Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

BRYANSTON & DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – August 2018

News from your Labour Action Team in Bryanston & Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

Chapel Street/Old Marylebone Road

We have asked the Council’s Tree Officer about this issue:

“On the junction of the Old Marylebone Road and Chapel Street adjacent to the Chapel Pub a large forest tree has been felled. Why? Trees affect the environment in which we live and add to the aesthetic beauty of the same. Why then is WCC actively destroying the green environment in this part of the city?”

The Tree Officer says:

“On 11th April 2018 the City Council issued a Dangerous Structure Notice with respect to the vaults beneath the pub, and in particular one vault located beneath the garden and extending beneath the pavement on Chapel Street.  The section of the vault beneath the pavement had already been stabilised but the removal of the tree was required in order to repair the vault beneath the garden.

The tree was a prominent specimen with high amenity value and it was protected by Tree Preservation Order Westminster no 638.  However, Westminster’s surveyors advised that the damage to the vaults had been caused by the London plane and structurally that it was a major concern, particularly in view of the proximity of the road and tube line beneath the site.  In view of the risk of serious harm to people and property, the City Council determined to exempt the tree from the requirement to apply to the City Council for its removal, and issued a letter to the agent confirming the exemption, on 28th June 2018.  There is a requirement for the pub owner to plant a replacement tree in the same location.

I hope this clarifies the circumstances.  It is extremely regrettable that the tree needed to be removed, but in view of the risk of serious harm to the public and employees and customers of the pub, it was not possible to insist on its retention.”

Wythburn Place, Marylebone

We have again asked the Street Lighting team to investigate this issue:

“This morning, I found more drug paraphernalia in Wythburn Place. This included metal straws and bottle caps, etc.”

Melcombe Street, Marylebone

We have asked the Planning team to investigate this issue:

“I am contacting you again regarding the “café” at 14 Melcombe Street. Last week they changed the external signage from “Vape & Coffee Bar “ to read “ Vape & Shisha Bar” and last night they were serving Shisha pipes at 7pm and well into the evening on the street. I understood the premises was not allowed to serve Shisha pipes and when the request for extended trading hours was made this would also apply to the evening as well.”

 

 

BRYANSTON & DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – July 2018

News from your Labour Action Team in Bryanston & Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

Seymour Leisure Centre

We have had a number of emails about this issue:

I am concerned because I use the pool at Seymour and there is currently a consultation about making significant changes to the pool. The proposed changes will make it smaller in every way. It will be shorter, more narrow, and shallower. I am not sure that a true consultation has been offered by the company managing the pool.

The information about the consultation was in the first place put in a very unnoticeable place. I had been to the pool for some time before someone drew my attention to it. The proposed changes are not easy to understand from the information that is presented. I spoke to people about it when swimming and they had either not seen the consultation information at all, or had not understood the full implications of the proposal – in particular that the pool would be made narrower and shallower. 

I believe that although the proposed changes would turn the pool into what would be to all intents and purposes a children’s pool. The pool is currently used by many people for serious swimming.  I believe that to reduce the size of the pool in this way would mean that many local people could no longer easily keep fit and healthy. The useable space in the lanes is already very small – it is not unusual for there to be only one lane available to the public with slow and fast swimmers all trying to avoid one another.”

129-137 Marylebone Road 

Plans have been announced to refurbish and extend Marylebone House, 129-137 Marylebone Road (the former BHS building).  There is a Public Exhibition for the proposed development on: 

Thursday 5 July: 15.30-19.30pm

Saturday 7 July, 10.00-14.00pm

For further information contact Siddo Dwyer at: sawyer@belgravecomms.com (0203 890 7307).

Wythburn Place

We have asked the Lighting Team to inspect the lighting in Wythburn Place following a spate of crimes in the area. Residents say: 

“I write to advise of continuous criminal behaviour in Wythburn Place.  On each visit to the crime scene, the attending Police have stated the activity is probably due to the lack of light in the quiet Mews, and could probably be stopped with better street lighting. “ 

York Street

A new restaurant is opening in The Royal Oak at the corner of York Street and Enford Street

https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/530151/chef-dan-doherty-buys-marylebone-pub 

George Street/Gloucester Place 

We have asked the Highways team to look into this issue:

“I live on Bryanston Square and a lot of work has been done on George Street to make pedestrian crossing safer, which is really great. I fail to understand however why on the intersection between Gloucester Place and George Street, only the southern path of the pedestrian crossing is safe but if you walk on the northern side of the George Street and want then to cross Gloucester Place, you have to fight with cars turning into Gloucester Place to go to Marylebone Road to be able to cross the street.I was hoping that they would make it a 4 way crossing, as they did on Baker Street, but they did not. Is there a reason why and could we please ask for a 4 way crossing? it would be considerably safer for pedestrians.” 

The Highways team say:

“On Gloucester Place, there are two junctions where green man crossings are not provided on all four arms – George Street and York Street. At George Street junction, there was a green man crossing on the southern arm of Gloucester Place which has been retained in the proposed scheme. Due to traffic capacity issues, we couldn’t provide green man crossings on all four arms. Providing these facilities on George Street/ Gloucester Place junction would have resulted in queues which would then encourage traffic to use quiet side streets.

 After receiving complaints from residents recently, we again looked at the traffic modelling to check if we could provide another stage and resolve this issue. However, providing this facility would result in queues along Gloucester Place and increased journey times which can then tempt traffic to use side streets. It would therefore be best to wait till after the two-way working has happened; monitor the traffic flow then and if the flows are less, then we could look into providing this extra stage. We cannot risk doing it now and then causing queues and congestion on Gloucester Place.”

 

 

BRYANSTON & DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – May 2018

COUNCIL ELECTION SPECIAL – Thursday 3rd May, 7am – 10pm

News from your Labour Candidates in Bryanston & Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

Knox Street

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate a flat in Knox Street suspected of being an unauthorised Airbnb short let.

Chapel Street

We have asked the Council to repair a pot hole by the bus stop in Chapel Street (outside Edgware Road station).

Oxford Street

You can see the West End Extra’s report here

http://westendextra.com/article/labour-candidates-oppose-sadiq-khan-over-oxford-street-pedestrianisation

Even more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West

When we launched our first set of 20 ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ in January 2018 we thought that this would spur Conservative Councillors and City West staff in to action. But all we heard was first, a denial that there was a problem and then, ‘warm words’ that action would be taken.

Two months later, in March 2018, we published 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes, in the hope that Westminster Conservatives would sit up and notice the chaos around them. This time they blamed tenants and leaseholders for exaggerating the problems and blamed Labour Councillors for ‘making them up”.

But, the situation had not improved. So, a month later in April 2018, we launched a further 25 ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ to give a voice to many of CWH’s 22,000 tenants and leaseholders who are simply fed up with the incompetence, lack of care and ineffectiveness of City West Homes.

Now, a few days before the Council elections, we have published our latest batch of ‘Even More Nightmare Stories’. Predictably, the stories all echo those we have already published – unanswered calls, failure to respond to emails, promised repairs not completed, botched repairs, complaints about unbelievably sky-high major works bills and more.

Only a change in control of the Council will make the necessary difference.

We will immediately put CityWest on notice that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties. We have set out our plans for change if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents. If it doesn’t urgently improve Labour will scrap it.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/even-more-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes-another-20-more-stories-and-only-a-change-of-control-at-westminster-council-will-make-a-difference/

Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd 2018.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp250/pages/1096/attachments/original/1521622381/Westminster_Labour_2018_Manifesto.pdf?1521622381

Pedicabs – what you say

“I strongly second the complaint about the unlicensed bicycle rickshaws operating in our area.  They seem to have a permanent parking station on the pavement outside Selfridges (surely illegal?); they are a menace to pedestrians; and with their loud music turn our quiet streets and squares into a Bollywood soundtrack, or worse. Can nothing be done either by the Council or by TfL? Or will it take someone being seriously injured or killed before anyone takes notice? “

Marylebone Station – what you say

“Could you consider pressing the case that the large diesel fuelled trains that Chiltern Rail use are not fit for purpose as far as transport into densely populated residential areas are concerned due to the huge increase in noise and air pollution they cause. Chiltern Rail say they are taking mitigation action. They need to be held closely to this, while a long-term solution is found. It is very noticeable that the 6am train and the 6.30 one both manage to glide virtually noiselessly in and out of the station. Shows it is possible.”

What you say 

“What a brilliant web presence!”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

 

Regards

 

Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

Your Labour Candidates in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

 

Promoted by Robin McGhee on behalf of Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor all at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – Late April 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor 

 

 

 

 

 

Seymour Place

We are making enquiries with the Council after seeing that Seymour Cleaners has closed down. There is a sign in the windows saying “the business has closed down due to increases in rent charges”. This is a Council-owned building and we want to know why the Council is imposing rent increases on long standing local businesses at the same time as the Government is also increasing business rates. 

Upper Berkeley Street

We have reported this issue to the Parking Department: 

“I would like to complain about the number of Uber and Addison Lee cars that park outside my flat on Upper Berkeley Street during the day but mainly weekends. They continually have there engines running, talk loudly on their phones and the Parking Enforcement Officers just walk buy them. They are parking their without paying their fee and nothing is done. There also seems to be an upsurge in manned private cars where drivers wait while their owners go shopping or visiting again without paying their fee.

My main bug bare is the Tuk Tuk taxis that continue along Upper Berkeley Street with their music blaring out no matter what time or day.”

The Parking Department say: 

“As part of their normal patrols, we will ask marshals to pay particular attention to the points raised, and enforce in line with our published policies and procedures.  I have also spoken with my colleagues in TfL who deal with the taxi trade and its compliance, to see if they can support.” 

Harewood Avenue

We have met with residents on the Blandford Estate to discuss the continuing problems caused by taxi drivers queueing along Harwood Avenue with their engines running. Residents say that 6am to 10am is really bad, when taxis queue around the corner. We have continued to press the press the Council to take action.

Homer Row

Following our enquiries about anti-social behavior in Homer Row, City West Homes says: 

“I have discussed this with our ASB team and they will send a letter out to residents explaining that they need to be reporting these issues to the Police and also be making us aware as and when any incidences occur.  Unfortunately, without knowing who the perpetrators are there is little we can do at the moment. We will however make the Dedicated Ward Officers in the area aware and see if they can increase patrols in the area. Our repairs team will also carry out an inspection of the gate.”

George Street/Montagu Square

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I want to draw your attention to a problem with the very large litter bins in George Street, opposite Montagu Square.  I have an albeit poor photo of what is happening regularly.  The same group of people who beg around Marble Arch have been raiding the bins and taking away stuff which they find in the bags they cut up.  On Friday I saw a couple of them cutting up the bags and making an awful mess on the pavement.  This happens all the time and while I don’t specially care that they take the clothes which after all are donated to the needy, but I do care that they cut up other bags and make such an unsightly mess everywhere, as well as being aggressive when I told them off.” 

Oxford Street – where we stand

We continue to oppose the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because residents’ concerns have not been answered by Westminster Council’s leaders, by Transport for London (TfL) nor by the Mayor of London.

Westminster Council are entirely responsible for Oxford Street. The plans could never have got this far in the face of residents’ fears without Conservative Council leaders fully supporting it.

We oppose the plans; they should be paused and all options remain on the table. We believe there has been:

  • insufficient information or planning on traffic displacement
  • a lack of ideas on how those with limited mobility will continue to enjoy Oxford Street
  • uncertainty on safety on Oxford Street at night
  • the consultations appear to residents to be rushed and unprofessional. This has made residents fear they were not being listened to
  • ideas to improve Oxford Street need to include the whole area to reduce traffic

Our position has consistently put residents of the West End first. For years of Conservative rule in Westminster residents have not been allowed a voice and the Council has had far too close a relationship with powerful property developers. The Conservatives had years to oppose pedestrianisation and put forward alternatives – and they have done nothing.

We have been listening to residents, having thousands of conversations. We have consistently said we would oppose the plans if residents’ genuine fears about traffic displacement are not addressed; if those with limited mobility are not able to access Oxford Street fully and if ASB is not reduced. We have raised these issue for many months with TfL and the Mayor.

It is now time to pause the scheme and continue to listen to residents. Failure to do so could ruin Oxford Street itself and the 1,000 businesses that are already threatened by out of town shopping malls and crippling rent and business rates.

Residents want less pollution, cleaner air, less traffic and fewer accidents for the whole area, not just moving traffic around.

We have consistently passed on these concerns to TfL and the Mayor.  If elected we will continue to put residents at the heart of decisions, not the big property developers.

Problems paying Water Rates?

Thames Water is running a project with Citizens Advice Westminster to help people who are having problems paying their Water Rates. They can help to access hardship funds and apply for grants to pay off water rate debts. They will provide budgeting advice and negotiate regarding other household debts.

Contact the Gateway helpline 03003301191.

There is also an on-line enquiry form at:

www.westminstercab.org.uk/advice/online-enquiry.

And another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’

We have issued a new dossier of another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ this year, following our first report in January 2018, which included 20 Nightmare Stories, and our second report in March with details of 25 more Nightmare Stories.

Once again, we have had reports from tenants and leaseholders living right across Westminster – from Pimlico to Paddington, from the West End to Westbourne – all expressing anger at the incompetent and heartless way in which City West Homes treats its 22,000 tenants and leaseholders.

Service standards have deteriorated badly following Conservative council cuts to the housing management budget, the closure of local estate offices and the bungled introduction of a new call centre and repairs contract.

In 2018, it is hard to believe the almost Dickensian situation some people have to live in and which is summed up by this report about a 70 year old woman in Dowland Street, Queen’s Park who “has been without electricity for 6 weeks. Contractors turn up and never finish the job. She is now lighting her flat with candles.”

We will immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties. We have set out our plans for change if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents. If it doesn’t urgently improve Labour will scrap it.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/and-another-25-more-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

Standing up for our EU residents

In the EU referendum in 2016, Westminster voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

If elected in May, Westminster Labour will fight to support our EU residents at this difficult time by expanding EU residents’ access to specialist legal advice and support services.

We will also play an active role in challenging the Government’s attempts to weaken EU citizens’ rights and demand that all existing rights are retained in the future.

We will appoint a Council Champion for the issues facing EU nationals and create a working group of local residents from the EU27 to help address future issues.

EU citizens are eligible to vote in the Council Elections on Thursday 3rd May.

Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd 2018.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp250/pages/1096/attachments/original/1521622381/Westminster_Labour_2018_Manifesto.pdf?1521622381

Baker Street Two-way – what you say

“There are green-man crossings on all arms of all the crossings of Baker Street from Marylebone Road south to Portman Square.  That is very good.  However, on the Gloucester Place crossings, there are green-man crossings on all arms only on the Portman Square crossing, the Crawford Street crossing and Marylebone Road.  This seems quite illogical to me.  Traffic flow is completely determined by the flow the whole way along Gloucester Place between Portman Square and Marylebone Road.  Allowing traffic to flow more quickly across George Street will only cause traffic queues at Crawford Street.  Is there any way the planning team can be made to see sense and to give more consideration to local residents?”

“I am just writing to agree with the residents of the area around Montagu and Bryanston Squares who have expressed anxiety over the proposed lack of a Northside pedestrian crossing between George Street and Gloucester Place.   A lot of people live round there and at present, although the Northside crossing is not very safe (due to vehicles on George Street turning up Gloucester Place) at least we only have to cross one traffic stream.   The council insists that we do not need this crossing, must cross on the South side although there is a pedestrian crossing on the corresponding side of George Street and Baker Street.   Since both roads are going to be two-way, surely pedestrians seeking to cross to the Northside of George Street to get a pint of milk in Tesco should not have to cross six traffic streams in order “to facilitate traffic flow”? This scheme seems to be for traffic, not for local pedestrians, although we were promised safe crossings. We are also losing most of our useful buses, so we will constantly be crossing to Baker Street to reach the alternative bus stops.  This scheme seems to be bringing us nothing but danger and inconvenience.”

“Could you please explain to me why several forest plane trees have been felled in Baker Street? Perhaps to make room for WCC’s initiative to have pendants dominating our street proclaiming clean air. Trees, as you know, convert carbon dioxide back into oxygen.” 

What you say

“Thank you very much for your April Action Report and for highlighting the concerns of residents to the lack of safety for pedestrians attempting to cross at the Gloucester Place/George Street crossing.” 

“Thank you again for all your help and support”

“Ihave signed the petition for more Police on the streets as this is certainly lagging in my area.”

“Thank you for your Action Report.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

 

Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

Your Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

 

Promoted by and on behalf of Westminster Labour Party at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

 

 

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – April 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward – Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd 2018.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp250/pages/1096/attachments/original/1521622381/Westminster_Labour_2018_Manifesto.pdf?1521622381

Homer Row

We have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:

“I spoke to a resident about anti-social behaviour happening in the courtyard of the Marylebone Estate on Homer Row. Intruders jump over the low gate when locked and reportedly gangs and individuals regularly do drug deals and try to break into people’s property from the back-garden. The resident also has seen a condom in the garage of estate. The residents say the gate is too low and a larger more secure gate should be installed.”

Old Marylebone Road/Marylebone Road junction

We have asked TfL to repair a number of the street lights at this very busy junction.

Seymour Buildings

Residents have contacted us about two long standing issues where they the Council has failed to protect residents’ interests:

  • There has been considerable noisy work to the basement of the retail unit at the corner of Seymour Place and Crawford Street, involving power drills early in the morning and after 6pm, with huge amounts of building material being removed, some of which residents fear is structural.
  • The tenants of the retail units along Crawford Street appear to be using the garden area of Seymour Buildings (which is reserved for residential tenants of Seymour Coop). They appear to be gaining access to the garden via the rear fire doors.

George Street/Gloucester Place

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“I live in Montagu Square and have always found the north side crossing of Gloucester Place and George Street very dangerous as have many other people who need to use that crossing.  There are no pedestrian crossing lights there.  A large number of people use that crossing including children on their way to and from school, and elderly people. Most car drivers do not honour the highway code by giving way to pedestrians when turning into Gloucester Place from George Street and are often driving very fast. It is amazing that there haven’t been serious accidents.   I had assumed that as Gloucester Place is to become two way and traffic lights needed to be altered, provision would be made for pedestrians but I have just learnt that that is not the case. Since one of the selling points for the two-way scheme was “safer pedestrian crossings” I and many of my neighbours were hoping that our local crossing would be made safer.  Is there anything that can be done at this stage?”

The Council say:

“The team has looked at this particular junction throughout the development of the project and it will be kept under review as part of the monitoring regime being put in place to assess how demand and traffic conditions change.  However, in this particular case, given the traffic analysis, it was not considered that a full set of signals could be introduced here without having a detrimental impact on the overall traffic flow.  This particular location is being kept under review to see if traffic flows that arise after the scheme is introduced will allow for this crossing facility to be extended to the other arm.

Residents say:

“The Crawford Street/Gloucester Place crossing does now have full pedestrian crossings on all arms.  That is really good but, in my experience, over many years, fewer people cross there than at the George Street crossing.  I do urge the Council to reconsider their decision.  I really fear that there could be a very serious accident at that crossing.  I have seen and experienced many near misses.”

Harewood Avenue

We have asked the Council to instruct the Parking Marshals to make a concerted effort in Harewood Avenue where the queueing taxis are continuing to create problems for residents. They say:

“Every day from very early in the morning (6:00am) until late at night everything is the same as described in our last letter.  The traffic is chaotic, engines are permanently switched on and we cant get out of our building or cross the road safely.  We can provide you with photos if required but can you please deal with this matter urgently.”

Blandford Estate

We have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:

At present the car parking gates on the Blandford Estate have been out of order for three weeks.  This is after numerous reports to the housing manager and the Customer Service team. We are suffering a terrible ASB problem at present and the broken gates are adding to this problem.  As a resident I am at a loss as to why I am paying my service charge in particular the administration fee. 

For example – you cannot speak to any of the housing managers at the Lisson Green office.  You are not allowed their email addresses or indeed their telephone numbers.  Their current set-up is so they do not have to deal with resident complaints/issues. The reception desk at Lisson Green Estate do not have a telephone on the desk.  Therefore, when you go to the office you are again, blocked from talking to a housing Manager.  Even making an appointment to meet with a manager becomes an almost impossible task as you are constantly fobbed off or ignored.”

City West Homes say:

“I made contact with the Chair of the Blandford Estate Residents Voice group and arranged to meet with her and other members of the group to walk around the estate and look at the issues raised first hand and agree the way forward.  With regard  to the gates, I arranged to have these repaired as a priority.  I have also arranged to have the three remaining vehicle gates inspected to ensure that they are also working correctly. The meeting was very positive and I am now addressing a number issues raised by the group.  We have agreed to meet again in the next couple of weeks to discuss progress and agree a way forward. “

Litter

We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43609325

Enford Street/Knox Street – what you say

“The appalling congestion and pollution you refer to in Knox and Enford Streets are caused by the works for the unwanted and unnecessary and unwelcome Baker Streets and Gloucester Place two-way scheme. Vehicles tying to travel north on Gloucester Place and unable to make progress due to major works, turn off left and make their way through these once quiet residential streets, eventually joining Marylebone Rd westbound at Upper Montagu, Knox, and Enford Streets. 

Similar things are occurring north of Marylebone Road with huge increases in traffic in Melcombe Street, Dorset Square, Melcombe Place, Harewood Avenue and Lisson Grove.”

“I think this is because the Waze navigation app regularly shows this route to get onto the Marylebone Rd rather than Gloucester Place. Tom-Tom used to route via Gloucester Place. “

25 more ‘Nightmare Stories’ from City West Homes

In January 2018, we unveiled a dossier of ’20 Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’. The reaction to this from tenants and leaseholders was overwhelming, with many more ‘nightmare stories’ coming to light from all over Westminster. Residents are angry with the very poor performance of City West Homes, particularly following the recent debacles over the new call centre and the repairs contract.

We have followed this up with ‘25 More Nightmare stories from City West Homes’ with details of:

  • Continued long waits on the telephone to report problems to the CWH call centre
  • Failure to deal with emergencies quickly
  • Lack of communication between CWH and its tenants and leaseholders
  • Poor communications between CWH and its contractors
  • Failure of CWH to return calls from tenants and leaseholders
  • Broken appointments by CWH contractors

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/labour-launch-further-report-on-25-more-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

Welcome for extra police on the beat

We have welcomed welcomed the Mayor’s decision to invest an additional £59m annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers by using income raised from business rates. This will help avoid falling police numbers due to Government cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.

We have also welcomed the Mayor’s announcement that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. The Mayor’s new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April. Of the total new funding, £10million a year will make up a new fund into which local communities, charities and schools will be able to bid for funds, and £5million a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded from City Hall that are already supporting young Londoners.

In addition, over 1,800 people have signed Westminster Labour’s petition to halt the Government’s further £400 million cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.

The petition to Parliament, https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203543, runs until 27th April.

Register to vote

The local Westminster City Council elections are on Thursday 3 May.

If you aren’t already registered to vote, you need to do so to vote in this local election.  The deadline to register at gov.uk/register-to-vote is Wednesday 17 April. It only takes a few minutes. Anyone who is already registered to vote does not need to re-register. If you have moved home in the last few months and have not registered to vote at your new address you still have time to register at this new location.

The other key dates are the postal vote application deadline which is 5pm, on Wednesday 18 April and the proxy vote application deadline is 5pm, Wednesday 25 April.

EU citizens are able to vote in these local elections.

You can get more information by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-city-council-election-2018

What you say

“I am pleased to see that you are well informed of the incompetency of CWH.  Residents under this housing provider are really suffering as repairs to estates are not being carried out in a timely manner. I and others are of the opinion that it is time that CWH’s loose their current contract and a competent, customer friendly housing provider be employed.”

“Once again, thank you for all your hard work and you certainly get my vote.”

“Thank you very much for your Bryanston and Dorset Square ward action team reports. With best wishes and thanks for all you are doing for our ward.”

“Many thanks – as ever- for the brilliant newsletter”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

 

Mohamed Hammeda, Rima Horton and Neil Taylor

Your Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

 

Promoted by and on behalf of Westminster Labour Party at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward 

 

 

 

 

 

Enford Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“There is a hugely increased amount of traffic (largely diesel taxis queuing and idling in Enford Street, right next to the school gates and playground) sometimes even queueing round into York Street, which in 40 years of living on the corner of York and Enford Street, I have never observed before. It is a startling increase and I notice it as school opens, when I am on my way to work and in the late afternoon and evening when I return.”

Knox Street

Residents in Knox Street are facing the same problems:

“Knox Street, also one way from York Street to the Marylebone Road has also seen a large increase in traffic.  We are getting unexpected traffic jams that stretch the length of the street, something we’ve not had in the 19 years I’ve lived here.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when they occur.  It can be during what is normally a quiet time, such as Sunday evening, as well as at rush hour on a weekday night.”

Lisson Grove/Marylebone Road

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“Can anything be done about the large private coach which every day parks on the double yellow lines at the Marylebone Road end of Lisson Grove just before the junction traffic lights on some sort of school run around mid day onwards which seriouly reduces the flow of traffic flow down Lisson Grove which tails back way past a Catholic Junior school with the resulting delays from two lanes to one lane and all the added pollution in the whole area.”

We have received the following response:

“We have briefed all Marshals who regularly patrol this area regarding the complaint.  If found parking/waiting in contravention of the parking restrictions, the service will manage in line with our published enforcement code of practice.  Should the vehicle be involved with the school, we will engage with the school as part our overall engagement plan to ensure compliance.”

Broadley Street/Harewood Avenue

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“I would like to comment about regular illegal dumping in the small fenced off space in front of the property on the corner of Broadley Terrace and Harewood Avenue. There have been mattresses and other household waste, as well as bits of wood and broken furniture. “

Oxford Street

Following the announcement of the latest consultation returns on the Oxford Street project, we have made the following statement:

“The consultation results show that TfL and Westminster City Council still have a big job to do to demonstrate that the proposals will have local benefits. Around half of local residents are opposed to the proposals, with the other half in support (with or without concerns).

We have four major concerns and call on TfL and Westminster Council to show ((a) how any additional vehicular traffic will be kept out of residential streets; (b) how air pollution levels will be reduced in residential streets; (c) how the needs of the disabled and elderly will be provided for and (d) how Oxford Street will be managed 24/7 to ensure the safety and security of residents, shoppers and visitors”

“We will keep campaigning to get the best deal for local residents and businesses”

Baker Street Two Way

You can register for weekly updates here http://www.bakerstreettwoway.co.uk/index.html#contact

Wigmore Street

Works started 22nd January at Seymour St/Gt Cumberland Place and Wigmore St from Duke St to Wimpole St. Any queries relating to the Seymour Street and Wigmore Street works should be directed to the following email address: wigmorestreetimprovements@conwayaecom.com.

Giving residents a powerful voice in the planning process

For too long Westminster Conservatives have treated residents as an afterthought in a planning process geared towards the needs of major developers. If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will radically reform how the planning system operates to put residents first.

Labour’s reforms include:

  • Giving residents the right to speak at Planning committee meetings to present their case. Westminster is virtually alone amongst local authorities in preventing residents from doing so.
  • Providing more information explaining how the planning system works, including jargon busting, to help residents find the relevant information that explain what is being proposed for their area and have their say. The Council would also use social media to encourage resident engagement on key decisions.
  • Establishing a ‘Design Panel for Westminster’ to allow professional architects, other experts and interested residents to give external advice to planning committees on design aspects of major planning proposals.
  • Creating a new Strategic Projects Planning committee with a larger than normal membership to prevent major applications being dominated by the whims of over-powerful individual Councillors such as Tory Deputy Leader Cllr Robert Davis.

Keeping the Council Tax low

If elected in May Westminster, Labour will keep Council Tax low. Labour will support the current proposals by the Council for a freeze in the Council Tax rate and a 2% rise in the adult social care precept in 2018/19. If elected, we will not raise the council tax and adult social care precept by any more than the Conservatives have over recent years.

Council Tax is always an emotive issue. Westminster Council receives the highest levels of parking revenue (£73.2m) in the country as well as substantial commercial income from its large Central London property portfolio (£42.8m) that help prop up its finances far more than in other boroughs. Westminster also has a long-track record of under-investing in its public services and its upcoming budget plans to cut over £3 million from services for children and young people and £2 million from rough sleeping and supported housing.

Due the impact of crippling Conservative Government cuts to local council funding, Westminster Conservatives have raised the Council Tax (including the adult social care precept) every year since 2016.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

Residents are angry with the very poor performance of CityWest Homes. Service standards have clearly deteriorated after Conservative council cuts to the housing management budget, the closure of local estate offices and the bungled introduction of a new call centre and repairs contract.

A Labour Council would immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties.

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills.

Building genuinely affordable homes

If Labour win the Council we will create a new type of affordable housing –  Westminster Key Worker Homes. We will commit that, in addition to social housing, all new affordable housing built on council land will be at rents that are affordable to residents on average and below average incomes. We will ensure that these homes are focused on providing opportunities for long-standing residents of Westminster and key workers such as nurses, teachers, firefighters and the police.

Labour’s pledge on Cleaner Streets

Mattresses and other household objects dumped on our street corners have become an all too common a sight. A Labour council will rigorously focus on fly-tipping and bulky waste dumping and we have made a number of commitments that will help tackle the problem. If elected in May 2018:

  • Labour will urgently reform the fees and charges for bulky waste collection, restoring a ‘first time free’collection and reducing costs for standard collections.
  • We will develop a new ‘express collection’bulky waste removal service.
  • We will look further at the use of mobile cameras to help enforcement at fly-tipping hotspots and at ways to increase fines for dumping.
  • As part of our support for a new Private Renters Charter we will improve the information provided to landlords, letting agents and tenants.
  • We will provide a smartphone App to make it easier for residents to make use of the Council’s ‘report it’ service, helping further target the worst affected areas.

Register to vote

The local Westminster City Council elections are on Thursday 3 May.

If you aren’t already registered to vote, you need to do so to vote in this local election.  The deadline to register at gov.uk/register-to-vote is Wednesday 17 April. It only takes a few minutes. Anyone who is already registered to vote does not need to re-register. If you have moved home in the last few months and have not registered to vote at your new address you still have time to register at this new location.

The other key dates are the postal vote application deadline which is 5pm, on Wednesday 18 April and the proxy vote application deadline is 5pm, Wednesday 25 April.

EU citizens are able to vote in these local elections.

You can get more information by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-city-council-election-2018

Scrapping tall buildings policy – what you say

“Current policy just exploits London for all it is worth. So disrespectful of existing communities and indeed of the generations of builders and craftsmen who constructed this city. Those buildings, so thoughtlessly being demolished (rather than adapted) are probably the only memorials that those men and women have.”

Baker Street two-way – what you say

“Whose idea was it to spend all this money on changing Baker Street and Gloucester Place into two way and the extra cost of cycle lanes which hardly anyone uses when the present system works perfectly.”

What you say

“Thanks, as ever, for your newsletter. “

 

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – FEBRUARY 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward 

 

 

 

 

 

Blandford Estate, Harewood Avenue

We reported this issue to City West Homes:

“I live on the Blandford Estate, Harewood Avenue. My neighbour called the CWH Customer service centre to report a defective heater in her living room.  She was informed by CWH that it could take 20 days to get a contractor out to repair the heater! She is elderly and not in good health and was informed by the customer service centre to sit in another room or go and stay with her daughter. She is at present using an electric heater which will cost extra money to her electric bill.

Since CWH’s have changed their system it is to the detriment of all residents.  We can only contact the customer service centre, we are no longer allowed Housing manager’s phone or email details.  They are in effect keeping residents at more thane arms length and are not providing an effective robust customer service or indeed, answering repairs or complaints in a timely manner.  In effect we are paying for a service that we are not receiving!!”

Following our intervention, the problem has been found and resolved. City West Homes say: “The issue appears to have been related to the main switch in the distribution board which was jammed, this has been removed, cleaned and it may be that a new board is required, so we will monitor the situation very closely.”

Harrowby Street/Edgware Road/Brendon Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Has anyone approached you about the disastrous plan for the Harrowby St/Edgware Rd junction and associated plan to reverse traffic flow in Brendon St?  We are very concerned about how this will work and whether it will bring more lorries up past the local primary school and about the plan for a permanent parking spot for lorries in Brendon St. IF you could let me know I would be grateful. “

The Council say

The changes to the flow of traffic in Brendon Street from one-way southbound to one-way northbound is required in order to facilitate the banned left turn from the southbound lanes of Edgware Road into Harrowby Street.  The Brendon Street proposals were developed by Westminster and will resolve the above concerns by proposing: 

  • A loading provision, which can be used by Waitrose lorries to be built into the western footway of Brendon Street. This space will be available for vehicle / resident parking outside of delivery hours. The permitted hours of loading will be in-line with what is currently permitted in Brendon Street.
  • Minor kerb works and paving works at either end of Brendon Street
  • Several parking bays to be relocated from Crawford Street
  • An extension of the Double Yellow Lines on the south eastern side of Brendon Street to enable HGV’s to make the turn from Harrowby Street into Brendon Street.

Currently, the HGV’s which use Brendon Street are vehicles that service Argos, Waitrose, Grosvenor Hotel and the Lord Wargrave Public House. Following on from discussions with Waitrose and Argos, these movements are defined in their business traffic plan to enter and exit from Edgware Road.   

The proposals have not yet been approved by Westminster and there is a meeting currently being planned between councillors and residents to further explain the proposals ahead of a decision and the formal Traffic Order process. The proposed ‘loading bay’ will operate in a similar fashion to the current parking an loading restrictions that exists in Brendon Street and will provide additional resident parking outside of loading hours.”

Residents say:

“I am grateful to you for pursuing this. This provides me with me with more information than we have had to date and I am sure that the members of our residents’ association will be very interested to read this. “

“Very interesting. I particularly note that it says that we are to have a meeting where it is to be explained to us and that then the traffic order will be placed. It doesn’t say that this is consultation, but rather, explanation. However, it does say that WCC have yet to decide, so perhaps it is consultation.  There is a lot about extensive consulting with Argos and Waitrose and little about having consulted residents, which is a pity in a residential street”

Marylebone Library 

Proposals to build the new Marylebone Library at Seymour Leisure Centre have been announced. The Council is seeking views on the proposals and has arranged the following consultation events at Marylebone Library, 9 – 11 New Cavendish Street W1G 9UQ

  • Tuesday 27th February, 3pm – 8pm
  • Wednesday 7th March, 8am – 10am

You can also view the design proposals and comment online at
www.westminster.gov.uk/marylebone-library-update

Baker Street two-way 

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Apart from the disruption being caused round the area by works to convert Baker Street to 2-way traffic, a bus driver told me that further disruption will be caused this year until 2019 by major sewer works needed for the huge hotel conversion of the American embassy in Grosvenor Square! Wondering if you know more?”

Marylebone Road traffic 

Following our enquiries about traffic travelling north-south/south-north jumping the lights along Marylebone Road, TfL say:

“As a result of the lane closures that are in place for the Baker Street works, to introduce two way traffic on Baker Street and Gloucester Place, unfortunately some green signal time has had to be reallocated to Marylebone Road. This is because as it holds a considerable proportion of the traffic travelling around central London. Unfortunately, this has meant a slight reduction in green signal time to the side roads. Increasing the green time to the side roads will result in significant levels of queuing on Marylebone Road which would eventually cause gridlock of the whole network as you can understand. The traffic team are continuing to monitor the traffic signal strategy in the area during the works and have engineers constantly reviewing the signal timings.”

Oxford Street proposals

We have been pressing TfL on a range of issues raised by residents. Our priority is to make the transformation of Oxford Street work for everyone – for residents, for businesses, for shoppers and for visitors. We also want more public toilets, transport for disabled people and more use of quieter, electric delivery vehicles. As ever, the ‘devil is in the detail’ and we look forward to seeing a practical and common sense plan that works. Until then, we will keep fighting to get the best deal for local residents and businesses.

https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/oxford-street-transformation/

If you have any issues you would like us to take up please us know.

Cleaning up Westminster’s Planning system 

We have pledged to clean up Westminster’s Planning system if we are elected at the Council elections on 3rd May.

There is a clear perception that senior Conservative Councillors have very close relationships with developers. For example, the Conservative CEputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Robert Davis, has disclosed that since the start of 2015 he has received hospitality related to his role as a City Councillor from developers, big business and other interests a record 514 times. This equates to a staggering 14 cases of declarable hospitality a month, peaking at 47 cases in December 2016. We believe that such an approach does not help build public trust that the Council will put the needs of residents before those of property developers and business interests.

If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will engage with industry representatives in open settings to share views and push for residents’ priorities, but we will do so whilst working to achieve the highest standards. Labour commits that:

  • Labour Cabinet Members and Councillors will not accept hospitality from individual developers and their agents.
  • Labour will require the Council to formally record all meetings between Cabinet Members and developers when discussing individual schemes. There will always be an officer present.
  • A record of these meetings will be posted on the Council website within two weeks.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/19/westminster-councillor-received-gifts-and-hospitality-514-times-in-three-years?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=264724&subid=12834692&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

Policing

There is a new Chief Superintendent in charge of Westminster Police and we hope to meet with him soon to discuss his plans. We will keep arguing for more police to keep our streets safe and for the Government to halt the cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget. In particular:

  1. There have been huge real-terms cuts to policing budgets across the country. In London alone, £700 million has been cut from the Met Police’s budget.
  2. These cuts mean that in London, we’ve lost 2,495 Police officers and 3,261 Police Community Support Officers.
  3. The Met Police still needs to find a further £370 million of savings by 2022 – meaning police numbers could fall below 27,500 by 2021 – the lowest level since 2002.

We have started a petition to stop the police cuts https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203543

Rubbish Dumping 

In response to the regular concerns expressed by residents, we have put forward the following ideas:

  • Reinstate a free service for standard household bulky refuse collections and introduce a paid-for service for express bulky refuse collections
  • Use mobile cameras to help enforcement at fly-tipping ‘hotspots’.
  •  Increase fines for dumping.
  • Consult residents to decide where extra bins might be of assistance and improve signage and communication with residents
  • Offer residents the chance to report dumping via Twitter, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger
  • Target Council inspections and waste collection to the worst-affected areas to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping.

What do you think? 

Pedicabs

We have written to Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, and Jo Johnson, Minister for London, requesting that they ensure the scandal of unregulated pedicabs in London is ended and support the Private Members Bill proposed by MPs Paul Scully and Karen Buck gets government approval.

 “This Private Members Bill has cross party support the lack of regulation of pedicabs means they are less safe, they cause nuisance, drivers and passengers are uninsured. Drivers are not checked, prices are inconsistent and arbitrary. You and your officials can read key points here.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-01-23/debates/A37EAF8A-897E-4B44-9293-E48F01306954/Pedicabs(London)

Let us know what action you plan to take to resolve the anomaly that pedicabs are regulated all over England except London where most of them are and putting the appropriate authorities (TFL, Mayor of London) in charge.  We have been campaigning for this for some time and previous efforts by Westminster Council amongst others have failed. This Bill needs your support.”

Dealing with Airbnb 

Research by the Residential Landlords Association published in December 2017 found the number of Airbnb rentals in London has increased by 187% since 2015. Karen Buck MP (Labour) said the number of properties advertised in Westminster North on Airbnb has more than doubled – from 1,603 in 2015 to 3,621 in 2017.

“In blocks of flats, long-term residents find themselves living in a hotel but without the services to support it, like staff and security. They have to deal with constant comings and goings, security concerns, noise, rubbish. These properties turn over every few days so you feel you aren’t living in a residential community.”

Karen Buck said short-term lets were also contributing to housing shortages.

“The original concept of Airbnb was you rent your flat out when you’re away or your spare room. That still happens and that’s absolutely fine. But what’s also happened is professional landlords have moved in, who in many cases own multiple properties.”

Research by Westminster City Council found that renting a one-bedroom flat in the area will make £495 a week for an ordinary tenancy, but £1,561 a week on a nightly basis.

Two years ago, the law changed to allow London properties to be let for up to 90 days a year without permission from the council. In January 2017, Airbnb introduced a block on London hosts renting out homes for more than 90 days a year, to ensure users complied with the law.

But some landlords are finding ways around the rules, including re-listing a property under a slightly different address or advertising a whole flat as a single room, which is not covered by the 90-day limit. People also advertise on alternative platforms to get around the cap.

Karen Buck said it was difficult for councils to enforce the 90-day limit and has put forward a bill to Parliament calling for all short-term lets to be registered

“It’s difficult to monitor. Local authorities have to spend a lot of time and money trying to catch the people breaking the rules. My suggestion is very light touch. People who are staying within the law are fine and just need to spend 30 seconds registering their property online. There’s no question of denying permission. But for people that are breaking the rules, we have a means of bringing them to justice.”.

City West Homes ‘Nightmare Stories’

We have published a dossier of ’20 nightmare stories’ from City West Homes’, based on the experiences of CWH tenants and leaseholders over the past few months across Westminster. All have been reported to CWH for action and some problems have now been resolved – but only after a Labour Councillor had intervened. This is not the way to run an organisation responsible for 12,500 tenants and 10,000 leaseholders. How many more similar stories of incompetence and neglect go unreported because the tenant or leaseholder has not been able escalate the problem by reporting it to a Labour Councillor? City West Homes is in need of a radical overhaul and Labour is pledged to do this following the May Council elections.

To see the report go to https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2018/01/24/westminster-labour-launches-dossier-of-20-nightmare-stories-from-city-west-homes/

Please let us know if you are having problems with City West Homes. 

The Blitz in Westminster

This website shows where bombs were dropped during the Blitz. You can find out how close they got to your home

http://bombsight.org/explore/greater-london/westminster/

What you say

“Thanks very informative and interesting” 

“Thanks for your excellent and totally invaluable newsletter. Glad to see the Samaritan hospital issue raised again”

“Thank you so much for your help without your intervention this repair would still be outstanding. Once again CWH’s are operating on a daily basis without any regard for residents and have made it impossible for us to engage with any of their personnel.  I no doubt will be contacting you again. Thank you so much for your help. My vote is for Labour!!”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Business and Public Realm spokesperson

Westminster City Council

 

 

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE ACTION REPORT – JANUARY 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

Edgware Road/Harrowby Street

We have asked the Council to contact the owners of the Victoria Casino about

“The persistent unhygienic problem of tons of spat out chewing gum, cigarette butts and other detritus that is constantly outside the Victoria Casino on Harrowby Street and Edgware Road. This health hazard is left by the people using this grim facility. The company must be held accountable for the clean up of the front of building. We have to wade through this on a daily basis & despite alleged Westminster officers patrolling the area, it has got worse – can you please investigate?”

Samaritan Hospital, Marylebone Road

Residents has asked about the future of this long derelict building:

“What is happening with this publically owned property that has been left derelict for decades when people need a proper NHS working hospital after so many cuts, closures and sell offs to property developers- like our library-fire stations, police stations and accommodations for key workers -all sold for hotels & restaurants for A-list celebrities-that Joe Public can never afford -it is criminal to sell off public property.  Also what is the fate of the Western Eye Hospital?”

You might find these articles of interest.

https://muradqureshi.com/samaritan-hospital-for-women-whats-going-on/

https://www.imperial.nhs.uk/about-us/news/st-marys-smt

Baker Street two-way

Drivers through Baker Street have been told by the Council to add at least 20 minutes to their journey times for the next six months as works are planned for the stretch of Marylebone Road between Baker Street and Balcombe Street. The Park Road/Gloucester Place, Baker Street/Crawford Street junctions, and the southern section of Portman Square will also be severely affected. One-lane closures will be in place along Marylebone Road and locally in Park Road and Baker Street.

Work has already finished on a number of junctions on Gloucester Place and surrounding streets. The new two-way Baker Street is expected to open in early 2019.

Marylebone Road/Seymour Place

We have asked TfL to consider giving cars travelling north-south and south-north more time to cross Marylebone Road before the lights turn red. This may reduce the number of cars going through the red light.

Upper Berkeley Street 

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I should like to raise the issue of the filthy mess outside Green Valley shop on Upper Berkeley Street.  I do not in any way suggest that the mess comes from them but the people living along there just drop unwrapped rubbish by the lampposts whenever they feel like it.  This is encouraging a rat infestation as well as being so unsightly and generally dangerous for anyone partly sighted or disabled as it is frequently spilled everywhere and makes the pavement slippery and full of obstacles.”

The Council Inspector says:

“I have inspected the site outside Green Valley supermarket, 36 – 37 Upper Berkeley Street. The pavement was clear. I spoke to the Manager of Green Valley, who has installed a litter bin directly outside the shop which may be used by customers entering or leaving the shop. All waste produced by the shop is placed in bins at the rear of the shop in Stourcliffe Street.  I have attached “Don’t Dump” signs to the nearest two poles to the shop. The pavement is swept seven days per week.

I will intensify patrols in the vicinity of the shop and carry out inspections of any rubbish with a view to taking Enforcement Action where appropriate.”

Land by Edgware Road Station

We raised this issue with Transport for London: 

“There is a strip of vacant land by Edgware Road Station on Chapel Street which has been vacant for decades and is currently used as a car park. It used to be a parade of shops with flats above before it was demolished about 30 years ago. This is just the sort of site that could be redeveloped for affordable house (perhaps for TfL staff) with commercial space on the ground floor.”

TfL say:

“We are currently undertaking feasibility work on the site next to Edgware Road station. This work is being carried out in partnership with an adjoining landowner. There are challenges which TfL must overcome in order to bring the site forward. The car park is situated directly over the railway lines which are framed by early twentieth century infrastructure: this means that significant enabling work will be required to bring the site forward. As a result, it looks likely that the site is best suited to a mixed use scheme, which would have the potential to deliver affordable housing. “

Melcombe Street 

We have asked the Planning Enforcement team if anything can be done about the purple shopfront lights at one of the shops on Melcombe Street. Residents say:

“The worst part about it is the purple light on the sign which reflects all the way up all the buildings surrounding it. I can see the purple light all night long from our windows.”

St Mary’s Urgent Care Centre

St Mary’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC), run by private healthcare provider Vocare Limited in the Praed Street hospital, was rated inadequate in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published recently. We’ve been asking people about their experiences of the Urgent Care Centre. Please sign our petition to take the management contract away from the failing private contractor and return it to the NHS.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/stmarysucc

Here are some examples of what you told us:

Alexandra Pink said: “I took my husband to A&E recently and we got referred to the Urgent Care Centre … it was a complete disaster. I tried to complain but they weren’t interested. Something needs to be done as the company running it is clearly not providing the service they are paid to”

Jennifer Fee said: “My daughter was referred to the Urgent Care Centre by A&E … the doctor walked out of the room because my 2 yr old was crying and didn’t return. He told us in the waiting room that it was a soft tissue injury so we left. Five days later we took her to Royal Free where they confirmed she had a fracture”

Another resident said: “My daughter was sent home from the Urgent Care Centre with a groin to toe cast. Six days later, we returned as she was in terrible pain. There was a horrible suppurating wound under the cast for which she needed 2 days of intravenous antibiotics and we were told she might need surgery. And then we found out that her leg was not fractured after all so it was an incorrect diagnosis and the cast had exacerbated the infection!”

You can read about the failing Urgent Care Centre in this article from the Ham & High:

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/health/urgent-care-centre-at-st-mary-s-hospital-paddington-rated-inadequate-by-cqc-1-5229293

Council housing

Inside Housing magazine has published details of the number of former council homes now being let by private landlords, after analysing statistics from two-thirds of councils in England. The research reveals that on average more than 40 percent of property bought under Right to Buy is now in the hands of private landlords. The figures for Westminster show that out of the 8,988 leaseholds sold to council tenants, 3,363 — 37.42 percent — are now owned as buy-to-let.  Inside Housing says that the average weekly council rent in London is £108 while for private flats it is £359.

City Council elections, May 2018 

An interesting article looking forward to the May Council elections by Dave Hill which quotes Andrew Murray’s State of Soho blog:

http://www.onlondon.co.uk/could-the-conservatives-lose-westminster-council/

Tesco Bags of Help – Community Grant Scheme

Bags of Help is Tesco’s local community grant scheme where the money raised by the 10p Bag for Life charge in Tesco stores is being used to fund community projects that benefit the local community. Following a public vote, three projects in each Tesco region will receive an award every two months, with first place receiving up to £4,000, second place up to £2,000 and third place up to £1,000.

  • Who can apply? Grants will be awarded to voluntary or community organisations, schools, Parish Councils, local authorities and social housing providers.
  • What kind of projects will Bags of Help fund? Projects that benefit the local community are eligible for funding – from improving community buildings and developing outdoor spaces to buying new kit or equipment, training coaches or volunteers, and hosting community events or activities.
  • How to Apply – For more information and to apply visit the website: http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/tescocommunityscheme

If you need any further advice or support – including talking through some project ideas or finding out how to make a project eligible – contact Paige Matthews, Community Project Officer, Groundwork London Phone: 020 8762 0321 E-mail: paige.matthews@groundwork.org.uk

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“Thank you for your excellent newsletters.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Business, Planning and Public Realm spokesperson

Westminster City Council

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2017

Oxford Street – Getting answers from Transport for London

Our priority is to make the transformation of Oxford Street work for everyone – for residents, for businesses, for shoppers and for visitors. We also want more public toilets and more use of quieter, electric delivery vehicles. As ever, the ‘devil is in the detail’ and we look forward to seeing a practical and common sense plan that works. Until then, we will keep fighting to get the best deal for local residents and businesses.

Over recent months we have putting your questions to Transport for London to get answers on the key issues for local residents. Here is what they say:

Why is it necessary to transform the Oxford Street district?

  • It is estimated up to 500,000 people already use Oxford Circus station every day and the number of people coming in and out of Bond Street station is likely to increase by 30 per cent when the Elizabeth line opens in December 2018.

What is being proposed?

  • The guiding principle has been that any improvements to Oxford
    Street should not be at the cost of surrounding residential streets and the
    whole district must benefit.
  • The Mayor is looking at improving Oxford Street in stages, starting with
    what we are calling Oxford Street West. We are proposing removing all
    east-west traffic between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus with north south
    routes retained so traffic can move through the district.
  • The Mayor is considering whether the closure should be 24 hours or
    whether delivery and servicing vehicles should be allowed access overnight
    and have asked for people’s views about this.

Won’t this simply cause congestion and pollution elsewhere?

  • Only two bus routes will run through the district, a reduction of over 70 per cent from 2016.
  • Buses will run for just 220m on Wigmore Street, between Welbeck
    Street and Baker Street, and will be reduced to low flow overnight. There
    will be only one bus stop in each direction on Wigmore Street.
  • Buses will be the cleanest, quietest and greenest that TfL has.
  • Traffic on many streets will be unaffected, with decreases on some
    and slight increases on a minority. We have published expected journey times
    for each street.
  • Traffic is expected to reduce on Wigmore Street, even with the additional buses. These run at around one every four minutes in the peak in each direction (17 per hour) and one every fifteen minutes (four per hour) overnight in each direction

What will happen with pollution? 

  • Overall air quality will improve across the district
  • There will be some variations, with some sites improved further by
    the scheme, but at all sites looked at pollution would be improved in
    comparison to now.
  • The proposals include installing 100 air monitoring stations across the district
    so that, for the first time, we will have an accurate picture of what is
    happening, rather than the current estimates. This information will be
    available to everyone.

What are you going to do about deliveries to Oxford Street?

  • Very few businesses currently use Oxford St for deliveries and
    we’re looking at new loading bays in side streets.
  • There are only between 0 and 5 vehicles loading on Oxford Street West each hour, as the vast majority of activity already happens on side streets or at the rear of premises. Much of the night sees no loading activity at all.
  • The changes proposed mean that the maximum distance to a loading bay would be no more than 50 metres for almost all businesses.
  • The Mayor is working with the freight industry and businesses to reduce the overall number of deliveries to the district.

How will you make sure that the area is accessible to all?

  • The Elizabeth line stations at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road will be step free, along with the improved Tube stations.
  • Taxi ranks will be located no further than 200m from any point on Oxford Street West and be clearly visible. The total number of rank spaces in the area will increase by 25 per cent by 2020.
  • A better environment for all will include improvements to pedestrian surfaces, lighting, in-street information, way finding landmarks, seating, resting areas and meeting places.
  • Bus stops are currently, on average, 113m away from any point on Oxford Street West. The new scheme could see that increase to 300m, but many will be 200m and intensive work continues to make sure Oxford Street remains accessible for all.
  • At least 25 new pedestrian crossings will be installed, all of which will use energy-efficient LED lighting and have pedestrian countdown technology.
  • The Mayor is  working closely with a range of representative groups for older and disabled people to refine our plans.
  • The Mayor is  considering the feasibility of providing a further mobility service along Oxford Street and to/from local bus stops.

What will the impact be on parking and cycling?

  • There will have no impact on the supply of resident and motorcycle parking and will ensure that disabled parking is retained throughout the area
  • Cycling is very important and TfL is working up the detail ahead of a proposed consultation in 2018

What will you do to keep it attractive and safe?  

  • A comprehensive management plan will set out how we will deal with anti-social behaviour, licensing, street cleaning and enforcement issues, and work with partners to ensure that it is adequately funded.
  • Oxford Street is already a potential target for attack and the proposals are to make people safer.

Lost bus link from Queensway to Oxford Circus

  • The proposal for changes to bus services means that the 94 would end at Marble Arch, rather than continuing to Oxford Circus
  • It is hoped to run the 94 into Oxford Street West if we are able to locate a bus stand in North Row. If we can achieve this then the 94 will run very close to the pedestrianised area.
  • Either way, it will be possible to change for the 390 (with the new Hopper fare meaning it can be done on a single ticket) which will serve Oxford Circus after following its new route on Wigmore Street and Henrietta Place

What are the benefits of transformation?

  • The transformation will improve air quality across the district
  • Create beautiful, safe, accessible and inspiring public spaces to address some of the very serious and pressing current issues of poor road safety and air quality.
  • Make it much easier to walk and move throughout the whole area.
  • Equally protect and enhance the quality of life for residents in the area.
  • Support businesses to grow to create new jobs for the benefit of local people and all Londoners – keeping Oxford Street competitive.
  • Support the introduction of the Elizabeth line to the area.

 

Oxford Street transformation

The opening of the Elizabeth Line at the end of 2018 will bring millions of new visitors to Oxford Street to shop, to work and to visit. The current state of Oxford Street with narrow, broken and cracked pavements, increasing pollution, a very high pedestrian accident record and an unattractive environment is not acceptable. Doing nothing is, therefore, not an option.

But this certainly does not mean that local residents and businesses should simply accept what the Council and TfL propose without questioning it thoroughly and very carefully. Residents are those who will be most affected by the changes and so residents need to be put first. Residents’ concerns about displaced traffic and increased pollution on residential streets must be answered. No ifs, not buts. The Council and TfL must show that these concerns are being addressed and ensure that the plans do not lead to the disruption, congestion, pollution and daily inconvenience that many residents fear.

It is for that reason that we have met TfL to insist that residents’ questions are answered. We will keep asking these questions until we get answers.

We have called for a street-by-street plan of of the changes so that residents and businesses can see how they will be affected. We want a big reduction in traffic, including buses. We want to see a dedicated transport service for the disabled and elderly so that they, too, can enjoy the new Oxford Street. And we want to see a plan for Wigmore Street and Henrietta Place which shows how buses can be accommodated without causing problems.

Our priority is to make the transformation of Oxford Street work for everyone – for residents, for businesses, for shoppers and for visitors. We also want more public toilets and more use of quieter, electric delivery vehicles. As ever, the ‘devil is in the detail’ and we look forward to seeing a practical and common sense plan that works. Until then, we will keep fighting to get the best deal for local residents and businesses.

You can see the latest plans for Oxford Street and make your comments here https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/oxford-street/

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – November 2017

 

 

 

 

 

North West House, Marylebone Road

We are delighted that the planning application to demolish North West House and build a much larger building has been withdrawn. Residents say:

“We’ve won!!! No demolition and no new taller building!!!  Truly a big thank you to you – you really helped us in understanding what we were up against and in guiding us how to fight this development. We all really appreciate your help. We’ve learnt that WELPUT has leased the building to WeWork. We believe that they’re investing £9 million into refurbishing the building and that the target date for opening as a working building is March 2018.  Hence the internal work going on now.

None of this would have been possible without everybody doing their bit – so a HUGE THANK YOU.   Everyone has really helped in myriad different ways to create an effective opposition: ideas, contacts, passing the word, arranging meetings, leaflet drops, organising a professional written objection on behalf of all of us, giving money to fund the letter, making time for planning inspections and meetings and most importantly writing the 110 objection letters.  It really proves the power and kindness of our local community.”

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2017

 

 

 

 

 

York Street

We have reported concerns to Octavia Housing that social rented flats in York Street Chambers are being used as AirBnB lettings.

Chiltern Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live on Chiltern Street and have put up with a building site on 66 Chiltern Street for 4 years. The road is now two-way again and the bin trucks seem to have re-routed now to run down Chiltern Street! Why and how they have done this I have no idea! but they race down the street very regularly. Could we understand why this seems to be a route they like?”

Marylebone Road/Gloucester Place/Upper Montagu Street junctions.

We have reported a number of broken street lights at the Marylebone Road/Gloucester Place/Upper Montagu Street junctions.

Marylebone Road/Seymour Place

Following our enquiries about cars jumping the lights at this junction, TfL tell us:

“We are currently upgrading around 700 old wet film cameras with new digital units through a safety camera replacement programme. The camera at this junction is part of this upgrade programme and will be upgraded early next year.  In the meantime, we have made the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) aware of residents’ concerns.”

Seymour Leisure Centre

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have been informed that the invaluable Chair Class50+, which I attend on Monday mornings at Seymour Leisure Centre, is to be suspended from early August until December, during the relevant refurb process. This is truly unacceptable, particularly insofar as the specific age group in question is concerned.  I have already heard from fellow attendees who are outraged at this decision, given the clear health benefits of the class and the fact that it provides a welcome social forum for those who are alone and isolated. If accommodation cannot be found within the Centre itself, surely they could source a small space nearby so that it can continue.  I have been attending for many years, and am disconcerted to think I shall be without such vital exercise for the period in question.”

Recently the resident who raised this told us:

“Thanks for your efforts regarding the suspension of the 50+ exercise class at this Centre.  It has now been re-instated, albeit in the basement with several flights of stairs down but with – happily – an erratic lift for those less mobile.  (We used to be there but the mobility issue came to the fore).  It is certainly so much better than no classes for four months! Huge thanks for your assistance.”

 

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2017

Marylebone Road

There is a great deal of development activity along Marylebone Road which appears uncoordinated and potentially a lost opportunity. There are plans for new offices at North West House and for a hotel at the corner of Old Marylebone Road. The NHS has plans to dispose of the Samaritan/Eye Hospital site and the future of the BHS HQ and the 1980’s building next door have both been the subject of speculation. Also, across the road the former NCR building secured a residential consent last year but nothing has happened yet.

We have called on the Council to develop a strategy, in consultation with local residents, to lay down parameters and guidelines for the redevelopment of this substantial part of Marylebone Road in terms of uses, heights, amenities and public realm. So far both the proposals for NW House and the hotel involve taller buildings which have provoked opposition from residents. Neither proposal appears to include any obvious community benefits. However, a strategy which aimed to secure benefits from the comprehensive redevelopment of these buildings could bring a range of local benefits which residents might welcome.

Seymour Place/Marylebone Road

We have asked Transport for London to investigate this issue;

“I wanted to bring this to your attention as I think it is dangerous. A number of cars jump the lights opposite Manor House when they turn from Seymour Place onto Marylebone Road. It cannot be they do not see the lights, although I understand the lights are close to the corner. Can anything be done about this with a camera or better sign posting?”

Linhope Street

We asked the Planning Department for an update on the former Swan & Edgar pub in Linhope Street. We received the following reply:

“The City Council has consistently refused planning permission for the change of use of this public house to a single house, and our decisions have been supported by the Planning Inspectorate at appeal. The Inspector, following a Public Inquiry concluded that the loss of this public house a Community Asset of Value would result in a loss of a valued community facility which would harm the local community. I appreciate that the premises remain vacant but it is an Asset of Community Value, and our viability evidence produced at the Public Inquiry demonstrated opportunities for the site to be retained in a viable public house use subject to suitable terms and conditions.”

Oxford Street

Residents have raised significant concerns about plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street. We have been making representations to TfL arguing that changes to Oxford Street cannot and should not lead to major bus diversions onto residential streets nor in any way detrimentally impact the quality of life of residents.

After pressing TfL they have told us that:

  • They are committed to reworking the bus network in tandem with plans for pedestrianisation, and are already in the process of making changes. The aim is to reduce and remove the number of buses running through the West End as opposed to diverting them. The process of removing some buses has already started.
  • They share concerns about the potential impacts on elderly and disabled people moving along Oxford Street if it is pedestrianised, and have appointed an Accessibility officer to look at how the interests of vulnerable people can be protected. We mentioned the idea of a fleet of electric vehicles and they say it is being considered.
  • They are looking at allowing some movement of vehicles along Oxford Street during certain times of the day to allow delivery, servicing and refuse vehicles access.
  • They are committed to “achieving a scheme that works for the district surrounding Oxford Street”.

We will continue to urge TfL to respond to residents’ concerns on a point-by-point basis. The concerns of residents must be addressed.

Do you have any concerns about pedestrianisation? Please contact us and we will take them up.

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2016

Marylebone Library

According to the ‘Evening Standard’:

“Residents were concerned the move to a new venue, which is believed to be an old curtain shop on New Cavendish Street, might mean a reduction of services and could threaten jobs. “The library is a focal point of our community, used by hundreds of people every day. What kind of bad message does moving it to a smaller venue give out? That it is not well-used and not a beloved library? That it’s not a priority? That is wrong. It is a flagship library and lots of people get a lot of joy out of it. It is just so sad.”

Residents were planning sit-ins and other protests, added that the move “does not bode well” for library services Londonwide.  Staff members at the library said they worried the move would mark a “downward spiral” for the facility.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/row-over-marylebone-library-move-to-smaller-venue-a3418856.html

Seymour Leisure Centre

We have had further complaints from residents about the declining standards at Seymour Leisure Centre which we are taking up with the Council:

“I am a regular user of Seymour Leisure Centre on Seymour Place, and since the facility was taken over by Everyone Active I noticed a marked deterioration in maintenance in the poolside changing rooms. Generally, the standards of upkeep at the facility seem to have declined. I will make a complaint to them, but I was wondering if it was worth flagging this up to you as well and if you’re aware of anyone else raising this issue.”

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2016
Seymour Leisure Centre

We asked the Council to investigate this serious matter:

The Centre is now a major calamity. For two months run down by the company who lost the franchise, and now, so squalid after three months with the new one, everyone is having to leave the gym. At 6.30am we’re paying full price for no cleaning, no staff, late opening, floors strewn with rubbish and with weights and pieces of equipment littered everywhere, no air conditioning, often no music, no one there who know how to work TVs so we no longer have news or sports news. A new gym has opened nearby and has scooped almost all the regulars, many of the men saying they can’t bear the changing rooms any longer, but it’s dire that this is being allowed to happen, and no promise of future improvement can be used as an excuse.”

The Council say:

“We have experienced some issues with the air conditioning, particularly during very hot weather, and the audio visual system does require replacement.  The new contractor will be addressing these issues in addition to delivering a number of capital improvements at the centres as part of the new contract.  However, the day to day operational issues noted in the email clearly aren’t acceptable and I’ve raised this with the contractor and we’ll ensure improvements are made.  We will monitor this situation closely going forward.”

The future of Marylebone Library – what you say about plans to move the library to the Seymour Leisure Centre

“I have been gathering reactions to the Marylebone Library plans. Most families are extremely disappointed with the plans to relocate to a shopfront as it will no doubt mean a massive reduction in provision. How do we teach our children to have a life long love of learning and books without a library?  Other comments I have received in passing discussions are very much along the same lines. Fears over loss of library provision in a shopfront and being downgraded to library services only, loss of the few children’s activities we have in the area south of Marylebone Road. Portman Centre and Church Street are not easily accessible. The leisure centre option concerns are that there will be a downsizing of the library. It is also a very long time away so the thought of a shopfront for 3+ years is disappointing.”

“I think Seymour Leisure Centre is a poor option.   For many people, particularly elderly residents living east of the High Street, it’s awkward to get to.  Is the area behind Waitrose which is up for redevelopment out of the question?   I think that would be infinitely preferable.”

“I’m slightly nervous to ask about the ‘remodelling’ plans for Seymour? They have just signed up with a new provider (Fusion) who cheerfully announced they have a 10 year contract. It’s a brilliant and well-used facility, and I believe the gym is too. So where will the library go?”

Montagu Square

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Outside on the pavement in Montagu Square between numbers 55 -52 there are always collections of abandoned rubbish around the lampposts spilling out of bags or just left loose.  Not only is this encouraging others to be equally antisocial but also vermin.  Perhaps you could investigate and contact people whose names might be traceable   in this mess of food and other detritus.  Since this has been occurring for many months I notice that the rest of the square is filling with litter because it looks so uncared for.”

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2016

Bus Routes 13, 82, 113, 139 and 189

TfL are consulting on changes to bus routes 13, 82, 113, 139 and 189 that operate in the ‘Baker Street corridor’ area serving Golders Green, Finchley Road, Abbey Road, Baker Street and Oxford Street. This is a revised proposal following feedback received during a previous consultation held in spring 2015, which resulted in extensive opposition to the plans for route 13. Further information and a response form are available on TfL’s website: www.tfl.gov.uk/consultations including full details, maps and frequency information. The consultation closes on Friday 30 September 2016.

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2016
Blandford Estate

We are supporting residents who have petitioned the Council and say “we do not understand why our current re-cycling procedure has to change which means filling blue sacks and then leaving these sacks out on a Tuesday night which are then collected from Harewood avenue by the council at 08:00 on Wednesday Morning. We are being told by CWH’s that Westminster City Council wish to place these unsightly and hazardous re-cycling bins onto the Blandford Estate when the current procedure is working perfectly well and has done for some years.”

Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood

We have welcomed the Mayor’s decision to select Marylebone as a Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN). The LEN was one of eight announced by the Mayor and is funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund with match funding with the relevant Borough. The application was developed with local amenity societies, Business Improvement Districts, neighbourhood forums and property estates.

Councillor Jason Williams, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for City Management and Sustainability said:

“We very much welcome the Mayor’s announcement of the Low Emission Network for Marylebone. The Mayor has made air quality a key priority in his Mayoralty and we also welcome that he has increased the number of LENs from two to five across London.

Marylebone suffers from very poor air quality and the LEN can play an important part in dealing with the air quality issues residents face. We have requested a meeting with the Mayor and Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, to ensure further issues both in Marylebone and Oxford Street are addressed.”

Seymour Leisure Centre

Residents tell us that the basement areas in Seymour Leisure Centre have not been swept for literally years. We have asked Council to ensure that these areas are cleaned regularly in future.

Montagu Square – Update

Following residents’ report of taxi drivers urinating in Montagu Square, the Council has taken the following action:

  • Parking issues – Traffic Marshalls were tasked to monitor both, Monatgu and Bryanston Square for taxis parking in residential bays and not picking up customers
  • Urination – I have requested from the Local Police Team to increase their patrols in the area and deal with any offenders. The City Inspector will also put a signs up regarding on street urination 
  • Littering – the Local City Inspector for Bryanston & Dorset Square monitors the area for littering and will take enforcement action when possible

Paddington Street

We are making enquiries with the Council about this issue:

“Paddington Street has been closed in one direction for months. Now it is completely closed in both directions, presumably for the benefit of the developers of the enormously expensive flats on the corner of Chiltern Street and Paddington Street. What benefit are the residents receiving for all this disruption?”

The Council says: 

“This is an emergency closure for Thames Water- as they have a collapsed main sewer at this location. Urgent attention was required to get the repair underway but I understand that this is a deep sewer and is not a simple job. My Officers were advising TW to make sure local properties were notified. I have asked for a full update.”

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2016

Samaritan Hospital, Marylebone Road

We have again asked for an update on when this long-abandoned listed building will be brought back in to use by the NHS.

Great Cumberland Street/Marble Arch – Update

The Council have investigated the cycle stands at this junction and have told us the following:

“There are four cycle stands that were installed as part of the 2013/14 cycle parking programme.  It seems that space on the footway has been reduced recently due to building works.  This should be resolved when the works are complete.  It would cost several thousand pounds to remove and reinstate the cycle racks elsewhere.”

George Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Each morning for the past two weeks three cars drive down George Street while honking their horns continuously. This morning’s display occurred at 5:07 am. I Googled and realized these elaborate sessions are timed to the Muslim Call to Prayer. I’m sure others have noticed this and complained, but is there anything that can be done? I get that I live near Edgware Road, but it can’t be legal to do this kind of early morning religious display.”

Marylebone cycleway – what you say

“Westminster proposes a cycleway which is of no commercial value, and a danger to residents, and coming past Marylebone Mews. The consultation suggests a snaked route including closing down the major west-travelling artery of New Cavendish Street to one lane all the way from the Post Office Tower to Wimpole Street, and providing a two-way cycle-way. All of our emergency services come from east of Euston Station, not least the Fire Brigade. How on earth could they get here in single file traffic crossing dozens of other roads?”

Baker Street and Gloucester Place two-way proposal – what you say

“You only have to see the disastrous effect this will have on the traffic when recently Baker Street was dug up leaving one lane open for traffic. How dustcarts, delivery lorries, buses and what-have-you are supposed to cope with this is beyond me.”

Edgware Road pedestrian crossings – what you say

“It is very difficult to cross the Edgware Road in one go and that this is a dangerous junction generally.  We have repeatedly requested improvements for pedestrians at this and other junctions on the Edgware Road but to no avail as TFL insists that traffic flow has absolute priority. We have recently been contacted by TFL/Westminster on a consultation to create a cycle quiet way across the Edgware Road at the Burwood Place junction.  These proposals are very poorly thought through and would result in considerable additional danger and disruption from HGVs, particularly past Hampden Gurney school as well as requiring HGVs to make impractical and dangerous manoeuvres to get into Brendon Street.  However, unfortunately the proposals do not include any alteration to the Edgware Road crossings and nothing in the proposal would improve pedestrian safety – indeed it would worsen the situation for pedestrians on Harrowby Street and particularly for children crossing the road to get to school.”

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – January 2016

Great Cumberland Street/Marble Arch

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

The corner of Oxford Street and Great Cumberland Place at Marble Arch must be one of the busiest pedestrian areas in London. So the fact that a very full bicycle stand is positioned there right outside the Pret a Manger shop seems extremely poor planning. As there are building works going on there as well, you can only pass one at a time and so the people congestion and mothers with pushchairs and people in wheelchairs, guests coming and going from the hotel. people heading for the taxi rank, Marble Arch tube station and so on forces many to walk on the road – which is of course very busy with cars, buses motorbikes and cyclists. In my opinion there is a major accident waiting to happen and I suggest that someone has a look as soon as possible – the easiest solution would be to relocate the bicycle stand further up Great Cumberland Place.”

Spring Mews, W1

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live in Spring Mews, off Crawford St W1 and we rarely have street sweepers in to clean the street. As it’s not a main road it tends to get ignored. We have numerous cigarette butts that are left by Ishtar restaurant staff and patrons in the street, as well as loose road/tar gravel and small stones. I have complained to both Ishtar and Westminster council who react temporarily but it would be good to have a more focused attention by the council in the area.”

The Council say:

“Thank you for highlighting this problem.  I have asked the local Veolia manager to monitor the quality and frequency of sweeping in Spring Mews over the next few weeks. The schedule is for it to be swept each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I have also asked the local City Inspector to speak to the restaurant manager to look at ensuring their staff and customers are not causing litter problems in the Mews.”

Pedestrian crossings on Marylebone Road

We asked TfL why pedestrian cannot cross Marylebone Road in one go. This is the response we have received:

“All the traffic signals on Marylebone Road work in unison to manage any delays that may occur along the entirety of this section of road. All vehicle and pedestrian signals are therefore timed to work in parallel with one another whilst giving pedestrians as much opportunity as possible to cross both halves of the crossing in one movement. However, dependent on when during the signal cycle pedestrians arrive at the crossing, there will be times they will have to wait in the central island to complete the movement.

While it is possible to cross in one movement at both locations referred to in your email, it is not possible at all crossing points on Marylebone Road. If we implemented full width pedestrian crossings at all locations on Marylebone Road it would have a significant negative impact on the operation of Marylebone Road, creating additional delays at a number of locations.

Unfortunately, I cannot therefore commit to modifying the crossing points but I can assure you we are vigilant to changing behaviours and demand, and that we undertake frequent reviews to ensure our junctions work in the most effective way.”

Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum

The Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum will draw up the Neighbourhood Plan and will be involved in all aspects of quality of life in the Marylebone Area. It is therefore vital that as many residents as possible turn up to vote for the adoption of a democratic constitution and committee members, as well as whether we agree or not with Baker Street and Gloucester Place Two Way Traffic.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to exercise democracy in the new Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PN.

The Localism Act 2011 devolved power to the community throughout the Neighbourhood Forums.

Anyone who lives or works in Marylebone High Street and Bryanston and Dorset Square Wards, can attend the General Assembly of the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 and can put their names forward to be elected as members of the Committee before the new deadline of early January by visiting

http://www.maryleboneforum.org/news/nominations-for-election-as-committee-representative-for-the-marylebone-forum

Anyone who lives or works in Marylebone High Street and Bryanston and Dorset Square Wards, can join the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum by completing the application form directly in the Assembly meeting or online in this link:http://www.maryleboneforum.org/support

For more information following this link:

 

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2015

Proposed changes to the junction of Harrowby Street, Edgware Road and Burwood Place

In partnership with the City of Westminster, TfL have developed proposals for a safer and more attractive cycle connection between Harrowby Street and Burwood Place across Edgware Road, and would like your views.

The proposals are part of the Central London Cycling Grid – a network of cycle routes in Zone 1. The junction forms part of the Edgware Road to Fitzrovia Quietway. The City of Westminster consulted on other parts of this route in October 2015. TfL say:

“This junction is already well used by cyclists. Our proposals aim to improve safety and create more space for cyclists, catering for the predicted increase in cycling along this route. Our proposals include wider footways, along with improved crossings and public spaces to accommodate the large numbers of pedestrians at this location. At construction stage the junction would also be resurfaced.”

You can see the details at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/edgware-harrowby

Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum

Anyone who lives or works in Marylebone High Street and Bryanston and Dorset Square Wards, can attend the General Assembly of the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 and can put their names forward to be elected as members of the Committee before the deadline of 28th of December by visiting http://www.maryleboneforum.org

The Localism Act 2011 devolved power to the community throughout the Neighbourhood Forums.

To join the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum fill in this form:

http://www.maryleboneforum.org/support

Nominations for election as Committee Member for the Marylebone Forum

The deadline s 28th of December 2015. Anyone interested visit this link

http://www.maryleboneforum.org/news/nominations-for-election-as-committee-representative-for-the-marylebone-forum

You can attend the AGM of the Marylebone Neighbourhood Forum on 28th of January 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PN.

For more information following this link:

http://www.maryleboneforum.org/newmarylebone-forum-now-designated

 

Bryanston and Dorset Square by-election: 22 October 2015

Result of Poll:

Julia Alexander – Conservative Party Candidate – 582
Jill Sarah De Quincey – UK Independence Party (UKIP) – 42
Steve Dollond – Baker Street: No Two Ways – 218
Ananthi Paskaralingam – Labour Party – 167
Hugh Small – Green Party – 116
Martin Adam Thompson – Liberal Democrats – 46

Julia Alexander is elected.

Turnout was 17.82%

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – By-Election Update – October 2015

News from Ananthi Paskaralingam, Labour’s candidate in the By-Election on Thursday 22nd October

Dear Resident

Ananthi2It is a privilege to be your Labour Candidate in this Thursday’s by-election. Since I was selected, I have been taking up issues on your behalf and standing up for local residents alongside Labour Councillors and GLA member Murad Qureshi.

Below are some of the local issues we have been taking up recently, many as a result of residents’ responses to our regular newsletters. Let us know if we can take up a local issue in the area.

Baker Street Two Way proposal – Update

This Thursday residents in Bryanston and Dorset Square ward have an opportunity to send a clear message to the Council. Residents’ concerns about the Two Way proposals have to be taken on board and residents have to be fully involved in finding an alternative scheme.

The Conservatives’ have taken local residents for granted for too long. Why else would they have proposed a system which would have led to traffic chaos and rat runs in local streets? Residents need a champion at City Hall, rather than yet another Conservative Councillor following the party whip.

Only Labour can beat the Conservatives in Westminster and a vote for Ananthi Paskaralingam on Thursday is a vote for residents’ priorities.

We are supporting residents of Blandford Estate who did not receive any information from the Council and are concerned about the lack of consultation about the plans for Rossmore Road and the impact on them of greater traffic numbers on Harewood Avenue.

Residents in Fursecroft, George Street tell us:

“We are not in favour of the proposal on the following grounds:

1. Reduction in parking places caused.
2. Increased number of one way residential streets
3. More use of residential streets as rat-runs.
4. Slower traffic on the principal streets above and increased pollution as a result.”

York Street Chambers – Update

Octavia Housing have told us;

“I can advise that our contractors Tree Wise Men have inspected the tree and recommend that they reshape and reduce the crown by 30% and take away any dead wood. They will be carrying out this work on 27th October 2015. They have not recommended works to support the tree but we are looking at some repair works to its planter.”

Crossing Marylebone Road outside the Landmark Hotel – Update

We passed this enquiry to Transport for London:

“An irritation I have are the traffic lights to cross Marylebone Road by the Landmark Hotel – the south one does not seem to go green so it feels like you are having to take a punt on whether you get run over; they don’t sync up for more than a few seconds so you are usually stuck in the middle breathing in the fumes.”

Transport for London has told us:

“Upon receiving your enquiry I instructed engineers to visit the site and conduct an investigation of the signals’ operation. Following this the timings have now been optimised to assist crossing pedestrians. I can assure you this route is being managed at all times by my officers and if further changes are necessary they will be implemented.”

Children looked after by childminders banned from Play Centre

In a move criticised by many, Westminster Council has banned childminders’ children from attending ‘Stay and Play’ drop-in sessions at one of its Children’s Centres. The Council has now written to parents to say:

“As places at Stay and Play sessions are limited we do need to prioritise children living in Westminster attending with parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles and can no longer admit childcare professionals during these sessions”

This follows Westminster Conservatives’ decision to cut £1,339,000 from Children’s Centres, Play and Youth Services over the three years from 2014/15 – 2017/18.

Many working parents depend on child minders and the Council has no right to ban their children from attending Play sessions. Also, many child minders look after their own children at the same as looking after the children of working parents. This ban on childminders attending Play sessions is both unfair and discriminates against working parents.

Did you know?

Three important facts were highlighted over the past week:

Housing – A report from Shelter says that under the Government’s plans to force Councils to sell off high value council flats, Westminster Council will have to sell off 76% of its council homes as they become vacant.

Road Safety – Westminster is reported as having 294 ‘hit and run’ incidents last year, the second highest in London. Despite this, Westminster Conservatives have yet again rejected proposals to follow other boroughs like the City of London, and introduce 20mph zones in residential streets.

Schools – 42% of pupils in Westminster were unable to get into their first choice secondary school, placing Westminster second from bottom of Councils surveyed by the ‘Daily Telegraph’.

As your local Councillor, Ananthi will argue for the following:

  • Central London is a much better place when it provides homes for people of all income levels. Forcing Councils to sell off their vacant flats will make it harder for those on moderate incomes to live locally
  • Action needs to be taken by the Council, the Mayor and by Government to reduce road traffic speeds and protect pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Investing in more high quality local secondary education makes good sense. We supported the establishment of Marylebone Boys’ School and have always been strong supporters of the highly-regarded Marylebone Girls’ School.

Baker Street Two Way proposal – what you say

“I have been to several meetings about the scheme where it seemed very clear the great majority of resident are strongly opposed to the scheme.”

“As a resident of Marylebone, I wish to contest and oppose the 2 way traffic scheme for Baker Street & Gloucester Place”

Please let us know if there are any local issues on which we can help.

Yours sincerely

Ananthi Paskaralingam
Labour’s Candidate for the By-Election on 22nd October

Promoted by Jason Williams on behalf of Ananthi Paskaralingam, both at 201 Hawkins House, Dolphin Square, SW1V 3NT

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2015

News from Ananthi Paskaralingam, Labour’s candidate in By-Election on 22nd October

Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward By-Election on 22nd October

AnanthiAbout Ananthi Paskaralingam, Labour’s Candidate for the By-Election

Ananthi has previously worked as an Advice Worker for the Citizens Advice Bureau as well as a Debt Advisor and is currently training as a Dignity Champion with Healthwatch Westminster. In her spare time she volunteers at an activity centre for older people. Ananthi says:

“I am standing as I want to ensure local people’s views are heard at the heart of decision making and that residents are properly represented. The Tories have taken this ward for granted as can be seen by the recent Baker Street and Gloucester Place Two Way project.”

Only Labour can defeat the Tories in this by-election and you can send a very clear message to City Hall that Bryanston and Dorset Square residents deserve better by voting Labour on 22nd October.

As your Labour Councillor I will fight for:
Action on air quality – demanding the Council and TfL do more to improve air quality in one of the most polluted areas in London
Transparent consultation on the Two Way project – while the scheme could bring benefits for our community, its large impact means that there must be a full and open consultation with local residents. I will also call for bus routes and coach parking to be included in the consultation before a decision is reached.
More Greening in the area – more trees and landscaping to enhance the area
Action on traffic routes – ensuring safer pedestrian crossing and that traffic isn’t diverted from major routes to quieter roads opening up rat runs.
Any decision on the Two Way project to be made by the full Council – so residents’ views can be heard and a democratic decision reached.

Need a Postal Vote for the Bryanston and Dorset Ward By-Election on Thursday 22nd October 2015?

You can apply for a postal vote to vote in the forthcoming by-election by completing this form and returning it ASAP to City Hall;

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/workspace/assets/publications/Postal-Vote-Application-1244470313.pdf

Baker Street Two Way proposal – update

The Council has proposed two revisions to the two-way plans in response to the 1,500 letters and emails from residents and business during the consultation. The revisions are:

“The banned left turn from Gloucester Place onto Marylebone Road will be removed from the scheme, which as a result would negate any possible increase of traffic on York Street, which would retain its current two way operation west of Gloucester Place.”

“Review the current designs for Ivor Place, as well as those covering the Dorset Square Conservation Area, in order to ensure no adverse effects are felt in those areas.”

However, as residents have pointed out, the Council is:

“Not willing to review the right turn from Park Road into Rossmore Road”

Glentworth Street residents have told us:

“Thank you for raising the profile of this issue with the general public. Our position is slightly more nuanced then your email suggests. The residents association is not opposed to the scheme as a general principle. We are opposed to any increases of traffic on residential roads. We are concerned that a potential ran run will be created down Glentworth Street, hence the “Save Our Street” sign. We are also opposed to the closed of the exit from Ivor Place on to Park Road as it would necessarily increase traffic. If the council can implement the scheme so that it benefits residents, then we could support it. Having said this, I cannot speak everyone in our block of flats as there are many who oppose the scheme full stop.”

Marylebone Road Underpass

We are supporting residents who have written to Transport for London to ask:

“Have you analysed what percentage of people crossing Marylebone Road do so by the underpass? It is inconvenient for those with luggage, shopping trolleys, prams, or anyone who has difficulty negotiating stairs. This suggests it is mainly used by fit, unencumbered people, not by the disadvantaged. The subway, even revamped, will remain an ideal place for vagrants and pickpockets to hang out. Has the option been considered of blocking the underpass permanently and just providing improved crossings at surface level? Although pedestrian underpasses were in favour in the 1970s, I understand that the trend in other European countries now is towards crossings at street level.”

Crossing Marylebone Road

We have asked TfL to investigate this issue:

“An irritation I have are the traffic lights to cross Marylebone Road by the Landmark Hotel – the south one does not seem to go green so it feels like you are having to take a punt on whether you get run over; they don’t sync up for more than a few seconds so you are usually stuck in the middle breathing in the fumes.”

Upper Berkeley Street – street clutter

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I would like to draw your attention to the left over traffic signs that currently occupy Upper Berkeley Street, making it impossible for two way pedestrians to pass. Not only that but I am sure that these metal signs have a cost and in the days where councils are cutting back I think that they should be aware of expensive equipment being left out on the street paid for by Westminster residents via council tax.”

The Council says:

“Our Road Management Team has looked into this and has inspected the area several times. On the issue of barriers we were unfortunately unable to find any as part of our inspections. The usual suspects for such issues are either utilities or our own contractors.”

Upper Berkeley Street – scaffolding

We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation:

“There seems to an abundance of scaffolding going up around Marylebone with no health and safety or compliance to the people walking. On many occasions pedestrians are directed in to oncoming traffic. At one building site on Upper Berkeley they are erecting scaffolding and throwing bags on to the pavement below without a care in the world. Who is checking these people? Do they supply method statements and Risk Assessments? Please have someone check on the scaffolding erected above 23 Upper Berkeley Street”

The Council has told us:

“The scaffolding that is causing concern is all on private land and as such has not been subject to any licence or monitoring from the Road Management Team. However, the concerns raised have been passed over to the City Inspector for the area and I understand that the contractor has been spoken to with regards to their site.”

A local resident says:

“I respect the fact that this is being dealt with very promptly and efficiently and more important you actually lived up to your promises of investigation and getting back to me.”

George Street/Montagu Street

We have reported the regular overflowing Big Black Bins and dumped rubbish at this location.

Cycling Quietway

Westminster City Council is proposing a Quietway Route from Edgware Road to Fitzrovia.

The section of this route being consulted on within the City of Westminster is approximately 2km in length. The streets affected by these proposals are Harrowby Street, Seymour Place, Crawford Street, Paddington Street, Nottingham Place, Nottingham Street, Marylebone High Street, Devonshire Street, Great Portland Street and Carburton Street.

In Great Portland Street, the council is proposing to rearrange the street layout to enable two-way cycling, and a new traffic signal to help cyclists and pedestrians cross the road.

Changes to parking bays and kerbside restrictions will also be made.

The plans will allow two-way cycling along Carburton Street to help create a link for cycling between Camden and Westminster, especially for less confident cyclists.

As part of the consultation, Westminster will be holding two public exhibitions for people to attend and learn about the route. The plans — which are also online — will give people the chance to view the detailed designs, as well as meet the design team and discuss the project.

Quietway Route from Edgware Road to Fitzrovia. Public exhibition: Marylebone Library, Macintosh House, 54 Beaumont Street, W1G 6DW. Tuesday 29 September, 4-8pm; Saturday 3 October, 10am-4pm.

York Street Chambers – Update

We have received this update for residents from Octavia:

“I have spoken to the Assistant Director of the team in asset management who tells me that they are not currently contemplating anything other than pruning the tree in the garden at you flats. They are scheduled to have a look at it but at the moment there are no other plans. I hope this will allay your fears. “

Residents say:

“We are all keen to protect and preserve its life – as not only does it provide us tenants with so much seasonal enjoyment and tranquility – but also serves as a critical and functional defence mechanism in combatting the Marylebone Road non-stop pollution – Europe’s highest polluted area.”

Baker Street Two Way proposal – what you say

“Thank you for calling for the decision on the Baker St two-way scheme to be taken by the full Council. This may prove to be an important step in deciding on this controversial proposal.”

Please let me know if there are any local issues on which we can help.

Yours sincerely

Ananthi Paskaralingam, Labour’s Candidate for the By-Election on 22nd October

Promoted by Jason Williams on behalf of Ananthi Paskaralingam, both at 201 Hawkins House, Dolphin Square, SW1V 3NT

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – September 2015

News from Labour Councillors and your local Labour Action Team

Baker Street two way proposals

We have called for any decision on the Baker Street Two-Way proposal to be taken by the full Council rather than by just one Councillor who has already been publicly strongly supportive of the controversial proposals which are being vigorously opposed by local residents and businesses. In a letter to the Council’s Chief Executive we have said:

“As you know, there is considerable opposition to the proposals from local residents and businesses north and south of Marylebone Road, some of whom have put it to me that Councillor Davis cannot be considered to be an impartial decision maker in this instance and may have already made up his mind, notwithstanding the results of the public consultation. With this in mind, and given the importance of this matter across a wide area, I suggest that this matter be considered by the full Council rather than by an individual Councillor.”

Gaby Higgs of the St Marylebone Society has supported our call. She wrote to the ‘West End Extra’ to say:

“I support Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg’s proposal that only the full council should take the final decision on whether the Baker Street two-way project should go ahead. Cllr Robert Davis is wrong to claim the sole right to decide. He has prejudged the consultation by publicly championing the scheme, and should not be involved.”

And Hugh Small of the Green Party also wrote to the press to say “any decision on the final proposal must be made democratically and in that we support Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg’s call for it to be considered by full council.”

We are continuing to support residents in Harewood Avenue who say that they did not receive the Council’s consultation material on the Baker Street two way proposals.

Other residents are also critical of the consultation:

“I think it should also be noted that the consultation questionnaire was biased. Of course nobody would object to wider pavements or more cycle lanes in theory. But I fear that many of those filling in their responses would not realise that agreeing to these changes also means agreeing to the two-way scheme. This means that the questionnaire was misleading and unfair. “

Glentworth StreetGlentworth2

Glentworth Street residents have mounted a campaign against the Baker Street and Gloucester Place two-way plans to stop their street becoming a rat run from south-bound traffic looking for a route on to the Marylebone Road.

 

The Beehive pub, Homer Street

BeehiveWe have asked the Planning Department for an update on the works being undertaken at The Beehive. The Council says:

“We granted permission earlier this year for an extension at rear second floor level and a roof extension in association with the use of the first, second and third floors as one residential unit; alterations to front and rear elevations including lowering of the basement floor by 300mm for additional seating at lower ground floor level in association with the existing public house.

The current permission allows the creation of an enlarged area for customer seating at basement level; as a result, whilst permission was granted for a self-contained residential unit on the upper floors, there would also be a net increase in tradeable floor area.”

Edgware Road

Walking down Edgware Road we have noticed a lot of dumping and generally an un-swept feel about the area. We asked for details of the sweeping regime for Edgware Road. The Council says:

“Edgware Road is swept three times a day, from Marble Arch to the fly over, one per shift of Morning. Evening and Night. Also waste is scheduled for collection from 09.00 to 10.00 daily.”

Marylebone Road/Seymour Place street lights

We have reported a long-standing broken set of street lights at the junction of Marylebone Road and Seymour Place and urged TfL to repair the lights without further delay. TfL tells us:

“On receipt of your email I asked my officers to attend the site and make the required repairs, and they did so on 19 August. “

Harewood Row

Harewood Row bikesWe have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Walking towards Marylebone Station via Harwood Row, just before the Travelodge, there is a fence on the pavement, with bicycles chained on the pavement side, restricting use for walkers.”

The local Inspector says:

“The location of the railings is in the close vicinity of Marylebone Station hence there is always some bikes (different each day) chained to a street furniture during a day. It is a tricky matter as we are unable to remove them on daily basis without putting 48hrs removal notice on them. Whilst the notice is on, the owner removes the bike within given time. However, I’ve emailed City Management with inquiry whether the railings can be removed or more bike racks installed.”

Cycling Quietway

Westminster City Council is proposing a Quietway Route from Edgware Road to Fitzrovia

The section of this route being consulted on within the City of Westminster is approximately 2km in length. The streets affected by these proposals are Harrowby Street, Seymour Place, Crawford Street, Paddington Street, Nottingham Place, Nottingham Street, Marylebone High Street, Devonshire Street, Great Portland Street and Carburton Street.

In Great Portland Street, the council is proposing to rearrange the street layout to enable two-way cycling, and a new traffic signal to help cyclists and pedestrians cross the road. Changes to parking bays and kerbside restrictions will also be made.

The plans will allow two-way cycling along Carburton Street to help create a link for cycling between Camden and Westminster, especially for less confident cyclists.

As part of the consultation, Westmisnter will be holding two public exhibitions for people to attend and learn about the route. The plans — which are also online — will give people the chance to view the detailed designs, as well as meet the design team and discuss the project.

Quietway Route from Edgware Road to Fitzrovia. Public exhibition: Marylebone Library, Macintosh House, 54 Beaumont Street, W1G 6DW. Tuesday 29 September, 4-8pm; Saturday 3 October, 10am-4pm.

York Street Chambers

We are supporting residents who are trying to stop the loss of an Acacia tree in the courtyard of this block. Residents say:

“The tree is not causing any structural or foundation damage, it just needs pruning, some supportive structure and its planter reinforced. It serves us well aesthetically and environmentally. All the residents love and appreciate its beauty

The Council’s Tree Officer says:

“In 2013 the Council agreed the crown reduction of the tree, rather than its removal. However I am of the view that the tree only has a limited safe useful life, and will need to be removed in the not too distant future. I have discussed the possibility of planting a new tree in the courtyard with Octavia, and although space is limited, in my view it would be possible to do so, with some modest modifications to the layout.”

Octavia say

“I have spoken to our asset management team. They tell me that there are no plans to remove the tree, although it is overdue a pruning. We are going to have a look at it and see what the position is.”

Chapel Street

Chapel StreetWe have reported long-standing problems with water ponding outside Hyde Park Mansions.

Gloucester Place rubbish clearance – what you say

“Belated but incredibly sincere thanks for sorting this out. I’m enormously grateful. Please also pass on our thanks to the team who did the dirty work. I know all of the flats in the building have received a letter from the council. So far it seems to have had the desired effect, so fingers crossed that that continues. “

What you say

“Thank you so much for all your time care, energy & concern for Westminster residents”

Please let us know if there are any local issues on which we can help.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment spokesperson
Westminster City Council

BRYANSTON AND DORSET SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2015

News from Labour Councillors and your local Labour Action Team

Glentworth2Glentworth Street residents fight Baker Street two way plans to stop rat-run threat

Glentworth Street residents have mounted a campaign against the Baker Street and Gloucester Place two-way plans to stop their street becoming a rat run from south-bound traffic looking for a route on to the Marylebone Road.

The Transport for London consultation on the plans to re-route the buses closes on 4th September:
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/baker-street/

There is an on-line petition opposing the proposals on the Council’s website http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/bakerstreet/

Call for Baker Street Two-Way proposal to be taken by full Council rather than by just one Councillor

We have called for any decision on the Baker Street Two-Way proposal to be taken by the full Council rather than by one Councillor who has already been publicly strongly supportive of the controversial proposals which are being vigourously opposed by local residents and businesses.

In a letter to Charlie Parker, Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s Built Environment spokesperson, says;

“Charlie

I am writing to express my concern that, as the prime ‘cheer-leader’ for the Baker Street Two Way project, Councillor Davis will also be the sole decision maker for this project.

Although there has been public consultation on this project, it is clear from Councillor Davis’ public statements that he is far from being impartial on this proposal. The two examples below clearly show that Councillor Davis is very supportive of the project and has been active in promoting what he considers to be the benefits.

For example, Councillor Davis’ quote in the Consultation leaflet strongly promotes the proposals:

“This public consultation gives you the chance to have your say on our proposal to return two way operation to Baker Street and Gloucester Place. Using modern traffic engineering techniques, under the proposed project vehicle flow should be smoother and less congested, without attracting more traffic to the area. This would reduce the dominance of vehicles along both streets and provide greater access, connectivity and useable space for local residents, businesses, workers and visitors. The proposals would also reduce the impact of convoluted journeys that are caused by the current one way system.”

Councillor Robert Davis DL
Deputy Leader
Cabinet Member for Built Environment
Westminster City Council

http://www.bakerstreettwoway.co.uk/pdfs/Baker-Street-Two-Way-Consultation-leaflet.pdf

Similarly, Councillor Davis’ contribution to the Baker Street Quarter website is equally positive about the proposals:

Cllr Robert Davis said: “Baker Street is one of the top locations for visitors to this city, with Regent’s Park, Madame Tussauds, the Wallace Collection and the Sherlock Holmes museum nearby.

“It is only right that we seek to make the area a far more welcoming place for everyone that lives in, works in and visits the area. Baker Street is one of our key commercial districts and we want to give those that work there a more pleasant environment. The planned designs will re-establish and rejuvenate the area and bring back two way flow for the first time in almost 50 years, easing congestion in the area and creating better public spaces.

“I suppose Mr Holmes would have described this project as being elementary, but it is far from it. We think this is an exciting opportunity that will require many different parts of the community to work together to achieve success. So this consultation is important, and the project reflects the innovative way in which the public and private sectors can come together to find solutions to benefit the lives of those living and working in London, and we want everyone to play a part.”

http://www.bakerstreetquarter.co.uk/news-and-whats-on/londons-baker-street-set-to-banish-its-urban-motorway-image-for-good

As you know, there is considerable opposition to the proposals from local residents and businesses north and south of Marylebone Road, some of whom have put it to me that Councillor Davis cannot be considered to be an impartial decision maker in this instance and may have already made up his mind, notwithstanding the results of the public consultation.

With this in mind, and given the importance of this matter across a wide area, I suggest that this matter be considered by the full Council rather than by an individual Councillor.

I hope you will give this your full consideration.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment Spokesperson”

Baker Street two-way proposals

We are supporting the concerns of local residents, as well as the St Marylebone Society and the Marylebone Association who are calling for Westminster Council and Transport for London to take more notice of residents’ views on plans to return Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way working.

At the June meeting of the Environment Scrutiny Committee, Councillors heard from Gaby Higgs of the St Marylebone Society and Michael Bolt of the Marylebone Association. Gaby Higgs told the Committee of residents’ concerns that the current proposals would cause ‘rat-runs’ through residential areas and that insufficient information had been provided on how bus and coach traffic would be managed. Michael Bolt told the Committee that residents were concerned that the proposed ban on left turns into Marylebone Road at Gloucester Place would force traffic through York Street and on to Seymour Place. He told the Committee;

“Whilst we are generally supportive of the overall aspirations involved in making these roads two way but we are not supportive of a gold plated scheme which fiddles around with the carriageways to such an extent that we see substantial traffic displacement within our area, and the present scheme is in grave danger of doing just this. The effect of all these changes, plus the reduction in carriageway width on Baker Street and Gloucester Place, will be to move more traffic onto residential streets and spread the pollution noise and disruption to surrounding areas.”

The principle of returning Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two way working after over 50 years might be a good idea, but the devil is in the detail of how it will operate at the key junctions. The consultation so far has not convinced many long-standing residents and more needs to be done to show people how the new road system would work in detail. The weakest link for many people is the proposal to ban the left turn at the Gloucester Place/Marylebone Road junction and the impact that this will have on forcing a great deal of traffic through the residential streets north and south of Marylebone Road. Westminster and TfL have a lot more work to do and listening to residents should be the top priority.

The Transport for London consultation on the plans to re-route the buses closes on 4th September:
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/baker-street/

There is an on-line petition opposing the proposals on the Council’s website http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/bakerstreet/

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. He says the plans, including painted cycle lanes along Gloucester Place, are unable to offer sufficient protection from the fast and heavy motor traffic on the road. Westminster City Council has 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

Blandford Estate

Residents on the Blandford Estate say:

“For some reason the 200+ people who live on Blandford Estate were omitted from the distribution. Is it just a coincidence that Harewood Avenue was also omitted from all the published maps and plans issued by the planners of the Baker Street 2-way project?”

Residents say:

“The proposal includes allowing south‐bound traffic to turn right from the A41 Park Road onto Rossmore Road. This will result in an enormous increase in traffic using Harewood Avenue in order to turn right into Marylebone Road. Harewood Avenue is already severely congested: it is the only right turn between Baker Street and the Marylebone flyover, and most of the time has a queue of taxis that sometimes reaches back almost to Rossmore Road. Harewood Avenue is already horrendously polluted”

Gloucester Place

We have reported this issue:

“Over the past fortnight I have called the Council’s Rubbish & Environment line at least four times regarding what appears to be an “abandoned waste” issue at my address. Each time I have spoken to a very helpful and pleasant member of staff who takes down all the details and informs me it will be resolved within 12 hours. But it never is – and when I call again to check on progress, am told the case is “closed”. The situation has been like this for at least 6 weeks and has now become an environmental health issue. The smell is becoming beyond disgusting and will only get worse. “

Following reporting this issue the Council told us:

“I arranged for the removal of all the waste which I have been informed by our waste contractor has now been completed. Follow up work is one of education to all the residents that use the basement for their waste storage; this will be undertaken by the Local City Inspector and the Westminster Recycling Team. A letter will be sent out to the residents at the address with the specifics of their waste management arrangements.”

Old Marylebone Road/Harcourt Street

Harcourt2Harcourt1We asked Thames Water to repair a long-standing water leak at the junction of Old Marylebone Road/Harcourt Street. There was now a large hole in the road which was getting bigger every day.

We are delighted to say that the problem has now been fixed. Thames Water says:

“Our technician investigated the leak and found it was due to a broken valve used to control flows in our large 36 inch main running down Old Marylebone Road. Due to the main’s size the repair needed to be carefully planned to minimise the impact upon the water supply to customers in the area. I am pleased to confirm the repair was completed on 28 July when we replaced the valve and stopped the leak. I am sorry for the time taken to investigate and make the repair.”

Crawford Street/Molyneux Street – vacant block of flats

We have called on the Council to urge the owners of the vacant block of flats on the corner of Crawford Street and Molyneux Street to bring them back in use as soon as possible.

The Harcourt, Harcourt Street

We are making enquiries about the future of The Harcourt pub in Harcourt Street which closed earlier this year. The Harcourt was a very popular local pub which was used by many members of the local Swedish community living and working in the Marylebone area. The Planning Department has told us:

“Following an initial site inspection warning letters were sent out advising all works to cease until consent had been obtained. I received verbal confirmation that the works had ceased and applications for listed building consent and planning permission (ref. 15/04723/FULL and 15/04724/LBC) were submitted on 27th May for:

‘Erection of a single storey rear extension at lower ground floor level and alterations to the front elevation, including the removal of redundant advertising. Installation of a new high level extract duct on the rear elevation in connection with the existing public house and internal alterations at all floor levels.’

The applications are due to be determined by 17th August, and are being considered by Billy Pattison in Central Team. The applications were submitted by Mr James McCulloch of Harcourt Pub PLC, who is understood to be the owner. I note that the website for the Harcourt Arms states that it is currently under refurbishment and is due to reopen summer 2015.”

The Swan & Edgar pub, 43 Linhope Street – Update

The pub is designated as an Unlisted Building of Merit within the Dorset Square Conservation Area. On 6th May 2015 it was included in the List of Assets of Community Value maintained by the City Council. However, the owner is currently questioning /challenging this.

Following the refusal of permission to a change of use of the public house to a single family dwelling, with external alterations, on 11th February 2014, a second application sought a change of use of the public house to a single family dwelling house, with no external alterations, was subsequently refused on 23rd October 2014. An appeal against this decision has been lodged and is due to be heard at an Informal Hearing on 2nd September 2015.

Third and fourth applications have now been submitted, also seeking a change of use from public house to single family dwelling house, but with different external alterations. For this reason the City Council was not able to decline to determine these applications and they have consequently been accepted, are currently out to consultation and pending a decision.

The Samaritan Hospital, Marylebone Road

We are concerned about the deteriorating condition of the Grade II listed Samaritan Hospital on Marylebone Road which closed in 1997 and looks in poor shape. We have asked the Council if they know if there are any plans for the site. The Council says:

“The NHS have recently discussed converting the building into residential as part of their proposals to redevelop and upgrade St Marys Hospital.”

Harewood Avenue

We are continuing to urge the Council to take action against parked cars and taxis which pollute the area by keeping their engines running.

“While Harewood Avenue was being altered, with road works and new pedestrian crossings, the problem of stacked taxis grew less. But they are back now with a vengeance, and rows of more than 20 can be seen regularly, belching out diesel pollution.”

Montagu Street rubbishMontagu Street/George Street

We have asked the Council to clear the regular overflowing bins and to take action to stop the indiscriminate rubbish dumping at this and other locations.

47/48 Bryanston Square

We asked the Council for an update on this long-vacant pair of houses. The Portman Estate says:

“We are in talks with the Wetherby School who are working up a proposal to part extend the school with the remainder as residential. We have redecorated the outside in the meantime and have ensured it is water tight so it is now being looked after.”

Electoral Registration – makes sure your voice is heard

Each 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

Baker Street Two-way proposal – What you say

“Whilst apparently seeking to transform Baker Street and Gloucester Place into pleasant boulevards, these proposals have very serious negative consequences for many of the smaller streets in the area, such as York Street. It would appear inevitable that much more traffic) will be encouraged onto the smaller roads. These small and largely residential roads are quite unsuited to substituting for the proposed massively reduced traffic capacity of Baker Street & Gloucester Place. For example, in York Street, there are already two primary schools, and a growing population of families with children, many of them very young. The increased traffic hazards, and crucially the increase in pollution and further reduction in already dangerous air quality would seem to fly in the face of national as well as European requirements, and will reduce the quality of air and life for residents in every age group. We are very concerned indeed about the overall scheme and in particular the plan to convert York Street into a one way road between Gloucester Place and Upper Montagu Street. This will effectively make York Street part of a one way system from Gloucester Place along York Street, and right onto Upper Montagu Street and onto Marylebone Road.”

What you say

“As a Marylebone resident, I am very appreciative of your efforts on behalf of us in the streets which will be adversely affected by the Baker St 2 Way proposals as they stand. I wish our other local politicians were as engaged and responsive!!”

Please let us know if there are any local issues on which we can help.

If you do not wish to receive further copies of this newsletter please let us know and we will remove your details from our records.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment spokesperson
Westminster City Council

 

Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward Labour Action Report – July 2015

Baker Street two-way proposals

We are supporting the concerns of local residents, as well as the St Marylebone Society and the Marylebone Association who are calling for Westminster Council and Transport for London to take more notice of residents’ views on plans to return Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way working.

At the June meeting of the Environment Scrutiny Committee, Councillors heard from Gaby Higgs of the St Marylebone Society and Michael Bolt of the Marylebone Association. Gaby Higgs told the Committee of residents’ concerns that the current proposals would cause ‘rat-runs’ through residential areas and that insufficient information had been provided on how bus and coach traffic would be managed. Michael Bolt told the Committee that residents were concerned that the proposed ban on left turns into Marylebone Road at Gloucester Place would force traffic through York Street and on to Seymour Place. He told the Committee;

“Whilst we are generally supportive of the overall aspirations involved in making these roads two way but we are not supportive of a gold plated scheme which fiddles around with the carriageways to such an extent that we see substantial traffic displacement within our area, and the present scheme is in grave danger of doing just this. The effect of all these changes, plus the reduction in carriageway width on Baker Street and Gloucester Place, will be to move more traffic onto residential streets and spread the pollution noise and disruption to surrounding areas.”

The principle of returning Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two way working after over 50 years might be a good idea, but the devil is in the detail of how it will operate at the key junctions. The consultation so far has not convinced many long-standing residents and more needs to be done to show people how the new road system would work in detail. The weakest link for many people is the proposal to ban the left turn at the Gloucester Place/Marylebone Road junction and the impact that this will have on forcing a great deal of traffic through the residential streets north and south of Marylebone Road. Westminster and TfL have a lot more work to do and listening to residents should be the top priority.

The Westminster Council consultation on the plans closes on 31st July 2015.

You can make your comments here:
http://www.bakerstreettwoway.co.uk/

The Transport for London consultation on the plans to re-route the buses closes on 4th September:

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/baker-street/

There is an on-line petition opposing the proposals on the Council’s website

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/bakerstreet/

Cycling Commissioner says he is not supportive of the Baker Street two-way 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

Gloucester Place

We have reported this issue:

“Over the past fortnight I have called the Council’s Rubbish & Environment line at least four times regarding what appears to be an “abandoned waste” issue at my address. Each time I have spoken to a very helpful and pleasant member of staff who takes down all the details and informs me it will be resolved within 12 hours. But it never is – and when I call again to check on progress, am told the case is “closed”. The situation has been like this for at least 6 weeks and has now become an environmental health issue. The smell is becoming beyond disgusting and will only get worse. “

Following reporting this issue the Council told us:

“I arranged for the removal of all the waste which I have been informed by our waste contractor has now been completed. Follow up work is one of education to all the residents that use the basement for their waste storage; this will be undertaken by the Local City Inspector and the Westminster Recycling Team. A letter will be sent out to the residents at the address with the specifics of their waste management arrangements.”

Harcourt1Old Marylebone Road/Harcourt Street

We have asked Thames Water to repair a long-standing water leak at the junction of Old Marylebone Road/Harcourt Street.

UPDATE – The Leak has now been fixed!

Thames Water tell us:

“Our technician investigated the leak and found it was due to a broken valve used to control flows in our large 36 inch main running down Old Marylebone Road. Due to the main’s size the repair needed to be carefully planned to minimise the impact upon the water supply to customers in the area. I am pleased to confirm the repair was completed on 28 July when we replaced the valve and stopped the leak. I am sorry for the time taken to investigate and make the repair. “

The Harcourt, Harcourt Street

We are making enquiries about the future of The Harcourt pub in Harcourt Street which closed earlier this year. The Harcourt was a very popular local pub which was used by many members of the local Swedish community living and working in the Marylebone area.

The Samaritan Hospital, Marylebone Road

We are concerned about the deteriorating condition of the Grade II listed Samaritan Hospital on Marylebone Road which closed in 1997 and looks in poor shape. We have asked the Council if they know if there are any plans for the site.

Councillor Audrey Lewis

We were saddened to hear that Councillor Audrey Lewis passed away recently. Audrey was an excellent Lord Mayor last year and was generous in giving her time to Westminster’s many communities.

Her experience and wise counsel was at its best on Licensing matters and many residents have benefitted from the decisions taken by her committee which she chaired for many years.

We thank her for her many years of service to Marylebone as a Councillor and as a member of the Marylebone Association.

“Audrey was hugely respected by the Labour group as someone who was open, engaging and committed to helping local residents of whatever political persuasion and background. We knew we could trust her to be fair in her dealings with us and during her time as Lord Mayor she made a real effort to make a contribution in our wards and across the city. She will be greatly missed.”

Councillor Adam Hug
Leader, Westminster Labour Group

“I’m shocked by the news. Audrey asked me to be the Lord Mayor’s consort to accompany her to an event in our ward celebrating Bangladeshi independence in Churchill last April.”

Councillor Shamin Talukder

“Sorry to hear the news. She was community minded and someone we were able to work with”

Councillor Barrie Taylor

“Very sad news. She was very keen to help us with the Churchill Gardens Christmas tree last year.”

Councillor Murad Gassanly

“This is very sad, she reached out and was someone you could work with as well as a wealth of experience. She was an excellent Lord Mayor. “

Councillor Jason Williams

“This is very sad news. Audrey was a model Councillor. She was in touch with residents, took up their issues with tenacity and was fair minded and practical. She will be missed by many”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Baker Street/Gloucester place two-way proposal – Proposed changes to bus routes – have your say

As part of the proposals to return Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way streets (www.surveygizmo.co.uk/s3/2145353/Baker-Street-Two-Way-Consultation-Questionnaire), some changes to the bus network in the area are proposed. Details of the proposed changes can be found on the Transport for London website: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/baker-street

A consultation survey is now open, giving you an opportunity to have your say on the proposed changes to bus services in the Baker Street / Gloucester Place area. Please use the following link to complete the online questionnaire: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/baker-street/consultation/intro/view

The deadline for responses is Friday 4th September 2015.

Bryanston and Dorset Square Action Report – June 2015

Westminster Council and TfL should listen to residents on Baker Street two-way proposals

Labour Councillors are supporting the pleas of the St Marylebone Society and the Marylebone Association who are calling for Westminster Council and Transport for London to take more notice of residents’ views on plans to return Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way working.

At this week’s Environment Scrutiny Committee, Councillors heard from Gaby Higgs of the St Marylebone Society and Michael Bolt of the Marylebone Association. Gaby Higgs told the Committee of residents’ concerns that the current proposals would cause ‘rat-runs’ through residential areas and that insufficient information had been provided on how bus and coach traffic would be managed. Michael Bolt told the Committee that residents were concerned that the proposed ban on left turns into Marylebone Road at Gloucester Place would force traffic through York Street and on to Seymour Place. He told the Committee;

“Whilst we are generally supportive of the overall aspirations involved in making these roads two way but we are not supportive of a gold plated scheme which fiddles around with the carriageways to such an extent that we see substantial traffic displacement within our area, and the present scheme is in grave danger of doing just this. The effect of all these changes, plus the reduction in carriageway width on Baker Street and Gloucester Place, will be to move more traffic onto residential streets and spread the pollution noise and disruption to surrounding areas.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour Built Environment spokesperson said;

“The principle of returning Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two way working after over 50 years might be a good idea, but the devil is in the detail of how it will operate at the key junctions. The consultation so far has not convinced many long-standing residents and more needs to be done to show people how the new road system would work in detail. The weakest link for many people is the proposal to ban the left turn at the Gloucester Place/Marylebone Road junction and the impact that this will have on forcing a great deal of traffic through the residential streets north and south of Marylebone Road. Westminster and TfL have a lot more work to do and listening to residents should be the top priority.”

Baker Street two-way working proposal – what you say

“The proposal to provide a right turn from A41 Park Road on to Rossmore Road will result in a very large increase in traffic using Harewood Avenue in order to turn right into Marylebone Road. The section of Harewood Avenue both north and especially south of Marylebone station is already a major area of congestion needing urgent attention. This is the only right turn between Baker Street and the Marylebone flyover. Any additional traffic will seriously affect the, already difficult, access to the station for taxis and other service vehicles. Pollution levels are already dangerously high, given the trains and the dozens of diesel driven taxis in the area.”

Baker Street Two-Way Project: Public Consultation Now Open

The public consultation on the proposed project to reintroduce two way traffic operation to Baker Street and Gloucester Place is now underway. The consultation will last for ten weeks up until Friday 31st July, before which everyone in the area can have their say by visiting the project’s website www.bakerstreettwoway.co.uk and filling in a feedback questionnaire. Along with the information on the website, there will also be a series of public exhibitions held in the coming weeks to allow people to see first-hand the scope of the project and speak directly to officers and partners.

Baker Street Two-way

We understand that the option to use Balcombe Street as a right turn for southbound traffic onto Marylebone Road has been dropped from the Two-way scheme planning. This follows initial representations by the Marylebone Association and the St Marylebone Society reinforced by comment from the North Marylebone Traffic Group. Consultation on other options will begin shortly.

Consultation on Changes to Buses Serving Marylebone

Following a review, Transport for London is proposing that bus routes 13 and N13 will no longer run, but there will be extensions and enhancements to routes 82, 113, 139 and 189. Details of the proposals and the consultation, which is open until 10 April, can be found at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/finchleyroad

Harrowby Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Please can you investigate the increased unhygienic problem of chewing gum & cigarette ends constantly outside the Victoria Casino in Harrowby Street? This establishment appear to oblivious to the habits if its patrons, whilst we have to wade through this health hazard on a daily basis, or risk contacting road traffic to avoid it.”

The Council say;

Harrowby Street is manually swept Mon – Sun. Chewing gum requires specialised cleaning. Unfortunately the council do not have a bespoke chewing gum removal service and have not had one for some years now. They have something called a deep cleaning service which can remove gum, but it runs to a very tight schedule, prioritised to principle walking routes and event areas where staining, gum, and footfall scuffing is heaviest and most prominent.

Tyburn Stone

We are making enquiries into this matter:

“I notice that the Bank in Edgware Road that used to have the Tyburn Stone in its window has been gutted and is being refurbished; I tried to ask one of the Builders what had happened to this old stone, but he did not know. Can you find out what has happened to it?”

Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to mount an inquiry into the appallingly high levels of pollution on Marylebone Road and other West End roads

Westminster’s Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to mount an inquiry into the appallingly high levels of pollution on many of Westminster’s major roads after the ‘Evening Standard’ revealed “toxicity levels up to three-and-a-half times the EU legal limit” and some roads “at least double the EU limit for nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas linked to asthma, lung infections and other respiratory problems.”

The ‘Evening Standard’ reported;

“The most polluted street is Marylebone Road where the EU limit is shattered in at least five places. London’s worst blackspot, where Marylebone Road joins Glentworth Street, showed 132 micrograms – about three and a half times the EU maximum. Nearby at the junction with Wyndham Street the level was 124, some three times the maximum. Next worst are Park Lane and Knightsbridge. Number seven on the toxic Top 50 is Oxford Street where it joins Orchard Road at Selfridges – despite Boris Johnson last year dismissing as “bollocks” claims by top experts that the country’s famous shopping street harboured some of the worst pollution on the planet. The new data lists at least two sites in Oxford Street where current pollution levels are nearly triple the limit.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-pollution-shame-laid-bare-the-uks-50-worst-spots-for-air-filth-are-all-in-the-capital-10087611.html

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“Urgent action needs to be taken by the Council, in partnership with the Mayor and the Government, to reduce pollution on Westminster’s roads. These latest figures are a wake up call to the authorities. We cannot allow this situation to go unchecked. Growing pollution is damaging the health of residents, workers and visitors and we will all pay a heavy price in increased illness, more call on already overstretched health services and a much damaged environment which will deter visitors and investors from coming to London”

T S Eliot Plaque at Crawford Mansions

We made enquiries following this message:

“When we purchased this, we had anticipated it to be metal with an enamel finish that would withstand the elements for several decades. However, it is covered in cheap plastic coating that is gradually peeling away. The plaque now looks extremely unsightly and cannot be regarded as a good advertisement for either WCC or the Green Plaques Scheme. It is not something that our block can display proudly. The Council agreed with us that the plaque was sub-standard and promised a replacement, even going so far as to say that the foundry were despatching a new plaque and we were wondering if you could do anything to move matters forward.”

We contacted the Council and the the installers have now put it up.

More rubbish on Marylebone streets

According to Amanda Feeny, Chair of the Harrowby and District Residents’ Association and Marylebone Association Committee Member

“Piles of rubbish are becoming all too common in the streets of Marylebone and I wonder if Westminster Council needs to approach the problem differently.
Marylebone Rubbish

Westminster has always had a large transient population but there has been a considerable rise in the number of short term lets in and around our area since landlords can make so much more from their properties if they can rent them almost like hotel space. Although technically they need a permit from the Council to do this very few bother to apply. As a result we are living with more rubbish on our streets. Westminster Council has always taken rubbish seriously. If bags are put out at the wrong time, a warden can go through them, find evidence of the source address and issue a warning, which may result in a fine if offending persists. Now, however, the offenders are often long gone, probably even before a warning is issued, so the system has broken down as any deterrent has been lost.

The Council needs to reconsider the whole system, either by extending daily collections to residential areas where the rubbish is accumulating or restoring the deterrent. There seems to be a marked difference between the behaviour of owner occupiers and tenants, with the former adhering to the collection times far more than the latter. Would it be possible to fine landlords if their tenants do not respect the collection times? Landlords would then take much more trouble to tell their tenants to put out rubbish on the appropriate day.

Marylebone Rubbish2
This may not be the right solution but Westminster needs to give further thought to finding one. The problem is worsening and rubbish is very unhygienic as well as unsightly, spoiling the elegant environment of Marylebone.”

Amanda Feeny, Chair of the Harrowby and District Residents’ Association and Marylebone Association Committee Member
amanda.feeny@marylebone.org

The full version of this article appears on the St Marylebone Association website. Click here to view http://www.marylebone.org/entry/city-management/marylebone-rubbish-on-our-streets-what-can-be-done

Harewood Row – Taxis

We have asked the Council to consider this suggestion from a resident;

“I see that Islington Council is warning off diesel drivers (presumably of taxis) who loiter with engines running. Is there any chance that Westminster might follow suit and that the taxis which still queue on Harewood Avenue might be dealt with? 22 this morning in a line, 23 the day before … plus ca change … Nobody seems to care.”

Blandford Estate

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“We have recently had a pedestrian gate security system installed on our estate. We are always charged for Major Works on a bed-space basis. It transpires that we will be charged as usual on the amount of bed-spaces we have however, been informed that it is a Westminster wide policy to only issue 3 fobs to each flat and any additional fobs have to be purchased at an additional £15. We have been informed by the Marylebone Village office that the reasoning is that only 3 fobs per flat are factored into the cost of the major works and any additional fobs residents required must be purchased. This seems to most residents extremely unfair, as Westminster always charges major works on the amount of bed-spaces. Therefore, surely they should issue the equipment required on the same basis.”

Bryanston Square

Bryanston Sq

We have made enquiries about the long-standing vacant buildings at 46-47 Bryanston Square which are in a derelict state:

The Council says;

“An inspection of the property has confirmed that the property is in a poor state of repair and is considered to be having a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the immediate locality and the Portman Estate Conservation Area. Consequently, warning letters were issued on 11 February 2014 to all known persons having an interest in the property to ascertain their immediate plans to improve its appearance and condition. A response has been requested within 21 days otherwise they have been placed on notice that they could face formal enforcement action which may include the service of a s215 Notice. “

Dorset Square rubbish dumping

Dorset sq

We presented a petition on behalf of Dorset Square and Balcombe Street residents at the January Council meeting calling on the Council to relocate the Big Black Bin which is attracting regular rubbish dumping.

Three weeks later the bin is still there and the rubbish continues to pile up!

Come on Westminster Council – let’s see some action!

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2 Responses to Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward

  1. Rebecca Anderson says:

    Regarding the Baker Street/Gloucester place two-way proposal, I don’t think this has been presented in a very user-friendly format: maps not easy to read, getting thrown back if you click for further information and difficult to visualize. It mentions air quality but doesn’t really address it, we’re Europe’s no.1 offender!

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