News from Maida Vale Councillors Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis
We are living in very difficult times and, along with Karen Buck MP, we are doing all we can to help the local community and individual residents and their families.
Below are some of the local issues we have been taking up recently, many as a result of residents’ responses to our regular newsletters. Let us know if we can take up a local issue in the area. Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
Essendine Road School Streets
Westminster Council is proposing to change the traffic flow around Essendine School to reduce congestion in the morning and afternoon peak. We ran an online meeting with Westminster’s Road Safety Officer and residents of Widley, Wymering, Essendine and Morshead Roads which was very constructive.
The residents – who know their streets best – are clear that the proposals will result in more congestion not less. We’ve all asked the Council to rethink the plans.
We worked with Le Cochonnet Restaurant and Westminster’s planning and licensing team to support its application for additional tables and chairs outside. It’s important that we support our local businesses at this difficult time for the hospitality trade.
5 Kingdom Street
British Land’s scheme for a 20-storey office block at 5 Kingdom Street in Paddington was rejected unanimously by Westminster’s Planning Committee in March 2020 but has been “called in” for final decision by the Mayor of London. While we recognise the Mayor has done an excellent job in negotiating a much higher affordable housing commitment from British Land (£14.3m vs £1.8m that Westminster secured), this remains well below the £33m which Westminster’s policy demands. And it’s clear that the building is still strongly opposed by the community in and around Paddington. The specific issues are:
- 5 Kingdom Street will be significantly higher than its surroundings and be visible from a very wide area, including from as far afield as the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park.
- The views from Blomfield Road, Little Venice and Warrington Crescent are particularly damaging
- Significant loss of light to the residents of Westbourne Terrace Road who are already suffering from the proposed infill development on Blomfield Mews
- Its design, massing and bulk are unsuitable for its location and 5 Kingdom Street will overlook over 40 historic buildings and six conservation areas
- The affordable housing contribution of £14.3m remains well below the £33m which a building of these dimensions should pay according to Westminster’s published policy
Councillor Geoff Barraclough said: “The Mayor has done a great job wringing an extra £12.5m from British Land but it’s not nearly enough to compensate for this 20-storey eyesore. 5 Kingdom Street will loom over 40 historic buildings and six conservation areas like an unwelcome guest at a bad party.”
We have made a formal objection to Milad’s application for 2m depth of display for its fruit and vegetables. We think 1m is adequate given the narrow footway by the bus stop on Maida Vale. We’ve also asked that, if Westminster planners are minded to approve Milad’s application, that the decision is taken by the Planning Committee. This will give residents the chance to speak publicly on this issue.
Four years on, the Tollgate Gardens refurbishment is still not yet completed. We met with Melvyn Caplan, cabinet member for finance and regeneration, to explain why residents are unhappy with progress and worried they will end up paying to put right a series of poor quality “upgrades.”
Following the knife fight outside Kish Restaurant, we met with the proprietor to discuss security. Police have made arrests but we can’t accept this behaviour from its customers.
Oak Tree House
We continue to press Westminster to honour its commitments to the residents of Oak Tree House and have escalated a series of issues to the Executive Directors of Housing and Regeneration.
We have escalated reports of overnight ASB on Lauderdale Road to senior management at the Metropolitan Police. Residents are concerned about large groups of men congregating between 11pm and dawn.
Residents got in touch about illegally parked motorbikes blocking the emergency exit at Falkirk Tower. Westminster said: “The housing team have served notices on the bikes in order to get them removed.”
Paddington Recreation Ground
The latest improvements are almost complete. These include a new sprint running track and extra space for parkour, callisthenics and hockey training. We are now working with Westminster, Everyone Active and Paddington Waterways Society to get funding for some further upgrades to Paddington Rec. New ideas include extra play equipment for small children, floodlights for the playground so all children can use it after school during the winter, relocation of the artificial “boulders” which are currently in storage and refurbishment of the “bus shelter.”
We took part in a webinar with local residents at which Westminster officials presented the scheme for a new extra-care block on Carlton Vale and also a replacement block for Peebles House. In total, there will be 65 extra-care flats and 22 new affordable homes. Residents have been asking about how the flats will be allocated, whether the path from Carlton Vale to St Augustine’s Church can be upgraded and whether views of the Grade 1 listed church will be affected.
Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society – update
We have received the following update from the Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society about their Covid-19 activities:
“I thought that you might like to know that we are winding down the major part of the PWMVS C19 support, that has been led by Alice Sinclair entirely voluntarily. With that in mind a few headlines:
- £17,000 was raised from the community, including of course a generous donation from Maida Vale Ward Funds
- Over 100 food deliveries were made to St Mary’s NHS Trust for front line workers
- Nearly 100 volunteers were organised to produce approaching 10,000 PPE masks for St Mary’s and a range of other care locations in the local area and beyond.
- And a number of shielding and vulnerable households were also supported.”
We say a sincere and heart-felt thank you to everyone who took part in this great community effort.
The Council is currently consulting on proposed bicycle storage installations across Westminster. You can find a ward-by-ward breakdown of all the proposed installations below. Individual consultations can be viewed by clicking their site reference number. Observations and comments on the proposals should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting responses to the consultation is 9 September 2020. You can see the proposed locations here
Stuart Tower, Maida Vale
We have asked the Tree Officer to prune the trees on Maida Vale outside Stuart Tower. Residents say “the trees need to be cut back near Stuart Tower by the traffic lights – very bad again”
We have asked Royal Mail to investigate this issue:
“Is it just my building that has had no Royal Mail post for the second week running? Missing birthday cards etc that were confirmed as sent 10 days ago.”
Parsons House North
We have asked the Council to investigate this issue and take the necessary action:
“I wake from yet another very disturbed night as a result of the alcoholics who hang around outside Parsons North House.It is a very real issue not just with the night time shouting and singing but also the appalling mess that is left behind on the streets and in the bushes that line the House and the new development. It has to stop!”
A petition calling on the Council to investigate the pedestrianisation of Formosa Street, including consultation with residents and businesses, has been launched by the Little Venice Labour Action Team. The petition reads:
“We the undersign petition Westminster City Council to investigate pedestrianisation of Formosa St (between Warrington Crescent & Castellain Road, W9) in order to make the street more attractive for local residents to shop, eat, socialise and support our vital local businesses.”
You can sign here https://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/FormosaSt-W9/
North Paddington Foodbank
If you can help the foodbank or are in need of emergency support please see the information here: https://www.npfoodbank.org.uk/
Summer Activities for Young People
The Young Westminster Foundation has organised summer activities for young people within the programme in the following link, which will be updated weekly: http://www.ywfoundation.com/2020/07/20/whats-young-people-westminster-summer/
Bus and Tube fares
We have started a petition to call for the reinstatement of free travel for under 18s https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/keep-free-travel
Transport for London Travel App
Transport for London has launched a new travel app, TfL Go, to help everyone get around London. The app is now available to download for Apple devices and can help you to plan your journeys and follow the safer travel guidance. An Android version will be released in Autumn 2020 and TfL continue sharing data with other travel apps.
For every station, TfL is sharing real-time train times, plus peak travel times for the busiest stations, to help you travel during quieter times. As well as the fastest public transport routes, the app offers alternative routes to give you more travel options and provides walking and cycling routes to consider for all or part of your journey.
TfL Go features the latest service status for all Tube, Tram, London Overground and TfL Rail lines. Real-time bus arrivals will also be added later. With step-free mode, you can customise the map to show step-free access to train and platform, and plan journeys accordingly. New information on toilet availability, platform access and lift status will also be added in the coming months.
If you have an Apple device, you can download the app from the Apple App Store. If you need larger type, use your phone in landscape mode, or make use of iOS’s VoiceOver capability. You can send your feedback about the app to email@example.com
What is the future for Westminster?
We believe the current economic situation has placed the West End in a very precarious position which, if decisive action is not taken urgently, could threaten its survival as an economic engine for London and the rest of the UK, as well as create serious problems for the local economy.
We have set out a series of Emergency Actions that we believe need to be taken by the City Council in order to attract more families to the West End to replace the missing office workers and overseas tourists. We have also set out a series of Actions for the City Council, the Mayor and Government to take.
Finally, our document also looks at issues which the City Council should consider if office workers, tourists and shoppers do not return to the West End in the numbers necessary to sustain the area’s economy in its current form.
There is a need for wide debate and we plan to organise a ‘virtual conference’ in September to discuss these issues. If you would like to attend please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read our paper here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/westminster-news/2020/08/21/what-is-the-future-for-westminster/
Voting by post
Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting. You can use this form to apply to vote
You can email your completed form to email@example.com or post it to Electoral Services, Westminster City Council, 14th Floor City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP.
You can now read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online
Refuse collection and Recycling collection times
Recycling bags can be ordered from https://webforms.westminster.gov.uk/order-recycling-bags/
Bags will be delivered within approximately 48 hours of order.
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. 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 postcode and it will offer you options).
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
For the latest information, visit the following:
Westminster Council’s advice and response website:
Westminster Mutual Aid Group
Westminster Mutual Aid is a group of local volunteers (Westminster Covid-19 Mutual Aid group) trying to help the local community. You can contact them at https://www.westminstermutualaid.co.uk
Beware the Coronavirus scammers
What you say
“Thanks for circulating this update – looks like good progress has been made on the appropriate level of parking restrictions for the road safety scheme and also the best way to work with the Milad supermarket.”
“This is exactly what all Councillors should be sending out right now. Concise information on a wide range of issues including impending change in their ward. Well done.”
“Thanks to all of you for what you are doing for our community at this very challenging time.”
“Thanks to Labour Councillors for consistent support whatever’s happening. Makes a huge difference to know we are not alone.”
“Thank you for following this up, and for sending the reply, I really appreciate it.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
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
Contact the Little Venice Labour Action Team
You can read our news here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/your-ward/little-venice/