Westminster Council Regeneration Schemes Hit Further delays

Residents in Church Street and the Ebury Bridge Estate in Pimlico who have been waiting many years for better housing have been hit by further delays to Westminster Council’s estate regeneration plans.

According to Labour Councillors, both the Church Street ‘Futures’ plan and the Ebury Bridge regeneration plans are many years behind schedule with further delays and cost increases putting the projects in dire risk.

Church Street Futures Plan Delays

Church Street residents backed the first phase of the regeneration proposals when they voted in May 2013. 25% of residents voted with 87% of those in favour of the proposals which are designed to improve the neighbourhood, including:

  • 65 new affordable, high specification, energy efficient homes for local people
  • 180 new private high specification, energy efficient homes which will raise £17-19 million to invest in the neighbourhood
  • 45 new replacement high quality, one bedroom sheltered homes for current elderly residents of Penn House
  • Investment to improve existing blocks around Luton Street development
  • New fund to improve the overall management of the neighbourhood

However, according to Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame, over 3 years on from the residents’ vote, the reality is very different:

  • Lisson Arches:  contractors are still struggling to dig foundations for this 11 storey block to replace Penn House supported housing block.   No council records could be found of previous building works on this part of Lisson Green!   This delay means:
  • Penn House cannot be demolished and replaced with a new health centre and offices. This delay means:
  • 4 Frampton Street/105 Lisson Grove council offices cannot be demolished and replaced with housing which will help fund other part of the Futures Plan.
  • Luton Street delays and cost increases, including Council insistence on unallocated parking and too much parking, rights to light.
  • Cosway Street delays mean that the site cannot be sold to raise the cash for affordable housing
  • Missed opportunity to support the Ashmill Nurses Home proposal, on a council-owned Car Park site, which could have raised more money for the project and provided key worker housing
  • Berkeley Homes were given planning permission on the nearby West End Green site with insufficient affordable homes, so another opportunity was missed for providing more decant space to keep the community together

Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame said:

“Church Street residents voted overwhelmingly for this regeneration scheme but the Council has delivered nothing.   Meanwhile blocks due to be demolished are left to deteriorate, lifts and heating break down.  Frail older people do not know when they will be moved to their new home.   The Council lacks the will or the competence to deliver promised improvements. After over 3 years the only Futures Plan new buildings are 3 show flats”

Ebury Bridge Regeneration Delays

Residents voted in favour of the renewal plans in a week-long ballot in May 2013. The planning application for the redevelopment of the Ebury Bridge estate has been approved.  The Council said in 2013: “The renewal plans for Ebury Bridge will provide high quality new homes and significant improvements to existing homes along with vastly improved public spaces, which will enhance the character and value of the area. In addition the plans will provide residents with improvements to the energy efficiency of their homes, improved community facilities and provide future job opportunities.”

The key elements of the plans are:

  • Eight blocks to be demolished and replaced with a series of new buildings ranging from 8-14 storeys with 4 storey breaks at key points to provide light and variety
  • Five blocks to be retained and improved
  • 101 additional homes created overall
  • New homes and estate improvements to the highest environmental standards
  • New central park with open lawns and play area and better connections with the surrounding area
  • New enlarged community facility at street level • New underground car park

But now, over 3 years later the Council has admitted that “there had been a muted response when soft market testing the planning consented scheme in the latter half of 2015 which did not generate sufficient interest from investment developers and traditional contractors. Complex delivery phasing, block/unit layouts requiring further value engineering and the costs and complexity of the refurbishment element are the main risks for developers/contractors.”

The Council say that officers are currently refining the existing consented scheme but a revised scheme is not yet finalised.

Councillor Jason Williams, Labour Churchill Ward Councillor said:

“After the Ebury Bridge vote in May 2013, residents and lessees were faced with delays and poor communications from the Council. There were cancelled meetings and great uncertainty about the progress of the regeneration plans. While there has been some improvements recently with communications, there is still a lack of clarity as to the rephrasing plans and there is an urgent need for the Council to outline their plans for the project to end the uncertainty.”

Councillor Tim Roca, Labour Housing spokesperson said:

“Three years have gone by and nothing has been built or is about to be built.  Over 9 months have passed since the Ebury Bridge ‘soft market testing’ told the Council they may have a problem and yet it still hasn’t produced a revised scheme. When it comes to housing there are many fine words from Tory Councillors but the reality is regeneration plans left to drift and residents paying the price for ever increasing delays to much needed housing.”

Posted in Church Street, Ebury Bridge Estate, Futures Programme, Housing, Regeneration | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please sign the new petition to save the St John’s Wood Crown Post Office in Circus Road

st-johns-wood-post-officeDue to public demand we have started a new petition to save the St John’s Wood Crown Post Office in Circus Road!

You can sign here



Posted in Labour Councillors, Post Office closures, St John's Wood, St John's Wood Post Office | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Westminster Conservatives say yes to TRIPLE basement in quiet Marylebone Mews

proton-basementWestminster Conservatives have voted to give planning permission to the Howard de Walden Estate for a triple basement to house a proton beam therapy unit in Devonshire Mews West, Marylebone, a quiet residential cul-de-sac in Marylebone, despite adopting a new Basements policy this summer which restricts basements to just one level and despite objections from 17 local residents for whom the mews is their home. The one Labour Councillor on the Planning Committee voted against the triple basement.

One resident said:

“I really feel that the Council’s own policy on basements, in particular so soon after its adoption, would be jeopardised were an exception be made and this development be permitted. I have no doubt you will appreciate, that although this project may serve a worthy medical cause, it is totally ill-suited for this quiet residential cul-de-sac mews. More fundamentally, were this project to get consent, it would just make the promises of the council to protect the residents through its new policy on basements just sound extremely hollow.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour Environment spokesperson, said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the Council’s new Basements policy, which has cross-party support, should be breached so soon by this triple ‘super basement’ that is totally unsuited to a quiet cul-de-sac mews. Surely, a more appropriate commercial location, away from residents, would have been more appropriate for the years of construction, disruption, noise and dust that are involved in digging a triple basement? Many residents in Marylebone, St John’s Wood, Bayswater and Pimlico will now be asking if their street is next for a Westminster Council-approved triple basement?”

Posted in Basement extensions, Labour Councillors, Marylebone, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Westminster City Council, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Westminster Conservatives reject community campaign to save London’s oldest Timber Yard in south Belgravia

Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee last night voted 3-1 to ignore over 330 objections from residents, the Belgravia Society, the Belgravia Residents Association, the Pimlico Road Association and other local businesses and approved plans to demolish the Newson’s Timber yard in south Belgravia to build four retail units and seven luxury houses.

Newson’s Timber yard has been a functioning Timber yard for over 175 years in Pimlico Road, supplying local businesses including the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Also included in the application were neighbouring independent shops with long standing connections to Pimlico Road. The application includes the replacement of shopfronts to 41, 43, 57, 59 and 63 Pimlico Road, this includes independent stores like Humphrey-Carrasco an antiques dealer based there for 20 years .

Labour Churchill ward Councillor Jason Williams said:

“This is a very disappointing decision. The views and concerns of the community were made clear with the overwhelming 300+ objections, together with the petitions and other representations. The community can be justly proud of their campaign and the strength of feeling can be seen by the attendance at the committee meeting.”

“The historical importance of the Timber Yard can clearly be seen from the 2001 report where the Planning Inspector refers to “a continuity of use for more than (then) 150 years”. The inspector then said the Timber yard “makes a positive contribution to the conservation area” and what was true in 2001 is certainly just as true in 2016. Residents clearly want this use to remain and continue to make that positive contribution. Pimlico Road is already a world class design district and residents want to avoid turning it into just another high street. “

Posted in Belgravia, Churchill Ward, Labour Councillors, Pimlico, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The latest Queen’s Park Labour News leaflet is out

The latest Queen’s Park Labour News leaflet is out qp-labour-news-october-2016

Top stories are:

20 mph trial zones

We are delighted that the Council has finally agreed to introduce 20 mph zones on a trial basis after many years of campaigning. The Council says:

20mph areas/streets can have a positive impact on all road users but particularly the more vulnerable such as children, the elderly, powered two wheeler drivers and cyclists. Westminster’s draft Walking Strategy, which is currently out to public consultation, recommends that the council considers the potential for a pilot 20mph area/zone. This report seeks approval for the implementation of 20mph trial areas/streets in proximity to schools in the City and for 20mph streets in areas that have a history of speed related accidents. These trials will be carefully monitored and the impacts analysed. For example, we will introduce vehicle activated signs to collate data on speeding issues with a view to looking at other measures to control and enforce against speeding in conjunction with the Police. “


We have suggested the following streets for the trial:

·      Droop Street

·      Third Avenue

·      Beethoven Street

·      Fernhead Road

·      Marne Street

·      Nutbourne Street

·      Lancefield Street

Nutbourne Street/Third Avenue/Dart Street Waste and Recycling Bins – Update

Following strong representations from residents we have asked the Council to reinstate the black bins in Nutbourne Street and Third Avenue at the junction with Dart Street. Residents say:

“At present, rubbish is still being left there, which is encouraging the foxes. Every morning someone still has to collect the bags and as the foxes open them, the mess has to cleaned up.”

“I am writing to ask you to put the bins back the mess in the morning it disgusting! We are telling people not to put rubbish there but it like talking to the wall. They don’t live opposite it and have to look at it all over the floor In the morning.”

“Please can the bins be instated back to Nutbourne Street and Third Avenue, as it could become a serious health issue. I pay my council tax to support the local community and feel this is an injustice to local residents who also pay.”

“I am a resident in Marne Street and have used the bin very regularly. Having full trash bags, this was a safe and clean way (no stink in the house/garden) to dispose them when the garbage collection was not due. In addition, due to my heavy travel schedule it is often difficult for me to put out garbage bags when the truck is due exactly. And if I put the bags outside too early, they are likely to be ripped up by the many foxes roaming the streets or cats even. Clearly, this has resulted in a mess in the street before when neighbours put their bags out and their contents were scattered on the pavement then.”

Posted in 20mph speed limit, Karen Buck MP, Labour Councillors, Queen's Park, Refuse collection | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More Marylebone Library Misery

Yet more bad news about the Conservative Council’s plans for Westminster’s libraries have been revealed with confirmation that the new temporary home for the Marylebone Library will be smaller, have fewer services, books and staff even than its current temporary site on Beaumont Street.

As previously chronicled by the Labour Group, Westminster Council had promised a new permanent home for the Marylebone Library by Spring 2015 but the scheme has run wildly over time and budget, with sources indicating residents will be waiting until at least 2020, and maybe significantly beyond, for it to be finally delivered. However not only is the council not finding ways to plug the gap by providing the extra services that would have been provided at a permanent home, the upcoming move in February 2017 to 9-11 New Cavendish Street will see lead to a number of things getting worse.

  • As part of the Council plans for major staff cuts Marylebone Library will lose the equivalent of over 7 full-time members of staff.
  • There will be a reduction in the amount of stock that the library will be able to display and store at the New Cavendish temporary site.
  • The Marylebone Information service and Reference Library will not directly transfer to the new site in their current form. There will be significantly less study space at the New Cavendish site.
  • There are currently no plans for a dedicated children’s library in the New Cavendish Temporary building (though there will be an ‘area’).

Westminster Labour Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “The next few years are looking pretty bleak for Marylebone Library. The past claims of Conservative Cabinet Members about delivering a ‘state of the art new library’ for 2015 are ringing pretty hollow when residents are faced with a further downgrade in 2017 that will last for several years. This is yet another blow to Westminster’s cherished library service.”

Posted in Library, Marylebone Library | Leave a comment

Please sign the petition to protect Westminster’s library services from £750,000 of cuts


We are calling on Westminster City Council to halt its plans to take the axe to our much loved local library services.


Libraries are a vital source of learning and education in our communities. They are a cherished public good we cannot do without.

It is deeply concerning that the Tory Council plans to cut £750,000 per year from the Westminster Libraries budget. This is the equivalent of more than 17 full-time members of staff. In effect this would mean losing qualified librarians who have a passion for helping our communities access life-long learning and education.

There are alternatives. The Council should be looking at ways of generating revenues, not relentlessly cutting. It could look at raising money through digital access to the council’s treasure trove of books and maps in the City Archives.

On top of that, Westminster City Council doesn’t seem to think it necessary to consult the community. That only adds insult to injury.

We call for the Council to halt its plans. Local and national government can’t continue with this relentless attack on public services. This must be stopped.

Posted in Council cuts, Council finances, Council staff, Library, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments