Action to improve signage on Soho’s Broadwick Street

Councillor Pancho Lewis – Labour’s first ever councillor for West End Ward – has achieved another practical success in his first three months as a councillor.

Residents raised concerns about vehicles driving along Broadwick Street and turning right into Marshall Street – a narrow street with a dead-end. This had meant that large vehicles were clogging up the street, leading to congestion and honking as drivers attempted to turn around and navigate out of the street as well as increased pollution.

Pancho raised the issue with the Council’s Road management team, asking them to introduce new signage to prevent the problem. The new signage is already leading to a big improvement with less congestion on Marshall Street and residents able to enjoy more peace and quiet – although there is still a lot left to do to tackle noise disruption.

Residents say:

“Thank you very much for bringing the chaotic daily round of deliveries and collections here on Marshall Street to the Council’s attention on our behalf – the bulk of them are mainly concentrated during the day, but we do have to put up with evening/late-night deliveries too (the late-night ones tend to be for the restaurants and coffee shops) and more resources in terms of Wardens would be very welcome indeed.  

The new sign is having a marked effect in deterring random vehicles from unnecessary turning right into Marshall Street below our building – whoever arranged that sign deserves a medal – it has definitely made a difference.”

Advertisements
Posted in Pancho Lewis, Soho, West End, West End WArd Labour Action Team | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Let Westminster Council know where repairs are needed to roads, pavements, drains and street lights

Westminster Council is developing its proposed maintenance works for roads, pavements, drains and street lights for 2019 / 2020.

The Council needs residents’ help to identify the areas most in need of repair.

Please let the Council know here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/highways-nominations

Please send your suggestions by Friday 31 August 2018.

Posted in Drains, Pavements and Roads, Roads, Street lights | Tagged | Leave a comment

CityWest Homes review – time for residents to have their say

After belatedly recognising the declining performance of CityWest Homes (the Arms Length Management Organisation that runs Westminster’s housing stock) Westminster Council’s Conservative leadership announced a review, led by consultants Campbell Tickell, looking at the organisation’s performance and structures.

Labour is disappointed and frustrated that the Council’s consultants will only be meeting with the current Residents Council and a few selected additional residents before their report to Cabinet is produced, excluding other CityWest residents from having a direct say in their future. However local Councillors are being asked to feed in their own views into the process.

Labour have repeatedly set out their views about the urgent need for reform of housing management in Westminster, recently calling for CityWest to be scrapped and other major changes. However it is very important that residents are able to put forward their ideas about how they would improve the way in which housing in Westminster is run. So Labour are asking for local residents to submit their ideas to us about how the operation and structures of housing in Westminster should be reformed. (While examples of performance problems are welcome, we are interested to hear ideas on how they might be resolved.)

Please send your ideas to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services, Pancho Lewis (to plewis@westminster.gov.uk) with the email subject heading ‘Submission for CWH Review’ so that we can submit your ideas into both the Council and Scrutiny Committee Reviews.

Posted in Affordable Housing, City West Homes, Housing, Housing Repairs | 3 Comments

Labour lobbying sees progress on Carnival clean-up

Thanks to pressure from Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Patricia McAllister Westminster Council have decided to extend the period when residents living in near the Notting Hill Carnival route can register to have their gardens cleaned- crucially now enabling them to request the service after carnival has taken place.

Cllr McAllister had attended an event hosted by Kensington and Chelsea Council about the management of Carnival and noticed that their residents were able to request a clean-up two weeks after carnival, enabling them to see if their gardens actually needed cleaning. However Westminster had previously required residents to register for the council clean-up service before Carnival took place (by 23rd August).

Following Cllr McAllister challenging the council on this disparity with our neighbouring authority Westminster have extended the time when residents can ask for help cleaning up from Carnival to Thursday 30th August (three days after the end of Carnival).

Cllr McAllister said “I welcome Westminster listening to local residents concerns on this issue and that they are now offering more help to people after Carnival. We hope that in future years Westminster can match the full two weeks after Carnival offered by K&C to help those who are on holiday over the Bank Holiday period get this support from the council.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Labour call on Westminster Council to promote a ‘Plastic-free city’

Labour Councillors have called on Westminster City Council to promote a ‘plastic-free city’ by encouraging supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to:

  • use more easily-recycled containers
  • offer paper bags to package fruit and vegetable
  • promote ‘packaging-free shops’ which allow customers to bring their own containers, keeping waste to an absolute minimum.
  • use paper drinking straws in cafes, restaurants and bars
  • be part of a water bottle refill scheme refill.org.uk
  • locate Recycling Points in the entrance of stores for old plastic bags and film,
  • boost recycling and cut waste by encouraging shops, restaurants, cafes to introduce a deposit when customers buy drinks bottles and cans
  • encourage residents, visitors and office workers to carry reusable coffee cups and bottles

Labour argue that the Council should also give a lead by installing new drinking fountains in parks, squares, shopping areas and near transport hubs across Westminster to enable people to fill up water containers/bottles. In addition, the Council should:

  • work with the Canal & River Trust and Port of London Authority to ensure waterways and surrounding areas are clear of plastic and other debris, through regular clean-ups of these areas to stop plastic getting into the Thames
  • call on the Royal Parks to ensure all events there (Concerts, Winter Wonderland etc) are plastic-free in terms of takeaway containers
  • support a local social enterprise to make and sell products encouraging people to reduce plastic use – reusable cups, paper straws, reusable shopping bags

Labour say that the Council should encourage more innovations by high street operators, for example:

  • Pret a Manger launched a plastic bottle deposit return scheme in Brighton which will recycle any plastic bottles and return a 10p deposit on any Pret-branded bottles. The initial feedback reported 15 percent of Pret bottles were returned on the first day. Pret a Manger has also partnered with bottle makers Chilly’s to create a range of reusable 500ml plastic bottles. Pret has also been offering free filtered water stations which are available to passers-by and customers alike at 66 of its shops across the UK.
  • Morrisons has begun a deposit return scheme trial for the return of single-use plastic bottles in two UK stores. The two reverse vending machines will award participating customers with points coupons. The machines accept all plastic bottles that have a barcode and Morrisons own-brand bottles that may not have one. Customers can return a maximum of 20 bottles a day and receive 100 Morrisons More points in the form of a coupon which can be spent in store for each one. They can also choose to donate a 10p cash alternative to the supermarket’s charity partner, CLIC Sargent.
  • Iceland has introduced a reverse vending machine in its Fulham store which rewards customers for recycling with shopping vouchers. The machine accepts any Iceland plastic drinks Every bottle deposited will warrant a 10p voucher.
  • Visitors to Canary Wharf can recycle their single-use plastic bottles and cans using a Deposit Return Scheme in Canada Place. The machine currently rewards users with a ‘thank you’ note and plans are being finalized for the machine to print 5p or 10p discount vouchers, depending on the retailer.
  • Whitbread plc offers free drinking water for customers and passers-by in each of its Costa Coffee and Premier Inn locations.
  • McDonald’s has promised to discontinue use of plastic straws in all its UK restaurants.
  • Leon restaurant chain has replaced plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s Environment and City Management spokesperson, said:

“Westminster Council needs to become a ‘plastic-free city’ as soon as possible and we hope that the Council will give serious consideration to our proposals so that we can work together with local businesses and residents to steadily reduce the use of plastics in the office, at home, in shops, restaurants and bars. We need to build on the pioneering work started by a number of businesses and work with the Mayor to tackle this serious challenge to our environment.”

Key Facts

  • Plastic bottles and their lids make up 10% of all litter found in the Thames.
  • The average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years.
  • UK consumers use around 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year but more than three billion are not recycled.
  • About 40 countries worldwide – including Norway, Germany, Sweden and Israel – and 21 US states have some kind of deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
  • Most schemes involve returning bottles to an automated collection point or to the shop from which they were purchased.
  • The Norwegian scheme claims a 94% recycling rate for bottles made from PET, the clear plastic used for water and fizzy drinks. The drinks industry has installed machines in shops that take in used bottles and cans and give back a coupon to return the deposit.
  • The 5p levy on plastic bags in the UK has resulted in single-use carrier bags usage down by 83%.
  • 80 % of 18-22 year-olds ranked tackling single-use plastics as important or very important for employers, ahead of reducing electricity use, water consumption and reducing greenhouse gases.
  • Environmental responsibility is now in the top three considerations for all younger workers and 43% said they would be shocked if their employer continued to use single-use plastics.
Posted in Recycling, Westminster City Council | Tagged | Leave a comment

Churchill Labour Councillors: Taking action and making a difference in your area

Churchill Labour Councillors Andrea Mann and Shamim Talukder have been taking action on local issues raised by residents.

At Wellington Buildings, residents told us that it was difficult entering and exiting their estate by car or scooter/motorbike due to the heavy flow of traffic on Ebury Bridge Road – especially given the nearby traffic lights – and that they sometimes had to wait up to several minutes to be able to drive into or out of their estate.

As a result, they asked if a KEEP CLEAR sign could be painted on the road at the entrance to the estate.

 

 

 

We then spoke to the Council’s Highways team and ensured that this happened – see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures above!

We also heard from a resident who had slipped on a hazardous drain cover on Churchill Gardens estate, fracturing her ankle – and found out that other residents had also slipped on this when it has rained.

We asked the Council to replace it with a safe cover and continued to chase this until action was taken and it was made safe.

We’re delighted to report that the slippery drain cover has now been removed and paved over (see pictures below).

 

 

 

 

 

If there’s a hazard or issue in your area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing us at info@churchilllabour.co.uk

Posted in Andrea Mann, Churchill Ward, Labour Councillors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Westminster Labour urges immediate action against Oxford Street ‘hate preachers’

Labour Councillors have urged Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police to take immediate action against hate preaching in Oxford Street.

The following incident has been reported to Labour Councillors by an Oxford Street shopper. Labour Councillors have subsequently called on the Council’s Chief Executive to liaise with the Metropolitan Police at the highest level to take action to remove this evil from the streets of Westminster:

 “ I came out of Bond Street Station and outside the Zara store, opposite Debenhams, I noticed a group of approx 6 men, in robes, calling out to engage young people, particularly trying to engage Afro/Caribbean and Asian shoppers. I noticed that the most vocal had a very big star of David sewn on to a robe he was wearing and that they were holding a bible.

As I went past, I saw they had displayed some explicit pictures of black people being tortured and a sign that had various Caribbean and African communities listed next to a list of the 12 tribes of Israel.

I went over to talk to them. However, once I asked, they became very defensive and started talking about The Rothschild conspiracy (in my view Rothschild is a shield to actually saying Jews).  I immediately realised that this was deeper than some left field religious doctrine.   

The crowd was about 20 thick and I challenged them when they started to mislead the crowd about Jewish history, particularly the Balfour Treaty, which they said that Lord Rothschild had forced on Balfour in 1948, in order to give the Jews the right to steal the brothers land in Palestine.   I corrected them, to say the Balfour Treaty was written in 1917 and in 1948 Israel gained status by a UN vote, as a consequence of the Holocaust.

At this point they claimed the Holocaust is a lie, a lie by a satanist like me, and pointed to me shouting, this is a Jew, a satanist.  

The main guy, then got very agitated and said that this is Satan, pointing to me again, Jews are Satan, Jews were behind the slave trade and the jew is Satan and must be wiped out.    At this stage I realised this was potentially a dangerous situation, so I left – I crossed the road and took a picture.

I went to West End Central Police Station to report this, and it was closed.  I tried for 30 minutes to reach the police on 101, so rang 999 and reported it.

I posted this event on FB to let people know, with the question, how have hate preachers got a platform on Oxford Street?  Openly, blatantly and freely spreading their twisted rhetoric. – Are the neighbourhood authorities not monitoring what these people are preaching?    

I am a believer in our democratic right to freedom of speech, but this crosses a serious line, this is pure hate preaching and a mechanism to engage young people with the intention to radicalise and groom.  Extremely dangerous and divisive.

The response to my post, also revealed that this group is on Oxford Street as a regular feature, with splinter groups in Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and wider around London, Kings Cross, Whitechapel and Finsbury Park, to name a few sites.  Places with hugely busy footfall, so, therefore, it seems like a wider London problem, that maybe the Mayor’s office and the Metropolitan Police should be aware of, as well as anti-racism action groups.

This was not innocent or an isolated incident and I am pleased I did stop to listen and engage with them, rather than dismiss them as a bunch of nutters.  This was not the guy with the Meat is Murder sandwich board, we are all used to seeing in Oxford Street, this is an organised hate group, provoking and grooming.

This incident goes much deeper for me than being offended by the antisemitic action, it affects me as a Londoner and as a Britsh citizen, I worry for the impressionable and vulnerable youngsters they are targetting and the consequences of what inevitably could happen if they empower people to act on ‘wipe out Satan, Jews are satan’ – what are they suggesting.  These groups have to be stopped and for the Council and Oxford Street Business Association to give them a platform, could have the most horrific consequences.  “

Councillor Pancho Lewis, Labour Councillor for West End Ward said:

“This is truly shocking. There should be no place for hate preachers in the West End and indeed anywhere else – this kind of behaviour needs to be stamped out. 

“We will remain vigilant and continue to press the authorities to take swift and tough action against those who disseminate hate and prejudice.”

Posted in Antisemitism, Hate Preachers, Oxford Street, Pancho Lewis | Tagged , , | Leave a comment