Electoral register – Make sure your voice is heard

ballot paperEach year the Council’s Electoral Services Office has to publish a revised Register of Electors. This involves conducting an audit of all residential properties in Westminster.

In order to carry out this task Westminster City Council is recruiting enthusiastic, fit and dedicated staff to join the Electoral Canvassing Team.

If you are interested in joining the Canvassing Team then follow this link to the application form:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/canvasser-recruitment

To make sure that you and your family are correctly registered, follow this link:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/register-to-vote

MAKE SURE YOUR VOICE IS HEARD

Posted in Electoral Register, Westminster City Council | Tagged | Leave a comment

Study finds most of Marylebone illegally polluted

According to Westminster Living Streets:

“In preparation for the project to convert Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way working, TfL has just presented an Air Quality Assessment of the area to Westminster Council. Monitors on Marylebone Road and Oxford Street had already revealed those two to be among the most polluted streets anywhere. The new study shows that every street in the area, not just those two, has above the legal levels of pollution due to road traffic.

Some objectors to two-way operation feared that it would improve the commercial streets by redistributing the traffic over less-polluted residential areas. As of this week it is clear that wouldn’t work. With or without the two-way scheme, traffic in the whole area must be quickly reduced now that the Supreme Court has thrown out the government’s plea for more time. Westminster Council (as subcontractor to the TfL) had prepared plans for the two-way scheme using a model that assumed the same level of traffic in 2018 as today. That is no longer a feasible scenario.

Either ULEZ, or the SuperULEZ now being studied by TfL as a replacement, or some other means such as road pricing must reduce motor traffic. The result is that there will be more road capacity which can be recycled, most obviously for separate cycle lanes because the scheme already caters for the increased number of pedestrians who will arrive by public transport to live, work, shop, and be entertained in the area.

Westminster Council have not yet commented on the new Air Quality Assessment.”

Posted in Baker Street, Gloucester Place, Marylebone, Marylebone Road, Pollution, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Labour calls for more ambition in Westminster Council’s housing plans

Westminster Labour Group has called for Westminster Council to be more ambitious in its plans to provide new social and genuinely affordable housing. In its response to Westminster Council’s draft 5 year Housing Strategy, Labour Councillors have published a wide ranging set of proposals, including;

Increase affordable housing targets – The planning target for affordable house building should be increased to 40% of new homes. This plan would see an additional 2135 affordable homes built in the borough over the next 5 years (885 more than under the Conservative plans) based on the overall level of Westminster house building set out in the Mayor’s London Plan This is the amount of new affordable housing Westminster says it requires to meet its housing need and what many other inner London boroughs are already planning to build in the next few years.
Oppose the selling off of council homes to fund RTB – The council needs to strongly oppose the Government’s proposed funding mechanism for its Housing Association Right to buy scheme. If it proceeds it must ensure that the council retains enough funds to replace sold properties with new homes built within Westminster.
Provide more homes for families earning under £40K – Plans need to be developed to provide more homes at intermediate rents for families earning under £40k and new schemes for shared ownership without reducing new social housing units in these uncertain times.
Keep 60% of new affordable homes for low income families – Halt changes to increase the percentage of new homes that are intermediate given the governments council house sell off threat.
Tackle the scandal of empty homes with a mix of penalties and incentives.
Stop lobbying to building outside the borough – The council should stop calling for a change in the law that would enable Westminster to build permanent homes outside the local authority boundary.
Do more to help those in the Private Rented Sector – It is very important that Westminster Private Rented Sector strategy is produced and the council do far more to promote the London rental standard and the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme
Improve resident engagement – Westminster council needs to consult residents more in its management of its housing stock and plans for the future, protecting CityWest Home’s important estate office network.
Tackle unemployment – Unemployment amongst Westminster’s social housing and homeless populations is very high. The council should be developing schemes to tackle this as well as using building projects as opportunities to train residents for construction jobs.

Leader of the Labour Group Councillor Adam Hug said:

“In order to meet the real housing challenges Westminster faces and to provide opportunities for ordinary families the Council must commit to ensuring a much higher proportion of new houses built here are social or genuinely affordable homes. With other inner London boroughs showing much greater ambition it’s time for Westminster to up its game and deliver the amount of affordable homes even it admits that it should be building.”

Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla, Labour’s Housing spokesperson’ said:

“With so many Westminster residents, both young and old, now renting from private landlords, there is recognition across parties that it is time the council incorporated the tenure in its plans. Given how much of working families income now gets spent on rent and the millions of pounds of public money that is given to the sector each year, our proposals would start to ensure that the private rented sector is fit for purpose for Westminster residents.”

Labour’s plan would deliver over 780 more social homes and more than 100 intermediate homes over 5 years than the current Conservative proposals.

Labour’s house building plans refer to changing the proportion of new housing being built that are affordable, not necessarily the overall number of homes being built (though where appropriate this may be welcome). Therefore Conservative arguments about land availability reducing scope for house building miss the point that this is based on the amount of housing that is already proposed to be built in Westminster over the coming years in the London Plan.

Taking a tougher line in negotiating housing deals can generate more funding for affordable housing as the recently elected Labour administration in Hammersmith have shown in obtaining an additional £50 million investment that will support 231 more affordable homes and other projects in just one year.

The Labour response is here Westminster Housing Strategy response-1

Posted in Families, Private rented housing, Housing, Jobs, Exporting those in housing need, Labour Councillors, Right to Buy, House building, City West Homes, Social Housing, Intermediate Housing, Housing Associations, Housing Repairs, Council leaseholders, Affordable Housing, Generation Rent, Bad landlords, Council housing, Home ownership, Westminster City Council, Council tenants | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Churchill Labour Councillors express residents’ concern over University Technical College plans

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have written to the Council expressing residents’ concerns over the plans for the proposed Sir Simon Milton University Technical College in Sutherland Street, Pimlico.

The Councillors have written to Councillor Danny Chalkley, the Cabinet member responsible for the development, expressing concern that while “residents note the reduction in the height of the residential offering this is still substantial taller than the five stories in the original planning brief which residents were referred to in the run up to the planning application. The proposed residential building will dwarf nearby buildings, including the White Ferry Pub next door; it also sets a precedent for larger buildings in the area.”

They have also raised issues with the transport consultation and impact on the C10 bus route, as well as the impact on the community with the opening of the College.

The Churchill Councillors previously wrote to the Council on these issues in December 2014 when they raised concerns that the consultation proposals were insufficient to enable everyone who wanted to see the plans to attend.

The Councillors have asked for clarification on how much the required financial shortfall for the building of the college will be and how much money will be generated from the sale of the flats which don’t include provision for social housing.

Posted in Churchill Ward, House building, Labour Councillors, Pimlico, Planning permission, UTC | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The case of the missing space for cycling: Cycling Commissioner says he is not supportive of the Baker Street scheme

The Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan has said he is not supportive of the Baker Street two-way scheme and wants to work with Westminster City Council to make it work for cycling, saying that the scheme isn’t safe enough. The plans, including painted cycle lanes along Gloucester Place, have been labelled unable to offer sufficient protection from the fast and heavy motor traffic on the road. Westminster City Council have said that the lanes couldn’t operate 24 hours a day because of the need to allow loading and parking at certain times.

Read more here:

http://lcc.org.uk/articles/the-case-of-the-missing-space-for-cycling-cycling-commissioner-says-he-is-not-supportive-of-the-baker-street-scheme

Posted in Baker Street, Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward, Cycling, Cyclists, Marylebone Road, Road Safety, Roads | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors call for views on the Travis Perkins Timber Yard in Pimlico Road

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have been speaking to local traders and residents on the proposed redevelopment of the historic timber yard in Pimlico Road operated by Travis Perkins.

Grosvenor Estates who own the freehold of the timber yard are expected to submit an application for three large retail units and flats on the site of the yard.

Councillor Murad Gassanly said: “Pimlico Road offers a unique range of quality independent stores and businesses which have been built up over a number of years. We want to ensure that local businesses are able to thrive and the community there continues.”

Councillor Shamim Talukder said: “The traders we have spoken to are concerned about the plans, we would like to hear from local residents and businesses on their views on the proposals. Please get in touch with us with your views.”

Councillor Jason Williams said: “The timber yard has an importance in the area both in terms of its historical significance and its continual existence as a functioning business in the area. We are continuing to speak to local people about their concerns and want to hear from people about their views on the plans.”

The Churchill Councillors can be contacted on info@churchilllabour.co.uk

You can read about the proposals here http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/news/duke-westminster-gives-pimlico-small-shopkeepers-boot-make-way

Posted in Churchill Ward, Local businesses, Pimlico, Small Businesses | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The mysterious case of the disappearing Maida Vale bus stop

Residents in Maida Vale and St John’s Wood have written to the Mayor about the mysterious case of the disappearing Maida Vale bus stop.

They say:

“We live in Maida Vale W9 on the main road between Sutherland Avenue and Elgin Avenue. As far as my fellow residents recall, there has always been a bus stop going towards Marble Arch across the street between Hall Road and Carlton Vale.

About a month ago this bus stop suddenly disappeared and was re-positioned on the block south, where there is already a stop a bit further along that block. There are now 2 bus stops going south on the block between Hall Road and St.Johns Wood Road and none at all on the long block between Carlton Vale and Hall Road.

Not only is this a great inconvenience for the many elderly and infirm people living here, but we are wondering when and where the consultation process was conducted as we believe there was none. Why put a second bus stop on one block while eliminating it from a block that now has no stop?

We have been very pro-active in trying to get our bus stop reinstated but have had no success and although in the greater scheme of things, this might seem like a miniscule problem, to those of us affected by it, it has been quite devastating. We hope therefore that you will be able to bring some sense back to the department responsible for this action and restore our bus stop.”

Will the Mayor unravel this mystery?

Posted in Bus Services, Maida Vale, Mayor of London, St John's Wood, Transport for London, Westminster North | Tagged , | Leave a comment