://www.fitzroviacommunitycentre.org/prices-and-payments

I strongly believe there should be access for communities to community spaces free of charge. What can the Council do to ensure community groups can access community spaces free at the point of use?”

Busking in Oxford Street

North Mayfair residents – specifically those living in Peabody flats around Brown Hart Gardens and neighbouring areas – until recently continued to raise complaints about buskers performing in very close proximity to their homes. I am continuing to lobby the Council to do more to protect residents’ right to peace and quiet.

In the long-term, the Council’s busking consultation provides an opportunity to fix the issue. It is encouraging designated spots are being considered in Oxford St to prevent buskers simply performing wherever they choose and that a licensing scheme is being considered. However, regulated areas do not include areas off the main hot spots and I believe they should be extended and all residential spaces should be protected.

Noisy Waste Collection by the new Adidas store on Oxford Street

Residents have written with this concern and I have taken this up with the Council:

“Please can I ask for a really succinct response to the intrusive noise disturbance created by WCC in the collection of rubbish from the new Adidas Store. It frustrates me that this could have been nipped in the bud several months ago, but has been pen pushed by Veolia and now finally dropped. I am not prepared to be fobbed off with a generic email address and start from scratch in reporting noise to build a case.”

Berger House, Berkeley Square/Farm Street

Following my enquiries on behalf of residents, I was pleased to receive this update:

“We have been considering the principal concern with the proposals which has been the use of the ground and lower ground floors of the building as a potential restaurant use (Class A3), and have taken the decision to remove this from our proposals.The intention would instead for this to be either retail (Class A1) or office (Class B1) space.”

Save the Walk-in Centre

As residents may be aware, the Soho Walk In Centre is at threat of closure (it should be noted this is likely to be delayed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and it would be reasonable to expect this won’t happen until significantly after the virus has diminished). Having said that, we shouldn’t take anything for granted and should continue to make the case it should remain open. You can add your name to my open letter below if you haven’t yet:

To the Central London Clinical Commissioning Group:

The proposed closure of the Soho Walk-In Centre is unacceptable. It is used by workers, visitors and residents across London and it is an invaluable community resource.

Its closure would be devastating for Soho and the West End. We want to see the centre remain open.

The building must remain a centre which is used for medical purposes – not sold off for profit or converted into a hotel.

Please do what is right and save the centre.

In addition, you can click here to see the Soho Society’s excellent briefing about the potential closure and what must be done to save it.

Kemp House and the Berwick Street development

Residents continue to face endless issues with the development. I am pressing the Council:

  • so results are produced quickly to get to the bottom of potentially toxic dust that may have been produced on site
  • to communicate more effectively and regularly with residents to provide updates in regards to the development
  • to ensure Environmental Health officers attend local meetings (when they resume) and more broadly are more proactively involved in safeguarding residents’ well-being and those of market traders and business owners close by
  • to ensure construction work doesn’t happen on Sunday

Councillor Pancho Lewis

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