ST JOHN’S WOOD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – March 2022
News from your Abbey Road Ward Labour Candidates James Evans, Sarah Hanson and Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
And your Regent’s Park Ward Labour Candidates Md Azizul Haque, Kian Richardson and Connor Whittam
Westminster City Council Elections – 5th May 2022
You can read our Manifesto here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/manifesto-labours-plan-for-a-fairer-westminster/
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
Abercorn Place/Hamilton Terrace
We have asked the Council to inspect a wall on Abercorn Place on the junction with Hamilton Terrace on other side of the road from the church yard. Residents say:
“It makes the leaning tower of Pisa look well built. I am deeply concerned that it will eventually collapse and could badly injure someone on the pavement. I’m amazed it has been like this for so long with no one doing anything about it.”
The Head of Building Control says:
“This is a regular concern raised but has always been very stable although clearly leaning. I will get my surveyor to inspect when next in the area.”
We have asked the Road Safety Team to consider the following suggestion from a Charlbert Street resident:
“Cars continue to do speedy rat runs using Charlbert Street and adjacent turnings. These are residential streets but ‘cut through’ drivers roar through at main road speed. Can something be done at last. Call streets “access only’ maybe?”
The Road Safety Team say:
“We recently carried out a traffic survey in January 2022 which found that the average vehicle speed was just above 15mph. The records for this street does not highlight any significant road safety concerns or trends.
The survey was mainly to establish if there was need to impose a 7.5t weight restriction at this location. This is currently under review. However, additional roundels will be installed to remind drivers of the 20mph speed limit.
While we understand the request to make Charlbert Street ‘Access Only’ such measures would impact access to a public highway. The City Council must consider the needs and views of all residents in the street and other road users. Restricting the street to Access only would have a detrimental impact to the traffic flow within the wider area.”
Scott Ellis Gardens
We are making enquiries with the Housing Department about this issue:
“I would like to know who is responsible for sweeping and cleaning the rooftops of Scott Ellis Gardens? Like most residents I hang laundry in the designated drying area on the roof, but the roof has now become a dog’s toilet and is absolutely disgusting and residents are scared to complain for fear of reprisals, especially where dogs are concerned.”
The Housing Department say:
“We have visited the roof of block 12 and the roof area has been cleaned. We will be writing to all residents of the block to remind them that the roof area is not an appropriate area to exercise their dogs. It is unfortunate that access to the roof cannot be restricted but it acts as a secondary means of escape for residents. We would urge any residents who may know who is responsible to report this to Westminster City Council housing services.”
We have asked the City Inspector to take action on this recurring issue:
“MAN WITH VAN man is back parking his old bike with large advertising sign taking up a bike parking space at corner of Circus Road and St Anne’s Terrace NW8. Is this the start of this eyesore being here again all year?”
The City Inspector says, “I have identified this cycle as abandoned and have this morning placed an abandonment sticker on it. I will follow this up with a tag in 48 hours for its removal.”
We opposed plans to demolish a very large family home in St John’s Wood so that it can be replaced by an even larger one.
We have asked the Housing Department to investigate building works at a flat in Reynolds House where residents say, “The Leaseholder has called in builders to demolish an internal wall in a studio flat without any notification to residents re noise. The leaseholder has not in any way provided safety measures to protect the communal carpets and plaster brick dust everywhere from the rubble”
Electric car charging points
We have asked the Parking Team for their comments on this growing concern:
“I write to you about the electric charging points made available using the current lamp posts (ubitricity). The problem is as these are on Respark bays and are not solely blocked for electric cars. Most of the time these spaces are taken up by non-electric cars making it difficult to charge our electric vehicles. Could the council make the spaces directly opposite such charge points on Respark bays be allocated only for electric vehicles? As we don’t have an alternative, relying only on electric power, at times it can be frustrating finding an available space on Respark.”
Regulating Airbnb premises
To help residents in St John’s Wood and elsewhere who are plagued with problems associated with unauthorised short-term lets, Labour MP Karen Buck has introduced a Bill in Parliament calling for a national register of short and holiday-let accommodation. This is another move in her long campaign to regulate AirBnB and similar companies to control the impact on neighbours and neighbourhoods.
Unfortunately, Karen’s Bill was blocked by a Conservative MP.
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
Labour Councillors voted for No Increase in Council Tax at the last Council meeting. We are 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.
We called on the Council to freeze Council rents. The Council budget included a Consumer Price Index inflation plus 1% rise in rents for council flats, shops, and other commercial properties owned by Westminster’s Housing Department. That’s the maximum rise local authorities are allowed to impose and works out an average increase of £5 a week.
We have called for local action to help with energy bills.
£6 million Marble Arch Mound
The scale of Boris Johnson’s Westminster Conservatives’ £6m Marble Arch Mound financial mismanagement has now come into sharp focus as Westminster Council unveils its budget for the next financial year. As a result of the Conservatives’ financial blunders:
- Council rents are going up £5 a week, bringing in £3m extra income.
- Parking charges are going up, too, raising £1m extra income.
- Adult Social Services are being cut by £500,000 and
- Mayfair Library is under threat of closure to save £200,000 a year in rent.
The real cost of the £6m Marble Arch Mound – read more here
Under a recent Freedom of Information request, we uncovered that Westminster Council has issued just 1 fine for every 1,112 reports of unnecessary engine idling since 2017. Over the 5-year period, over 70,000 incidents were reported to the Council, but a mere 63 fines were handed out and only 34 were actually paid.
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
If you are thinking of organising a street party to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, these links might of interest
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.
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.
Voting by post
It is much easier, quicker and safer to vote by post.
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:
Recycling small electrical appliances
Any household electrical and electronic item that operates on a battery or has a plug and is smaller than 60cm in length and under 30cm in width and height, can be put in an on-street small electrical appliances recycling bin. For details of locations see https://www.westminster.gov.uk/recycling-and-rubbish/reusing-and-other-recycling-services/how-recycle-electrical-appliances/small-electrical-appliances
You can report dumped rubbish, potholes, uneven pavements and other hazards to the Council’s ‘Report It’ service https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
You can see the latest data for your area here
Westminster Connects COVID-19 phone line – 020 7641 1222
What you say
“I had ordered a recycling bag from the website and it never came. I then got one easily from the St John’s Wood Library in Circus Road. Thank goodness for you!”
“Thank you for your most welcome newsletter which is always of great interest, especially for problems that Westminster Council are not particularly interested in sorting out.”
“Thanks for all that the Labour Councillors do to us residents informed of what goes on in Westminster.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
If you know of anyone else who might like to receive this report, please send them this sign-up link https://bit.ly/labour-news
Keep well, take care and look after yourselves and your neighbours.
James Evans, Sarah Hanson and Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
Your Abbey Road Ward Labour Candidates
Md Azizul Haque, Kian Richardson and Connor Whittam
Your Regent’s Park Ward Labour Candidates