News from Maida Vale Councillors Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis
And the Little Venice Labour Action Team – Iman Less, Murad Qureshi and Sue Wolff
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
123 Dry Cleaners
The owners of the dry cleaners want to redevelop their site with a new five story building including a new dry-cleaning shop downstairs and flats upstairs. Following pre-planning discussions with residents and Westminster officers they have added one extra family sized unit, made alterations to the mansard roof and revised the shopfronts.
You can give your views on Westminster’s Planning Portal. When you click through, read the design and access statement first. https://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=QJL898RPIBB00.
Kilburn Park Road
We’ve been pressing Westminster Council to take seriously the issues of parking on this street where residents often have to walk 15 minutes to find a space. The latest we have from the Highways team is this:
“This email is just to update you about the progress we are making regarding the assessment of parking controls around the Kilburn Park Road area. As you are aware, this area, on the boundary with the London Borough of Brent, has been the subject of residents’ complaints due to the seeming overspill of Brent residents into the area outside of controlled hours, due in part to the fact that parking controls on the Brent side are slightly stricter than those on ours. As part of our ongoing Parking Policy Review, we have committed to review such areas of ‘common complaint’ and Kilburn Park Road has been selected as the first.
In order to take the project forward we have therefore assembled a project team, successfully secured S106 funding and are in the process of instructing WSP, who will be conducting the review on our behalf. However, the current lockdown situation precludes us from undertaking a meaningful occupancy monitoring exercise as it would artificially skew the results and generate data that we couldn’t then rely upon when the situation normalizes. We anticipate therefore that we may have to wait until the spring to commence this exercise in earnest.”
In addition, we have been pushing for a wider review of the Chippenham/Shirland/Kilburn Park Road junction to reduce congestion, cut pollution and make life easier for people on foot. Here’s the latest from the Highways team:
“The good news is we are starting the design works again for improvements to the main Chippenham / Shirland junction as part of the Bus Reliability programme. The engineers have been notified that funding has become available and we will be giving this a good push.”
The final works to Tollgate House have just begun. These include redecorating the stairway handrails and walls, as well as the communal walkways and the main staircase. We have confirmation from Westminster that the contractors will conduct a full clean of the site before leaving and residents will not be billed for this.
We have also written to Westminster Housing to remind officers that leaseholders should not be forced to pick up the tab if elements of the refurbishment don’t prove as durable as hoped. This is particular concern with the Procol flooring and the glass panels on the walkways.
We contacted Westminster’s Director of City Highways following complaints that a coach was parking in Morshead Road during weekday afternoons. He has promised enforcement action.
We have contacted Westminster Highways following complaints from residents of Randolph Gardens that residents parking was being squeezed by the provision of three new electric vehicle charging points.
Chelo – 8 Lauderdale Parade
The owners of Chelo Restaurant on Lauderdale Parade have lost their appeal to the Planning Inspector concerning their extractor fan which has been venting kitchen fumes into the flats upstairs. We hope that the restaurant will take the opportunity to run a new extractor all the way to the roof of the building where the fumes won’t cause a nuisance.
Wymering Road – bike hangars
We have been in touch with the Cabinet member for City Management in support of Wymering Mansions who are asking for the two bike hangars in this street to be moved. The block offers its residents free storage so there is no need for the hangars which have already become a magnet for fly tipping.
We met with Westminster officers who are mapping the borough looking for locations with poor broadband connectivity. The locations they highlighted in Maida Vale Ward are St Augustine’s Vicarage, Andover Place, Elgin Mews South and the south side of Elgin Avenue (between Maida Vale and Biddulph Road).
If you live in any other areas of Maida Vale and cannot get at least 30 Mbs, please get in touch.
We had an abandoned car removed from Randolph Avenue.
We have been working with the cabinet member for Children’s Services, Westminster’s road safety officer, Essendine School and local residents to find a solution to the traffic chaos that has resulted since the implementation of the “School Streets” project in September.
We are pleased that the council has finally agreed with local residents that putting a barrier across the street at drop-off and pick-up times was doing more harm than good. This has now been removed. However, we are pushing for the Council to give more support to Essendine School so that it has the resources to marshall both children and parents so they stay safe from traffic and Covid-19.
Following our intervention, Westminster Highways has filled a large pothole at road entrance to Strome House on Carlton Vale.
Paddington Recreation Ground
The nature reserve and bluebell glades have reopened after a long period closed for renovation. Go and visit. They look lovely.
Melrose & Helmsdale Houses
Construction on the new council homes being built on the garages to the rear of Melrose and Helmsdale Houses on Carlton Vale was stopped during the first lockdown when the contractor went into administration. A new contractor has been found (HA Marks) and we are pleased that work has restarted.
Scottish Towers & Torridon House Major Works
Axis Europe, Westminster’s main contractor for major works, has pulled out of its ten-year contract with the council after just two years. This leaves the major works at the Torridon and the Scottish Towers delayed yet again. We’re told that work will finally begin in the Spring with a new contractor called United Living but this is little consolation for residents who badly need the repairs done, including some required at Torridon for fire safety.
Sutherland Avenue and Warrington Crescent
We have reported this issue to the Refuse Team
“I would like to alert you to a continuing problem with the recycling bins located at the Intersection of Sutherland Ave and Warrington Crescent. They are almost invariably a mess. Rubbish is dumped around them. Items are not put in the appropriate bins (i.e. household waste in recycling and vice versa) and often the area around the small garden there is loaded with rubbish. To be honest, it is unsightly and pretty unacceptable. I have occasionally tidied up a few things myself”
Purpose built flats – licensing of homes in multiple occupation
Westminster is consulting on proposals to extend the licensing regime for HMOs (homes in multiple occupation) to include purpose built flats occupied by more than one household. This would apply to flats in both private and social blocks including council homes. Here’s the full consultation report. The proposals for are on page 106 and onwards.:
If the proposals are adopted, people letting flats to more than one family would need to apply for a license and demonstrate basic good practice and safety procedures including a maximum number of persons occupying the flat. The first part of the document includes the background evidence of endemic poor standards across the city. We’ve seen some pretty awful living arrangements with own eyes (even in some fairly swanky blocks) as we do our work as councillors.
Let us know what you think and you can also give your views direct to Westminster with this survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/QUBSHK/
We have received this announcement from the Council:
“We are inviting you to share your views to influence the future vision for North Paddington – from Royal Oak to Edgware Road and everywhere between. ‘Paddington Places’ aims to improve walking and cycling connections, wayfinding, lighting, landscape, placemaking and public realm in North Paddington. The first round of public engagement has started and will run until 30 November. Click here for information and to have your say.”
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/
You can read a report of a recent North Paddington Foodbank customer survey here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J6jKmGhJB_0vDiG2jZLdZahLm7jqCSCK/view
Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society
If you’re interested in the local area, please join PWMV. It publishes a regular newsletter and it’s free to join. https://w9w2.co.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.uk to 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 residents and (2) get a training and employment experience to help prepare you for a career in the growing cycle industry.
Voting by post
Voting by post is an easy, convenient and safe way of voting. Millions of people in the USA voted early by using a postal vote. You can, too!
You can use this form to apply for a postal 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 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, broken street lights, graffiti and more using the 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 options).
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
Test and Trace Support Payments
You may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if you are self-isolating because of COVID-19 and you are either employed or self-employed. The payment is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and lose income as a result.
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
Proposal for the 123 Dry Cleaners – what you say
“I think it looks great and in-keeping with the surrounding infrastructure, however I have a few questions:
- Will any of these flats be designated as affordable housing? I would object if that number were zero.
- Currently 123 has a Christmas tree shop there every Christmas, which I feel adds a lot to the local character – as a life-long resident I see it as a permanent annual fixture! Are 123 intending to continue having the Christmas tree business there once this development is up?
- What will the environmental credentials be for this new-build? Are they aiming for top tier energy efficiency accreditation?”
What you say
“Thanks, guys, these really are good”
“Thank you, keep up the good work!”
“Thanks very much for your emails – always very interesting’
“Thanks for all the help you give to residents”
“Many thanks for the newsletter, very comprehensive as always!”
“Thank you for you continued hard work”
“Can I just also thank you for your sensible, balanced and active way of looking after us Maida Vale folk. And for never letting your sense of humour waver. Clearly, it’s a never-ending and, I am sure, often thankless job but it is much appreciated.”
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 Councillors
You can read our news here
Iman Less, Murad Qureshi and Sue Wolff
Your Little Venice Labour Action Team
You can read our news here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/your-ward/little-venice/