HYDE PARK WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – Late June 2022
News from your Hyde Park Labour Councillors – Judith Southern, Md Shamsed Chowdhury and Paul Dimoldenberg
We hope that all is well.
It has been a very busy few weeks, with meetings with the Hyde Park Estate Association, the Church Commissioners, Connaught Street traders, Marylebone Boys School and Paddington BID and ‘walkabouts’ with Council officers.
We also helped residents in Montgomery House following a very serious electrical incident affecting those living in the first five floors of the building.
We will be attending a meeting organised by HyPER on Monday 27th June at St John’s Parish Hall where you can put questions to us. Also in attendance will be representatives of the Church Commissioners as well as the local police.
Also, St John’s Church has kindly agreed that we can hold a regular advice surgery at St John’s Parish Hall, Hyde Park Crescent, on the first Thursday of the month from 6-7pm. The first advice surgery will be on 7th July.
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
NEWS AND ACTION
The Hyde Park Estate area, bounded by Edgware Road/Bayswater Road and Sussex Gardens
Bathurst Street/Westbourne Street
We visited the junction of Bathurst Street and Westbourne Street with Council officers to identify ways in which we can stop the regular illegal rubbish dumping at this location. We have asked the officers to prepare proposals for consultation with residents and businesses in the area.
In the meantime, we have asked the City Inspectors to issue fines to all those found to be responsible for the illegal rubbish dumping.
We have continued to support residents’ objections to the addition of another floor to the mews houses in Portsea Mews as proposed by the Church Commissioners. Residents say:
“The proposed roof extension will result in an increased sense of enclosure – the new roof extension will overwhelm the existing small terrace which is the only outdoor space. Loss of light – the applicant’s daylight report concludes that the new roof extension will reduce light levels in the principal rooms well below accepted guidelines”
“The recent news that Portsea Mews would be renovated is an exciting one. However, we are deeply concerned over the plans to elevate the roof of the mews, adding another floor to the existing buildings. Not only does this go against the historic design of what a mews house is supposed to be, it directly affects the homes directly encircling the mews, by blocking daylight.”
We understand that following residents’ objections, the Church Commissioners have now asked their architects to revise the plans so that they do not include the addition of another floor. We await to see the revised plans. Residents say:
“This is great to hear. Thank you so much for the energy and effort you’ve put into looking after residents’ interests on this; it’s absolutely night and day with the previous ones.”
Hyde Park Crescent
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate if a safer crossing point for pedestrians can be installed outside the Church on Hyde Park Crescent, possibly by extending the footway and then having an island in the middle of the road.
We have asked the Council to inspect a flat in Park West which is being used as an unauthorised Airbnb short let. Residents say, “short-term letting users have not the same respect when it comes to living in a block of flats – yet I am witnessing day in day out groups of “tourists” using the building as an hotel, despite the campaign and amendment of the lease that was very clearly communicated to all leaseholders.”
We have asked the Street Cleaning Team to investigate this issue after receiving this message from residents:
“Albion Mews is never cleaned or swept. The contractors Westminster Council employ seem able to sweep and clean Albion Street but not Albion Mews. Would you be kind enough to let us know when your contractors are meant to be cleaning Albion Mews, and how often per month.”
The Street Cleaning Team say:
“Albion Mews is part private and part public highway, and the part that we keep clean should be swept 3 days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’ve alerted Veolia to this Mews to make sure this schedule is being adhered to.”
We have asked the Highways Team to look into this issue in Gloucester Square:
“There is a house that has been undergoing renovation work for at least 2-3 years. Currently there is ugly green hoarding outside and it has been this way for several months, with no work taking place. I have raised the issue with the Westminster planning officials who say nothing can be done as it is a temporary structure. No one is resident.”
The Highways Team say, “This has now been confirmed as private, so there is no requirement for a temporary structure licence for the property owner, as it does not encroach onto the public highway. We cannot request for the hoarding to be taken down or to govern the works, as long as any works are carried out within their private land.”
Hyde Park Gardens
We are making enquiries with TfL after being contacted by a resident of Hyde Park Gardens who says, “the issue with tube noise has been almost a year in duration. We initially received great support from TfL in investigating the matter, but regrettably recent events have lagged in their solution.”
TfL say, “The works to grind the rails here did take place on 24 May. Clearly residents are still experiencing noise here so we’ll need to understand the next set of actions and what we can do. Rail grinding is never a long-term solution however, and our engineering team are always working on ways to mitigate in tunnel noise across the network. “
Hyde Park Square
Another pedicab has been chained to a bike stand, this time in Hyde Park Square. We have asked the City Inspector to arrange to have it removed.
We met with Connaught Street retailers to discuss their concerns about rents, empty shops, the need for more ‘local’ shops to serve residents and better promotion of the street. We will be raising these issues with the Church Commissioners.
Following our request to BT to repair the vandalised phone box on Westbourne Street, BT say, “I have forwarded on your email to the field manager highlighting the poor state of repair. Unfortunately, there are no plans to have this payphone removed at present.”
Lancaster Gate cycle lights
We have asked Transport for London to revise the cycle light timings around the Lancaster Gate hotel so that it is easier to go around. This follows a suggestion from a resident to “make triggering one light trigger the remainder of the lights, allowing passage straight through all the lights.”
TfL say, “Lancaster Gate is in our 2022/23 Signal Timing Review Programme. The team are conscious of the fact that the signals around Lancaster Gate form a complicated linked network, however they will consider any cycle progression changes in coordination with the other signals and impacts to the bus network. This review is currently planned to be carried out in the autumn.”
We have been alerted by the 20th Century Society and residents to the installation of a street sign in Sussex Gardens with a copy of the historic enamel sign but in an inappropriate design. We have reported this to the Council who say, “the type of nameplate is not one that we have authorised as it is not the Westminster Standard enamelled nameplate. I have added this nameplate for replacement and will be on the next order”.
We have also asked the City Inspectors to investigate waste issues in Sussex Gardens.
Meeting with the Hyde Park Estate Association (HPEA)
We were delighted to attend the meeting of the Hyde Park Estate Association on 14th June at Abasto on Connaught Street. Many issues were raised by residents which you can see here https://www.westminsterlabour.org.uk/ward-news/2022/06/16/meeting-the-hyde-park-estate-association-on-14th-june/
Hyde Park Concerts
Residents have asked for details of The Royal Parks contact during the forthcoming concerts. The hotline number and email address are 0300 061 2222 and firstname.lastname@example.org. The Royal Parks say, “We have a sound team every night of the concerts and a sound station on one of the hotels. If we get a complaint, we check the sound at the hotel roof and go to the resident’s house to do a mobile sound check. If we’re over the sound levels, we reduce the sound at the venue.”
For details of the BST Open House programme, see https://www.bst-hydepark.com/events/open-house
The Star Street area, between Sussex Gardens and Praed Street
We have again urged the Police and the Council to use all their powers and experience to close down a brothel in Southwick Street. Residents say:
“For the second time this week alone (and this happens weekly now), we have been woken up by a man looking for a prostitute. The address they are always looking for is across the road. They hold the finger down on the buzzer until being answered waking us all up and this cannot continue. I am also concerned about our safety with all these strange men who keep coming to my property.”
We have also asked the Building Control Team to check out the building works at a construction site in Southwick Street.
A young man was stabbed in Junction Mews recently and is in a critical condition. The police have apprehended and charged those involved as they were captured on CCTV. The young men in question are believed to be part of a gang on Lisson Green.
Many residents have contacted us about this serious incident and we very much agree that we need to provide more for young people, like youth clubs and boxing clubs. We plan to reopen some of the youth facilities that were shut down by the previous Council. In particular, we will be reopening the Stowe Club on Harrow Road which used to provide a wide range of youth activities led by experienced youth workers. We are also working with businesses in Westminster to offer more apprenticeships and jobs to young people living locally.
Star Street – road resurfacing
Residents of Star Street will be interested to know that the roadway is due to be resurfaced on 30th August, as part of the Council’s highways maintenance programme.
We have also asked for the renewal of the pavements to be included in the programme and in the meantime, areas of the pavement have been identified for remedial repair works.
Star Street – police action
Following our reports to the police, the police have told us, “On Wednesday 1st June, along with Specialist Crime we executed a Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act warrant on an address in Star Street. Upon entering the property two males were placed under arrest for Possession with Intent To Supply Class A drugs. Various items were seized and the occupant was present at the time of conducting the warrant.”
We are making enquiries with TfL after receiving this message from a Praed Street property owner:
“Over the last 5 years the tube noise and vibration has increased significantly, it has got to the point where I cannot let the building. Potential tenants like the building but not the noise and vibration.”
We have also asked the Council to remove a burnt waste bin that has been left on the pavement on Praed Street opposite the Hilton Hotel for some weeks. The City Inspector says:
“I have contacted highways who will get back to me with a completion date. Due to the materials melting, sticking to and damaging the highway, they needed to arrange a special team to be able to remove it”
We have asked the City Inspector to investigate this issue reported by a resident:
“There is a double Royal Mail trolley dumped on the corner of Norfolk Square and the corner of Edna House. It is filthy and covered in graffiti. It has been there for weeks.”
St Michael’s Street
We have asked that St Michael’s Street, at the Edgware Road end, is cleared of the dumped rubbish, including mattresses, on a daily basis. We have also written to the operators of the car park at the rear of Mimet House, Praed Street to ask they keep the area clean, safe and secure.
Notting Hill Genesis
We are helping a number of NHG tenants in Star Street and St Michael’s Street with individual concerns.
Edgware Road area
Boots, 175 Edgware Road
We have written to Criterion Capital and the Church Commissioners about the closure of Boots on 21st July. This is a very serios loss to residents in the area and we have asked for information on why Boots is closing and what plans there are for this key retail site.
Residents say they want, “Something that has some ‘style’ and real profile, rather than the current proliferation of rag-tag outlets lining the street” and “Whatever goes into the Boots site should clearly enhance Edgware Road, and not contribute further to its current shoddy appearance!”
The landlord Criterion Capital, say, “During recent months Boots have undergone a portfolio review and as part of this, they identified a number of stores where they have unfortunately made the decision to close, with this particular store being one of them. This is primarily due to the continued market pressures on both the retail and pharmacy sectors.”
Edgware Road housing proposals
A planning application has been submitted to convert vacant offices on the first and second floors of 127-175 Edgware Road to 23 residential dwellings, 35% of which would be affordable homes. 127-175 Edgware Road is the block between Sussex Gardens and Burwood Place.
The application documents can be viewed online at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning. Please use the reference number 22/03362/FULL as the primary search criteria. You can submit your comments electronically via the ‘Comments’ facility.
Edgware Road – shisha for a parked car
We have asked the City Inspector to investigate a shisha restaurant on Edgware Road providing shisha on the pavement to the occupants of a parked car.
Edgware Road/Sussex Gardens
We have asked the Council to install a large ‘Don’t Feed the Pigeons’ sign securely to the railings adjacent to the seating and tree at the corner of Edgware Road and Sussex Gardens. We have also asked the pavement to be washed down on a regular basis to clear away the pigeon droppings. The City Inspector says:
“A council sign has been placed at the Sussex Gardens/Edgware Rd junction as requested to stop feeding the pigeons.”
We are delighted that the pedicab chained to the bike stand at the corner of Burwood Place has finally been removed. The City Inspectors say:
“We have now successfully arranged for the removal of the pedicab by Veolia. The owner of the equipment will have 28 days to claim and retrieve the pedicab from where it is currently being stored by Veolia; after this Veolia will make arrangements to have this scrapped.”
We have also asked that the pavement area around the new seating is flushed and cleaned regularly. The City Inspector tells us:
“I have forwarded your request for regular flushing to our cleansing side to arrange at Burwood Place junction of Edgware Road and Edgware Road at the junction with Sussex Gardens. City Inspectors will continue to monitor the area and request flushing until this is in place.”
Edgware Road/Kendal Street
We asked the Council and TfL to fix the traffic lights at the corner of Edgware Road and Kendal Street which were very badly damaged by a vehicle collision.
The Chapel Street, Cabbell Street and Transept Street area
We have asked the City Inspector to remove a newspaper bin that has been tied to a lamppost on Chapel Street and causing an obstruction for pedestrians. The City Inspector says, “Just to let you know I checked today and this has been removed.”
We have also asked if the key boxes attached to the railings on Hyde Park Mansions can be removed. The Council says: “The key boxes are attached to private property so we are unable to remove them. The City Inspector is going to liaise with the Estate Manager and hopefully we can get them removed.”
Transept Street/Chapel Street
We have asked the Council to locate planters at the corner of Transept Street and Chapel Street which has been a long-standing rubbish dumping hotspot. The big black bin and green wheely-bin have been removed and we hope that this will lead to less illegal dumping. We will be monitoring this location on a daily basis and have asked the City Inspectors to issue maximum fines to all those found to be responsible for rubbish dumping.
38-47a Chapel Street
We have asked the Housing Department to fix the blocked rubbish chute at 38-47a Chapel Street. The Housing Department say:
“A job has been raised to urgently attend to unblock the bin chute. The bike racks have been installed at Chapel Street. The new signage has been ordered and we are currently waiting for delivery.”
We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate traffic speeds in Chapel Street and Transept Street raised by a resident:
“After many years of requesting speed control, we have finally seen 20mph signs written on the roads of Chapel, Cabbell and Transept Street. Still, cars, bikes etc go wizzing around at much higher speeds, they do not indicate when they are turning and it is a real and present danger that one day someone will be either hit or killed. We urgently need to have CLEAR signs of 20 mph, a camera, bumpers on the roads or even zebra crossing on the corners of Cabbell and Chapel Streets and Old Marylebone Road.”
The Road Safety Team say they “will install 8 additional 20mph roundels through Cabbell Street, Transept Street and Chapel Street to remind drivers of the speed limit. This location has also been added to a number of lists for consideration of accessibility funding for improved pedestrian crossings.”
Residents say, “Thank you for dealing with this serious issue and for bringing some good news. I have passed on the news of the 8 new roundels to my fellow concerned neighbours and that there is a consideration for pedestrian crossings, which would be welcome.”
Paddington Basin/Sheldon Square area
In mid-June, we urged Peabody to take urgent action to resolve electricity, water and sewage problems that affected around 30 flats in Montgomery House. We also asked Peabody to book hotel rooms locally for all those residents affected until the problems have been resolved and the damage to flats has been repaired. One resident told us:
“We have been through hell and back there has been no electric in 2-days ago we have had no hot water I couldn’t be able to wash myself. The first 6 floors 1 to 6 have no power whatsoever. No cooking facilities, no hot water, no lights. No power.”
After four days and nights the electricity was finally restored and residents were able to return to their homes. We have urged Peabody to pay compensation to residents for the damage, losses and inconvenience they have been caused.
We have asked the Council to raise residents’ concerns about security with Pinnacle who manage the building:
“When I first moved in we had 24/7 security. The building managers have progressively cut down security hours (although they have increased our rent). This has led to an increasing sense of insecurity in the building and growing serious incidents. The parking gate remained open and people sneaked into the garage to deal and take drugs. A neighbour reported she was threatened by them when she tried to park her car one day. They have accessed the bike storage and vandalised some of the bikes (puncturing tyres). There is a constant problem with parcels being stolen.”
Pinnacle say that the parking gate has now been repaired.
Bishop’s Bridge Road
We have asked the Highways Team to remove two redundant poles on the pavement on Bishop’s Bridge, as well as relocate a utilities box which is set in the centre of the pavement and a hazard to pedestrians and wheelchair users.
South Wharf Road
Following our requests, the Highways Team has cleared a number of unnecessary signage from outside St Mary’s Hospital on South Wharf Road:
“The FM Conway men at work sign has been removed, along with the barriers and spoil from street lighting works. The Highways Inspector who attended has straightened out the other two plastic Thames Water signs. Additionally, I have requested that the pedestrian signs and cones outside number 11a are to be collected and removed by FM Conway.”
North Wharf Road
We have asked the City Inspectors to take action to stop rubbish dumping by the bike hire station on North Wharf Road, including issuing fines for those found to be responsible.
A planning application for the public realm works at Paddington Square has been submitted. You can see the plans and make comments online at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning. Please use the reference number 22/03613/ADFULL as the primary search criteria.
We are making enquiries with the Parking Team after residents in Montgomery House expressed concerns about the current residents’ parking situation. There are two taxi bays on North Wharf Road where taxis are rarely ever seen. We have asked if one of the bays could be released for residents’ parking. The Parking Team say:
“Highways have recently approached TfL, requesting the removal of one of the Taxi Ranks. Should TfL agree to give up one of their existing spaces, the Council can then take the necessary legislative steps to introduce an additional resident only parking place.”
Also, there is an area in front of Dudley House which looks like a ‘parking free for all’ area with no control and where cars are parked at all angles. We have asked if this area be looked at as potential area for residents’ parking.
Eastbourne Terrace area
We have asked the Highways Team to stop the lorries at the construction site at 40 Eastbourne Terrace from reversing in to Chilworth Mews. Residents say, “We are getting grab lorries reversing down the road and driving onto residential frontages.”
Bus Service cuts proposals
Transport for London is running a consultation about the goverment’s-demanded cuts, which would remove around 250 buses, with 78 routes cut and 16 routes axed altogether. The 11, 12, 14, 16, 24, 31, 74, N11, N16, N31 and N74 are among the routes in Westminster where cuts are being considered.
All are routes residents rely on to get to work, to see family and friends, to access services or to do their shopping. And despite TfL’s attempts to keep cuts to overlapping routes, the government’s demands for £400m in cuts and a reduction in the overall bus network by 4% mean that buses will disappear altogether.
At a time of rising bills, it is important to be as clear as possible about what rights you have because it can be complicated. There is a useful page on the LEASE website covering many of the key issues (what you can ask for, how to challenge bills). Service Charges – The Leasehold Advisory Service (lease-advice.org)
Westminster residents aged over 60, or in receipt of disability benefit, can request free help from a handyperson. The service covers minor works to a home such as replacing light bulbs and other small DIY jobs. It does not cover gardening, plumbing or decorating, and it is not an emergency service. Please see the following link for details https://www.westminster.gov.uk/handyperson
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.
The Hyde Park Ward Safer Neighbourhood Police Team is PC Adam Oddy, PC Harminder Purewal and PCSO Grant. You can contact them at AWMailbox.SNTCWHydePark@met.police.uk
You can keep an eye on the latest local crime information through the Met Police website:
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
Light bulb recycling
Any retailer selling light bulbs is legally required to take them back. Please check https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-locator under ‘energy saving light bulbs’.
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
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.
You can read the ‘Westminster Extra’ online
Coronavirus (Covid-19) UPDATE
You can see the latest data for your area here
What you say
“Golly, you have been very, very busy! Well done. Thanks so much.”
“It’s so lovely to not only get a reply from a councillor, but also for the councillor to take an active interest.”
“Thanks for the latest issue of your excellent newsletter. Always good to be informed of local issues.”
“Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you for forwarding the Hyde Park Ward Labour Action Report for June. It is a very interesting read and shows how you have been exceptionally busy, active and engaged in your new roles at Westminster Council. We wish you all wholehearted congratulations on your success, thank you for all your efforts and wish you the very best for your work ahead.”
“Thanks for following up on these points, dealing with them speedily, and giving us the feedback. It is refreshing and much appreciated.”
Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.
Please feel free to pass this report to your neighbours. 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
Please keep safe, stay well and look after yourself and your neighbours.
Judith Southern, Md Shamsed Chowdhury and Paul Dimoldenberg
Your Hyde Park Ward Labour Councillors – Here to Help, All Year Round
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