HYDE PARK WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2023
News from your Hyde Park Labour Councillors Judith Southern, Md Shamsed Chowdhury and Paul Dimoldenberg
We hope that all is well. It has been another few weeks of activity right across the ward.
We asked the police to provide additional security at local schools after a Headteacher contacted us to say, “After the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, I have been contacted by concerned parents regarding pupil safety. Could you provide any reassurance that I can share with our concerned parents? Is there a consideration of increasing police presence in the area?”
We joined the Marble Arch BID at their event for Older People in The Victory Services Club. It was an afternoon of playing various board and card games with light refreshments, including a roulette table and staff from The Victoria Casino.
This year the Paddington Service of Remembrance will be at the War Memorial in Lancaster Gate on Sunday 12th November at 2.30pm to remember all those residents of Paddington who gave their lives in the two World Wars and in subsequent conflicts.
The Council has started a consultation on the draft revised Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) Have Your Say Today – Have your say on our new Cumulative Impact Assessment – Westminster After Dark: An Inclusive And Dynamic City (commonplace.is).
The Council has launched a network of e-bike parking bays to stop e-bikes obstructing the pavement https://www.westminster.gov.uk/news/westminster-city-council-launches-parking-bays-hire-e-bikes
We 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 next will be on Thursday 7th December, 6pm-7pm.
NEWS AND ACTION
The Hyde Park Estate area, bounded by Edgware Road/Bayswater Road and Sussex Gardens
Bathurst Street/Westbourne Street
We asked the City Inspectors to take action to find those responsible for the regular dumping at this location and to check that all the nearby commercial premises have the correct waste arrangements.
Bathurst Street/Sussex Square
We have asked the City Inspectors to take action against those responsible for incorrectly leaving their recycling out in black bags, ensuring that it is not collected by the regular Tuesday pick-up.
We asked the Short-Term Lettings Team to investigate unauthorised short-term letting at 16 Westbourne Street.
We asked the City Inspectors to assist a homeless person camped in the shrubbery outside The Heron in Norfolk Crescent. The Team says, “Officers have visited the site and it appears that the individual has left this location. There were no materials in place to suggest that they would be returning, however we will keep monitoring.”
We also asked the City Inspectors to fine the person who dumped rubbish by the post box at the corner of Norfolk Crescent.
Hyde Park Crescent
The road safety works to install a central island and kerb ‘build outs’ on Hyde Park Crescent will be starting in early November.
25 Porchester Place
We again asked the Church Commissioners to take the strongest possible action against leaseholders who illegally let out their flats to short-term/Airbnb visitors.
Porchester Place/Kendal Street
We asked the Highways Team to repair the uneven pavement at the junction of Porchester Place and Kendal Street.
The Church Commissioners tell us that new tenants have signed leases at 12 Connaught Street and 39 Connaught Street and are currently in the process of fitting out their units. A number of other lettings are also close to being agreed. Also, the former Kurobuta unit at 17-20 Kendal Street has been let to a new Italian restaurant who are currently busy fitting out in order to be ready for Christmas trading.
Masgouf, in Connaught Street, was forced to shut after Council inspectors found the kitchen infested with cockroaches. Mouse droppings were also discovered and boxes of fresh fish were stored outside in the waste area. The site was inspected by food and hygiene chiefs at Westminster City Council, where ‘significant lapses in cleaning standards’ were discovered. The restaurant has been fined more than £16,000 and has now reopened.
Park West Place
The Parking Marshals have been patrolling Park West Place and surrounding streets at night to tackle the illegal parking and ASB in the area. The Marshals visit twice a night, once between 22.30 and 00,00 and then again between 01.00 and 02.30. They have not had any significant issues of threats or violence etc from those parking illegally. So far almost 150 parking tickets have been issued.
Sussex Mews East
We asked the Street Lighting Team to investigate residents’ concerns about light pollution from street lighting in Sussex Mews East, immediately behind Sussex Place. Residents say, “The LED streetlights are supposed to light down to the street, but the light reflects off the inclining lamp glazing to angle straight into our bedrooms on the first floor.”
The Street Lighting Team say, “we have raised a job to temporarily have the wall lights blacked out to the front of the lantern to reduce the light going towards the residents’ property, and we have asked our service provider to change the internal mechanism to a different type which should reduce the refractive light, and also install a system so that we can reduce the light output. Once this is done, we hope that this will resolve the issue.”
Residents say, “Thanks so much – this sounds very hopeful that it could solve the lighting issue!”
Stopping Airbnb short term lettings
We are pleased that the Church Commissioners have taken up our suggestion of putting up signs on all their blocks of flats making it clear that Airbnb short term lettings are prohibited. This is backed by the Church Commissioners taking legal action against leaseholders who let out their flats on Airbnb and similar platforms. In addition, we also ask the Council’s Short Term Lettings Team to issue Planning Contravention Notices (PCNs) to those leaseholders found to be letting their flats on Airbnb, etc.
Hyde Park Concerts
We have asked The Royal Parks and the Environmental Health Team to consider this suggestion from a resident:
“I have complained about the noise levels and the response is always that they have been measuring the sound levels “outside the arena” and they don’t exceed 75db —but I don’t understand where this arbitrary level comes from and why it should be acceptable. My view is that they could do much more to reduce it: first by playing at much lower (and safer) levels and also by using new speaker technologies (e.g. https://holoplot.com/technology/) to reduce sound overspill.”
The EH Team say, “The noise limit is not an arbitrary figure and is set by conditions attached to the licence. The basis for the conditions come from the Code of Practice on Environmental Noise at Concerts set by the Noise Council. The Royal Parks are aware of how the loudspeakers can be configured to help reduce the sound spilling out of the concert. For some time now they have been using directional loudspeakers configured to direct the sound to the audience and this has helped a reduction in the number of complaints.”
Hyde Park Estate security
For residents living on the Hyde Park Estate, the Croma mobile security supervisor contact number is 07880 680257. The mobile team provides 2 patrols each evening between the hours of 19.00pm – 07.00am. This is paid for via the service charges at blocks managed by the Church Commissioners, who also pay for the patrol at Portsea Mews and around Connaught Village.
Please note, you can only use this number to report incidents within the boundary of the Hyde Park Estate as Croma are paid to operate within that area only.
In 1968, Sir John Betjeman wrote a poem about Marble Arch and recited it from the roof in BBC documentary
The Star Street area, between Sussex Gardens and Praed Street
The Highways Team has given us an update on the planned pavement extension in front of the Hilton Hotel at Paddington Station which will hopefully stop the current problem with the unauthorised ‘taxi rank’ on the double yellow lines:
“The planned footway widening has been delayed by the adjacent Paddington ‘Cube’ development. Our programme of works is dependent on the Cube’s works being on site ahead of us. Subject to approval, the developer plans to start in mid-November. Westminster’s footway works are scheduled for February next year.”
We also asked the City Inspectors to offer assistance to the rough sleeper outside 33/35 Praed Street.
We asked the City Inspectors to visit a hotel in Sussex Gardens suspected of dumping a mattress in the street.
We also asked the Police and City Inspectors to take action to deal with this incident described by a Sussex Gardens resident, “I’ve just woken up to two women in prostitution screaming and muttering at each other sat on my doorstep. I firmly asked them to move on, and they walked off, clearly under the influence of drugs. I’m not afraid of these women, but what they bring is mess/chaos/violence and drugs and it’s getting out of hand.”
Star Street/Sale Place
CCTV cameras, which use AI technology, have been installed at the junction of Star Street and Sale Place to identify those responsible for dumping furniture and other rubbish by the big black bins outside the laundrette. Anyone caught dumping rubbish will be prosecuted. The CCTV cameras will also act as a deterrent to rubbish dumpers.
We asked the City Inspectors to tell a café on the corner of Star Street and Edgware Road to remove their A boards which are blocking the pavement.
Jamuna, 38 Southwick Street
Congratulations to Jamuna, which is now open offering “contemporary cuisine celebrating the diverse regional tasting across South Asia with a British twist.” For more details see https://jamuna.co.uk/
Residents in Southwick Street have contacted us as they say residents of Wilson House are regularly leaving hire e-bikes on their street. We have written to Imperial College to suggest that Wilson House residents should leave their e-bikes in the private road on Sussex Gardens in front of Wilson House where there is plenty of room and where local residents would not be inconvenienced.
Edgware Road area
We continue to help Cambridge Court residents who have been served with s21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices, some who have lived there for decades.
Water Gardens retail parade
We asked Criterion Capital to take legal action to remove the illegal trader who is now operating a ‘market stall’ next to Barclays Bank, having moved from the unit next to Specsavers. Criterion say, “We are taking the legal steps to remove them however, they persistently return to the parade. Removing an unwanted individual from any premises can be a lengthy legal process and we are working on a resolution.”
We asked TfL to take pest control action to stop rodent infestation emanating from the Joe Strummer subway at the corner of Harrow Road and Edgware Road.
Edgware Road/Harrowby Street
We have asked BT to remove the phone box on the corner of Edgware Road and Harrowby Street where mattresses and bedding are stored on a regular basis.
Edgware Road/Sussex Gardens
TfL is consulting residents and businesses on proposals for the Edgware Road/ Sussex Gardens junction, which include:
- Upgraded, straight across pedestrian crossings on all ‘arms’ of the junction of Edgware Road, Sussex Gardens and Old Marylebone Road replacing the existing two-stage crossings. This will make it much easier and quicker for pedestrians to cross.
- New pedestrian Countdown timers at all the crossing points to show how long pedestrians have left to cross.
- Additional pavement space for people walking on the southern sides of Edgware Road by removing the two left turn slip lanes which traffic currently uses to turn left into Sussex Gardens and left from Old Marylebone Road into Edgware Road.
- Improved cycle signals.
- Rain gardens will be introduced to improve the look of the area and help reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rain.
To see the proposals https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/sussex-gardens
Edgware Road/Kendal Street
Following our enquiries about the water collecting on the roof of the former bank on the corner of Edgware Road and Kendal Street, the Church Commissioners say, “Just to confirm, I have heard that this issue has been resolved. The problem was a blocked gulley.” Residents say, “Thank you for the update. We had already seen the change from our widow!”
The Chapel Street, Cabbell Street and Transept Street area
Cabbell Street/Transept Street
We asked the Managing Agents of Hyde Park Mansions and Oxford & Cambridge Mansions to take action to stop the regular dumping of waste by residents on the pavements in Cabbell and Transept Street. Freshwater (who manage Blocks 1,2,3,4,5,6, 8 and 10 Hyde Park Mansions) say, “I’m very happy to issue a notice to all my managed blocks and stick it on the front door, reminding everyone NOT to mar and pollute the streetscape.”
Hyde Park Mansions
We have asked the Highways Team to investigate the connections to Blocks 7 and 9 Hyde Park Mansions following a request from the Managing Agents who say, “we have had constant blockages in the drains, and after having them constantly jetted, I have arranged for a specialist team who have jetted all of the drains and carry out a cctv survey, and the issue has been found to be a blockage in the main lines serviced by the council.”
The Highways Team say, “After understanding the details, it seems that this issue stems from a problem in the Thames Water sewer line rather than an underlying concern with the council.”
We also asked the Short Term Lettings Team to investigate a flat in Block 10 and a flat in Block 5 Hyde Park Mansions where a leaseholder had fixed a key box to the entrance to the block (and which was swiftly removed by the Managing Agents).
Old Marylebone Road
TfL has started works in the Old Marylebone Road area, replacing Old Marylebone Road’s southern footway between Harcourt Street and Edgware Road and resurfacing the road between Homer Street and Edgware Road. Diversion signage will be in place for general traffic and marshals will be present to manage access to and from Marylebone Road during the works. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Old Marylebone Road/Edgware Road
We asked the City Inspectors to remove a bike frame from the bike stand at the corner of Old Marylebone Road and Edgware Road.
We are pleased that BT are finally removing the redundant phone box at the corner of Old Marylebone Road and Edgware Road which has been regularly used to store mattresses and bedding.
There is a potential new Banksy mural on Marylebone Road on the bridge over the Circle Line. We’re waiting for Banksy to confirm if it’s genuine. In the meantime, the Graffiti Team has been asked to make sure it is NOT washed off.
We asked for graffiti to be removed from the wall on Marylebone Road outside Griffiths House which has now been removed.
Paddington Basin/Sheldon Square area
We again asked the City Inspectors and Paddington Central Team to investigate the loud night-time noise from patrons standing outside the bars in Sheldon Square to the annoyance of residents living in the flats above.
We asked Pinnacle Housing to take action to deal with this issue raised by Marylebone Boys School, “there are youths smoking cannabis in the stairwell of the Dudley House basement car park. The smell filters into the school and is noticed by students, staff and visitors.”
Pinnacle say, “Our team are on hand to assist and have contacted the police and the neighbouring support team to ask for patrols to be put in place. These trespassers do not belong to Dudley House, so we need to rely on support within the public services and report all matters of ASB through the correct channels.”
5 Harbet Road
We asked Octavia Housing if there is a further update on the cladding situation at 5 Harbet Road. Residents say, “Cladding was removed this morning. A section only. Maybe for testing? Why are residents not being updated? We have a mortgage on this property and have a legal right to be informed.”
Octavia say, “Managing Agents, Rendall & Rittner confirm that they expect the works to begin before Easter, the building will be scaffolded, and the works will be at least 6-9 months in duration, possibly longer.”
Travis Perkins site
To the dismay of many residents, it looks like Unite Students and Travis Perkins are preparing for another planning application by holding four ‘design workshops’ on the redevelopment of Baltic Wharf. They say, “These workshops are your opportunity to take part in the design process. The feedback we receive at these workshops will directly influence the design we come forward with.” For more details of dates see