News from Councillor Maggie Carman and the Labour Action Teams in Bayswater & Lancaster Gate
We hope you are well. We are all 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.
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
We are continuing to press the Street Lighting Team to improve the street lighting in Sunderland Terrace. Residents say:
“It is very dark on Sunderland Terrace. The residents’ association paid for the lamp standards themselves when they were going to be replaced years ago with very ugly modern lamp standards. Following the replacement of the lights, the council planted the magnolias which, whilst very pretty when in flower, do shade the lights as the trees are at just the wrong height.It is important that any replacement lights match the existing ones, paid for by residents.”
The Lighting Team say:
“I will arrange for the lighting, installed in 1999, to be reviewed as part of our Lighting against crime budget this year, but please note we are upgrading these lights by retrofitting the existing lanterns. The standard looking lanterns in Bayswater have already been changed to LED a few months ago.
The number of light columns looks appropriate for the length of road, a 30m staggered arrangement where columns are on alternate sides of the road, but the low-level trees will be blocking some of the light due to the height of the canopy. if neither of the above greatly improve the lighting following the LED works, next year we could look at adding additional light columns in clearer areas to limit the effect of the low tree canopies, subject to trial holes to determine if underground utilities or cellars may limit our ability to do this, likely outside residents entrances where there are less trees, and subject to consultation.”
“Thank you so much for this and following up with them. I really appreciate your helping with this and it’s great to hear that something can hopefully be done with the lighting or trees or both going forward. That would really help things I think and I really appreciate your help with all of this.”
1-8 Porchester Square
We are continuing to help residents at 1-8 Porchester Square where the block suffered a boiler failure and residents were supplied with electric heaters temporarily. They were promised that any extra costs incurred through heating bills would be reimbursed but this has not happened and we are chasing the Housing Department to sort this out.
We have urged the Police, the Council and the landlord of a basement flat in Chepstow Road to take urgent action against the continued use of the property as a brothel.
Swanleys, Westbourne Park Road
Councillor Maggie Carman has been working closely with leaseholders living in Swanleys on Westbourne Park Road to press the Housing Department to improve the repairs service. Residents say, “The new process to supervise repairs sounds promising and definitely a step in the right direction”.
Westbourne Park Road
We are supporting residents who have asked the Council to consider an alternative site for a proposed cycle hangar on the corner of Westbourne Park Road, Alexander Street and Talbot Road.
We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this issue:
“I live on Queensway opposite Whiteleys. It is very noticeable that cars stopping at the lights at both the pedestrian crossing and main junction are very liberal with their horns, engine revving and loud blaring music, something that I don’t notice on other traffic junctions. There are many people like me who live on Queensway and although we can do little about the building site I wonder whether any signs could be put up or if there are any other measures that can be taken?”
We have asked the Refuse Team to investigate an ongoing issue with the two large black recycling bins outside Clifford Court.
We are continuing to assist residents who are having problems with the boilers at 66 Gloucester Gardens.
The Planning Enforcement Team want the new gates removed from 82 Westbourne Grove. We have been contacted by residents who like the new gates:
“As far as I can see they are an extremely positive addition to the streetscape, as well as being a security to stop people breaking his glass door trying to steal things”
What do you think? You can see a picture here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/ward-news/2020/10/02/new-gates-at-82-westbourne-grove-what-do-you-think/
We have raised this issue with Notting Hill Genesis and the Housing Department:
“We have a problem here in Sutherland Place W2 at number 24. Westminster Council is refusing to do anything about it despite several requests. Genesis are the owners and have been notified.Damage at number 24 originates from a building project at number 23 many years ago, combined with recent demolition and heavy-handed method of rebuilding their front balcony. These works have set off further differential settlement in the front walls of the properties.Stucco has already detached and fallen several times from number 23 onto the balcony at number 22. Masonry also fell a year or more ago into number 24 front lightwell from the then defective porch structure at number 23.”
We are making enquiries with the Council about a number of issues about the hostel at 18 Leinster Gardens which are affecting residents:
“Rubbish is constantly dumped on the pavement at the junction of Cleveland Square and Leinster Gardens. The building is in a general state of disrepair due to pigeon damage, green slime on pavement level walls, broken jutting facades that are dangerous to pedestrians, rotten windowsills etc etc.”
The Council say:
“We have been regularly liaising with the manager of 18 Leinster Gardens regarding the issue of bags of waste being left outside of the premises. Unfortunately, until this point, we have been unable to take any enforcement action as we have no evidence to show who is leaving the waste. However, the manager has now agreed to extend their CCTV to cover this area and has provided all residents with educational waste letters.Three ‘do not feed the pigeons’ signs have been placed around Cleveland Square in an attempt to deter others from feeding the pigeons.”
“Thank you so much for taking the time to address my email. I wish I could vote for you! I shall be telling friends in the area of my concerns and your swift actions.”
51 Palace Court
The new gates at 51 Palace Court have grown!
The Planning Enforcement Team has launched an investigation of the gate. As far as we understand, all gates fronting on the highway and over 1 metre in height need to have planning permission. There’s a gate of similar size nearby which is plain black and is far more unobtrusive and elegant.
This is what residents say:
“As a neighbour living across Moscow Road from 51 Palace Court, we object strongly to this gate. It is completely out of character with the street. We were astounded that planning permission had been given for it, though given Councillor Davies’s legacy it was not altogether surprising. And now that you suggest that no such permission was given, all the more reason for things to be put right. This is a conservation area. This gate is unacceptable. Equally important, is that the historic plane tree next to the gate must be protected, and whatever work is done, nothing should jeopardise its safety.”
Palace Court Road and Moscow Road
We have asked the Refuse and Recycling Team to investigate this issue
“I am writing in connection with the rubbish bins at the end of Palace Court Road and the recycling bins on Moscow Road. Both these bin areas are constantly overflowing out of the bins and on to the floor. Part of the problem seems to be people, perhaps not local residents, just dumping large amounts of rubbish and recycling with no regard to ensuring their stuff is properly put in the bins. Needless, to say this is both highly unpleasant to look at and more importantly surely unhealthy. Is there anything the Council can do to make sure these areas are kept in a more tidy manner? This is a problem that has been going on now for a long time.”
We have been contacted by residents in Moscow Road about continued aggressive begging in the area and the problems being caused by Deliveroo drivers outside McDonalds where there are often 10/12 mopeds parked on double yellow lines.
Councillor Maggie Carman has asked the Council’s Public Protection and Licensing Teams for a response and to liaise with the Lancaster Gate Police. Queensway is in a Community Protection Zone. That means that activities like begging can be targeted and the culprits issued with a warning then if they don’t comply then a Community Protection Notice can be issued and they will be prosecuted. Maggie has also asked the local City Inspector to investigate the Deliveroo situation.
The scale of the housing crisis is growing. This month, Councillor Maggie Carman received a number of requests to help. The police referred this case to Maggie about a young man:
“He has been sofa surfing now for some time and I fear its effecting him mentally, his welfare and potentially could make him return to criminality. He was previously living his mother but their relationship broke down and this is not a suitable situation for either. This is an urgent request due to his vulnerability and he is talking off self-harming if he continues to sleep rough. He is not demanding or requesting anything too unreasonable just wants somewhere he can stay.”
Another resident wrote:
“My friend mentioned the Labour newsletter and prompted me to email you in hope that you could help me. I have recently been made homeless and am currently sofa surfing at a friend’s house but this is clearly unsustainable beyond the near future especially with the coronavirus rules and regulations. This has had a vast impact on my studies where I have been unable to meet deadlines and thus had to mitigate the academic year. I suffer from depression and anxiety and have had counselling in the past. The situation I currently I find myself in is affecting my mental health and I worry that I will make myself ill. I feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and scared as I do not want to end up on the streets. I have a lot to offer the community and do not know what to do.”
On a more positive note, we were delighted to have persuaded Notting Hill Genesis to move an overcrowded family with disabled child to a more suitable flat nearby.
We are making investigations with the Council about the delays to broadband installation in the area. Residents say:
“There has been considerable disruption over recent months in connection with the installation of the fibre optic network in the Bayswater area. I, and I expect many other Westminster tenants and leaseholders, had been looking forward to at last reaping some benefit from this by having a full fibre broadband connection in my home. I have signed up for this with the G.Network provider, only to discover that its programme of installations is being seriously delayed by Westminster Council’s failure thus far to agree some sort of protocol for the installations in its properties. Any steps you can take to expedite this process would, I’m sure, find a warm reception amongst the many tenants and leaseholders currently being affected by these delays.”
The Council say:
“The Council has a City Wide Wayleave and there are 4 signatories: G.Network, Community Fibre, Hyperoptic, and Virgin. In order to deliver connectivity to our buildings we need to ensure the work that they undertake is carried out safely and relevant Risk Assessment, firestopping, asbestos management takes place. This is to ensure the safety of residents, our buildings and the supplier themselves.The approach we have in relation to the City Wide Wayleave has been very effective at facilitating the rollout of fibre. To date 63% of our housing stock has full fibre and for context London full fibre availability is at around 20%. We are on track to also deliver full fibre to 100% of our housing stock by the end of 2021.”
Wearing masks in shops
Residents are concerned at the number of people not wearing masks in local shops. One resident writes:
“I find it wholly irresponsible when I go into Tescos on Queensway or Sainsbury’s, to see members of staff and customers are either not wearing or half wearing masks. Planet Organic used to have someone on the door ensuring limited numbers and hygiene. that has now disappeared and if you walk past Joe the Juice neither staff nor customers wear masks at all. In Pret a Manger many staff members wear their masks half on and only around 50% of takeaway customers are wearing masks.”
The Council say:
“We are seeing an increase in reports of customers raising concerns about this issue. I am working with staff in shops and other premises in the Ward. I am sure all are well aware of the regulations however it does increase awareness just to let them know we are keeping an eye on them for their own as well as their customers peace of mind. It might be worth mentioning that some people are exempt from wearing facemasks which can cause a bit of confusion. We will be visiting the premises on Westbourne Grove over the next week to ensure compliance.”
Parties at Airbnb premises
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. We’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).
- Contact the Council’s noise team: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it or 0207 641 2000
- Contact the police on 101 or tag them on twitter on @MetCC
Karen Buck MP has set up an All Party Parliamentary Group on Short Lets and has called for a national registration system so tha`t this menace can be controlled https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/karen-buck-mp-homes-are-being-turned-into-hotels-we-need-a-national-registration-scheme-for-shortterm-lets
Councillor Maggie Carman has been helping a number of local businesses with advice on planning and licensing matters.
Warm Homes Discount Scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020 to 2021 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2020 to 2021 will open on 12 October 2020. The money is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. See here for more details https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
Jobs and Skills
Microsoft and LinkedIn have produced a free programme to help those looking for a job and learn new skills
If you’re between 18-24 and looking at building a new skill that is in high demand, Westminster Wheels offers a paid six-month programme in cycle mechanics. By joining the project, you will be able to (1) learn how to refurbish unwanted bikes and provide affordable high-quality bikes for Westminster residentsand (2) get a training and employment experience to help prepare you for a career in the growing cycle industry. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-wheels-programme
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/
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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/
You can tell the Council about dumped rubbish, broken streets, graffiti and more by using Report It 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).
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
Volunteer to help find the vaccine for COVID-19
You can be part of the fightback against the virus by volunteering to be contacted by researchers to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research. There are a number of vaccines being identified and safety-tested at the moment, but only large-scale studies can give researchers the information needed about how effective they are.
The NIHR is working with the NHS and aims to recruit half a million people onto the registry by October, which will allow people to be put in touch with the vaccine studies in the coming months. Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK – including both people with or without existing health conditions – to take part in vaccine studies, to make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone.
The service is available to anyone aged 18 or over, living in the UK. There is no obligation to join in any study, if you are contacted. But by taking part, you could help researchers find vaccines to protect us all more quickly – which in turn could help the NHS and save lives. You can sign up herehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/research/coronavirus-vaccine-research/
Westminster Council’s advice and response website:
Volunteers at the he Bayswater Mutual Aid & Community-based Response Groupare offering to shop or run errands. You can contact them on 020 8123 7839and email@example.com
Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222
Beware the Coronavirus scammers
What you say
“A friend has suggested I contact you as she says ‘Maggie gets things done’”
“Thank you very much for your helpful round-up. I also think it is quite disgraceful that the Council are auctioning off council flats. Well done for objecting to that. You have my full support.”
“Thank you so very much for your incredibly speedy response. I very much appreciate it.”
“Once again many, many thanks for all the time and effort you obviously put into looking after our community, and for your excellent newsletters. Could I also second the recent comment concerning traffic noise? At the junction of Gloucester Terrace and Orsett Terrace we seem to have a particular problem late at night, with motor bikes as well as cars.”
“Thank you very much indeed for a detailed action orientated email. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. It is incredibly sad to see the area I have lived in and loved for such a long time, become so unsafe/scary and awful.”
“Thank you so much for your support.”
“Thanks again for your hard work in keeping our community safe and prosperous.”
“I wanted to commend you and your colleagues on your excellent recent newsletter”
“Thank you for your support and kindness, it is greatly appreciated as I was so desperate when I contacted you.”
“Dissatisfied with no action being taken to protect local residents from rubbish being dumped on the street and pigeon feeding in Cleveland Square, I asked Councillor Maggie Carman to help. When talking to a friend in the Bayswater ward she suggested I contact Maggie as ‘she gets things done’. I am sharing my experiences with everyone I know in the area and will be thinking very hard when the next elections come along.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Keep well, take care and look after yourself and your neighbours.
Councillor Maggie Carman, Dafydd Ellis and Max Sullivan
Bayswater Labour Action Team
Angela Piddock, Elizabeth Whitmore and Simon Wyatt
Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team