Westminster Conservative calls for the end to Council Tax discount for single people

Westminster Conservatives want to end the Council Tax discount for single people so that people like the elderly can be “nudged to move to more appropriate accommodation”, according to tweets by Conservative Councillor Richard Holloway who was elected for Bayswater Ward in May 2014 and is a former Vice-Chairman of the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association.

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

“Not content with creating misery with the bedroom tax for hundreds of residents on benefit, now Westminster Conservatives want to end the single person Council Tax discount which will hit thousands of Westminster pensioners and other people of limited means living on their own. The aim of this madcap proposal is to move even more people out of Westminster to make way for more second homes and absentee landlords. This is a cruel and nasty proposal which shows Westminster Conservatives in their true colours.”

Richard Holloway (@rrwholloway)

16/12/2014 17:22
Why do we continue to give a single person discount for properties above band E? Those empty rooms could be filled bit.ly/1zsGddC

Richard Holloway (@rrwholloway)

16/12/2014 18:00
@Cllr_Maida_Vale @OliverCooper @John_J_C_Moss perhaps they should be nudged to move to more appropriate accommodation?

Posted in Bedroom Tax, Council Tax, Council Tax discount single people, Housing, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

From West End to East End – how Westminster Conservatives are exporting housing need

Westminster Conservatives have housed over 800 Westminster families to temporary accommodation in east and north east London as the capital’s housing crisis deepens.

Overall, Westminster Council has 2,382 families in temporary accommodation with 52% living in Westminster. However, 825 families (34%) have been moved out to cheaper properties in north and east London, with Newham (267), Enfield (87), Barking & Dagenham (85), Waltham Forest (75), Redbridge (72), Haringey (71) and Hackney (67) taking most of Westminster’s homeless families. In addition, 44 families have been housed in Thurrock and 14 in Southend.

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

“Westminster Conservatives need to build more social homes so that more local residents can be housed in Westminster. Moving hundreds of families to the East End is simply exporting the housing crisis to other boroughs and creates difficulties for both the families themselves and the Councils who are struggling to provide the necessary school places and doctors to cope”

ENDS

Contact Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg on 0207 566 7960 or 07864 042 584

The location of properties used by Westminster City Council for Temporary Accommodation by local authority area

Barking and Dagenham 85
Barnet 38
Bexley 4
Brent 98
Bromley 6
Camden 22
City of London 6
Croydon 3
Ealing 15
Enfield 87
Gravesham 1
Greenwich 9
Hackney 67
Hammersmith & Fulham 4
Haringey 71
Harrow 6
Havering 14
Hertsmere 1
Hillingdon 55
Hounslow 3
Islington 14
Kensington & Chelsea 19
Lewisham 5
Maidstone Council 1
Merton 1
Milton Keynes Council 3
Newham 267
Redbridge 72
Slough BC 1
Southend on Sea 14
Southwark 2
Sutton 2
Thurrock 44
Tower Hamlets 7
Waltham Forest 75
Wandsworth 15
Westminster 1245
Grand Total 2382

Posted in Exporting those in housing need, Families, Homeless Families, House building, Housing, Labour Councillors, London, Social Housing, Temporary accommodation, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Benefit claimants ‘forced out of central London’

‘Inside Housing’ reports:

“Low income families are being forced out of the capital, Labour has said, after revealing a 27% drop in housing benefit claimants in central London.

Research by London Labour has revealed the number of private sector tenants claiming housing benefits in five central London boroughs has dropped by 5,972 from March 2011 to August 2014.

Across inner London, the figures revealed an 8% drop – which the party has blamed on benefit caps and the rising cost of living.

The claims were hotly disputed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which said record employment levels in London were behind the drop.

Local housing allowance – claimed by tenants in the private sector – was capped in April 2011 at a maximum of £412 per week for a four bedroom house and £350 for a three bed. An overall benefit cap, which limits total weekly benefit claims at £500 per week for families, was introduced across London last year.

There have been long-standing concerns that these changes would force families reliant on benefits out of high-rent areas.

Labour’s research – taken from DWP statistics – showed Camden, City of London, Islington, Westminster and Kensignton & Chelsea had a total 21,982 benefit claimants in the private sector in March 2011, and 16,010 in August this year.

Fiona Twycross, a Labour London assembly member, said: ‘Families who have lived their whole lives in central London are being forced out.

‘This not only has a devastating effect on those households, it results in the loss of London’s mixed communities and puts additional pressure on the outer London boroughs facing the influx. If the trend continues, central London will become the reserve of the privileged.’

It comes as the DWP claimed the benefit cap was helping people into work, revealing that those impacted by the cap are 41% more likely to go into work than a similar group who fell just below the cap’s level.

A DWP spokesperson said: ‘There is simply no evidence of these claims – the vast majority of claimants who have had their benefits capped move only a few miles away, and are more likely to get a job.

‘Employment in London is at record levels, so it’s not surprising there are fewer claimants – and we’ll stick to our long-term economic plan so more people can break free from welfare dependency.’

Posted in Affordable Housing, Housing, Housing Benefit, Labour Councillors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Community concern over Westminster’s University Technical College plans

Churchill ward Councillors and the local community have expressed concerns about the plans for a University Technical College on Sutherland Street in Pimlico. Despite Councillors being promised full community engagement only two public exhibition sessions were organised by the Developers, Bougyues and Redrow on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm ahead of the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

Local ward Councillor Jason Williams has written to Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, raising the local community’s concern over the lack of a full public consultation for the proposed UTC development. Councillor Williams said “we support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training but residents must be fully engaged in any consultation and they must have an adequate opportunity to make their views heard.”

Councillor Williams said “we also seek assurances that there would be no loss of parking in the area and that there is a full transport assessment undertaken before the scheme goes to the planning committee to ensure there isn’t an undue burden on the existing transport infrastructure. The community are also rightly concerned about the proposed height of the residential building and the impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.”

The UTC was given the go-ahead by the Department of Education earlier this year and will offer courses for 175 12-16 year olds in its first year offering vocational and academic qualifications.

Letter to Councillor Danny Chalkley

Dear Councillor Chalkley,

I am writing to express concern over the time frame for the public consultation for the University Technical College (UTC) proposed for Sutherland Street.

We support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training locally but do have concerns over a number of issues including the public consultation, the effect on parking provision, the height of the proposed building and the lack of social housing provision.

When Councillor Talukder and I met with Benjamin Budd from Bouygues and Giles Martin from Redrow in November 2014 we discussed there being a public consultation at the Thamesbank Centre. We had hoped that this would afford all in the Community adequate time to view and comment on the plans. However the two sessions were organised on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm which are insufficient to enable everyone who wanted to see the plans to attend. We therefore do not believe that the consultation process has given residents adequate chance to make representations.

Residents are also concerned at the tight timescales in the expected grant of planning permission for redevelopment and the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

During our meeting with the developers in November we raised residents’ concerns about the impact of the development on parking. We were told that the developers wouldn’t want to encourage parking on the street and would have car club spaces. We are now hearing from residents that on-sire parking provision will only be 30 space on site and this will place an additional burden on the on-street parking provision. We seek assurances that there would no loss of parking in the area and on Sutherland Street itself.

During the meeting we raised the issue of a transport assessment and the developers said they would be doing this and had a transport consultant on board. We would seek assurances that a thorough review of the impact the development will have on transport in the local area including on the C10 bus route.

We also seek assurances on the height of the building and its impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.

We very much hope that the Council will look again at these issues and ensure that the views of the local community are fully heard in the consultation process.

Councillor Jason Williams
Churchill Ward

Posted in Churchill Ward, Education, Labour Councillors, Planning permission, Public consultation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Massive 25% fall in voters in Westminster’s Knightsbridge & Belgravia Conservative heartland

The number of voters in Westminster’s Knightsbridge & Belgravia ward has fallen by almost 25% since last year, according to Electoral Registration figures announced by Westminster City Council.

Overall, the number of local government electors in Westminster has dropped by 7.7% from last year – from 138,200 down to 127,541 – a loss of 10,659. However, Conservative held wards in south Westminster have experienced a much steeper decline in numbers of eligible voters:

• Knightsbridge & Belgravia Ward – 24.2% decline from 5,708 to 4,323
• Hyde Park Ward – 11.3% decline from 7,108 to 6,301
• St James’ Ward – 10.7% decline from 7,281 to 6,502
• West End Ward – 10.2% decline from 6,258 to 5,617
• Bryanston & Dorset Square Ward – 9.6% decline from 6,933 to 6,262
• Marylebone High Street Ward – 8.8% decline from 6,468 to 5,895

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

“These latest electoral registration figures are a total disaster. Every single ward in Westminster has lost voters with the Conservative heartlands in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, the West End, Hyde Park and Marylebone losing the most. Over 10,500 voters have disappeared. This drop in voters cannot all be blamed on the new Individual Electoral Registration process ”

“Westminster is quickly becoming the buy-to-leave capital of the world with houses and flats being traded as ‘investment opportunities’ rather than homes for people to live in and play a part in the local community. The West End is being ‘hollowed out’ of permanent residents and this is having a negative impact on community life and the democratic process”

“If nothing else, these dreadful electoral registration figures should serve as a wake-up call for Council Leader Philippa Roe whose Knightsbridge & Belgravia Ward has lost the most voters. She now faces the prospect of losing her Council seat as a result of a statutory re-warding.”

Knightsbridge and Belgravia is now 32.2% below quota (the average number of voters per ward). According to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, a single ward which is more than 30% above or below quota is the trigger for a ward boundary review – see para 2.8 on page 5: http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/10391/electoral-review-guidance-august-2012.pdf

Total Westminster electorate by Ward
2015 2014
Abbey Road 6,290 6,533
Bayswater 6,072 6,643
Bryanston &
Dorset Square 6,262 6,933
Church Street 6,801 7,295
Churchill 6,117 6,534
Harrow Road 7,344 7,785
Hyde Park 6,301 7,108
Knightsbridge &
Belgravia 4,323 5,708
Lancaster Gate 6,781 7,461
Little Venice 6,339 6,644
Maida Vale 6,415 6,862
Marylebone High
Street 5,895 6,468
Queen’s Park 7,501 7,803
Regent’s Park 6,958 7,187
St James’s 6,502 7,281
Tachbrook 5,554 5,913
Vincent Square 6,650 7,173
Warwick 6,246 6,673
West End 5,617 6,258
Westbourne 7,573 7,938
TOTAL 127,541 138,200

Posted in Electoral Register, Knightsbridge, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Labour calls for Madame Jojo’s to reopen under new management

madame-jojos

Labour Councillors have urged that Madame Jojo’s in Soho be allowed to re-open under new management after Westminster Council’s decision to revoke its licence following a serious assault by a member of staff.

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

“The incident that occurred at Madame Jojo’s was appalling and we support the police in their efforts to prosecute those involved. It would be inappropriate to let the current management continue to run the establishment. One bad incident, however, should not be used as a reason to continue the remorseless process of Soho gentrification. Madame Jojo’s is a Soho icon and these premises should not be turned into yet another chain restaurant. We support the reopening of the premises under the same licensing terms should another responsible owner wish to take over the running of Madam Jojo’s”

“There is precious little left of what made Soho unique. There is no need for more burger bars, pizza places and bland restaurants – there are plenty of these a few minutes away in the rest of the West End. Madame Jojo’s is a unique part Soho where new and established bands and solo artists play (many established bands played some of their first gigs here). Its club nights are different and imaginative and it’s one of the only bars with a 3am license every night of week. Westminster should not let Madame Jojo’s die but should do all it can to keep this unique Soho venue live on under new management.”

See the Save Soho video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9efaj0JG7DA

From the Madame Jojo’s website

There has been a nightclub on this spot in Brewer Street since at least the early 1950s, when Soho was London’s most famous red-light district, populated by the sleazy, scar-faced underworld gang leaders who had thrived in the post-war era. It is believed the club acquired the famous name of Madame Jojo’s some time in the 1960s. In that decade it was bought by Paul Raymond, who can be said to have preserved much of Soho as we know it today, simply by buying most of it and leaving it alone, so that it remains largely untouched by the brutality of modern re-development.

One of Raymond’s most famous properties was the Whitehall Theatre, built in 1930, the golden age of Art Deco. Its interior was rich with typical Deco motifs such as geometric shapes, zigzags, birds, fountains and conch-shells. Decades later, many of its fittings and decorations were removed and rehoused in a tiny nightclub next to the Raymond Revuebar. This little place, Madame Jojo’s, was by now part of the Raymond empire. The Whitehall’s geometric railings and light fittings, its ‘theatre-curtain’ plaster mouldings and Deco fountains, were in perfect harmony with Madame Jojo’s red plush velvet and gilt ambience. Soaked in showbiz legend, they found their ideal home.

In the 1960s the thriving Madame Jojo’s was next-door neighbour to a famous Chinese restaurant called Mr Harry’s, which later became the Piano Bar. The Piano Bar and Madame Jojo’s together made Brewer Street the hub of the Sixties Soho buzz. Through the decades, girls had twirled their tassels on the tiny stage. By the 1980s Madame Jojo’s was highly celebrated as a cabaret and burlesque venue. This was a golden era for drag performance, with shows every night at Madame Jojo’s, featuring such legendary drag artistes as Ruby Venzuela, Lily Savage, Adrella and Regina Fong. Through the 80s and 90s, Madame Jojo’s became a forum for alternative cabaret.

The 1990s brought the boom in DJ culture. Madame Jojo’s embraced the clubbing era with open arms, becoming home to many world-famous club nights, such as Electrogogo, Deep Funk, Groove Sanctuary and White Heat. The peculiar chemistry between this little Soho club, and hordes of young music-lovers, has never been recreated in any other venue. New visitors invariably fall in love with its unique atmosphere, finding it the perfect place to enjoy an eclectic range of musical genres and live bands.

Nowadays, cabaret has come full circle. Burlesque and variety are back in a big way, with new audiences discovering the pleasure of watching live entertainment on stage, skilled artists performing in their natural habitat, the classic, intimate West End nightclub. Still going strong after 50 years, Madame Jojo’s is the jewel in Soho’s crown – its place in West End history is assured.

http://www.madamejojos.com/

Posted in Police, Soho, West End | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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