|Update On Council Homes
Last month we were pleased to report that following our lobbying of the Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, the new Labour administration has cancelled the sell-off council homes in Bayswater ward which had been marked for sell-off by the previous Conservative administration. The responsible council officer told us on 24th April:
6 are now being refurbished to be let out following Retrofit assessments and works. 2 are still with my team whilst we complete the retrofit works to them. We should be finished in the next week and handed over to the voids team.
The properties needed substantial works which has taken time to plan but they are all underway and most past the energy efficiency works stage.
Porchester Library and Leisure Centre
We continue to seek updates regarding the library basement which closed in July 2021 following a storm and a flood in the lift shaft. This was followed by the sewage incident in October 2021. The studio closed at roughly the same time.
Here is the latest account of the situation from officers:
Progress has been made, albeit slowly and the slow rate of progress has been compounded by a range of factors including (but alas not limited to) the unexpected requirement to obtain listed building consent, re-encapsulation of asbestos following damage, acoustic testing requirements; the need to involve Thames Water etc.
The latest delay is firmly the failure of the contractor to provide a cost for the works. This was due in January and has been chased continually ever since.
I am very sorry for the situation which is exceptionally frustrating.
The enabling works for the leisure repairs are complete and work has started on site in the library basement with installation of dehumidifiers. The strip out and removal of existing finishes ready for new waterproofing is due to commence shortly.
Paddington Library Basement
The contractors have been cleaning and removing books this week in preparation for the main works. Thames Water have confirmed that the silted drains are our responsibility. This means we can go ahead and clear them which also enables the main works to progress.
We have received some updates on pricing from the contractor but there are still outstanding items. We are assured that they will provide prices next week.
Porchester Leisure Centre Roofs
This project is on target to complete in the summer. Further challenging issues have been discovered and are being investigated which will increase the scope works and price but this is not hampering progress which is on programme. There are over 40 separate roofs at Porchester and access to them is challenging even when scaffolding is in place.
I will provide an update next Friday and every Friday until the works are complete.
Once again, please accept my apologies for this significant delay.
Unauthorised Short Lets
A resident has been in touch about alleged unauthorised short lets in their building of which Westminster Council is the freeholder.
“There have been a number of concerns such as noise, our post has gone missing and a number of times, the guests have knocked on our door late at night as they try to find the flat.
Finally, the flat is a small one bedroom flat however we have seen at least 4 guests arriving and staying for weekend parties.”
We asked the council officers to investigate and they have confirmed they will be taking action:
“We will visit the property and contact the leaseholder immediately to enforce the terms of the lease, which prohibit short-letting.”
Westbourne Gardens Grass
A resident contacted us about the returfing of Westbourne Gardens:
Last week the gardens were dug up and re-turfed. It looks like the workmen did a decent job of the re-turfing but it hasn’t been watered since!! The new turn is almost 1 week old and is drying out.
We received the following response on 27th April:
I have been informed by the team that following the turf being laid on 18th April it was watered then and then watered again on 20th April, please see attached picture.
It has also rained a fair bit and as there is no canopy on trees yet it gets rain water when it rains.
The contractor will water it again ahead of this weekend.
Westbourne Gardens, returfed
Notting Hill East Neighbourhood Forum
Max was delighted to join the NHENF AGM on behalf of the Bayswater councillors, provide updates on the council’s work in the area, including supporting the forum on their plans for the ‘Five Ways’ and Needham Road, and pick up resident casework. The forum is open to all living in the area, so if you’re not already involved please sign up to their emails here: https://nottinghilleast.org.uk/
Waste on Porchester Square/Gloucester Terrace
We received a complaint about misrepresented rubbish and flytipped waste and have asked the waste teams to allocate additional resources to these areas. The council’s waste team have responded:
We do regularly inspect this location at least once a day, but we only record visits if we find any enforcement breaches. All waste found outside of the council’s collection time band will be reported to Veolia for collection, regardless of if we find any evidence we can enforce against or not.
We have issued two s46 notices for waste placed outside of collection time and three written warnings have been issued in the last 30 days. It’s not always possible for officers to find any evidence from where the waste originated from.
I will carry out a letter drop this week reminding residents of the collection times for the street and also increase the patrols in and around Porchester Square and Gloucester Terrace.
Porchester Square Gardens noticeboard
We asked the parks team to put more relevant notices in the community noticeboard (before and after below).
Fly-Tipping Westbourne GardensWe are working with officers to resolve the problem of fly-tipping. Residents should receive a letter soon outlining proposed action.
Northumberland Place Play Street
Officers are preparing two potential design options for a Play Street on Northumberland Place, which would restrict motor vehicle through-traffic (access including parking, would still be permitted 24/7) for a few hours in the evening, to enable families to play in the street. One of these options would retain two-way traffic, in response to consultation feedback on last year’s proposal, while another option keeps the one-way traffic direction and introduces measures to calm traffic. Traffic counters have been on-street at the junctions since late April. Once the traffic surveys are complete and the sketches are ready to share, council officers will engage with the community on both options for feedback.
Help with Homelessness
Sadly, with the cost of living crisis, the shortage of affordable homes for rent and the benefits cap, homelessness is an increasing problem. We are working with affected individuals and families to navigate their way through the system. We are also working with Westminster families placed in out of borough temporary accommodation with problems such as damp and mould and general disrepair.
Bridstow Place Motor Traffic
Following Max’s meeting with some of the residents of Bridstow Place, highways officers have proposed some initial interventions to try and combat the volume and speed of motor traffic on the street, which have been shared back with the residents for comment. The proposed interventions include 20mph markings and a pedestrians-in-road warning triangle.
Clothes Bin on Shrewsbury Road
Following a complaint from a resident we asked officers to remove an inappropriately sized clothes bin from the footway of Shrewsbury Road which didn’t leave enough room for pedestrians once installed.
Coronation Street Parties
Thank you to all the Coronation Street Party hosts. Maggie, James and Max were delighted to join the Lord Mayor in visiting the three street parties (on Westbourne Park Villas, Needham Road and Chepstow Place) and NHENF’s lunch in Shrewsbury Gardens (pictured below).