Open letter: Westminster Council’s plans for skyscrapers

You may be aware that Westminster City Council is running a consultation about relaxing planning regulations to build skyscrapers in the borough.

West End Labour has paired up with Wendy Shillam, of FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum, and the skyline campaigner Barbara Weiss to write a joint letter to the Council.

Our position is that the Council needs to pause and think before it moves forward with hasty proposals which are designed to appease the interests of big business.

The Council needs to show, before any decisions are taken, that they have reached out to everyone – residents, small businesses, workers – to develop a vision that works for everyone and in everyone’s interests. I worry that unless we stop them in their stride, they’ll press ahead with changes that no-one (apart from a small business elite) wants, and convert Westminster into an extension of the City with its ghastly skyline.

Our letter is here, and it is an open letter – you can add your name to it if you like.

Best wishes,

Pancho Lewis

West End Labour Action Team

 

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Posted in Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley, Planning permission, Tall Buildings, West End, West End WArd Labour Action Team, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Check out where to vote in Westminster on 8th June

Do you want to know where you can vote in Westminster?

Check out at which Polling Station you vote here

Promoted by Andy Whitely on behalf of Karen Buck, both at 4g Shirland Mews, W9
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Local successes for Churchill Labour Councillors

Churchill Labour Councillor Shamim Talukder has been successful in helping local residents at 93 Ebury Bridge Road and at Semley Place.

At 93 Ebury Bridge Road residents contacted Councillor Talukder to say:

I was enquiring regarding our Keep Clear Signage which has now effectively almost disappeared mostly due to site construction traffic and the road cleaning machines that run up and down the road all day. The residents paid a considerable sum to WCC a couple of years back to have the Keep Clear Signage installed. We need to try and make contact with the persons responsible for repainting the carriageway. I was hoping you could assist with a contact name as it has been proving very difficult for me to get through to the correct authority who can assist us.”

After receiving this enquiry, Councillor Talukder contacted the Council and now an order has been raised to repaint the Keep Clear road markings

And in Semley Place, Councillor Talukder got the Council to install a brand new yellow box junction.  This was following of an accident involving a small girl due to double parking by car-hire vehicles which took place in Semley Place.

Councillor Talukder said:

“Helping local residents in Churchill Ward is our top priority and we are active seven days a week. Please let us know if you need our help by contacting me or my ward colleague Jason Williams at stalukder@westminster.gov.uk or jwilliams@westminster.gov.uk. “

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Why I am standing for Labour in Cities of London & Westminster – Ibrahim Dogus

My name is Ibrahim Dogus and I’m standing as the Labour candidate in Cities of London and Westminster at the general election.

After coming to London at the age of 14 with my family as political refugees from Turkey, I now run five successful small businesses and 4 charitable organisations in the heart of the city and employ over 60 people.

London has shown my family immense kindness and support.    Thanks to our schools, I learned the skills to set up my business, while the dedicated doctors and nurses of the NHS saved my life.

So, I’m now standing as the Labour candidate to protect our public services from further Tory cuts and to give something back to the society that helped me so much.

I am a community leader who has worked for more than 20 years to foster better integration, particularly among the many different ethnic minorities in the capital.

I have also raised funds to set up and run football leagues to reach out to disadvantaged young people as a way of tackling anti-social behaviour, crime and drug addiction.

My background in business, charity work and community organising has given me extensive experience of the problems we face in this city.

Under the Tories, waiting times at the A&E units of our local hospitals and for elective surgery have soared.  I will stand up for local residents to protect our NHS and work to cut those unacceptable delays.

The chance of finding an affordable place to live is a distant dream for many of our young people.  I will work with housing chiefs to deliver more affordable homes to rent and buy for local people.

Our schools are under increasing pressure.  Under Labour’s fully costed policies, there will be an extra £3 billion to fill the Tories’ spending black hole.

I will fight to get the best possible Brexit deal and battle against any Tory plans to cut people’s pensions.

Air pollution is a growing problem here in the heart of the city.  I will work with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to make our air cleaner and our streets greener and safer.

I will hold regular surgeries and be an accountable, accessible and hard-working MP as your local champion.

I will fight the corner of everyone in Cities of London and Westminster – not just the wealthy and the privileged few.

I hope I can count on your support and your vote on June 8.

Best wishes

Ibrahim Dogus

ibrahimdogus@gmail.com

http://www.ibrahimdogus.org/blog_and_news

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Posted in Baker Street, Belgravia, Berwick Street market, Bryanston Square, Churchill Gardens, Cities of London and Westminster, City of London, Covent Garden, Edgware Road, Fitzrovia, General Election 2017, Grosvenor Square, Hyde Park, Ibrahim Dogus, Labour Government, Lupus Street, Marylebone, Mayfair, Oxford Street, Pimlico, Soho, South Westminster, Victoria, Vincent Square, Warwick Ward, West End | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour challenges Conservative Council plans for yet more tall buildings

Westminster Labour Group has a number of concerns about proposals set out in the Conservative Council’s ‘Building height: Getting the right kind of growth for Westminster’ consultation. While couched in somewhat vague language, it is clear that the push from the Council is to spread the construction of tall buildings ‘wider’ across Westminster and that they are in favour of ‘significantly taller buildings’. This approach would see the spread of new tall buildings well beyond the existing opportunity areas, particularly around Edgware Road and across the ‘North Westminster Economic Development Area’ the new areas identified in the proposals.

These proposals come hot on the heels of the controversies over the failed 72 storey Paddington Pole (now the Paddington Cube) and the 30 storey West End Green, as well as the 14 storey Hathaway House development deep into the low rise residential area behind Harrow Road.

Getting the right kind of growth for Westminster is a laudable goal but Labour and the Conservatives have different ideas about what ‘the right kind’ entails. Our city needs growth but it must be growth that benefits Westminster’s residents. So Labour does not automatically oppose plans that would add a small number of floors to existing buildings (as mentioned in the consultation) or well designed, appropriate schemes within the existing Paddington, Victoria and Tottenham Court Road ‘opportunity zones’.  However as the resent research from our West End action team shows residents within the opportunity areas already have deep concerns about the current approach to tall buildings, let alone about a further loosening of the council’s policies.

Westminster Labour believes that higher building density is often a preferable approach to greater height to achieve the same number of units when trying to develop schemes that benefit the local community. Through effective design, lower rise schemes can be made to work better for the local community, who often get all of the pain but little of the gain of large tower schemes. Lower rise, higher density schemes may have less of a negative impact on the look and feel of Westminster protecting the streetscapes, views and heritage that many residents value. However any increased density would only enhance our city where it delivers significant levels of social and genuinely affordable housing that local people can actually live in, affordable workspace for small business and startups or where it provides other substantial benefits to the community such as properly designed public open space. Westminster already contains some of the most densely populated wards in the country, as recent research by former Labour AM Murad Qureshi shows.

Labour is firmly opposed to the planning framework consultation for the Harrow Road-Woodfield Road area or the Church Street Masterplan being used to promote the spread of ‘significantly taller buildings’. There are also deep concerns about the Council’s plans to potentially encourage tall buildings in the areas along the Grand Union canal being vacated by Crossrail.

Labour Group Leader Adam Hug said “Westminster’s planning policy needs to meet the needs of local residents and businesses that employ local people. It does not need policies that could give developers carte blanche to build ‘significantly taller buildings’ all over our City. Westminster Tories should think again about their plans for more tall buildings.”

Posted in Affordable Housing, Paddington Shard, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Tall Buildings | Leave a comment

Revealed: 80% of West End residents oppose Westminster Council plans to build tall buildings

A West End Labour survey has today found that residents overwhelmingly oppose plans to build more tall buildings in Westminster. More than 80% of respondents believe that Westminster Council is wrong to want to develop more skyscrapers and tall buildings. Residents cited the following concerns:

  • Tall buildings and skyscrapers pose a threat to Westminster’s unique character. Tall buildings block out light; block out historic views and would be at odds with the character of Westminster’s historic neighbourhoods.
  • Tall buildings won’t tackle London’s housing crisis. They are likely to be unaffordable and used as ‘deposit boxes’ by wealthy oligarchs.
  • The Council does not listen to residents and its consultations are by and large meaningless. Many pointed to a feeling that the planning system is dysfunctional, as it only meets commercial not resident needs.

Residents said:

  • “We want well-thought-through plans for affordable not luxury housing, that meets local needs and fits in with the existing character of neighbourhoods.”
  • “The character of Westminster is unique. It will be ruined by a lot of skyscrapers“.
  • “Westminster Council have a history of not taking account of concerns raised by residents.”
  • “I have never been consulted by Westminster.”

Pancho Lewis, of West End Labour, said: “Residents are fed up of not being listened to by the Council. They feel like this is another instance where the Council is bringing forward plans which are totally out of sync with the vision they have for the city. The Council should listen to them and put residents in the driving seat – not impose ideas from above.”

Ibrahim Dogus, Labour’s candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster said:

 “The people of Westminster deserve a Member of Parliament who will take on board their concerns and fight for them. We need real and lasting solutions to the city’s housing crisis. What we do not need is the continuing erosion of London’s character, ignoring the people who live here in favour of luxury property developers.”

Westminster Labour is now calling for the Council to change the consultation questions. Rather than ask residents whether they want tall buildings, Labour is calling on the Council to begin with these questions: “What vision do you have for Westminster’s future? How should planning policy match that vision?” 

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Posted in Housing, Ibrahim Dogus, Tall Buildings, West End, West End WArd Labour Action Team | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Ibrahim Dogus for the Cities of London and Westminster

I am beyond proud to announce that I have been selected as the Labour Party candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency.

The Labour Party recently won historic victories in the local elections in this constituency. The incumbent MP Mark Field shows little interest in his constituents. Turnouts are typically low but were higher for the EU membership referendum which saw a majority of residents vote to remain.

I have a lot of energy and determination to bring to this campaign. I came to this country when I was 14 years old, following my family who were refugees. At 15 I started working as a waiter and at the age of 23, I set up my own business. Now I own three restaurants in South London and have started my own beer company.

I have a strong background as a community organiser, being involved in community politics since I was 19. I have started many organisations that have helped and raised funds for communities. Through hard work and determination I have already made a difference, but I know I could do so much more as an MP.

So, please come and support me if you can. Together we can make a difference.

This Saturday, May 6th, there are three campaigning events all starting at 11am:

  • outside the White Ferry House pub, 1 Sutherland Street, SW1V 4LD
  • outside the Curzon Soho cinema, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5DY
  • outside the Regency Cafe, 17-19 Regency Street, SW1P 4BY

You can reach me on Twitter: @ibrahim_Dogus, email: ibrahimdogus@gmail.com, or on: 07525185288. I need all the volunteers I can get to help!

Thank you for making it this far with me. It is thanks to so many of you that we have been able to achieve what we have done so far. Together we can do even more!

yours sincerely

Ibrahim Dogus

Labour Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster

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