News from Councillor Pancho Lewis and the West End Labour Action Team
Residents have raised concerns to do with the way the building works in front of Trenchard House are being conducted, including no space on the pavement for residents to walk past and a lack of social distancing among workers on the building site. We are liaising with Council officers to better regulate the scheme.
Residents and workers continued to raise concerns about the collapsed vaults on D’Arblay Street. Businesses and residents are paying the price for inaction. Councillor Pancho Lewis will continue to lobby the Council; it is unacceptable this been allowed to continue for more than three years.
West End economy
A new report has been published by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London into the future challenges and opportunities facing central London, which has suffered a sudden and rapid reduction in footfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mayor commissioned the research to help understand the emerging trends that might affect London’s city centre economy.
London’s economy accounts for a quarter of the UK’s total economic output and before the pandemic contributed a net £38.7 billion to the Treasury. The Mayor is calling for a series of urgently needed reforms to the business rates system to support the capital’s long-term economic recovery. You can read the report.
Old Compton Street
Police raided a party at an Old Compton Street flat which had been rented online for the event with some of the revellers too young to even be fined. Officers found 13 people in an apartment ignoring rules on social distancing and not mixing households. Some of the group were referred for £200 fines while others were so young the police just escorted them to their homes.
Tackling rubbish dumping and providing more greenery
The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum is consulting residents on the problem of on-street rubbish dumping and the need for more greenery in Fitzrovia. You can give your views here https://www.fitzwest.org/consultations/more-greening-and-less-rubbish-dumping/
New Cavendish Street
We have reported this problem with the Highways team:
“We have an ongoing problem with standing water in New Cavendish Street on the corner with Great Portland Street. It’s really quite deep. It fills up every time it rains and takes ages to disappear because it doesn’t drain away, it just slowly evaporates. Passers-by get splashed by vehicles driving through it. There have barriers around it for weeks, but now those have been removed and the problem hasn’t been solved.”
Cleveland Street/Clipstone Street
The Council is consulting residents on plans to improve the public realm at the corner of Cleveland Street and Clipstone Street. Read more here https://fitzrovianews.com/2021/02/12/consultation-on-improvements-around-cleveland-street-site/
We are continuing to press the Housing Department to take action against those responsible for anti-social behaviour in Holcroft Court, involving drug dealing and stolen Santander bikes.
Lack of high-speed broadband
Residents across Fitzrovia have written with concerns about high-speed broadband installation not being allowed because housing associations and, in one case, the Council are blocking access. This is unacceptable and we’re pressing for access to be granted.
Fitzrovia in the Blitz
A BBC docudrama tell the stories of six people who worked and volunteered during the Blitz, including Ita Ekpenyon, a Nigerian-born air-raid warden who lived on Great Titchfield Street in Fitzrovia. Further details can be found at
The Council is proposing to build a 25-metre high “Marble Arch mound” to attract shoppers back to Oxford Street. We have asked for details of the costs and the operation of the proposed ‘mound’:
Residents have been in touch to voice their concerns:
“How many nurses could be paid/or have bursary funding instead of paying for this. It is an absurd venture, and will surely prove an eyesore at an iconic London location. It will also encourage groups of people – and too many people – gathering together at a time when social distancing is imperative.
I am miffed that there has been no consultation on this, or the chance to object to a mound of earth. It is not exactly environmentally sound: lorries bring in the earth and plants, causing pollution/congestion. And all this will be dismantled after a few months. Here today, gone tomorrow, with our local taxes consumed inappropriately at a time of economic hardship.”
Police have handed out more than £65,000 in fines after raiding two illegal parties in Green Street and Brooks Mews. In Green Street, they found 50 people inside and the party’s organiser, a 29-year-old man, was fined £10,000 for breaching lockdown rules. The others in attendance were issued with 50 fixed penalty notices of £800 each. At Brook’s Mews, police officers found 20 people breaking Covid restrictions and they were all were issued with £800 fines, although the party’s organiser is yet to be identified.
The Audley Pub
Residents have raised concerns about changes endorsed by Grosvenor to plans for the Audley Pub. Residents say:
“The change from a local pub with staff accommodation above, to a boutique hotel was viewed by many people as acceptable. However, the new application is for the upper parts to be meeting and events rooms for hire, instead of eleven hotel bedrooms. They propose six meeting rooms and a restaurant, which could potentially hold hundreds of people, in and out at all times of the day and night, dependent upon licencing restrictions including from time to time temporary extensions. They propose a nearly full time, i.e. 23-hour operation with cleaning staff coming in after 1am closing, until 5am and kitchen/waiting staff arriving at 6am to prepare breakfasts etc!”
Busker licensing scheme
Councillor Pancho Lewis wrote to Mayfair residents with the following news:
“I am very pleased to say that after extensive lobbying, the Council has finally agreed to put in motion the process for a licensing scheme for buskers. Thank you to everyone who supported my petition last year urging the Council to take action to stop buskers causing noise nuisance for residents. It helped pile the pressure onto the Council, together with the many complaints that have been made over the years.
Busking will now only be allowed at designated spots and the vast majority of spots will ban amplifiers, including the spots at Old Quebec Street and Vere Street. Council City Inspectors will have much more power to police and enforce against buskers.
It won’t solve all problems, and it won’t deal with the issue of Pedicabs which needs legislation, but I very much hope will help push things in the right direction.
The Council should have acted much more quickly. Residents in particular those living in north Mayfair know much better than me how enormously disruptive and stress-provoking the lack of regulation has been. I have heard heart-breaking stories about people being pushed to the edge due to the endless noise caused by some buskers; the fact that action has taken so long to come is not acceptable. But for today this is at least good news.”
Residents said: “Many thanks Pancho – a great leap forward!”
“Dear Pancho, it’s very heartening to see that Westminster will finally some action on the Busker problem.”
Vic Keegan writes about the history of Hatchards on Piccadilly