ST JOHN’S WOOD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – April 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
Read our Manifesto – Labour’s Plan for a Fairer Westminster
We have launched our manifesto for the May 5th local elections, setting out our plan to deliver a Council that puts residents first. Our key pledges are below, and you can read the full manifesto here. A Labour Council will be on your side:
- Freezing Westminster’s Council Tax until 2024 to help with the cost of living crisis.
- Putting the needs of residents before developers in the planning system,
- Keeping our area safe with more police to tackle knife crime and Council action on Anti-social behaviour and rubbish dumping.
- Standing up for better NHS services against cuts and sell-offs.
WARD NEWS AND ACTION
We are making enquiries about the state of 2 Nugent Terrace after receiving this enquiry from a resident:
“The business on the ground floor closed some time ago and it, and apparently the rest of the property, has been empty ever since. The scaffolding was erected last year. There is nothing to suggest that work will begin. Two plant containers, the box trees in them long dead, remain in front of the house and fallen twigs and branches collect around the base of the scaffolding. The state of the property is unsightly and potentially dangerous. Last year the pavement in Nugent Terrace was renewed but because of the scaffolding the pavement in the vicinity of 2 Nugent Terrace could not be replaced.”
St John’s Wood Barracks
We have written to the owners of St John’s Wood Barracks after receiving this message from residents:
“Each year I write asking why Westminster cannot prevail upon the Owner of the barracks to allow homeless Street sleepers to temporarily occupy the empty premises at Xmas to shelter from the cold, and each year it is refused.
For several years the barracks has remained empty and undeveloped so this year with the Ukrainian crisis I ask in all humanity why refugees cannot be urgently temporarily housed there until relocated more satisfactorily. I believe in such a crisis the excuses now wear thin.”
The agent for the owners of the Barracks says:
“The situation is that the existing buildings on the site cannot, I’m afraid, be safely used for people to live in. All buildings have been stripped back to the bare concrete and all utilities have been permanently disconnected. In line with health and safety regulations, most of the asbestos has been removed which involved intrusive works to roofs and walls, rendering the space uninhabitable.”
We also asked the Council’s Planning Department for an update and this is what they said:
“COVID 19 has had an impact regarding the start of the main construction works on this project and we have been having recent discussions regarding changes to the consented scheme as they work up the final designs, now proposing a reduction in the size of the basement by 30% and a phased construction to reduce the overall construction time.”
Scott Ellis Gardens
Following our further enquiries about dog fouling on the roof of Scott Ellis Gardens, the Housing Department tells us:
“We have spoken to our cleaning contractor and request they monitor the area more frequently. They will also pass on any details of individuals that they see as responsible for this behaviour. We hope this will help to identify the person responsible so that action can be taken to stop this behaviour.”
At the request of residents, we have again called on the Housing Department to regularly clean the wood pigeon droppings from the paths around Reynolds House. Residents say, “The pigeons are becoming a nightmare and the council does nothing about this both on their land and the communal street pavements and bikes covered in animal excretions. Makes me feel sick leaving front exit of this block pathway coping stones and walking on the communal pavements.”
The Council Pest Control Team say:
“When this issue was last raised a few years back, I understand a cleaning regime was put in place by the Estate Office for the Reynolds house pathways, and I believe that TfL undertook cleaning on their cycle station themselves. I have referred the matter to the St John’s Wood Estate Office to review their cleaning schedule and determine the best course of action on that side. I have also referred the matter to Transport for London.”
Wharncliffe Gardens playground
The saga of the UK’s “dullest playground” continues after its only piece of equipment was removed. The Wharncliffe Gardens Playground used to consist of a single, yellow frame measuring about six feet tall. The structure was dubbed “the UK’s dullest playground” with over 29,000 upvotes. Since then, the playground has become “even duller” after its only piece of equipment mysteriously disappeared.
Blandford Estate, Harewood Avenue
We have asked the Housing Department to investigate residents’ concerns about the continuing anti-social behaviour on the Blandford Estate caused by non-residents who gain entry to the estate.
St John’s Wood High Street
The consultation on proposals to make St John’s Wood High Street one-way closes on 4th May. Details of the plans, which would involve eight months of construction along the high street to widen the pavements and facilitate alfresco dining areas can be read here https://www.westminstertransportationservices.co.uk/projects/project_details.php?id=553
You can read more here Ham and High
Charlbert Street speeding – what you say
“I live in Charlbert Street. I fully support the request to make it access only.
While the average may be 15mph that statistic hides many speeding drivers – especially if the average is calculated as a median. The more relevant statistic would be “How many cars per day exceed the speed limit?”
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
You can read the latest on the £6m Marble Arch Mound
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.
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
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
What you say
“Thank you for your impressively swift response.”
“This is such a good read and very informative. I had reported something through this newsletter and that was sent on to right Westminster Department and within 48 hours action was taken! Many thanks and good luck in May.”
“I would like to thank you all for your support over some difficult times.”
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
Promoted by Connor Jones on behalf of the Abbey Road Ward Labour Candidates and Andy Whitely on behalf of the Regent’s Park Ward Labour candidates, all at 4G Shirland Mews, W9 3DY.