News from the St John’s Wood Labour Action Team
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.
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
We have been contacted by residents in Wharncliffe Gardens who told us:
“The plane trees have been pruned on Wharncliffe Estate over the past two weeks. The pruner made a mistake and the big branch crashed through my mother’s fence smashing a five-foot hole where it hit, pulling the whole fence out of whack and away from the supports at one end so it is now precariously leaning into the public footpath running along the other side. The pruners told us their supervisor would be coming to assess the damage and make arrangements for the fence to be repaired. It is now five days since this happened and he has not arrived.”
We reported this to the Council who said:“I have spoken to our tree contracts manager about this today and he will be visiting the site over the weekend to assess the situation and will be arranging the necessary repairs.”
The next day, residents told us:“We had a visit this morning from the contract manager. He apologized for not coming before. He is suggesting a totally new fence and I concur. He took more photos and assured us this would be dealt with as soon as possible. Many thanks for your magic touch once again.”
Barclays bank branch to close
Barclays Bank plan to close their Maida Vale branch at 320 Elgin Avenue on 11th December 2020. Barclays say there has been a 19% reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020 and that 93% of their customers at the branch are using alternative ways in which to undertake their banking, including via the telephone, online and mobile app.
Barclays say they have three branches within 1.3 miles (40 Wellington Road, St Johns Wood, 0.8 miles, 131 Finchley Road, 1.2 miles, and 127 Edgware Road, 1.3 miles) as well as other ATMS and Post Offices branches in the vicinity. However, there are regularly long queues at the Edgware Road branch:
Please let us know what you think.
We have asked the City Inspector to pay particular attention to regular dumping at a ‘hotspot’ on Hamilton Terrace.
St Anne’s Terrace/Circus Road
We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation”
“The ‘PINK BICYCLE BIKEMAN’ is back, parking a new bike with a crude large sign attached to it on a council bike park outside Pret a Manger on corner of St Anne’s Terrace and Circus Road. The many bikes he has placed there before were all pink, this one is not and usually they remain there for months before removal – except the last one! These bikes have in the past been placed outside tube entrances (Maida Vale and Finchley Road) and other sites around Westminster. At the very least, it stops a council bike rest being used by someone who may need it temporarily and it is unsightly.”
We are supporting residents who are opposing the planning appeal against a Council Planning Enforcement Notice lodged by the developer of 2 Wellington Road. Residents say:
“The development in question is a spectacularly bad addition to a prominent ‘building of architectural merit’ in a Conservation Area, erected without planning permission or building control”
MCC, Lord’s cricket ground
A year after work began to redevelop Lord’s Compton and Edrich stands, the project is on track to be completed next May and increase capacity by 2,600 and a range of new hospitality facilities.
Also, the MCC has marked its planting of 74 trees around St John’s Wood with a commemorative tulip tree. The club planted the tree at St John’s Wood Church Gardens on October 8 to recognise the trees planted in recent years in Abbey Road, Church Street and the Regent’s Park ward.
We have asked the Council to investigate this concern raised by residents:
“Logistically, both sides of Circus Road cannot use their external space for business at the same time. There is simply no room for cars and pedestrians and customers. Already, Panzers are using up the whole sidewalk on the left of their shop, onto Cochrane street, forcing pedestrians into the road (not only the able bodied, but the old, the infirm, the mothers and pushchairs, wheelchairs, etc.)”
The Council say:
“We have checked the permitted tables and chairs for Panzers, they have been allocated tables and chairs on Cochrane Street and make use of their private forecourt on Circus Road. All licensing applications, for this business, and others on Circus Road have been assessed to maintain a minimum pavement width to allow pedestrians to pass safely.
We have asked City Inspectors to attend site to check that businesses are setting out tables and chairs as approved in their license but also following social distancing guidelines. They will take enforcement action to ensure that the businesses ae operating safely and maintaining pedestrian footway space.”
We have also asked the Council to stop the regular dumping of rubbish on Circus Road by Pret a Manger. The Council say:
“Our City Inspectors visited this morning to speak to them regarding their waste management. We had engaged with the premises and Pret a Managers head officer previously as we are having waste management issues with many of their premises within Westminster. Enforcement action has been taken and further communication has been sent to the Senior Management of Pret, which hopefully will lead to managing their waste appropriately. We have arranged for the waste to be cleared by our contractor and to have the area deep cleaned. The City Inspector for the area, Ashik Ali, will continue to monitor and take action where required.”
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/
The NHS Blood and Transplant service is appealing for donations from people who have recovered from coronavirus to help save lives as London moves from “medium” to “high” alert. Donating blood plasma is a simple procedure and very similar to giving a normal blood donation but the red blood cells are returned to the patient and the process takes a little longer.
The nearest donor centre is at 26 Margaret Street, Fitzrovia. W1. Anyone who has had coronavirus, either a test result or the symptoms, can offer to donate by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visitinghttps://www.nhsbt.nhs.ukto arrange an appointment to donate.
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
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 report dumped rubbish, potholes, uneven pavements and other hazards to the Council’s ‘Report It’ service 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:
Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222
Beware the Coronavirus scammers
Regent’s Park cycling – what you say
“As a walker, I do not object to cyclists on the footpath in Regents Park. It is very uncommon that they go too fast. I would object to enforcement resources being redirected from more dangerous items to this. I would rather enforcement resources were used to reduce the number of speeding motor vehicles on the outer and inner circles. We should be encouraging all forms of active transport including cycling”
“Cycling is allowed on the Broad Walk, but it should be compatible with walkers, little children and wheelchair users. During lockdown only once did I observe an official reprimanding a group of cyclists elsewhere in the park.When I informed a cyclist in Primrose Hill that cycling was not allowed I got a mouthful of obscenity.I am not anti-cyclist just pro safety and respect for all people”
“Parks should be the place where children can cycle. I have daughters and to be environmentally friendly, to prevent congestion, to take the pressure off public transport and to protect my kids from COVID I cycle with them to school. Regents Park should be as least as friendly to cyclists, especially leisure cyclists, as it is to pedestrians. Children should be allowed to learn to ride their bikes there in a safe environment. Many more cycle routes should be set up to allow the park to be used as a safe route, for children especially, to move around by bike. I do agree that electric scooters are currently very dangerous and not adequately controlled”
What you say
“Thanks as ever for the newsletter”
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.
Hussain Ahmed, Janet Seale and Liam Taggart,
Your St John’s Wood Labour Action Team