News from Councillor Pancho Lewis and the West End Labour Action Team
Residents have raised concerns about an application to build a hotel/hostel at 91/92 Dean Street that could accommodate up to 820 guests. We are supporting residents in conversations with the developers at the pre-application stage. You can write directly to the developers with your views at email@example.com.
Old Compton Street
Police officers from the West End team were called to Old Compton Street one Saturday night in March to investigate reports of a party. Officers arrested one person and reported 14 others for covid offences.
We have repeated our call to the Council to find a long-term solution to the lack of toilets in the West End and across Westminster. We need more toilets and they also need to be above ground (in Soho, the toilets below ground can be magnets for ASB).
Al Fresco dining
The Council is bringing back the al fresco hospitality scheme until the end of September.
The Soho Society is doing an excellent job pressing the Council, including asking how the community will be involved in deciding the long-term future of al fresco (the Council have promised they will run a full consultation before any decision is made) and about the provision of toilets. Councillor Pancho Lewis is backing them in working to hold the Council to account.
We have also launched a petition urging the Council to listen to the community before rushing to any decisions about the long-term future of al fresco:
Finally, we got a commitment from the Chief Executive of Westminster Council that there will not be a repeat of the July 2020 Super Saturday this year.
The Oxford Street Art House
Thank you for your positive and helpful comments on our ideas for creating ‘The Oxford Street Art House’ in the empty Debenham’s building. Here are some of your comments:
“This is an excellent idea and something that has been long overdue in the discussions about the future of Oxford Street.”
“A great idea but perhaps also add a studio/performance/meeting space for theatre, music, talks etc.”
“Great idea, this is exactly the sort of thing future Oxford Street needs”
“The plans look really exciting and it will be a fantastic addition to Oxford Street.”
“I recently came across your fantastic initiative “Oxford Street Art House” and thought that our goals align so I wanted to reach out in case there might be some opportunity in the future to collaborate.”
“You certainly raise an interesting topic for discussion. The concept has some appeal. I asked around and found no outright opposition but a few additional ideas were presented – Tourist/Information centre, Police desk, NWEC contact point, Theatre ticket stand, a bookstore and an ice cream parlour. I’m sure that we will hear more about this over the coming months.”
“I read that you have been trying to find creative uses for large empty buildings on Oxford Street. This is very good news. I hope that your campaign is successful.”
“I read recently about your proposal to turn the Oxford Street site formerly occupied by Debenhams into an arts centre. I think it’s a really exciting idea and it would be fantastic to have something like this right in the heart of London.”
We are currently working with a not-for-profit Arts group to identify other shops and offices which can be used for medium/long-term use for artistic and cultural uses.
Jewish life in the West End
A group of former West Enders, working in association with the London Museum of Jewish Life, have recorded evocative memories of the social life they enjoyed during their formative years in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr Gerry Black has set their recollections in the perspective of the broader history of West End Jewry.
Fitzrovia Rubbish Action Committee (FRAC)
FRAC has been formed following community concerns about rubbish dumping and fly-tipping. The committee is composed of four residents and Councillor Pancho Lewis.
FRAC is open to considering a wide range of proposals to seek to tackle issues of persistent fly-tipping and rubbish dumping that continue to blight the Fitzrovia area. Various proposals are being considered including ‘greening’ measures, e.g. installing planters and green spaces, at specific sites to deter dumping as well as plans for a monthly bulky items collection service, together with clearer communication with residents about how rubbish is collected and when to leave bags outside.
Greening plans for Riding House Street
Councillor Pancho Lewis is working with Council officers and Fitzrovia residents to install planters on Riding House St,reet as part of a project to bring more greenery to the street directly outside All Souls Primary School. The planters will be watered by local community members.
We have dealt with a number of issues in Holcroft Court, including:
- reports of an illegal party and anti-social behaviour at one flat
- long-standing kitchen repairs to another flat
- repairs to a balcony door in another flat
The final instalment of the four-part review of The Survey of London volume devoted to Oxford Street, focuses on numbers 164 to 212 — the area between Winsley Street and Great Portland Street.
Edward Kellow and Sue Blundell write about the secrets of St John’s Lodge Garden
Councillor Pancho Lewis has launched a petition calling on the Council to take action to clamp down on the havoc caused by the Audley Square development. You can sign the petition here https://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/audleysquare/
16 Charles Street
We have received notification of an application for a “new fine-dining restaurant at 16 Charles Street, Mayfair.” We are encouraging residents to look closely at this proposal, especially given concerns about the increase of restaurants and decline of community services in Mayfair.
Mayfair Art Weekend
The Mayfair Art Weekend will take place from 25 – 27 June 2021. In 2020, Mayfair Art Weekend took place in the autumn and over 30 galleries participated. Mayfair Art Weekend invites art enthusiasts to explore a series of free exhibitions, tours, talks and site-specific installations across Mayfair’s world-class galleries. You can sign up for news alerts here https://www.mayfairartweekend.com/sign-up/