Westminster Labour Group has been deeply concerned by the news that Westminster Council is looking to removing support from the Westminster Residents Panel (WRP), the independent group representing residents in the city’s social housing (including Registered Social Landlords/Housing Associations) and those in the private rented sector.
The WRP came into being after CityWest Homes and the Council made the pernicious decision in 2011 to get rid of its elected Housing Panel that represented local tenants and leaseholders, replacing it with area panels chosen by CityWest Homes. The Housing Panel members fought on and re-established themselves as the Westminster Residents Panel, gaining a wider remit for working on issues that affect local residents and joining with people from local housing associations.
Now however the council’s plans to make redundant the part-time support worker and see it lose access to its office once it is turned into residential flat (currently uninhabitable due to rising damp). Labour finds the decision to remove the support officer particularly galling given the years of service she has given to local residents and the minimal cost to the city that her salary represents for her work helping the volunteer committee of 16 who do not receive expenses.
Labour Group leader Cllr Adam Hug said: “This is another example of Westminster Council trying to marginalise independent and sometimes critical voices who might challenge its polished PR image. Westminster should think again before it muzzles the views of local residents.”