BAYSWATER & LANCASTER GATE LABOUR ACTION REPORT – January 2022
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
St Stephen’s Church/Westbourne Park Passage
Following a great deal of work from Councillor Maggie Carman, together with residents, the police and the Council, four CCTV cameras have been installed on lamp posts near to St Stephen’s Church, with four more to follow. We hope that the cameras will help deal with the proliferation of crime around the Church over the last few years, especially because of the perceived easy exit route through Westbourne Park Passage and over the footbridge. Residents say
“Let me say a very special thank you to you, Maggie, without your help we could never have got this done. It is very much appreciated.”
The Police say
“The cameras are huge benefit to Bayswater and will, without a doubt, drive crime numbers down in the area.”
Hereford Road – speeding vehicles
Residents have again raised the issue of speeding vehicles along Hereford Road. One resident says, “On Hereford Road we have not only racing cars but also racing bikes and scooters. What can be done to get road users to keep to the 20mph limit? If cameras were installed would the authority issue fines to cars, vans, scooters, electric bikes, bikes and motor bikes? Failing this we need speed bumps.”
Councillor Maggie Carman has again asked the Highways Team to investigate and take the necessary action to safeguard residents. The Council say:
“Enforcing the 20mph speed limit is a Police matter as Local Authorities do not have the powers to do this. We can work with the Police and ask for some targeted enforcement. On speed humps we do not install these as they impeded the movement of emergency service vehicles, especially ambulances.”
Back in the summer we did work with the Met Police to do an action day on Hereford Road and several notices were issued to scooter riders. Maggie has asked for further targeted action.
Hereford Road – bright lighting
At the request of residents, Councillor Maggie Carman asked the Planning Team to investigate very bright lighting on all night at a commercial property in Hereford Road. Following the investigation, the Planning Team told us,
“We issued formal warning letters to the owners informing them that the addition of the light strip means the shop sign now constitutes an unauthorised illuminated advert. The letter requires that the light strip is switched off with immediate effect and is then disconnected and removed within 14 days.”
“Many thanks for your help and great to hear the news!”
“Thank you so much for following this up and thank you for all your incredible work and support.”
Talbot Road/St Stephen’s Crescent junction
Councillor Maggie Carman has again asked the Highways Team to review the location of the bollards at this junction and has arranged a site visit with the Highways Officers. Residents say: “The bollard is down again. You can see how many repairs there have been by the differing cement. Cars have to slow almost to a stop to get through, meaning cars often queue up on a quiet street. This needs attention as the whole junction does not operate efficiently or safely.”
Following the site visit, one of the Highways Officers wrote to his colleague to ask,
“Are there any changes we can make in terms of reducing the island size (for both sides of the road) as a mitigating measure? Historically, these bollards get hit very often and from a reactive maintenance point of view, it can be quite costly and disruptive if we have to replace the bollards and kerbs every few weeks.”
Westbourne Park Villas
Councillor Maggie Carman has urged London & Quadrant to take action to repair a flat in Westbourne Park Villas which was flooded in the summer. She says, “The flat was damaged during the flooding in June and work has not yet been started on repairs. The residents have been in five different decants since then.”
Following Maggie’s intervention, L&Q are promising a suitable long term decant for as long as it takes. The whole building is affected so it will be a big job. The resident said, “I cannot thank you enough for your support! I massively appreciate it. I can’t believe how responsive L&Q are being.”
Councillor Maggie Carman has again urged the Housing Department to fix the problems with a flat door in Orsett Terrace which an elderly resident is having difficulties with.
At the request of Colonnades residents, we have asked the Planning Department to take action to stop the noise caused by delivery vehicles using the Waitrose service yard which residents say is in breach of the planning permission conditions. Councillor Maggie Carman will be presenting a petition signed by a majority of the 77 flats in the affected 100 block in the Colonnades to the next meeting of the Council on 19th January.
We have again urged Notting Hill Genesis to fix a broken door and faulty sash windows in one of their properties in Gloucester Terrace.
Caernarvon House, Hallfield
We are helping a number of residents in Caernarvon House with a range of housing issues, including water penetration and damp.
Westbourne Gardens – Recycling bins
A resident has observed that many people use the black bins in Westbourne Gardens for recycling and the recycling bins for black waste (wrong stuff in the wrong bin). The resident thinks that some of this is down to the bins looking very similar (mostly black) and has asked if the Council/Veolia could consider a more radical difference between the two bin designs – for example making the recycling ones entirely green? We asked the Council, who say:
“The bins are black due to a public realm design guide, but we’ve recently tested flower bins so I can’t see any practical reason we couldn’t test another colour. There may be something I’m not aware of but will speak to the team about the option of testing a different coloured bin.”
Craven Hill Gardens
In response to resident concerns, we have been investigating the issue of the recent charge for access to Craven Hill Gardens. We met with the garden managing agents and urged them to reconsider their approach and bring their charges in alignment with the local area average (£150 – £200). We raised concerns about the poor communications with residents and the lack of transparency, as well as the fears that miscellaneous costs have been passed onto residents unrelated to the garden.
We are contacting residents to better understand the demand for the access and the fair price residents would be willing to pay. Our hope is to reach a practical compromise in which the charge per resident can be reduced by widening access to a larger group of residents who wish to participate.
We have been working on behalf of the residents of Inver Court to secure the compensatory window cleaning they had been promised from the Whiteley development. Residents in this block have suffered from horrendous dust from the building works which has dirtied windows and, in some cases, damaged surfaces within resident’s properties.
We’ve also been investigating how and why the development has been granted so many permissions to work outside their normal agreed working hours (i.e. securing permissions to work before 8am and on weekends on a regular basis), on behalf of the residents of Inver Court.
Following discussions with residents of Chilworth Mews, we have asked the Council to fix some of the issues arising due to the ongoing works on the road, and to gain more clarity from the Council around the decision-making with regards to the works.
These include requesting that Chilworth Mews be turned into a one-way street going from Craven Road to Chilworth Street, installing a turntable for HGVs to use, restoring the carriageway in Chilworth Mews to its original width and finishing resurfacing the entire road. These will all serve to improve safety and reducing congestion and air pollution on the street.
We have asked the police to investigate residents’ concerns about drug dealing from a property in Gloucester Mews. We have also asked the Street Lighting Team to improve lighting in the Mews, including fixing the streetlight between 56-58 Gloucester Mews which residents say has not been working a few months now.
Westbourne Terrace – National Express coaches
At the suggestion of a local resident, we have asked TfL to move the National Express bus stop from Bishop’s Bridge Road to Eastbourne Terrace to ensure that National Express coaches use Eastbourne Terrace rather than Westbourne Terrace. The resident says,
“Whilst National Express does appear to have stopped its A6 service for the time being due to the pandemic, it has been adding more and more services on Westbourne Terrace. I have taken pictures of the A1 and 400 services on Westbourne Terrace. I have also seen the A11 on the street regularly. There is also at least another service regularly passing on Westbourne Terrace.
It is obvious that unless the National Express bus stop is moved from Bishop’s Bridge Road onto Eastbourne Terrace, National Express will keep using Westbourne Terrace for every single one of its routes heading to Victoria.”
Transport for London say:
“For any white liveried and full National Express branded coaches sighted on Westbourne Terrace please email full details to LSP@tfl.gov.uk with the Date, Time and Registration plate. Please also say if the coach is heading to or from the direction of Paddington station and the illuminated destination shown on the front and/or side of the coach e.g. ‘A6 Stansted’. If smart phone photo images are taken and sent, please send images of the back of the coach rather than the front.
Such evidence will be checked by TfL then by National Express by interrogating its GPS vehicle tracking data system. And if there is a match then a driver will be identified, interviewed and be formally disciplined or dismissed from his/her job, if necessary.”
£6 million Marble Arch Mound
The Marble Arch Mound is finally coming down! The Council has told us
“The Marble Arch Mound will close to the public on 9th January. The process of decommissioning the Mound will begin on 10th January, with the removal of the art installation and onsite operator facilities. Deconstruction of the Mound will then begin 18 January 2022 and our contractors FM Conway will erect site perimeter barrier. It is anticipated that the decommissioning work will be completed around May 2022.”
The Marble Arch Mound cost £6 million – three times the original budget – and entry up the Mound has been free since it opened as the Council had to scrap the plan to charge visitors because of the very poor reaction to the promised ‘spectacular views’ that never materialised.
UPDATE – The Council Officer responsible for the £6 million Marble Arch Mound fiasco was Westminster Council’s highest paid employee at £220,000 a year. You can read more here
Residents 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.
If you are affected please 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.
Despite the Council spending £50 million a year with Veolia whose contract has just been extended for another three years, local streets are littered with mounds of dumped rubbish. The time is long overdue for tough action against the regular rubbish dumpers who litter the streets 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.
At the request of a resident, we have asked if Westminster Council has any plans to start recycling soft plastics. The resident says, “More and more products contain soft plastics and there aren’t very many places to recycle these currently, and none seem to be by the council. We have been taking ours on the bus to the closest Coop that does this, but this is quite a cumbersome task and it builds up very quickly!”
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.
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
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.
Green Doctors service
Green Doctors are expert energy advisers who help residents save money, stay warm, and improve energy efficiency in the home. They are now offering pre-booked home visits/phone consultations to help families and individuals to maximise their income by:
- Sharing easy tips on how to save money on their energy bills
- Helping to switch onto cheaper tariffs to save money
- Delivering free energy-saving items such as draft proofing strips/LED light bulbs/showerheads, etc
You can call 0300 365 3005 or email email@example.com
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.
You can read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online
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 all, for all you manage to do. The mound costs are horrific, will it be removed?”
“Thank you to Maggie and Team for the ongoing support and care you show for us all in this community.”
“Thank you for reaching out and following up on the lack of access to broadband, which is of significant importance to myself and my neighbours around Bark Place, Lombardy Place and Caroline Place.”
“What a lot of good work. Thank you, team! Happy resident of Newton Road.”
“Thanks for the report and for all you do in the neighbourhood. Regarding the item about dog fouling, there has been a big increase in Leinster Square, for example there were 3 piles of it over a couple of days outside my house last week and I’ve noticed it generally much more in the area.”
“I just wanted to commend your doorstep campaigner who came to Bark Place on Sunday. I found her manner very reasonable and engaging and without trying to be persuasive actually very effective. We are also thrilled and impressed to see your team take up the issue of broadband in our street. Clearly broadband is a utility and so should be a political issue and is very critical to all of us.”
“I was congratulating you, Maggie, as it seems you have been able to free the logjam that was plaguing us on Friday! Well done and many thanks.”
“Thank you, Maggie. Your very quick response is much appreciated.”
“Thanks very much for all your hard work”
“Thanks Maggie. Honestly, I cannot thank you enough! Your support has taken a huge weight off my shoulders.”
“Thanks for all your help. I would have been lost without it.”
“I am impressed by your response so quickly. Thank you!”
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