Following the petition organised by Councillor Rita Begum, we are delighted that the Council has given planning permission for the installation of a Santander Cycle Hire docking station on the pavement adjacent to Dundee House, 145 Maida Vale. The docking station will contain a maximum of 37 cycles and a terminal.
Rita set up the petition in July 2014 following her election and it attracted over 130 signatures.
Westminster Council and City West Homes are planning to close the Soho and Covent Garden Housing office in Broadwick Street and relocate the staff and services to Lisson Green. The Office manages CWH property art Dufours Place, Irving House, 47 Old Compton Street, 17 Berwick Street, Kemp House, City of Westminster dwellings and Marlett Court which include Fletcher, Beaumont and Sheridan buildings. As part of the cost-cutting exercise they plan to let the office to a commercial concern.
We have started a petition to keep the office open:
This is what residents say:
“CWH has given their reasons for the closure, but without any prior consultation. 1. Confidence in CWH among residents is already low, this is likely to make things worse. 2. There will be a loss of convenience for both residents and CWH staff. 3. The premises are for community use, so Westminster Council should not be considering letting commercially.”
“The office has been so supportive because my Gran lives in the block and does not speak English. Other Chinese residents also live there and do not speak English but the office helps them when they have lost their key. And help them immediately when they have issues with reporting about the plumbing issues. The office is vital – there are so many elderly residents and the office provides essential support.”
“It’s essential we should retain an Estate Office in our area, given the hundreds of residents who will be affected by its closure. Considering the problems being experienced by so many CityWest Homes residents in Soho, the loss of a nearby Estate Office to which they can turn for help and support would be frightful.”
Clair Malone who lives in Kemp House and has relied on the estate office for many years due to a disability has written a blog about the proposed closure of the office.
Pancho Lewis of the West End Labour Action Team has started a petition to save the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair.
The petition reads:
“It is an absolute travesty that developers 38 Curzon Ltd have called on the Curzon to fork out £500,000 to soundproof luxury properties they are building above it.
They know that the cinema doesn’t have the funds. They know that the venue is listed and would face an uphill struggle to get permission to change its interiors. This is a de facto attempt to close the Curzon through the backdoor.
Curzon Mayfair must be protected. We simply cannot afford to lose this much-loved, iconic venue.”
To read the Evening Standard’s coverage see this link:
You can sign the petition here
Westminster City Council Planning Committee returned to its usually poor form last night, defying the wishes of local people and ignoring its own policies. Despite listening to substantial representations against the proposal from local Councillor Adam Hug, the Committee went straight ahead and approved a 14 storey residential block (Hathaway House) on Woodfield Road in Westbourne Ward. This was despite the proposal being opposed by 132 local residents, Karen Buck MP, all 3 local Westbourne Labour Councillors, and the neighbouring borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
This opposition didn’t stop the 3 Conservative members of the committee approving the plans despite it breaching the Council’s own policies on tall buildings and provision of affordable housing for working people.
Later the same evening 3 out of the 4 members of the Planning Committee decided to ignore Council Policy for a second time. Westminster Council planning officers advised the committee to reject a plan for 18 homes in 33 Westbourne Terrace to be transformed into 6 luxury properties, potentially worth millions.
The Committee disregarded explicit Council policy from July this year that aims to protect against the loss of affordable flats, as well strong advice from officers and South East Bayswater Residents Association that the plans would harm “the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building and the character and appearance of the surrounding conservation area”.
Labour Councillor Tim Roca, the only member of the Planning Committee to oppose both proposals, commented:
“The decisions made by the committee last night were so outrageous in their defiance of reason, policy, and the wishes expressed by residents, that I struggle to understand how any sensible person could ever arrive at them. There were also double standards at play that should worry residents: a 12 storey block to replace Dora House was unacceptable and had to have its height reduced in St Johns Wood, but 14 storeys was perfectly acceptable in Westbourne. Ultimately there was a wilful decision to ignore the public, professional advice and policy arrived at by the democratically elected Council.”
Westminster Labour support for Cycle for Work day
Cllr Jason Williams, Westminster Labour Shadow Cabinet member for City Management and Sustainability has called on Westminster Council for more support for Cyclists and an extension of the Santander Bicycle Hire Scheme across the City including to Queen’s Park and Harrow Road wards.
Cllr Williams in a letter to Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster’s Cabinet member for Parking and Sustainability said “Cycling has an important part to play in Westminster both in reducing congestion and greater health benefits and we fully support initiatives such as the current resident petition to extend the Bicycle Hire Scheme in Queen’s Park and support for the scheme in Harrow Road which is firmly supported by the Labour ward Councillors.”
He said “I have continued to raise cycling issues with Westminster officers and will continue to work hard to ensure cyclists concerns are raised at the heart of the Council. We welcome the upcoming trial installation of bicycle storage hangers and would urge Westminster to expedite the role out of these facilities, a common feature in many other boroughs, where hangers have been clearly requested by local residents.”
A petition to extend the scheme is Queen’s Park is at https://t.co/JlnUutXnbt
Cycle to Work Day Wednesday 14 September
I was pleased to see a range of activities planned by the Council for Cycle to Work Day including the Cycle Stations and Dr Bike health checks both of which I warmly welcome.
In order to make an impact to as great a number of cyclists as possible I would like to see both sessions held at more venues across the City. I was pleased to see one Dr Bike health check was scheduled to be in my ward on Tuesday but concerned that holding this on a weekday evening might limit the numbers of those who can attend.
We would also support the extension of the Santander Bike scheme to Queen’s Park and Harrow Road and are supporting Queen’s Park residents in their current petition on this issue. We also support the provision of bicycle storage hangers where these have been clearly requested by local residents and would urge the council to make it easier to request such facilities once the Ilbert Street pilot scheme is installed.
Cllr Jason Williams
Shadow Cabinet member for City Management and Sustainability
Councillor Barrie Taylor, Westminster Labour’s Health Champion, has welcomed the Government’s decision to delay their planned implementation of a 6% cut to community pharmacies in October in order to “make sure that we are making the correct decision and that what we do is going to be right for you, right for the NHS and right for the public”, announced in a speech by the Minister at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Annual Conference.
This announcement comes on the back of months of lobbying by local chemists – who have included petitions for the public in their pharmacies, spelling out the dire consequences of the proposed cut to patient services.
The Minister declined to specify when next steps around the funding cut would be announced and praised the Community Pharmacy Forward View for “rightly recognising” a new future for community pharmacy in which greater provision of health services and direct patient care are hoped to be the norm. He also added that “there’s a big contribution [pharmacists] can make in areas such as long-term conditions”.
Councillor Barrie Taylor added “Westminster Labour welcomes this change of heart and looks forward to ensuring that the government works more closely with the pharmacy profession to enhance, not reduce, the role and contribution of community pharmacists in primary healthcare.”
Labour Councillors have started a petition calling on Westminster Council to lobby the Post Office to keep open the Crown Post Office on Circus Road, St John’s Wood
The government owned Post Office on Circus Road serving St John’s Wood is set to shut down or be taken over by a private company. It has been identified as 1 of 42 loss-making main Crown branches in the UK. It is currently on the market as a franchise meaning a private company could take it over and run it.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the changes are not necessary as the Post Office is due to break even this year. It added that the move is being forced through in a bid to make a £10million turnover by the end of 2018. CWU rep Huw Davis said:
“It’s early days but it’s an outrage where we’ll see many job losses. They want to make £10m by ridding those they say are losing profits, looking at staffing costs and buildings. Somehow the St John Wood’s Post Office has become part of that. The services, whether you get them in WH Smith or in a shop is not as good as what you get from dedicated staff who have worked there for many years. I hope the public will fight against this privatisation.”