North Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service to close as Council cuts hit drug and sexual health work

Westminster Council, in yet another round of budget cuts, has announced a funding reduction of £1.4m from Substance Misuse programmes and £0.7m from Sexual Health schemes.

This will mean the sudden closure on March 31st of the vitally important North Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service (NWDAS) in Harrow Road, which serves the whole of the northern part of the City including parts of the West End. It is obvious that there will be a significant impact on the delivery of vital services to people with drug and alcohol addiction.

Harrow Road Labour Councillor Guthrie McKie said:

“The North Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service has played a vital role in helping people dealing with addiction in my ward and many others. Why hasn’t the Council made more of an effort to persuade Government Ministers that an inner city Borough, like Westminster, needs a robust and well-funded programme to deal with drug and alcohol abuse? These cuts, together with those on Sexual Health, have the potential to cause severe damage to the lives of vulnerable individuals and the communities in which they live.”

Posted in Alcohol Misuse, Council cuts, Drugs, Harrow Road, Health, Sexual Health, Substance Misuse, Westminster North | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

9.9% cut in money allocated for primary care patients in Westminster

Over the next five years, doctors and other primary care providers in Westminster  will see a 9.9% cut in real terms in the amount allocated per person, from £1,251 to £1,220.

These figures come from the House of Commons Library Clinical Commissioning Group Statistics

Compared with other London CCGs, West London and Central London CCGs have significantly larger real terms decreases in total allocations and in allocations per head than any other CCG besides Camden.

Posted in Clinical Commissioning Groups, Doctors, Karen Buck MP, NHS | Leave a comment

Pimlico Toy Library issues plea for donations

Pimlico Toy library has made a plea for financial donations as funding continues to dwindle.

The charity, which last year celebrated its 30th birthday, says its public funding from the council and government has halved since 2013.

Pimlico Toy Library has been supporting children and parents since 1985. Based in Churchill Gardens, one of Westminster’s most deprived wards, the charity provides a “safe and stimulating” play environment for children, with more than 1,700 toys on offer.

It has helped three generations of some families with more than 4,000 visits last year alone.

Maggie Harper, a volunteer on the founding committee since 1982 and co-ordinator of Pimlico Toy Library since 1991, said:

“I have raised funds for Pimlico Toy Library for 24 years. Up to 2011, I had three-year funding from a couple of funders and a diverse mix of donors. Since 2011, there has been only one-year funding, meaning a blank income sheet each year, and an average of £96,000 to raise annually through other sources.

“That’s why we are now calling on the public to support us through these tough times.”

Donations can either be made by visiting

or by contacting them directly at

Posted in Children, Churchill Gardens, Churchill Ward, Pimlico, Pimlico Toy Library | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Paddington Pole delay welcome but real change is required says Labour

Paddington shardWestminster Labour Councillors have welcomed the announcement of a delay in the Paddington Pole proposals, that Labour first called for in December when the developers first submitted their planning application and Westminster Council sought to push ahead with the application for a decision in early March 2016.

We have been clear that the scheme proposed failed to deliver for local people, changing the skyline dramatically but failing to to provide much needed affordable housing. The excellent campaigning work by local residents, the Skyline Campaign, SEBRA and others have helped now force the developers and the council to see sense and delay the project.

As Labour Councillors have previously said, the designers must now go back to the drawing board and come back with a radically revised plan that dramatically reduces the height of any new building and significantly increases the number of social and genuinely affordable homes in Westminster generated by the scheme.

Labour group leader Councillor Adam Hug said:

“Westminster residents won’t accept only cosmetic changes to the Paddington Pole plans, shaving off just a few floors and hoping no one notices. There must be a real rethink about how this important site is used so that it benefits local people. We must all remain vigilant to ensure that this happens.”

Cllr Adam Hug
Leader, Westminster Labour Group
Westbourne Ward, Westminster City Council

Posted in Affordable Housing, Housing, Labour Councillors, Paddington Shard, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Social Housing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Residents urged to get involved in the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum

The Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum will draw up the Neighbourhood Plan and will be involved in all aspects of quality of life in the Marylebone Area. It is therefore vital that as many residents as possible turn up to vote for the adoption of a democratic constitution and committee members, as well as whether we agree or not with Baker Street and Gloucester Place Two Way Traffic.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to exercise democracy in the new Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PN.

The Localism Act 2011 devolved power to the community throughout the Neighbourhood Forums.

Anyone who lives or works in Marylebone High Street and Bryanston and Dorset Square Wards, can attend the General Assembly of the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 and can put their names forward to be elected as members of the Committee before the new deadline of early January by visiting

Anyone who lives or works in Marylebone High Street and Bryanston and Dorset Square Wards, can join the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum by completing the application form directly in the Assembly meeting or online in this link:

For more information following this link:

Posted in Baker Street Two Way plans, Local Democracy, Local Government, Marylebone, Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum seeks answers on Lanark Road project

Rita at MV centreCouncillor Rita Begum has been taking up residents’ concerns about the Lanark Road project and seeking answers to many of the unanswered questions on this project which aims to rebuild the existing community facilities with housing above.

At the Westminster City Council Meeting on 20th January 2016 she asked the Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration the following questions:

  • Would the Cabinet member please comment on the length of time it took to consult on the project and why resident consultation did not take place before deciding the regeneration site?
  • Why only one of three Maida Vale ward members was engaged in the drafting of the scheme?
  • Have officers yet acted on my proposal to make a site visit and jointly review the proposed design and impact to neighbours in Randolph Avenue?
  • Is it common practice to exclude the involvement of Ward Councillors in capital regeneration projects – as in my case it took until mid-October 2015 for me to be even briefed/consulted?

Subsequently Rita has asked the following written questions to the Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration:

  • I would welcome your comments on why I appear to have been kept in the dark about this regeneration project?
  • I have had to deal with many residents’ queries and questions regarding the consultation and progress of the proposals. Why was I was not adequately briefed to provide answers?
  • In discussions with Randolph Avenue residents it has become clear that inadequate information has been made available to check the height and length of the new building. Why is this?
  • The design impacts on lighting to the windows of adjoining basement flats does not appear to have been fully recognised by the architects and deserves a reconsideration before the Planning Committee are asked to consider the plan. What can you do to assist in any reconsideration?
  • What communications and consultation work was carried out to establish what regeneration project was appropriate for the site in Lanark Road and whether the scale of the project was appropriate before launching it for consultation?
  • Dolphin Living are the lead people on the project – when the tender came to Westminster to choose the design were any residents involved in the process?
Posted in House building, Housing, Maida Vale, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Rita Begum | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Churchill Ward Councillors reaffirm their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge

Churchill teamChurchill Ward’s three Labour Councillors have reaffirmed their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge. At the Environment Scrutiny Committee on 18th January, Councillor Murad Gassanly, speaking on behalf of all three Churchill Ward Councillors, said:

“The Churchill Councillors have raised strong objections to the proposed bridge and ensured local residents views have been made clear to Westminster and Wandsworth Councils.

“We need the Council to be the voice of local residents – we need the council to reject the bridge at any landing point in Pimlico.”

“The report mentions the Pimlico Councillors present at the Bridge meeting but fails to mention that we the Churchill residents were also present and spoke at the meeting. The campaign against the bridge has been led by the Pimlico Alliance, a resident led campaign who have done sterling work in raising public awareness of the impact of the bridge. It is residents who have led this campaign and they who have said time and time again – no to the bridge.”

“If the bridge is a white elephant, a waste of money and unnecessary due to its closeness to another bridge in Pimlico Gardens then these concerns are exactly the same at the Grosvenor Rail Bridge.”

Churchill Gardens residents and ourselves as their Councillors have been clear from the start – we do not see any need for a bridge, our residents do not want a bridge and this is a highly expensive vanity project.

We have written to Wandsworth leader Cllr Govindia putting residents concerns and asking him to shelve this expensive white elephant – Cllr Govindia’s lack of concern and respect was shown by the fact we didn’t even receive an acknowledgement. Cllr Jason Williams spoke to the Wandsworth Guardian saying “We have Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge further down, and two new tube stations, plus bus routes.It is probably going to be one of the most connected areas in the country. We want Wandsworth to reverse the decision, stop this in its tracks.”

Wandsworth’s approach to the bridge shows its disinterest, verging on contempt for those of us this side of the river. Rather than genuinely engage with local residents they have adopted a high handed approach enforcing gagging orders on those who sit on a judging panel and refusing to respond to local concerns. Wandsworth could have consulted and worked with local people but from their behaviour it’s obvious they’ve never really wanted to work with in Pimlico but force through a bridge which will have a major impact on Pimlico without even genuinely consulting them first. With Council
leaders from the same party we had hoped Westminster’s lobbying had been more effective,

“Wandsworth’ disrespect for local opinion can be seen by their much repeated claim that the bridge will enable Pimlico residents to visit the Nine Elms Waitrose as if this was the clinching argument. This says a lot about how they view Pimlico as well as their lack of insight to how Pimlico people feel about the bridge.

Let the message from this meeting be clear – Churchill Ward residents and their Councillors do not want a bridge anywhere in Pimlico – we do not want it it in Pimlico Gardens or by the Grosvenor Rail Bridge.”

Posted in Churchill Ward, Labour Councillors, Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge, Pimlico, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment