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.
Please feel free to pass this report on to any of your neighbours who may be interested. If you know of anyone else who might like to receive this report, please send them this sign-up link http://bit.ly/signuplabnews
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
We have again urged the Council to take action against those responsible for regular rubbish dumping along Orsett Terrace. Residents say: “We have to contend with rubbish being dumped on our road on a virtually daily basis with promises to resolve this issue but no progress seems to be made, it just gets worse. The pandemic has made this worse but it was bad before too. “
Our local City Inspector tells us:
“Yesterday I hand delivered education letters and door knocked the street to increase awareness and speak to the residents about the problem. I affixed the letters to the noticeboard of some of the lobbies, interestingly there were still some I delivered last time, as well as others directing residents to also use the bin chambers in the basements under the pavement. I have also affixed a ‘don’t dump’ sign in the street and been stickering bags outside collection times for enforcement purposes.
“Today I have retrieved 7 names and addresses from various bags and boxes in the street. I think people are aware that it is a minority of people who are causing a lot of problems in the street and I think now more are receiving enforcement notices it will start to improve.”
We are continuing to urge Notting Hill Genesis to fix a leaking roof in Gloucester Terrace which was first reported in early October.
In addition, there is a rubbish dumping problem at the north end of Gloucester Terrace, past Orsett Terrace. Residents say:
“The problem is that a large number of people, instead of leaving their refuse bags outside their front doors, leave them on the pavement at the base of trees – and I’m sure that wasn’t the purpose intended for the trees. Even worse, last week someone left a large amount of unbagged rubbish on the pavement beside the entrance to our house. Our Street Cleaner did an excellent job of clearing this rubbish but, again, I would not think that this is strictly part of his job. Is it possible for residents to be leafletted to remind them of the correct procedure?”
Councillor Maggie Carman has asked for a leaflet drop to all households in the area.
We have contacted Notting Hill Genesis to request urgent action to deal with an issue affecting an elderly resident who is in some distress about a problem with water ingress:
“As it has been raining today she has had water running down her bedroom wall, soaking through towels and carpet. The problem seems to stem from a brickwork vent which contractors removed last Tuesday to clear a blockage but may have not replaced properly. A plumber rang and said it was not a plumbing problem and was maybe a roofing problem. I think it needs a surveyor’s visit to determine what action is needed.”
We are continuing to help an elderly Council tenant in Westbourne Gardens with a number of housing issues.
We have been in contact with the police following reports of a serious hate crime against a resident of Porchester Square.
St Stephen’s Gardens
We have urged the Housing Department to finally undertake long-delayed repairs to a number of flats in St Stephen’s Gardens following a catalogue of errors from the repairs team.
Councillor Maggie Carman has asked Notting Hill Genesis to take action in support of a resident in Newton Road who is unable to sleep in his bedroom because of the noise from the flat upstairs. He can hear every sound from upstairs and this is impacting on his physical and mental health. He has reported this to NHG but no action has yet been taken.
At the suggestion of residents, we have written to the Road Safety Team to request the installation of a new zebra crossing on Westbourne Grove, at the intersection with Garway Road. Residents say:
“The pavements in Westbourne Grove (especially between Chepstow Road and Queensway) are not very wide, but see a lot of pedestrian traffic and are busy at all times. People cross the road here frequently despite there being a constant flow of traffic, including buses, lorries, cars and, given the high concentration of restaurants in the area, and the fact that the street is a major artery, more and more delivery scooters. We have seen children and elderly people get into near-miss situations here, as many people also need to step into the tarmac when the pavement is too full. “
Following long-running enquiries and delays, Notting Hill Genesis have finally agreed to repair a leaking roof in Hereford Road. NHG told us: “The works have now been instructed. We are awaiting a start date from them bearing in mind scaffolding will need to go up first at the earliest.”
We have again asked the City Inspectors to investigate the misuse of the recycling bins at Clifford Court by non-residents.
We took up the case of a resident who was unfairly penalized by a private parking company. The resident told us:
“Queensway is a narrow street at best of times, however in the last year or so due to constant construction and road works the street is blocked, making it impossible for more than one vehicle to pass at a time. This results in the impossibility to stop for a few minutes to drop-off or pick up, particularly while carrying heavy items. The closest safe gap where two vehicles can pass is the gap between Queens Court and Princess Court. We do not know who owns the space, but to our dismay we found that even if one does not step out of the vehicle one gets ticketed.”
Following our enquiries, the decision to give the resident a parking ticket is being reviewed.
We are concerned that the developers are planning to omit the children’s art from the hoardings around the Whiteley’s development and replace them with ‘corporate’ marketing messages. Councillor Maggie Carman has argued that the children’s art should remain a part of the hoarding design. Councillor Carman has also supported SEBRA’s objection to the proposed name change:
“We register almost universal objection from anyone who has heard of the proposal to change the famous name of Whiteleys to the naff name of the ‘The Whiteley London’. Can you imagine if other famous names followed – such as ‘The Selfridge London’ or ‘The Harrod London’ – the name is not even grammatically correct.
We note the proposals for illumination for the new name and we object to this. If to be allowed, we would want hours of control placed on any permission for lighting the name, allowing lighting to be for only, say 08.00 to 21.00. We need this control has there have complaints from residents to the red bulkhead lighting on the existing hoarding facing the flats opposite, resulting in the top and one side of the fittings to be taped over with black tape.”
We have again asked the City Inspectors to take action to stop people taking bags of clothes out of the recycling bins and dumping the contents on the pavement.
We have made enquiries with the Leisure Team to ask when Porchester Spa will re-open and received the following response:
“Due to the unprecedented reduction in centre user numbers across Westminster leisure facilities, combined with COVID restrictions, we are considering a wider range of factors aside from the opening guidance alone. The council hopes to have an update on the potential reopening position of the Porchester Spa in the coming weeks. Following the impact of the pandemic and the first lockdown, we agreed a temporary funding package to keep leisure centres open across Westminster, albeit with reduced operating hours.
You can find out more about full leisure provision at www.everyoneactive.com/centre/ or by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/leisure-centres-westminster for more information. You can also see a map of our full physical activity offer here.”
We have written again to the Council to ask when broadband suppliers like G.Network will be given permission to connect superfast broadband to Council tenants and leaseholders. We were told three months ago that permission was expected to be given within two months.
Parking permits for disabled residents
Councillor Maggie Carman helped a disabled resident renew their blue and white badges. The renewal process was very complex, time-consuming and stressful and Maggie has urged the Council to make the process less difficult. The resident said:
“Thank you thank you your intervention has made all the difference. I am so grateful for your assistance and kindness. I’m a pretty unflappable person usually but this had caused lots of anxiety.”
We are concerned to ensure that the e-scooter trials, which are about to begin, do not impact upon pedestrian safety. We hope that the police take robust action against the illegal use of private e-scooters. We also hope Westminster City Council collects evidence of how e-scooters are affecting the experiences of pedestrians, particularly of disabled pedestrians.
Residents have written to Councillor Maggie Carman with details of their fight to stop an increase in flights over London and the proposed flight path flying low and directly over Bayswater. They say:
“We have written a formal letter to Heathrow Ltd asking them (1) for information on the actual flights over our area and (2) to submit a request for a formal One Week Trial of any proposed new flight path over our area to take place in advance of any further consultation on new flight paths.
We have in parallel just launched a local petition asking our local community to sign the petition demanding that Heathrow runs a One Week Trial on any new proposed flight path directly over our area. https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/post/ugc-voting-petitions/989b8335-15f5-4964-adda-13342cf3299f “
Councillor Carman wrote to Heathrow Ltd to request a One Week Trial. Here is the reply:
“Most of our airspace and operational projects, including IPA, are currently on pause as we focus our efforts on recovering our operation from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently undertaking a review of our airspace programme and the best way forward given the change in circumstances, therefore, at this stage I am unable to provide you with any timescales for this. However, when our airspace programme has been revised, we will of course be fully transparent and ensure this is communicated widely.
If any project involving Performance Based Navigation (PBN) arrivals such as IPA were to be considered in the future then it may be necessary to run trials. However, it is not possible to say what those trials would look like at the moment.”
Residents say: “Thank you so much for writing to Heathrow on our behalf. Really appreciated.”
Planning permission for shops
We have been asked by a local business for advice on whether planning permission is required to change the use of shops from one retail business to another. The Planning Officers have told us the following:
“Planning permission is not required to change from shop user to another shop user, for example a clothes shop can change to a hairdresser/barber, a grocer to a hairdresser/barber without the need for planning permission .We have no control from a planning point of view to prevent identical or similar shops operating next door to each other.”
Councillor Maggie Carman has responded to the Council consultation on Licensing policy by endorsing the SEBRA position which opposes lifting of the Cumulative Impact policy for Bayswater/Queensway.
Pastor Jem Sewell
It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Pastor Jem Sewell, Pastor at Westbourne Park Baptist Church who died suddenly in November. He leaves his wife and four children and, of course, the congregation will be devastated. Councillor Maggie Carman spoke for many when she said, “Jem was such a kind and lovely person. My heart goes out to his family and his congregation. He will be sorely missed in our local community.”
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 that 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
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
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
‘Early Voting’ – Voting by post
Voting by post is an easy and convenient 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 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
NHS Responders and Westminster Connects
Residents have raised with us that there is a shortage locally of NHS responders (volunteers) to support residents who are self-isolating with tasks such as picking up prescriptions from chemists. We were also told that Westminster Connects (the Westminster council service that supports residents during lockdown) was also not supporting residents with such tasks as they were thought to be the responsibility of NHS responders. However, after we raised this issue with them, Westminster Connects officers confirmed that their volunteer team would now pick up prescriptions for residents so there should not be any more difficulties in the future.
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:
Volunteers at the he Bayswater Mutual Aid & Community-based Response Group are offering to shop or run errands. You can contact them on 020 8123 7839 and email@example.com
Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222
Beware the Coronavirus scammers
For the latest business advice and help, go to https://www.westminster.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-businesses
82 Westbourne Grove gates – what you say
“I think they’re a great addition to the streetscape and should not be removed!”
What you say
“I would like to send a huge thank you to Maggie and team for solving an ongoing problem I had going on with Notting Hill Genesis regarding a fire safe front door to my property. For all the time and support that you have given us regarding this matter, we are truly grateful as we have now finally, after nearly two years, received a fire safe front door. The continuous support that you give this community is greatly appreciated.”
“Many thanks for expert works”
“Thank you but these reports are sadly always the same: NHG are not doing their job, and are not facing any consequences. At what point can we take legal action? I live in a top floor flat in an NHG building. The building is not maintained at all. It is very concerning. At some point water will be coming in from the roof and destroy everything.”
“Thank you so much for your unstinting efforts in supporting our area – we are so lucky to have you.”
“I am thrilled that a new bike hangar has been installed opposite my flat. Thank you so much for your role in pushing for these hangars to be installed around Westminster. I honestly thought it would be years before I might see one on my street! Thank you for your hard work.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
If you know of anyone else who might like to receive this report, please send them this sign-up link http://bit.ly/signuplabnews
Keep well, take care and look after yourself and your neighbours.
Wishing you Season’s Greetings and a very happy New Year.
Councillor Maggie Carman, Dafydd Ellis and Max Sullivan
Bayswater Labour Action Team
Angela Piddock, Elizabeth Whitmore and Simon Wyatt
Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team