MAIDA VALE & LITTLE VENICE LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2021
News from Maida Vale Councillors Geoff Barraclough, Rita Begum and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis and Iman Less
And the Little Venice Labour Action Team – Sara Hassan, Murad Qureshi and Rosie Wrighting
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
We have launched a petition asking Westminster Council to take action against speeding motorists on Lauderdale Road. Lauderdale Road is a broad street with one-way traffic. Most car drivers obey the 20mph limit, but a significant minority treat it like a race track. Residents are very worried about the risk of accidents and are demanding that traffic calming measures be put in place.
A petition has been launched which anyone living or working in Westminster can sign. Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis said: “We need urgent action to improve road safety on Lauderdale Road before someone is killed.”
Shirland Road junctions
We have started a petition asking Westminster Council to commission a study on redesigning the junction of Shirland Road with Kilburn Park Road, Chippenham Road and Malvern Road to minimise congestion, improve air quality and maximise the safety of people on foot and bicycles.
Councillor Geoff Barraclough said: “The whole junction needs a rethink. The air quality is terrible and we’re worried about the safety of people on foot as they cross the roads. Westminster needs to work with local residents and TFL to redesign the layout.”
Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis said: “There is a particular problem with the zebra crossing on Kilburn Park Road. Traffic frequently stops on the crossing as it waits to turn into Shirland Road. This blocks people on foot and forces them to dodge, unsafely, around the stationary cars and buses.”
Westminster Council has confirmed that a new cycle hangar will be installed on Lanark Road near the entrance to Elgin Mews North. Residents will be able to reserve a space once the new hangar arrives so we recommend keeping an eye on this location.
Kilburn Park Road
In response to our continued request, Westminster Council has finally repainted the zebra crossing at the junction of Kilburn Park Road and Shirland Road. We are assured that belisha beacons should be repaired shortly. Meanwhile, we have been following up reports of squatters in the empty lower ground floor flats on Kilburn Park Road.
The construction team has finished the pile driving in the car park. This is preparatory to starting to build a new block of affordable housing. Westminster Housing officers have told us that there will now be a pause while they agree terms with a contractor to take on the next stage of the works.
We have called on Marks & Spencer to rethink plans to demolish its store at Marble Arch and replace it with a building twice as large.
Ten storeys high, the new building embodies 39,500 tonnes of carbon. To put this figure in perspective, last week Westminster Council announced a £13m project to retrofit its own buildings to save 1,700 tonnes of CO2 per year. The new Marks & Spencer building wipes out the next 23 years of these carbon savings in one stroke.
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, shadow cabinet member for planning said “The new M&S building is so huge that it would take the planting of 2.4 million trees to offset the CO2 generated in its construction. If Marks & Spencer is serious about zero carbon, it needs to rethink its plans and retrofit its buildings, not demolish them.”
Lauderdale Mansions West
Both Councillor Geoff Barraclough and Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis spoke in support of leaseholders at the planning inquiry into proposals by the absentee freeholder to build an additional story on top of Lauderdale Mansions West. The freeholder is appealing Westminster Council’s decision to refuse planning permission because of the poor quality of the new flats and the damage to the Maida Vale conservation area.
A resident asked whether the pedestrian crossing at the junction of Shirland Road and Essendine Road could be upgraded. The council replied:
We have looked at the personal injury collision data and also available speed data. On review of both we would not recommend prioritisation for this location. Whilst I appreciate that this is not the desired response we can see that the location does have existing islands which assist pedestrian crossing in two halves.
We can however install 20mph road markings in advance of the junction to remind drivers of the posted seep limit. These have been ordered and should be installed before Christmas.”
Lanark Road Community Centre & Youth Club
We are chasing Westminster Council for news of when these new facilities will be open to the public. Over four years since work began, snagging continues. Meanwhile, we worked with the City Inspector to have the external lighting turned off as it was shining directly into the flats behind the building.
Melrose, Keith & Helmsdale Houses
Council officers believe they have finally reached terms with a new contractor to complete the new affordable homes under construction at the rear of these blocks. The original contractor got into financial difficulties and could not continue the job. We are now told to expect completion in 2022.
We have been liaising with the new managing agents on behalf of residents on a number of issues including pigeons, signage and the correct spelling of Lichfield House.
We have written to Westminster’s planning officers in support of residents who are objecting to a proposed new basement flat on Essendine Road.
Maida Vale Ward budget
The Maida Vale ward budget is supporting Essendine Primary School renovate their playground and build a greenhouse. They will be buying new equipment, including tricycles, balls, skipping ropes, hula hoops, a table tennis table and space hoppers. The greenhouse will be used for children to learn how to grow vegetables and for after school clubs. The funding will also cover a new shed and staff costs for after school clubs.
We also funded some events for Black History month. The Black History celebration event on 23 October at Porchester Hall and the film screening on 2nd November at Everyman theatre about Bangladesh Independence to celebrate the 50 years since Bangladesh Independence.
- Santa’s truck – Santa’s truck will be driving through the streets of Maida Vale on the 1st and 2ndDecember
- Christmas Lights – We will be turning the Christmas lights on at Paddington Rec on Friday 3rd December at 4pm. We will be joined by the choir from St Augustine school and from Essendine Primary school
Oak Tree Residents Association
We had a very productive meeting with Oak Tree Residents and the Director of Housing Neil Whitman to go through the repairs that are needed with regard to entrances, signage, car parking and other issues.
Hanging Flower Baskets
We have arranged with Westminster’s Highways team to install brackets on lampposts on Oxford Road which could be used for hanging baskets in future (subject to budgets). We are also organising to reinstate brackets on Lanark Road.
We have asked the Road Safety Team to look into this issue:
“I was hoping you could have a look at the zebra crossing on Sutherland Avenue at the intersection of Castellain Road. When crossing from north(ish) to south(ish) (with Paddington Rec at your back) the view of pedestrians, for those driving from the Sutherland Avenue roundabout, is now blocked by the bike storage hangers. Cars, more often than not, do not stop when I am approaching the second half of this crossing. If pedestrians are not prudent this will eventually be the site of a disaster.”
We are assisting residents in Bristol Gardens whose homes are uninhabitable following the July floods to claim back their Council Tax payments. If you have had to move because of the floods you should email Rehana Hannan at the Council email@example.com with details of your property, reasons it is not habitable and some indication of how long it will be vacant.
We have asked the Council to remove graffiti on a tree along Warwick Avenue.
St Mary’s Terrace
Many residents have got in touch with us to tell us about the lack of road signage along St Mary’s Terrace. Drivers trying to use it as a cut through cause noise, while others getting stuck on St Mary’s Terrace and Porteus Road due to the lack of dead-end signs have disrupted residents. You can sign the petition here
If you’ve tried to walk along the canal after dark recently, you’ll have noticed the lack of lighting along the towpaths. With winter rapidly approaching and more people forced to walk in the dark, the paths are increasingly unsafe – particularly as many cyclists use the narrow towpaths to commute or deliver, some riding fast with no lights. Areas around bends and the tunnel under the Harrow Road Bridge are especially dangerous.
Everyone should feel safe and comfortable using the towpaths. That’s why the Labour Action Team in Little Venice are campaigning to get lighting installed, as Councils and the Canal and River Trust has been able to do with other urban towpaths in the country. You can sign our petition here westminsterlabour.org.uk/lvlights/
Paddington Green Police Station
The Mayor of London has ‘called in’ Berkeley Homes’ plans to build new homes, including 38% on-site affordable at the former Paddington Green Police Station. This follows Westminster City Council’s decision to refuse the application earlier in the year. The Mayor will now become the local planning authority for this application.
Laying out the reasons for the intervention, Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe queried the council’s record on delivering affordable housing stating “that while Westminster Council has taken a positive approach to delivering new homes in the borough during the last five years, the proportion of affordable housing secured relative to the overall housing consented during the period is significantly below Westminster’s Local Plan target of 35% and represents a significant undersupply of affordable housing in the pipeline”.
Travis Perkins site, Harrow Road
Unite Students and Travis Perkins have submitted revised proposals to the Council. The main changes are very minimal and comprise the following:
- the proposed building is now stepped from 6 – 20 storeys, as opposed to the original proposal, which was 7 – 22 storeys.
- The number of student beds has been reduced from 843 to 768.
You can see more at www.balticwharfpaddington.co.uk
The Council will consult residents on the revised plans over the next month.
Over 120 objections have been made to the original proposals.
We will continue to support local residents’ objections to the revised proposals.
Here is a link to Murad Qureshi’s latest blog on the threat to the Bakerloo line
We have called for No Rise in Council Tax until at least 2024. As residents face a challenging winter with rising prices and energy bills, they want to know that they aren’t going to have any nasty surprises in the spring in when it comes to Council Tax.
Labour Councillors will vote against any increase in Council Tax until at least 2024 to try to help residents through these difficult times. We think that at the very least Council Tax should be frozen at its current rate, while further efforts are made to protect those on low incomes.
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.
£6 Million Marble Arch Mound
It is costing Westminster Council Tax-payers about £150,000 a month to keep the Marble Arch Mound open to the public. The Council had planned to charge visitors for entry to recoup some of the £6 million it has cost to build the Mound. But, because the Mound failed to live up to the Council’s misguided high expectations, the Council was forced to scrap entry charges.
The costs have trebled from £2 million to £6 million and the Deputy Leader of the Council, who was responsible for the debacle, has resigned. The £6 million could have been put to much better use – for example, on CCTV to catch illegal rubbish dumpers or on more police on the beat or on re-opening the youth clubs that were closed by the Council a few years ago.
The Maida Vale councillor surgeries have started again after an enforced break due to Covid. You can come and meet us at the Café in Paddington Rec:
- First Saturday of the month at 10am
- Third Sunday of the month at 11am
No appointment needed
Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society
If you’re interested in the local area, please join PWMV. It publishes a regular newsletter and it’s free to join. https://w9w2.co.uk
If you see anyone sleeping rough, please contact Street Link who are able offer help and assistance. You can contact Street Link 24 hours a day at www.streetlink.org.uk.
Voting by post
It is much easier, quicker and safer to vote by post. With a postal vote you have two weeks to cast your vote and can vote at home.
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 read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online https://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
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:
You can report dumped rubbish, broken streetlights, graffiti and more using the Report It service https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
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.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
You can see the latest data for your area here
Westminster Council’s advice and response website:
What you say
“Thanks once again for the update on all the projects your team is monitoring. This is so reassuring!”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Keep well, take care and look after yourselves and your neighbours.
Councillors Geoff Barraclough, Rita Begum and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis and Iman Less
Your Maida Vale Labour Councillors
You can read our news here
Sara Hassan, Murad Qureshi and Rosie Wrighting
Your Little Venice Labour Action Team
You can read our news here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/your-ward/little-venice/