Councillors Ruth Bush, Tim Roca and Guthrie McKie
Councillors Ruth Bush, Tim Roca and Guthrie McKie

News from your three Harrow Road Councillors Ruth Bush, Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca

Dear Resident,

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.

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

The Squirrel

Despite a big campaign from residents and Councillors, Westminster Council has voted for plans to turn The Squirrel into a pharmacy. The planning committee had previously turned down attempts to turn the pub into flats but a new viability report from the developers taking into account the effects of Covid-19 claimed it would struggle to make The Squirrel a successful business.

Labour Councillor Tim Roca said the community was frustrated at the closure of the second-last pub in the ward and that a viability report from the developers was the ‘clincher’. He said: “Residents are baffled and angry with Westminster Council’s decision. How can you possibly judge the viability of a community pub during a global pandemic?”.

The Squirrel campaign group is considering further legal options.

A separate appeal by the developer to the Planning Inspectorate against last year’s refusal of permission to turn the pub into flats was heard in early December. Councillor Tim Roca attended the appeal and strongly argued for the retention of the pub or some form of community asset on the site, criticising the design and harm caused by the proposal.

Shirland Road/Ashmore Road junction

We are delighted that that volunteer gardeners have planted new shrubs and plants in the large planters on the corner of Ashmore Road and Shirland Road, with financial help from Queen’s Park Community Council. This brightens up this junction where there have been previous problems with rubbish dumping. Ulla Johnson, who is coordinating the planting, told us:

“The Ashmore/Shirland Road planters have been brought back to life and are now fully planted. While we’ve been out planting and doing the works we have been blown away by the number of positive comments & feedback from local residents expressing how happy they are to see the new plants & how the planters enhance the area particularly in the midst of lockdown/Covid19.

In the last week, we’ve also managed to accrue 6 local residents who have volunteered to help with the on-going maintenance of the planters (weeding, watering etc) which is great news.”

Western Court

We have asked the Rough Sleeping Team to help a young man who is homeless outside Western Court during daytime hours. He is surrounded by boxes/blankets etc.

Shirland Mews

We have again asked the Parking Team to ensure that Wardens patrol Sirland Mews on a regular basis after receiving this message from a resident:

“This morning my husband was abused by a van driver when he asked him not to park on the pavement. There should be pressure put on these businesses to ensure their patrons are parking responsibly and not inconveniencing the wider community. This problem needs to stop now. I’m incensed that my husband has had to deal with aggressive confrontation from an individual who was essentially breaking the law.”

North Paddington Foodbank

If you can help the foodbank or are in need of emergency support please see the information here:

You can read a report of a recent North Paddington Foodbank customer survey here

Blood Donors 

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 visiting 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

Jobs and Skills

Microsoft and LinkedIn have produced a free programme to help those looking for a job and learn new skills 

Cycle Mechanics

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 and convenient way of voting. You can use this form to apply to vote

You can email your completed form to    or post it to Electoral Services, Westminster City Council, 14th Floor City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP.

Report It

You can report dumped rubbish, broken street lights, graffiti and more using the Report It service

You can register here for alerts of everything reported in your area (just use your post code and it will offer you options).

Refuse collection and Recycling collection times

Recycling bags can be ordered from

Bags will be delivered within approximately 48 hours of order.

You can check when refuse and recycling is collected from your street here

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

Westminster Extra

You can now read the Westminster Extra online

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.

Health advice

Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222

Beware the Coronavirus scammers 

Fernhead Road – what you say

“Can I please add my voice to the request for a zebra crosssing outside St. Luke’s school on Fernhead Rd. One of the big problems here is that cars shoot across the junction from the Salusbury Rd side at high speed. When they enter Fernhead Road, they are travelling so fast that they don’t know that they have entered a 20-mph zone and continue to speed down Fernhead Road. I’ve had quite a few near misses myself; if I was a parent, I would be very anxious.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Please keep well, take care and look after yourself and your neighbours.

Wishing you all the very best for the Festive Season and the New Year.


Councillors Ruth Bush, Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca.

Your Harrow Road Labour Councillors

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