BAYSWATER & LANCASTER GATE LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2021
News from Councillor Maggie Carman, James Small-Edwards and Max Sullivan, the Labour Action Team in Bayswater, and
Dario Goodwin, Ryan Jude and Ellie Ormsby, the Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
Royal Oak Station
Transport for London has asked Councillors, “How should TfL decide which stations to make step-free?”. Councillor Maggie Carman has replied:
“Royal Oak Station in Porchester Road has a lot of steps making it inaccessible for disabled people, older people who are not necessarily disabled but daunted by all those steps and mums with pushchairs among others. There isn’t another tube station anywhere near and only one bus route, the 36, which goes past. Couldn’t TfL put in a lift? We’d all be very grateful.”
Speeding on Porchester Square North/Gloucester Terrace.
Following our enquiries on behalf of residents about speeding on Porchester Square North/Gloucester Terrace, the Highways Team say:
“Our Road Safety Team are currently conducting an analysis on Porchester Square North for an automatic traffic counter. The data report will be completed in the next two weeks and a response will follow. Roundels (Road markings) have been requested for installation on Porchester Square North, this will be completed in 4-6 weeks. These measures have been carried out on Gloucester Terrace”
Residents again contacted us about the broadband road works on Chepstow Road and asked, “would you please confirm if this is due to WCC not specifying that reinforcement grids be installed after the latest broadband was installed or whether it was the contractor not meeting WCC specifications.” The Council says:
“As part of the inspection programme, our inspectors identified that GNetwork contractors had failed to complete sections of the reinstatement work relating to the recent fibre installation to the necessary standard. Specifically, they failed to return the steel reinforcement to the carriageway prior to reinstating the carriageway surface. We subsequently gave instruction for the reinstatement to be redone, including the omitted structural support. These works are due to be complete by the 21st of October 2021.”
We have urged Notting Hill Genesis to deal with a number of issues in Hereford Road, including fixing a faulty lock on a front door to one property and problems with the floor in a flat in another property.
Councillor Maggie Carman is continuing to work with residents and council officers about the problems with Ma Dame night club on Porchester Road.
We are also helping a Peabody tenant in Porchester Road get an up-to-date copy of their tenancy agreement.
We are helping a Notting Hill Genesis tenant in Shrewsbury Road with a number of recurring repair and maintenance and damp issues.
We are working closely with the Homeless Persons Unit, St Mungo’s, the police and local residents to find a place for a rough sleeper in Westbourne Gardens. Residents say, “Thanks Maggie. We all appreciate your efforts on our behalf. And if there is anything the residents can do, please just us know.”
We are also helping an elderly resident install a key safe to enable visitors to access her flat to provide essential care.
Following our enquiries, a restaurant in Westbourne Grove has reduced the noise from its extract duct which was causing problems for nearby residents in Redan Place. Residents said: “The noise is not as overwhelming as before and was sorted 2 weeks ago. Many thanks for your help.”
Councillor Maggie Carman has written again to the Director of Housing about the windows at Swanleys. She asked the Director:
“There was a plan to replace the front facing ground floor windows to a safer type. There was some discussion as to a suitable design, but it seems to have gone quiet now. Could I have an update please? Also, a few years ago there was a plan to replace Swanleys windows generally. Scaffolding went up but the work did not take place. There was some problem with the type of windows. Is there an intention to review the situation again so as to install double glazing?”
Following concerns raised by residents about the e-scooters in Leinster Square, we made enquiries with the Council who told us, “five users have been identified and banned as they were found to be riding against the flow of one-way traffic”.
Councillor Maggie Carman is taking up this issue with the Chief Librarian at the Council:
“I was disappointed to find that the lower ground floor of Paddington is still closed and the non-fiction books are still unavailable. The librarian at the desk told me that there’s no definite date for its return and that I should take it up with the council. Apparently, there is a problem with black mould, and an unwillingness for Westminster to meet the cost of removal.
It seems absurd that a Council that can, notoriously, spend £6 million on a hill, is unable to re-open its own libraries. The non-fiction section was well used, and the library is a valuable community centre. At present we have half a library.”
The Chief Librarian says:
“The basement is closed due to flood damage, and the libraries team are working hard with the facilities management team to identify some of the root causes and get them resolved. There is absolutely a commitment to opening the basement as soon as we can. A surveyor visited last week and their report is due on Friday. After that we will know more about timescales.”
We have been helping a number of residents In Brewers Court with housing issues, including asking the Housing Department to investigate this issue:
“It would be very nice if someone could come out and try help me with the pollution with all the dust and all the yellow staining on the walls. What steps can I take as I live by the main road and behind me is the train station, so all the dirty air is coming in”
Westbourne Crescent Mews
We have asked the City Inspector to take action against those responsible for dumping rubbish and to clean up Westbourne Crescent Mews.
Westbourne Terrace coaches – update
Along with Karen Buck MP, we have been pressing TfL to get coach operators to use Eastbourne Terrace, rather than Westbourne Terrace. Karen received the update below from TfL:
“The A2 (towards Luton Airport) route remains suspended and is being covered by the A1 under an emergency timetable. The A6 (to Stansted) remains on an emergency timetable and is not serving Paddington.
The A1 route is therefore the only coach service with a London Service Permit serving the Paddington area and its main route is via Bishops Bridge Road, Westbourne Terrace (the other end to where the resident concerns are from) and Harrow Road in both directions. It is authorised to use Eastbourne Terrace as an alternative route as required.
We are aware that a few coaches continue to use Westbourne Terrace and we have raised this concern with National Express. Please be reassured that we will continue to work with coach operators and trade associations advising them that coaches should avoid using this section of Westbourne Terrace wherever possible.”
Residents say, “I genuinely appreciated your detailed reply to this. Hopefully National Express will collaborate with your efforts.”
Council Housing sales
We have again asked the Council for the justification for its continued policy of selling Council flats when they become empty. Two one-bedroom flats in Westbourne Terrace and Gloucester Terrace are the latest to be sold at auction when there is a clear need for this size of property for people in housing need.
Some good news. We’ve heard from Westminster Council that people whose homes are not habitable due to flooding may not be obliged to pay Council Tax. This would apply for the period you are not living in the property.
Unhelpfully, Westminster hasn’t published this on their website or sent us a form for you to complete. Instead, we’ve been informed that affected residents should email Rehana Hannan at the Council firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your property, reasons it is not habitable and some indication of how long it will be vacant.
We are assured that Westminster will treat the flooding victims fairly but please let us know if you have any problems claiming this exemption.
Bike hangar locations – what you say
“If the Artesian Road bins are to be permanently removed then they would create the perfect space for bike hangars.”
Westminster’s streets are littered with mounds of dumped rubbish from Pimlico to Paddington despite the Council spending £50 million a year with Veolia whose contract has just been extended for another three years. The time is long overdue for tough action against the regular rubbish dumpers who litter the streets of Westminster and who are currently getting away with this particularly selfish and nasty form of anti-social behaviour. We have put forward a 5-point plan to tackle the rubbish dumping menace.
£6 Million Marble Arch Mound
Westminster Council has released its internal review of the £6 Million Marble Arch fiasco which saw costs escalate from £2 million to £6.6 million in a matter of months. As the report finds, “despite clear and repeated warnings”, the Mound was left unfinished and plans to recoup costs with entry charges had to be scrapped. The review has found:
“There was a breakdown of project management of the Mound which, amongst other issues, led to confusion over roles and responsibilities, a lack of communication between staff and contractors working on different elements of the Marble Arch Mound project and a basic lack of project coordination and documentation.”
The Council rejected Labour’s call for a full independent inquiry of how and why the costs had increased and why there was a basic lack of financial control. The subsequent ‘internal review’ has failed to ask key questions about the Council’s failure to apply basic financial controls on this high-profile project. The ‘internal review’, as expected, also fails to ask questions about the involvement of the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members in making decisions regarding the cost increases.
For a report on the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 27th October, see
Council leaseholders face higher charges
In their latest example of overspending and failing to deliver what they promised, Westminster Council has admitted their costs have gone massively over budget for their day-to-day services for leaseholders, leading service charges to hit an average cost of £1,631.41 per household. This is a massive 8.6% over the Council’s original estimates to leaseholders for 2020/21.
Local leaseholders have given us details of two organisations which are able to help leaseholders in battles against freeholders:
The Leasehold Partnership (run by leaseholders and solicitors)
The National Leasehold Campaign (set up leaseholders)
For the latest local police statistics see https://www.met.police.uk/a/your-area/met/westminster/bayswater/ and https://www.met.police.uk/a/your-area/met/westminster/lancaster-gate/
Parties at Airbnb premises
There have been a number of parties in flats let out as short lets. A number of residents have experienced massive disruption as a result and it’s unacceptable. 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.
- 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, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Short Lets Sector, says:
“Recent research has shown that there was a 423% increase in the number of multi-host entire apartment listings between 2015 and 2019 in Westminster (data available here). My priority will remain urging the Government to introduce a registration system to more efficiently manage the system and better protect our communities, a move that Airbnb themselves have conceded is necessary.”
Green New Deal for Westminster
We have launched a Green New Deal for Westminster which sets out a clear, ambitious agenda to achieve the change we desperately need. Key measures include:
- Appointing a Cabinet Member with responsibility for climate action. This will be pivotal to driving change from day one of a Labour Council.
- Implementing a Net Zero Test for all decisions to assess the climate impact of decisions made, and a sustainable approach to procurement.
- Seeking to refurbish first, rather than demolish, putting real emissions standards on all developments, and retrofitting our existing housing.
- Driving a green recovery and a just transition, with a Local Climate Bond for investments in our neighbourhoods, a focus on green jobs, and training available to all.
- Starting recovery in the streets, with a commitment to 15-minute neighbourhoods, new tree planting, and high streets that attract customers with active travel infrastructure.
In the spirit of working collaboratively with others we are keen to hear from residents, experts, and other stakeholders about how to develop and build on this plan. So please do get in touch with us to share your thoughts.
Please let us know if you would like to suggest locations for additional bike hangars where bikes can be stored safely and securely.
Electric Car charging points
Charging points have been installed in lamp columns across the area and you can register your interest in having a lamp post charger installed near you by completing the form below. You can also register an interest in having stand-alone charging posts installed in your local area.
E-Scooter hire trial
Transport for London is holding an e-scooter hire trial over the coming months. If you have any comments on the trial, please contact TfL by email at email@example.com.
You can read the ‘Westminster Extra’ onlinehttps://edition.pagesuite.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=09649383-4dbb-4a3d-b164-9d26398578f3
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 10 days of order.
You can check when refuse and recycling is collected from your street here http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/env/streetsearch.aspx
You can tell the Council about dumped rubbish, broken street lights, graffiti and more by using Report It https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
You can see the latest Covid data for your area here
Westminster Council’s advice and response website:
Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222
What you say
“Thank you for these newsletters and your hard work for the community”
“Thanks for all your hard work”
“That’s great news. You always come to the rescue.”
“Thanks for the great news and service bulletin, Maggie and Excellent Team.”
“Great work to the Councillors & wider team. So great to see you take on such big issues in our community.”
“Good news, electrician just left and I am very happy thanks to you. Many, many thanks again Maggie.”
“Wow, you are a woman that gets things done. I had heard through our mutual friend that you are an asset to us all! Thank you for your help with my concerns.”
“Thanks for all the updates.”
“Many thanks. On behalf of all the residents, a heart-felt thanks for your collective efforts.”
“My mum I are ever so grateful for your assistance that you have been providing is all this, once again, many, many thanks, we highly appreciate your help.”
“Thank you for passing this on. Certainly appreciate how hard you work for us all.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
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Keep well, take care and look after yourself and your neighbours.
Councillor Maggie Carman, James Small-Edwards and Max Sullivan
Bayswater Labour Action Team – Here to Help, All Year Round
Dario Goodwin, Ryan Jude and Ellie Ormsby
Lancaster Gate Labour Action Team – Here to Help, All Year Round