Sign up to save the New Elgin Doctors’ Practice this Saturday

This Saturday, 29th of November Karen Buck MP and Labour Councillors will be running a stall in Harrow Road outside the Co Op at 504 Harrow Road, W9 from 11am until 1pm.

We will be asking local residents to support Karen Buck MP’s campaign to prevent the closure of the New Elgin Doctors Practice, a vital local service.

Karen Buck MP said;

“I am supporting the GPs at the New Elgin Practice to make sure they are not forced either to close or to move out of the local neighbourhood. I am working with them, NHS England and the Council (responsible for any future planning issues affecting the building). Please get behind this campaign. We have already lost 2 General Practices in North Westminster recently and we need to keep our GPs!”

Posted in GP services, Health, Karen Buck MP, Labour Councillors, Westminster North | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Westminster North Conservative candidate joins Labour in calling for prime property owners to pay higher tax

The Conservative candidate for Westminster North has joined Labour in calling for the owners of prime property to pay higher Council tax.

Writing in the ‘Evening Standard’ on 25th November, Conservative candidate Councillor Lindsay Hall argues:

“The cure for inequity in housing lies in re-banding council tax, perhaps with a ‘super band’ that reflects genuine ‘mansion’ status”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said:

“There is no difference between a mansion tax and adding an additional Council Tax ‘super band’ for the most expensive properties. The result is exactly the same – the owners of prime property pay more tax.”

“As the owner of a large £5 million house on Maida Vale, Councillor Hall will be aware of the essential social justice of those in the most expensive houses paying more towards public services. We look forward to the Leader of Westminster Conservative, Councillor Philippa Roe, who owns a large £5 million house in Eaton Terrace, joining her Council colleague in calling for an additional Council Tax ‘super band’ on prime property.”

Posted in Council Tax, Housing, Mansion Tax, Westminster North | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Councillors to collect food donations for North Paddington Foodbank at Maida Hill Market on 29th November

FoodBankNorth Pad

Harrow Road, Westbourne and Queen’s Park Councillors will be joining Karen Buck MP at Maida Hill Market on Saturday 29th November to collect food donations for North Paddington Foodbank.

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

In Westminster an increasing number of people have difficulties in paying for their basic needs. Other needs may take up all finances, leaving nothing for food. This is a dire situation, especially if one is supporting a family.

The North Paddington Foodbank is there to help. With cash and food donations from businesses and ordinary people, the food bank provides a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in North Paddington.

The North Paddington Foodbank serves wards in North Westminster these include Harrow Road, Queen’s Park, Westbourne, Church Street, Little Venice, Maida Vale, Bayswater and Lancaster Gate Wards.

The Foodbank operates through a voucher system in partnership with local services (Voucher Issuing Organisations). These include GP’s, Westminster Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Social Landlords, Health Services, North Westminster Drug & Alcohol Services, Westminster Children’s Services, Westbourne Baptist Church, other local churches and schools.

The Voucher Issuing Organisations issue food vouchers to people and families in need of short term emergency food which are redeemed at the Foodbank.

For more information go to http://www.wech.co.uk/resident-here-to-help/groups-support-for-kids-disabled-women-and-more/north-paddington-foodbank.html

Posted in Foodbank, Harrow Road, Labour Councillors, Maida Hill Market, North Paddington, North Paddington Foodbank, Poverty, Queen's Park, Westbourne | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support for New Elgin Doctors’ Practice

We are supporting the GPs at the New Elgin Pratice to make sure they are not forced either to close or to move out of the local neighbourhood.

Karen Buck MP is working with them, NHS England and the Council (responsible for any future planning issues affecting the building). Please get behind this campaign. We have already lost 2 General Practices in North Westminster recently and we need to keep our GPs!

Here’s the patients’ petition http://www.scribd.com/doc/247736319/Elgin-Practice

Even if you are not a patient, an email to show your support would help greatly.

Posted in GP services, Harrow Road, Health, Westminster North | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Edgware Road street lights finally fixed after being broken for FOUR years.

Labour Westminster Councillors have managed to get a row of street lights in Edgware Road fixed after they were left broken for four years!

A section of Edgware Road, a well populated residential area, was plunged in to darkness after a failure from Transport for London to repair the lights left residents concerned for their safety.

A local resident contacted Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg expressing concern over the lack of light in the Parsons House area of the street. With trees concealing the only working light, he stressed that the deep pavement had become very dangerous and difficult to cross over the last few years, especially in the winter months. Following the resident’s comments the Labour Group immediately got in touch with TfL and the lights have now finally been repaired.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said;

“It is staggering that the lights had taken so long to fix. It is unacceptable that residents were left without light for so many years with TfL and Conservative Little Venice ward councillors doing nothing about it. I am very glad that we have managed to get the lights fully working again and I hope this makes a positive difference to the lives of residents in the area.”

Posted in Edgware Road, Labour Councillors, Little Venice, Street lights, Westminster North | Tagged | Leave a comment

Strong objection to removal of affordable housing contribution on Jubilee Sports Centre site development

Labour Councillors have objected to the proposal that the condition requiring a contribution of £500,000 towards affordable housing on the Jubilee Sports Centre development should be waived.

In a letter to the Council in advance of the Planning Committee on 18th November, Labour Leader Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Queen’s Park Ward, said:

“The reasons given for not following the Council’s planning policy are based on a revised viability report on the expected profits of the Council’s development partner.

The viability assessment dated December 2013, which has not been made available for inspection, is a year out of date. Since 2013 house prices in London have risen 16.2% and 11% in the City of Westminster (Source: Rightmove property index November 2014). As the Council’s independent viability report has not been made public we have no way of knowing whether the model used by the viability consultants does or does not ignore residential growth in values that occurs between construction start on site and the commencement of marketing and phased release of the dwellings.

Moreover, unlike Brent Council, Westminster Council does not require a second viability report following the completion of the development to assess whether overage payments should be made by the developer so that the Council can share in the profit from developing its own land. This is a serious failure by the Council in failing to capture the increase in value for the public benefit. This is something on which we will be contacting the District Auditor.

In addition, it is now common knowledge that the Mayor’s fund for affordable housing is substantially unallocated. It has not been proved that the Mayor’s Fund has been taken into account when drawing conclusions on viability.

The Committee should also be aware that the current balance of funds held in the Council’s Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) at 10 November 2014 was £87.4m. Of these AHF balances £48.6m is contractually committed to ongoing affordable housing projects. A further £16m is currently earmarked for further affordable housing projects that are currently being worked up. This leaves over £20 million unallocated. In addition, at the end of March 2014, there were c.£34m in payments due to be paid into the AHF from consented schemes that had been partially implemented. There is clearly sufficient money in the Council’s AHF to build more social rent homes on this site.

Moreover the application should be rejected as unacceptably contrary to the following policy grounds:

POLICY S16 AFFORDABLE HOUSING

• Affordable housing and floorspace that is used or was last used as affordable housing will be protected.

• The council will aim to exceed 30% of new homes to be affordable homes, and will work with its partners to facilitate and optimise the delivery of new affordable homes.

• Proposals for housing developments of either 10 or more additional units or over 1,000 sqm additional residential floorspace will be expected to provide a proportion of the floorspace as affordable housing.

The development proposes to replace 12 existing socially rented housing units with five socially rented units and seven shared ownership units. The ratio of shared ownership has now been altered to 80/20, amounting to a further unacceptable overall reduction in the number of social rented units. The Council’s policy requirement requirement to protect floorspace last used as affordable housing has not been met.

The overall number of units available for affordable housing amounts to 16% of the total number of units proposed, far short of the 30% target specified in policy S16. The Cabinet Member Report on the Supply and Allocation of Social Housing and Low Cost Home Ownership 2014/2015 dated 9th May 2014 recognises at para 3.2.1 that: “demand for social housing in Westminster continues to outstrip the supply of available accommodation to let “. The report goes continues: “Thirty four per cent of households need larger home (3 bedrooms or more) and ethnic minority households have a higher than average need for them at 38%.” The report is a material consideration for the determination of this proposal. The mix of units proposed does not reflect the demand projected by the Council’s Supply and Allocation Report.

The Committee has heard in the past about the extensive local opposition to this unwanted proposal.

In summary, the Committee should refuse permission for the conditions to be waived.”

Posted in Affordable Housing, Jubilee Sports Centre, Labour Councillors, Queen's Park, Social Housing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Campaign to reinstate 24 Bus Stop on Lupus Street continues

24 bus

Churchill Ward’s Labour Councillors have written to the Council again about the long-standing problems caused by the relocation of the 24 bus stop in Lupus Street;

Councillor Shamim Talukder has written to Councillor Ed Argar to point out residents’ concerns:

“The moving of the bus stop is a matter of concern to local residents especially as the new location makes it so difficult for disabled and older people to alight. The original bus stop was hit by a Tesco delivery van in December 2012 resulting in its removal and later rebuilding at its present location. Transport for London’s rationale for the move was that the bus stop had experienced repeated damage but as far as we are aware the Tesco’s van accident was the first such incident. If TfL are citing this as the reason behind the move could they please provide us with a log listing each incident and who was responsible?

The new bus stop’s location means that passengers have to alight on a narrow stretch of pavement which is badly lit and especially narrow around the recycle bins around Johnson Place. Local residents will expect a full explanation and a reassurance that this issue will be looked at again.”

Posted in 24 bus, Churchill Gardens, Labour Councillors, Lupus Street, Pimlico | Tagged , , | Leave a comment