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

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


Hospitality scheme

The Council’s hospitality scheme began on 4 July and has been running for more than a month with varying levels of success. We back calls to support hospitality businesses. The Soho community understands the need for these measures: some residents say it’s necessary and the right thing to do, others have said it has brought “a new vibe” to Soho.

However, there has been a number of serious issues with enforcement and poor planning, in particular on 4 July and the weekend of the 1 and 2 August, including street parties and very large crowds gathering on Old Compton St and elsewhere.

Residents have commented:

“Last night felt like “old school” Soho in the midst of the pandemic. Any notion of following the “rules” set out out for reopening bars and restaurants seemed to have been completely forgotten in the space of a couple of weeks. Where’s the monitoring by the owners/council/police?”

“We need to get control of this to avoid heading for a second lockdown, keep guideline-abiding businesses open, visitors served, and support residents – tricky but does happen during the day.”

“Last night up to 5am was ugly – groups of ‘youths’  running up and down the streets – throwing chairs – fighting – large groups out drinking”

We have been pressing the Council hard to tackle issues when they’ve appeared. It’s imperative the Council’s neighbourhood team and City Inspectors remain ultra-vigilant.

Parties at Airbnb premises – Brewer Street and Carlisle Street

There have been a number of parties in flats let out as short lets. These are in part the result of the declining use of Airbnbs by tourists which have in turn been rented out by people hosting parties. A number of residents have experienced massive disruption as a result and it’s unacceptable. I’ve been working with residents, the police and the Council to try to stop them from happening.As soon as parties begin it’s crucial to both contact the Council’s Noise Team and the police so they can turn up to break up the party. Both need to be there to intervene effectively and preferably they should be called out as soon as possible (if they are called out late in the night it’s more difficult to deploy resources).

Berwick Street Market Traders

The Council is refusing to revisit its decision to increase the fees that market traders on Berwick Street across Westminster pay, despite the enormous downfall in customer footfall. We are continuing to lobby the Council to reverse this decision. Market traders say:

“No shift in Westminster position on imposing back-dated pitch fees and rises on traders. Other major landlords have zeroed rents. There are no revenues while offices and hotels remain empty. It’s “a decision” to heap devastation on traders. We approach Wits End”

Dufour’s Place

Residents have written to us about the following:

“I wish to make you aware of the difficult conditions imposed upon us by
the refurbishments in the adjoining buildings, carried out for Great
Portland Estates. For six months we have had to endure daily noise levels of unacceptable proportions. Complaints to the council have not been of any use as they are apparently operation within council restrictions.”

We are supporting residents and liaising with the Council’s Neighbourhood Team to ask that noise is minimised.


Hanover Flats, Gilbert St – new security fence to be installed

Residents raised these concerns:

“As you may know we are a kindly community of residents looking out for each other in these difficult times. Our courtyard gardens have become a haven of wildlife, plants and sitting areas where we can meet each other and have chats and even socially distanced tea parties…young and old mixing.

I would implore you to push our case for  security gates which even if they are low would deter any casual passer-by. Why are we the only block on the estate without them? if they had been installed when requested we would not be in this position now.”

I raised the issue with Peabody housing association and they have replied with the following:

“Hanover is going to get a security gate, unfortunately out investment program has been delayed a bit recently due to covid. We should have more details for residents over the next few weeks and we will keep you updated.”

Former In and Out Club site – Building works

I am helping residents with the following problem. Issues with building work starting very early has also been raised with me and I have taken this up too.

“I would like to draw your attention to the flouting of the social distancing rules on the building site in White Horse Street. I am particularly worried that they are not observing or enforcing social distancing, groups of workmen and women “workers” close together occurs repeatedly on most days and has done since the lock down began.  I am particularly concerned that the workers use the pavement to congregate and as a passageway, often groups of five will walk along the pavement blocking its use for the general public and exposing themselves and the public to the possibility of infection. None of the workforce wear face masks.”


Proposals to improve air quality in streets

Fitzrovia residents have put together plans to reduce through traffic and rat running in Fitzrovia. We are asking the Council to consider these proposals and engage local people so they can have their voice heard. You can read about these proposals here:

Flat parties on Great Titchfield Street

I am working with the Council’s Neighbourhood Coordinators to try to prevent flats that have been rented out on the short lets market (e.g. as Airbnbs and the like) from being used for parties. Residents say:

“I am writing to you for help with a constant and distressing problem of short term renting and noise disturbance on Great Titchfield Street,. Properties are being run as rental businesses to large groups of young people for 4 to 7 days on average, having parties and causing all night noise disturbance for the neighbourhood. Sadly this is pretty much always at local residents expense. This has been going on for many years since I moved here but has been particularly prevalent and awful during lockdown.

As soon as parties begin it’s crucial to both contact the Council’s Noise Team and the police so they can turn up to break up the party. They both need to be there to effectively intervene and preferably they should be called out as soon as possible (if they are called out late in the night it’s more difficult to deploy resources).

  • Contact the Council’s noise team: or 0207 641 2000
  • Contact the police on 101 or tag them on twitter on @MetCC

Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Forum

The Forum’s consultation has now closed but we recommend that residents in Fitzrovia read about and follow the plans. Once approved, they will form part of the Council’s statutory planning framework. Find out more on the link below, and you can also get involved in the forum if you’re interested.

What you say

“Thank you, Pancho. You are one of the few councillors who listens to local people and communicates their views clearly to the powers that be”

“You’ve been marvellous it’s been great having your support.”

“Westminster Council never listen to local people. With one shining exception: Pancho Lewis”

“This is amazing. You have been incredibly helpful.”

“Thank you Pancho for all that you do”


Councillor Pancho Lewis

You can contact Pancho on:

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, who also helps with the Action Team, can be contacted on:


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